Billy Graham Center

Interview of Elizabeth Howard Warner - Collection 75

[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


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

Lists of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes

Audio file and written transcript for T1

Audio file and written transcript for T2

Audio file and written transcript for T3

Brief Description
Tapes of two interviews with Mrs. Warner, a former Wheaton alumna and missionary to China. Subjects discussed include childhood experiences in China while her father taught school in Canton, college life at Wheaton, and her ministry at the Door of Hope Mission in Canton and Hong Kong. Interviews were recorded in November and December 1978. For more information, please see guide.
Vol.: 3 audio tapes

Collection 75
[March 1, 2001]
Warner, Elizabeth Howard; 1912-2000
Interviews; 1978

3 reels of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.



Elizabeth Annette Howard Warner was born September 25, 1912, in Minneapolis, MN, to Charles W. and Ann B. Howard. Dr. Howard was a professor in the geology department at the University of Minnesota. After hearing of a teaching position at Canton Christian College and desiring a place for Christian service, the Howard family moved to Canton, China when Elizabeth was five years old. The Howard family lived in China for ten years, so most of her childhood memories are centered in and around the College.

The children attended a school in a home near the College. Two teachers were provided by the College and were assisted by mothers of the students. Mrs. Howard taught the science classes, while others taught art and music. Upon their return to Wheaton in 1928, the children first attended public school and then went to the private Wheaton Academy.

After her father's death, her mother became a house mother in one of the Wheaton College dorms. The then Miss Howard attended Wheaton College, and graduated in June 1933 with an A.B. in history. She worked one year in the Wheaton Public Library before she continued her studies at Gordon College Divinity School in Boston, MA.

Mrs. Warner met Florence Meeker Raetz after returning to Wheaton from Boston and learned of the need at the Door of Hope Mission in Canton, China. She returned to that country in 1936 with the Raetz family to work in the mission. Since no mission board sent Mrs. Warner to China, she had to find her own means of support. College Church in Wheaton provided part of the necessary means.

While working in China, she helped with the handcrafts at the mission and assisted with care and supervision of the girls. She moved with the mission when it went from Canton to Hong Kong. In 1941 she returned to the United States on furlough but never went back to China due to World War II. She later married and in the late 1970's lived in Chicago area. She died in August 2000.

Scope and Content

Elizabeth Howard Warner was interviewed by Wheaton College student, Lois Tressler, on November 15 and December 7, 1978. The dates covered by the interview were ca. 1912 to 1978. 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 the reel-to-reel original.

Tape T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Introduction
00:30 Childhood background
02:15 First impressions of China (5 years old)
02:45 Chinese custom -- binding feet
03:00 Father's role at Canton College and interest in silk industry
04:00 Early education in China
05:15 Childhood experiences of games, shopping, restaurants, trips
06:30 Visits with other missionaries in other parts of China
07:00 Buddhist Monasteries
08:15 Chinese funeral customs
08:45 Buddhist religion
09:00 Reception of Christian in Buddhist Monasteries
09:15 Prices of Chinese goods and trade practices
10:30 Beggars in Chinese cities
11:15 Inspiration for missions interest
11:45 Chinese acquaintances
12:00 American lifestyle in China (Chinese servants)
12:30 Chinese opinions
13:30 Household servants at her home
14:15 Isolation of the campus
15:00 School situation at Canton College
16:30 Housing situation on campus
16:45 Farming vegetable garden
17:00 Climate
18:00 Communication with servants
18:30 Worship activities at the college
19:30 Adjustment to church life in U.S.
20:15 Government situation
20:45 Anti-foreign feelings by the Russians
21:00 First departure from Canton
24:00 Second departure from Canton
24:30 Stay at home of missionary Ruth Hitchcock
25:15 Decision to return to U.S. (Dr. Oliver Buswell invites family to Wheaton)
25:30 Father's mission work
27:30 Student attitudes toward Americans
29:15 House they lived in
29:30 Heating system
29:45 Weather
30:30 School terms
31:30 Vacation activities
32:00 Return to U.S.-- Wheaton
32:30 Reactions to U.S. lifestyle
32:45 U.S. Public education
33:00 Private Academy
33:15 Adjustment period
35:15 Residences
35:30 Father's death
35:45 Move to new location
36:15 Mother's work after father's death
37:00 Effect of Father's death on her and her family
38:30 Father's opinion of Chinese students
39:30 Effect of American schools on Chinese students
41:30 Father's opinion of teaching in U.S.
41:45 Relationships with Wheaton students--Dr. P. Kenneth Gieser and Dr. Willard Aldrich
44:00 End of side 1

