The First Group of Chaoshan Biblewomen

  • Ellen Xiang-Yu Cai


Cai traces the history of the first generation of Chaoshan Biblewomen, who were trained by the American Baptists and English Presbyterians, to highlight the importance of gender in the early development of Christian missionary movements. Ever since the employment of Biblewomen in 1874, the Baptist and Presbyterian missions expanded rapidly. The Biblewomen constituted an indispensable force in the Chinese mission staff. They reached out to female faith-seekers of all ages and brought them to the churches. Beginning with an overview of the social and economic profiles of these Biblewomen, Cai investigates their reasons for conversion, their evangelistic training and ministry, and their efforts to assert female agency in a patriarchal environment.


  1. Anonymous. 1885. The congregational rolls for use in the Swatow Mission. Shantou: English Presbyterian Mission Press.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1932. Lingdong jinxinhui qishi zhounian jinian daihuitekan [Special issue on the 70th anniversary of Lingdong Baptist Church]. Shantou: Lingdong Baptist Church.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1936. Lingdong jiayin: Lingdong jinxinhui lishi tekan [The gospel of Lingdong: Special issue on the history of the Lingdong Baptist Church]. Shantou: Lingdong Baptist Church.Google Scholar
  4. Ashmore, Lida Scott. 1920. The South China Mission of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society: A historical sketch of its first cycle of sixty years. Shanghai: Methodist Publishing House.Google Scholar
  5. Brunnert, H. S., and Hagelstrom, V. V. 1911. Present day political organization of China, rev. by N. Th. Kolessoff; tr. from the Russian by A. Beltchenko and E. E. Moran. New York: Paragon.Google Scholar
  6. Dunch, Ryan. 2010. Mothers to our country: Conversion, education, and ideology among Chinese Protestant women, 1870–1930. In Pioneer Chinese Christian women, ed. Jessie G. Lutz, 324–350. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fielde, Adele Marion. 1875. Dictionary of Swatow dialect. Shantou: Swatow Printing Office.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1878a. First lessons in the Swatow dialect. Shantou: Swatow Printing Office.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1878b. Records of the general conference of the Protestant missionaries of China, 156–158. Shanghai: Presbyterian Mission Press.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1883. Pronouncing and defining dictionary of the Swatow dialect. Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1887. Pagoda shadows. London: T. Ogilvie Smith.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1890. The training and work of native female evangelists. In Records of the General Conference of the Protestant Missionaries of China, 244–247. Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1893. Chinese nights’ entertainment: Forty stories told by almond-eyed folk actors in the romance of “the strayed arrow”. New York: Knickerbocker Press.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 1894. A corner of Cathay: Studies from life among the Chinese. New York: Macmillan & Co.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 1912. Chinese fairy tales. New York: Knickerbocker Press.Google Scholar
  16. Griffiths, Valerie. 2008. Biblewomen from London to China: The transnational appropriation of a female mission idea. Women’s History Review 17 (4): 521–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hunter, Jane. 1984. The gospel of gentility: American women missionaries in turn-of-the-century China. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lee, James, Cameron Campbell, and Guofu Tan. 1992. Infanticide and family planning in late imperial China: The price and population history of rural Liaoning, 1774–1873. In Chinese history in economic perspective, ed. Thomas G. Rawski and Lillian M. Li, 145–176. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lee, Joseph Tse-Hei. 2003. The Bible and the gun: Christianity in south China (1860–1900). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Ling, Oi-Ki. 2010. Bible women. In Pioneer Chinese Christian women, ed. Jessie G. Lutz, 246–265. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Lutz, Jessie G., ed. 2010. Pioneer Chinese Christian women. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lutz, Jessie G., and Rolland Ray Lutz. 1998. Hakka Chinese confront Protestant Christianity, 1850–1900. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  23. Mahoney, Irene. 1996. Swatow: Ursulines in China. New York: Graphics/Print Production.Google Scholar
  24. Mann, C. 1924. Catherine Maria Ricketts of Brighton and China. Brighton: Women’s Missionary Association of the Presbyterian Church of England.Google Scholar
  25. Mungello, David E. 2008. Drowning girls in China: Female infanticide since 1650. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  26. Scott, Anna Kay. 1917. An autobiography of Anna Kay Scott, M. D. Chicago: Anna Kay Scott, M. D.Google Scholar
  27. Stevens, Helen Norton. 1918. Memorial biography of Adele M. Fielde. New York: Fielde Memorial Committee.Google Scholar
  28. Tiedemann, R.G. 2008. Controlling the virgins: Female propagators of the faith and the Catholic hierarchy in China. Women’s History Review 17 (4): 501–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wan, Enhong. 1916. What virtuous women in the Old Testament can be learnt by women today. The mirror for the female Christians. Basel: Basel Mission.Google Scholar
  30. Warren, Leonard. 2002. Adele Marion Fielde: Feminist, social activist, scientist. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Wood, Vanessa. 2008. The part played by Chinese women in the formation of an indigenous church in China: Insights from the archive of Myfanwy Wood, LMS missionary. Women’s History Review 17 (4): 597–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Xiang-Yu Cai
    • 1
  1. 1.Guangzhou UniversityGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations