Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Susan Schultz Bartel - Collection 57

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

Since we are migrating our website to a new platform, we will no longer be updating this earlier version our site. Please visit our Archon database for online guide descriptions. In early 2018, look for our new site, currently under construction, linked in the BGC Archives section on the Library and Archives page. (12/11/2017)

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Susan Schultz Bartel

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Lists of Audio Tapes, Negatives, Photographs

    Audio Tapes


    Audio file and written transcript for T1

    Audio file and written transcript for T2

    Audio file and written transcript for T3

    Audio file and written transcript for T4

Brief Description.
Bartel, Susan Schultz - Interview 1978 - 1979; Three interviews of Mrs. Loyal Bartel; these interviews describe her education and preparation for missions work, her and her husband's work in China, her impressions of Chinese events and culture, and other topics. The interviews were recorded on 11/5/78, 11/18/78, and 2/4/79. The collection also contains photographs.

Collection 57 [January 28, 2008]
Bartel, Susan Schultz; 1900-2008
Interviews; 1978-1979
4 Reels of Audio Tape, Photographs


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Susan Schultz was born in 1900 into a German farming family of Mountain Lake, Minnesota. After high school, she attended the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago where she graduated from the Bible-Music course in 1926. At Moody she met Loyal Bartel, who graduated from the same course in 1924. He finished MBI's Missionary course in 1925, and then attended Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and Susan were married in 1926.

Loyal Bartel had been born in 1901, while his parents were on their voyage via ship to China as first-term missionaries. He was the first of several children to these pioneer missionaries, Henry Cornelius and Nellie Schmidt Bartel, about whom the biography This Mountain Is Mine, by Margaret Epp (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), was written. Being raised in China, Loyal had decided to return upon the completion of his education in Chicago with his new wife, Susan Bartel. Their denominational conference, the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren (Omaha, Nebraska), assigned them to the China Mennonite Mission Society, and they left for China in December 1927.

The Bartels ministered in the Shantung Province of China for over twenty years with only one furlough taken. (It was spent in Wheaton, Illinois). Loyal served as the leader of a Bible School in Tsaohsien and a preacher. Several times during the Sino-Japanese War Loyal, Susan and their five children were interned by the Japanese. In September 1948, after control of the province had passed to the Communist government, and because of Mrs. Bartel's poor health at the time and the children's need for further schooling, Loyal thought it would be best for his wife to return to the States with the children, while he intended to continue working in China. But the family was never reunited with him in the twenty-three years before his death in China in April 1971.

Mrs. Loyal Bartel returned at first to Mountain Lake, Minnesota, where the family stayed until the three oldest daughters, Lenora, Ruthie, and Lois, graduated from high school. Then the family settled in Wheaton, Illinois, where the remaining two children, Esther and David, finished high school. Mrs. Bartel spent several years employed by Scripture Press in Wheaton, and remained in that community for many years after her retirement. She died on January 10, 2008, just shortly before her 108th birthday.

Scope and Content

Mrs. Bartel was interviewed by Wheaton College student Larry Clark at her home in Wheaton on November 5 and 8, December 9, 1978 and February 4, 1979. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to reel original.

T1 - side 1 Transcript
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:50 Family background: early home life descriptions
04:05 Early schooling: country grade school
05:20 Church boarding school (preparatory local Bible school)
07:10 High school
07:40 Call to mission field
08:00 Details clarified re: early life
09:00 Early transportation in Minnesota
11:00 Early influences for missionary call
12:40 Conversion milestones (ages 10-12, 14)
13:45 Significant Bible verses for life
15:30 Sunday school influences
16:05 Inner guidance to mission field
18:00 Place of service and marriage
19:10 Preparations for missions
19:25 Decision to attend Moody
21:45 Leaving home for Moody (mother ill)
22:15 Trunk given by father
23:00 Life at Moody
25:15 Place for overseas mission service still undetermined
26:20 Becoming acquainted with Loyal Bartel
28:25 Teachers and classes at Moody
32:15 Practical work assignments at Moody
35:05 Employment while at Moody
37:30 No particular recollection of World War I in life
38:15 Decision to marry Loyal Bartel
39:45 Loyal Bartel's background
41:55 Loyal Bartel at Moody
42:30 June 1926 marriage in Minnesota
43:15 Northern Baptist Theological Seminary
44:00 Chicago Hebrew Mission
45:00 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
00:30 Preparation to leave for China
02:30 Ordination as missionaries
03:30 Passage on ship to China
04:30 Stopover in Hawaii
05:35 Arrival at Shanghai
06:00 Experience upon arrival (travel rerouted)
07:20 Farewell to family in USA
08:20 Letter writing
08:45 Mission board strategy and history (orphanages, etc.)
10:30 Not understanding why some had left...
11:00 Particular mission stations noted/reviewed off of map (cf. inside cover This Mountain Is Mine)
12:30 Outstations (small villages) not noted on map
13:30 First impressions of China
13:50 Culture shock and or differences noticed
15:05 Work setup and becoming located
15:45 Language studied
16:00 Printing press work
16:20 Bible school moved to Tsaohsien
17:00 Missionary life in the early years
17:55 Relationship of government officials with mission work
18:13 [Delay on tape]
19:14 Relationship of government officials with mission work (continued)
20:15 Episcopalian mission hospital
20:40 No direct contact initially with Catholic mission
21:00 Orphanage discontinued previously
21:55 Catholic help during internment
22:35 Types of people working with
22:50 No recollection of warlords
23:20 Effect of Nationalism minimal
24:10 Cities: sizes, styles, customs
26:15 Evangelism and church services
26:35 No medical work
28:45 Relationship with mission board in USA
29:55 'Father' (Henry) Bartel's life, work and location
31:05 Unrest beginning with Japanese occupation
32:35 Cultural adaptation of message
33:20 Effect of evangelism
34:15 Negative influences (stumbling blocks)
35:07 Negative influences (reactions to gospel)
35:20 [Delay and silence on tape]
35:55 Further description of church services
36:35 Nationals in charge of services
36:50 A specific baptismal description (summer 1948)
38:25 Purpose of church meetings
39:00 [Delay on tape]
41:05 Difficulties before Japanese occupation
41:35 Language
41:45 Illness
41:55 House help
42:50 Outside troubles first notices in country suddenly
43:50 Plans for next interview
44:05 Pictures to be reviewed...
44:15 End of side 2

