Susan Herring Jefferies Taynton Papers, 1892-1988

Manuscript Collection #239

  • Descriptive Summary
    Title: Susan Herring Jefferies Taynton Papers
    Creator: Jefferies, Susan Herring, 1902-1980
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers (1892-1940, 1960-1964, 1972, 1988) consisting of correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, clippings, newspapers and a book pertaining to the life of Rev. David Wells Herring, a Baptist missionary in China. The book titled Papa Wore No Halo was written about Herring by his daughter Susan Herring Jefferies Taynton.
    Extent: 0.143 Cubic feet, 2 archival boxes and 1 oversize folder 270 items , consisting of correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, clippings, newspapers and miscellaneous.
  • Description

    Correspondence in the Herring family section of the collection includes several significant items. A letter (July 2, 1897) from Herring to his sister in Pender County, N.C., contains a detailed description of Sydney, Australia. The letter includes Herring's opinions of the Japanese, a comparison between Australian Bushmen and American Indians and a comparison between American and Australian Baptists. A letter from George Herring to his Aunt Ethel (April 2, 1922) tells of the Herrings's difficulties during the Boxer Rebellion and contains his opinions on the role of missionary work. George Herring's attitudes towards China, its people and future are also discussed. In a letter to Mrs. Taynton (April 17, 1940) her sister relates childhood memories of missionary life in China.

    Included in the Herring family section are several family photographs and two pamphlets written by David Wells Herring. One, entitled A Manly Boy, is the story of Herring's first son Manly Yates Herring. Travels in both China and North Carolina are narrated along with Herring's personal views on religion, children and Christian education for the young. The second pamphlet is a revision of an earlier work entitled, A Departure In Our China Mission. The original version of the pamphlet outlined Herring's dissent against the Baptist Foreign Mission Board. The revised version is a document of reconciliation with the Board. Other significant printed material in the Herring family section consists an address entitled "Resting in God's Faithfulness During Twenty-Three Days Amongst Pirates" given by Miss Marie Monson (a missionary) at Paitaiho Conference (July 29, 1929) relating her adventure onboard a boat in China that was taken over by pirates; and typescript of "Notes Taken from the 100th Annual Session Minutes of the Eastern Association of N.C." (1927) regarding past meetings.

    The remainder of the collection pertains to the publication of Papa Wore No Halo and consists of correspondence with Mrs. Taynton's editor, Jerry Simpson, and her publisher, John F. Blair (of John F. Blair Publishing Company, Winston-Salem, North Carolina). The correspondence for the most part deals with editorial revision of the manuscript of Papa Wore No Halo. Other subjects, however, such as publicity, philosophy of writing, royalties, the problems of publication, and author-publisher relations are treated in detail. Also included in the collection is a copy of "Memories of a Lifetime" by Celia Herring Middleton (1988). Celia was Susan Taynton's sister; she wrote about the family's life in China and her later years back in the States as well as recording some family history.

    The oversize folder contains issues of Our Missionary Helper (July, Aug., Nov., 1904; Jan., Mar., June, July, Nov., 1905). An article written by Mrs. Taynton found in the Greensboro Daily News, (May 28, 1972) relates the activities of seven North Carolinians in China. The article contains biographical sketches of David Wells Herring, Matthew Yates, Richard McKenna, Lee Parker, Collier Cobb, Thomas Jernigan and Arthur Ringwalt.

  • Biographical / Historical Note

    Susan Herring Jefferies Taynton was born at Tai An, China, in 1902. Her parents, David Wells Herring (1858-1940) and Alice Rhea Herring, were Baptist missionaries working in the interior of China. David Wells Herring was a controversial figure in missionary circles. In 1892 he resigned from the Baptist Foreign Mission Board in order to perform his duties in the manner he thought most productive. Herring had clashed with the Board over the issues of the adoption of native dress by missionaries, the role of native workers, the establishment of church schools, and financial support of missionaries. Although he eventually reconciled his differences with the Board, Herring's devotion to duty and his determination to defend his ideas inspired his daughter to write his biography. Susan Herring first came to the United States in 1920 and attended Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She subsequently led a varied life as a wife and mother of three children (with husband Clinton Jefferies), a statistical analyst at North Carolina State University and in 1963 her book Papa Wore No Halo was published. She married Mark Taynton, of Falls Church, Virginia.

  • Administrative Information
    Accessions Information

    September 14, 1973, ca. 250 items; Correspondence, photographs, etc. of David Wells Herring family (1896-1940); copies of Our Missionary Helper (1904-1905); and correspondence pertaining to the publication of Papa Wore No Halo (1961-1964). Gift of Mrs. Taynton, Falls Church, Virginia

    May 23, 1984, (addition 1), 8 items; Papers (1897-1949) pertaining to Rev. David Wells Herring and Missionary work in China. Donor: Mrs. Susan Westad.

    May 18, 1990, (addition 2), 1 volume; " Memories of a Lifetime" by Celia Herring Middleton. Donor: Dr. Gordon K. Middleton, Jr.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. Taynton
    Gift of Mrs. Susan Westad
    Gift of Dr. Gordon K. Middleton, Jr.

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Susan Herring Jefferies Taynton Papers (#239), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processed by R. Kepner, February 1974

    Revised by David Miller, November 2009

    Encoded by Apex Data Services

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