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Papers of John David Hayes (1888-1957)

Identifier: CSWC 13

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of copies of material assembled by Barbara Hayes to illustrate her husband's life. It includes biographical data on the Hayes family; a series of articles written by Barbara Hayes about her life in China and focussing particularly on her husband's activities and work; some memoirs or articles written by Hayes himself or articles about him; transcripts of Hayes' 'Confessions' written for his trial in 1951; letters or extracts of letters written by Hayes and his wife; memorials and comments on Hayes by friends and colleagues after his death; and The Invincible a play by Hayes.


  • Creation: 1946-1973

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details.

Conditions Governing Use

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Biographical / Historical

John David Hayes, American Presbyterian missionary in China and Indonesia, was born in 1888 in Shantung Province, China, the son of American missionaries. He was educated at Princeton then won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford, England after which he studied at New College, Edinburgh and Princeton Theological College, graduating from the latter in 1917. He went to China in the same year accompanied by his wife, Barbara (nee Kelman) whom he had met at Oxford and had married in 1916. Hayes was based in Peking where he was in charge of student Christian work, and, being keen to promote unity, was largely instrumental in the formation of a nation-wide Chinese Student Christian Union. From the mid 1920s he was also involved with language teaching at the College of Chinese Studies in Peking. He was an active member of many Church, community and mission councils and was particularly involved with organising the mission's response to famine in the surrounding provinces and acting as a spokesman for the mission in its dealings with the authorities after Japanese occupation. Barbara Hayes did mission work with women and with the children of missionaries as well as raising five children herself. The Hayes were on furlough from 1923-24 and from 1936-37 when Hayes studied in London and at New York and Yale. In 1941 Barbara Hayes and her two youngest children were sent to the Philippines then repatriated to America in 1943. Hayes himself stayed on in China, he was interned in 1943, with his parents, at Weihsien and was returned to America in September 1945. He worked for a while as assistant pastor in a church in Washington, received his DD degree in 1948 from Wooster College and returned to China in the same year at the invitation of the Church of Christ in China. The Hayes were assigned to the province of Kweichow in the south-west. In 1949, with the approach of the communists, Barbara Hayes was evacuated to Hong Kong where she worked for 18 months in the Church of Christ in China liaison office. John Hayes remained in Kweichow teaching in a government university and school until he was arrested in 1951 charged with being a spy. On his release in September 1952 he returned to America and spent the next two years travelling and speaking about his experiences. In 1955 he was appointed to Indonesia where again he worked with students and built up the Christian Normal College at Salatiga. On March 4 1957 he died as a result of injuries received in a car accident. After his death Barbara Hayes travelled throughout America speaking on behalf of the mission until her retirement in 1959 in New York.


1 file


The material is arranged in chronological order relating to phases in the life of Hayes, as it was presented to the Centre.

Custodial History

The collection was created in 1973 when Barbara Hayes was asked to deposit her husband's papers with the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. As she could find little original material she created a biographical sketch and added additional material where appropriate.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Not clear.


None expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

See under existence and location of originals.

Related Materials

See under existence and location of originals for information about material at Philadelphia, Oregon and Yale, these repositories may hold additional material to that at CSWC. Barbara Hayes referred to Men for Others by Stanley Rowland as containing relevant information.


The papers at CSWC are copies of originals held in America. Barbara Hayes gave copies to the Presbyterian Historical Society Philadelphia, the University of Oregon (Special Collections) and Yale University (Divinity Library Special Collections): these institutions hold a mixture of copies and originals.


The biographical history was compiled using the collection itself .

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379