T1 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Cf. copies of photographs and written remarks (captions)
01:50 Bound feet
03:00 Terrain and weather
03:50 Loyal's and others photos
05:30 Home
07:40 School
08:55 Photos
09:45 Family photos
10:35 Bible school group and others
13:20 Clothing
13:50 Water
14:30 Customs adopted by missionaries
16:38 End of side 3

T2 - side 1 Transcript
00:05 Introduction
00:50 War inevitable
01:10 Newspaper political news cut off
01:35 Sudden arrival of Japanese
01:40 December 19, 1941, taken away from home
02:10 Loyal away on trip
02:50 Evacuation description
03:10 Valuables "sealed" by enemy
04:15 Taken to Chinese quarters in city
04:35 Description of internment quarters and provisions
06:00 No knowledge of what was to happen day by day
06:20 Children adjusted well
06:35 Unusual Christmas observance and significance
08:00 Loyal house-arrested with Lutheran workers
09:30 Confined until spring
09:35 Food during confinement
11:10 Self-sufficiency allowed
11:25 Increased reliance on God
11:40 Life in constant suspense
12:15 Sudden release unexpected
13:50 Testimony and lessons learned
14:30 End of first arrest
14:45 Change in official control; calm period
15:00 Peaceful interlude described
15:15 Son David born (January 25, 1944): Chinese reaction
16:20 Japanese continually present
16:55 Report of war's end (after 3rd arrest): Chinese emotional
17:40 Report re: war with U.S.A.
18:20 Second internment (summer 1945)
18:50 Much more fierce treatment
19:10 Brief preparation before taken away
20:20 Long trip by truck
21:20 Japanese military prison
21:45 Confinement description
22:10 Loyal taken from the family
22:30 Loyal falsely accused
23:00 Lord's watchcare (forty days and nights)
24:15 A remaining co-worker's help
24:45 Discrepancy noted in Epp's book
25:00 Care provided by Catholic nuns
25:55 A specific visit with special treat
26:30 Hard times for family
27:05 Torture of prisoners overheard
27:30 A threat by drunk guard
28:35 Supportive Bible verses
29:45 Miracle release to the local mission house
30:10 Events on day of release
31:05 Surprise simultaneous release of Loyal
31:30 No explanations - not guilty
31:45 The accusations described
32:30 American citizens probably real cause
32:45 Return to home
33:00 Only part of house could be used
33:40 Circumstances noted on a trip for dental work
34:30 Christians had to be more careful now
34:50 Plans for next interview
35:20 End of side 1

T3 - side 1 Transcript
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
01:15 Events leading up to 3rd imprisonment
01:30 Other missionaries had left
01:55 Officials decide Bartels are to leave the country
02:20 Day's journey by cart to railway station
03:00 Night spent with Muslim family
04:00 Permit reversal for traveling
04:40 Return home
05:10 Suspense of circumstances
05:35 Normal times resumed
05:50 Peaceful orderly period
06:15 Communists come (Chinese)
06:30 Loyal optimistic re: future
07:10 "Foreign Devils"
07:35 Relationship with Chinese communists
07:45 Foreign meal to be cooked as test
09:30 Reactions re: missionary clothing (ie, thriftiness)
10:20 Children easily on good terms with Chinese
10:55 Schooling for children described
11:50 Children brought home during unrest
12:10 Unmolested and self-dependent under communist control
12:40 Advised to leave as future unrest approached
12:55 Considerations re: family being split up
13:35 American laws re: citizenship
14:25 Review and clarification
15:05 Some people known did become communists
16:00 A few secretly met as Christians
16:10 A letter from Loyal re: neighbor girl
16:35 Bibles burned
17:05 Loyal last seen at Shanghai departure (September 1948)
17:45 Reunion anticipated soon
18:20 Passage on ship to U.S.A.
19:15 Chinese reactions to communists
19:45 Reference to past internal antagonisms
20:30 Poor people anticipate new stable government
20:35 Communism against Imperialism
21:00 Communists and the historic Chinese religions
21:20 Moslems predominate
22:00 Religious orientations of Chinese
22:25 Often no past religious commitments (orphans)
22:50 No temples nearby
23:25 Arrival in U.S.A.
23:35 Family relationships
24:10 Economic adjustments without husband
25:00 Difficult explanations
25:35 Helpful people
25:50 Correspondence increasingly limited with Loyal
26:45 Content of letters carefully selected
27:00 Mail censored
27:15 Secret correspondence necessary even while still in China
28:00 Mission board very helpful
28:20 Support sent through Red Cross
28:40 Support had to be ceased
28:55 Attitudes of Americans toward China
29:30 Letters re: Chinese Christians from Loyal
30:15 End of side 1

T4 - side 1 Transcript
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Introduction
01:15 Impressions and adjustments upon return to U.S.A.
02:05 Longings for husband to be reunited
02:20 Move from Mountain Lake, MN, to Wheaton, IL
02:50 Desire for good schooling for children
03:00 Each child a college graduate before marriage
03:15 All children now with their own Christian homes
04:10 Houses occupied in Wheaton
05:15 Wheaton life described
06:25 Correspondence courses and evening classes
06:45 Waiting and suspense re: husband
07:35 Home activities and hobbies
08:20 Reading and Bible study
09:15 God-given help and Scripture memory
09:55 Letters from China; procedure and frequency
11:15 Deep gratitude re: Lord's faithfulness
11:40 Gratitude for many relatives and friends
12:00 Especially meaningful Scriptural portions
13:00 News re: husband's death (Red Cross)
13:50 Re: Watchman Nee
14:50 Husband's cousin in Shanghai prison
15:15 Impressions of China while in U.S.A.
16:30 Current feelings re: China's present leadership and present U.S.-China ties
18:35 Prayer support for China's believers needed
19:15 China's college students in U.S.A.
19:55 Christian workers need to be ready
20:15 Anticipating China's reopening: go as helper, note as leader as before
21:10 China's honor roll students in U.S.A.
22:00 Rural or urban mission emphasis
23:00 Unlearned people perhaps more ready
23:25 Current religious toleration probably low
24:25 Overriding, concluding remarks
25:05 appreciation
25:30 special interest urged for Chinese in U.S.A.
25:55 personally limited in American Chinese outreach
26:40 Corrections made re: three previous interviews
27:00 Friendly relationships with communists
27:55 Loyal's imprisonment and four specific charges
29:45 Further description re: children's schooling in China
30:55 Interviewer's appreciation expressed
31:35 End of side 1

This collection also contains several photographs of the mission, Chinese associates, and scenes from Chinese life.


The materials in this collection were received by the BGC Archives in 1978-1979.

Accession #: None
May 15, 1979
Robert Shuster
Larry Clark

Accession #: None
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE. Request by the T# at the beginning of each entry below:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3 3/4 ips, 108 minutes. One side only. Interview with Susan Bartel by Larry Clark. Discussion of Bartel's youth, conversion, education, marriage to Loyal Bartel, and mission work in China. Recorded on November 11, 1978.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3 3/4 ips, 36 minutes. One side only. Interview with Susan Bartel by Larry Clark. Discussion of World War II, Japanese occupation of China, and arrest and imprisonment of Loyal. Recorded on November 18, 1978.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3 3/4 ips, 31 minutes. One side only. Interview with Susan Bartel by Larry Clark. Discussion of life under the Chinese communists after World War II, imprisonment of Loyal, and departure of Mrs. Bartel and children to the USA. Recorded on December 9, 1978.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3 3/4 ips, 32 minutes. One side only. Interview with Susan Bartel by Larry Clark. Discussion of life in the USA and husband's death in China. Recorded on February 4, 1979.


Accession #: None
Type of Material: Negatives

The following items are located in the NEGATIVE FILE. Request by Folder titles at beginning of each entry below:

BARTEL, SUSAN. Negative proofs of the Bartels' work in China, including shots of Bible classes, Loyal Bartel, Susan Bartel, Chinese Christians, a wedding, evangelist Wang Ming Tao, Mary Schmidt, Emma Bartel, crossing the flooded Yellow River, carrying water, a funeral service, native pastors and evangelists, Peter Baltzer, Harold Baltzer, and Kroph Baltzer. 1932-1946, n.d. 26 b&w.

Accession #: None
Type of Material: Photographs
The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE unless otherwise noted. Request by the boldfaced folder titles at the beginning of each entry below:

BARTEL, SUSAN. Photographs of the Bartels' work in China, including shots of Bible classes, Loyal Bartel, Susan Bartel, Chinese Christians, a wedding, evangelist Wang Ming Tao, Mary Schmidt, Emma Bartel, crossing the flooded Yellow River, carrying water, a funeral service, native pastors and evangelists, Peter Baltzer, Harold Baltzer, and Kroph Baltzer. 1932-1946, n.d. 26 b&w.

Send us a message
Return to BGC Archives Home Page
Last Revised: 1/28/08
Expiration: indefinite