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
00:15 Description of Wheaton Academy
00:30 Graduation from Academy and entrance into Wheaton
01:45 College experiences at Wheaton, Freshman Day, Freshman Orientation, Freshman Picnic
03:00 Location of dorms and buildings: Blanchard Hall, Williston Hall, Conservatory, Gym, Pierce Chapel
03:45 College Administration
04:00 Years at Wheaton
04:15 Buildings on campus
05:45 Area around campus
06:00 College activities: Literary Society - procedures, responsibilities, membership, activities, projects
13:00 Women's Athletic Association
15:15 Activities at Moose Heart as part of Gospel Team
16:00 Sunday School at Moose Heart with Gospel Team
17:15 Visiting State Hospital at Elgin
17:45 Student Volunteers (Missions Group) Activities
20:00 Scripture Distribution Society
20:15 Debate Union
21:00 Women's Intramurals
21:45 History Club
22:15 Reminiscences of Wheaton teachers: Dr. Elsie Storrs Dow, Dr. Darien A. Straw, Dr. Edith Torrey, Dr. Owrin E. Tiffany, Katherine C. Shapleigh, Dr. Hawley O. Taylor
23:30 End of tape

Tape T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:06 Overlap from T1 - side 2
00:45 Dr. Edith Torrey, Katherine C. Shapleigh, Dr. Hawley O. Taylor, Dr. Buswell
02:15 Student body make-up
03:15 Opinion of freshmen
05:15 Accreditation of the College
05:45 Grading scale
06:00 Curriculum
06:30 Tuition and fees
06:45 Faculty benefits
07:30 Notable campus events
07:45 Washington Banquet
10:00 Special services in the Chapel
10:30 Spirit of revival that swept the campus - led by Don Hillis
12:15 Chapel Services
12:30 Life after graduation from Wheaton
12:45 Work at Wheaton Public Library under recommendation of Mrs. Julia Blanchard
13:00 World events affecting Wheaton
13:15 Depression
13:45 Hourly wages at Library and at the College
16:15 Attendance at Gordon Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts
17:00 Description of Gordon campus
17:30 Curriculum at Gordon
17:45 Courses taken under Dr. Merrill Tenney
18:30 Interest in European History
19:15 Returned to Wheaton
19:30 Worked at Wheaton College Library
19:45 Debate over the course of her career
20:15 Met Florence Meeker Raetz
20:30 Decision to go to work in Door of Hope Mission in China
20:45 Return to China with Raetz
21:00 Raetz' Aunt and Uncle, Edward and Florence Drew, founders of South China Boat Mission
21:45 Reasons for going to mission field
22:00 Raised own support
22:30 College Church, Wheaton, provided partial support
22:45 Lived at Mission
23:00 Mission founded by a committee in Canton
23:15 Set up as mission for Chinese slave girls
24:00 Students stayed at the Mission
25:30 Trip to China
26:15 First year's duties and preparations
26:30 Handcraft activities
26:45 Language school
27:00 Southern Baptist Mission
27:30 Changes in China since childhood
28:30 Residence
29:00 Areas of service -- Door of Hope Mission
29:30 Mr. Edwin W. Raetz director of South China Boat Mission
30:15 Activities at the mission
30:45 Meals prepared by girls
31:00 Length of each girl's stay
31:15 School at the mission
31:30 Specific duties in the Mission
31:45 Language study
32:00 Move to Hong Kong
32:45 Reason for move: Sino-Japanese War
33:30 Search for new location for Mission
33:40 Industrial work
33:45 Language School
34:15 Search for new house for mission work
34:30 Need for protection of students
34:45 Increase in students - large number of refugees
35:15 New location - Kowloon
36:00 End of tape

Tape T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Overlap from T2 - side 2
00:30 Work she did
00:45 Moved to Taipo after Language school
01:00 Daily responsibilities
01:45 New Support Committee for the Mission
02:30 Chinese refugees
03:00 Government attitude toward Christian work
03:30 Cooperation with other mission boards
03:45 With Missions in Canton
04:00 With Missions in Hong Kong
04:15 Type Missions in Canton
04:20 Type Missions in Hong Kong
04:30 Denominations of Missions
04:45 Denominations in Canton
05:15 Denominations in Hong Kong
05:30 Orphanages
06:30 Relations with those people she came in contact with
07:00 Relations with Chinese in Hong Kong
08:30 Standard of living at Mission
09:00 Style of dressing
09:30 Acceptance by Chinese of foreigners
09:45 Relationships with other ministries in Canton
10:15 Relationships with other ministries in Hong Kong
10:30 Government facilities for dispensing food & medical supplies
11:15 Presentation of the Gospel
12:00 Chinese religion
13:15 Reactions of Chinese to the Gospel
14:00 Opportunities to witness
14:30 Reactions to witnessing
15:30 Chinese church services
15:45 Description of service
17:00 Methods of instruction
17:30 Song Service
17:45 Chinese worship service
18:15 Opportunities for evangelism
18:45 Sources of printed materials
19:15 Problems of evangelism
19:45 Theological patterns (Buddhism & Confucianism)
20:15 Offerings to ancestors (Ancestor Worship)
21:30 Chinese burial customs
23:30 Type of Missions Schools
23:45 Schools in Canton
24:45 Attitudes of Chinese on education
25:15 Attitudes of Chinese toward Christianity
25:30 Discipline problem in schools
27:30 Teaching facilities
28:15 Aid to students for further education
28:45 Amount of education offered in Door of Hope Mission
29:15 Teaching facilities
29:45 Teaching staff
30:00 Living facilities
30:30 Description of average Chinese school day
31:30 Availability of materials in other missions
32:15 Financial support for staff (College Church, Wheaton)
32:45 Chinese hospitals
33:45 Mission hospitals
34:45 Government hospitals
35:15 Chinese medical practices
36:00 Predominant diseases
36:30 Mosquitoes
36:45 Prevention for mosquitoes
37:00 Malaria
37:15 Diseases to which missionaries were susceptible
38:30 Childhood diseases
39:15 Chinese attitude toward Western life style
39:45 American imports
42:15 Attitudes toward other Asians
42:30 Police
43:15 Relations with other parts of the Empire
43:30 Anti-foreign feelings
44:00 Communism
44:15 Abuses against foreigners
44:45 Problems in education over foreign teachers
45:15 End of side 1

Tape T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:10 Overlap from side 1
00:20 British influence in Hong Kong
00:45 Attitude toward imperialism
01:45 Contact with Revolutionary Government - Canton
03:30 Socio-economic backgrounds of those who became Christians
04:45 Encountering Nationalists
05:15 Reaction to Japanese invasion
06:15 Information circulating about Japanese activities
06:30 Involvement in War effort
06:45 Contact with Japanese army
07:30 Internment
09:45 Economy in Canton and Hong Kong
10:15 Jobs
11:45 Business opportunities
12:00 Fishing industry
12:15 Agriculture
12:30 Imports
12:45 Tourism
13:00 Transportation modes
13:30 Effect of Buddhism on Chinese
14:15 Pests
14:30 Superstitions about death and illness
16:45 Movement to nationalize churches
17:30 Number of native pastors in the country
18:00 Bible women
19:15 Return to U.S. on furlough
19:45 Post-China work
20:15 Boat Mission Women's Auxiliary
20:30 Door of Hope Mission
20:45 What happened to the girls in the Mission
22:30 American attitudes toward Chinese since return
23:15 Hope to open mission again in the future
24:00 Underground Church
-4:30 Hope for future of Christianity in China
25:00 Privilege of working in China
25:30 Summation
26:15 End of Interview

These materials were received by the Center in March 1979.

Acc.: 79-30

Lois Tressler
M. Buffington
G. Gallup

Accession: 79-30
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 68 minutes. One side only. Interview with Elizabeth Howard Warner by Wheaton College student, Lois Tressler. Reel tape was copied from original master tape for preservation purposes. Includes discussion of childhood in China, parents' work, Chinese customs, Buddhism, Canton College, return to the United States, and education at Wheaton College including activities and professors. November and December, 1978.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 36 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Elizabeth Howard Warner by Wheaton College student, Lois Tressler. Reel tape was copied from original master tape for preservation purposes. Includes discussion of Wheaton College, attendance at Gordon Theological Seminary, Rlorence Meeker Raetz, return to mission field in China, Door of Hope Mission, South China Boat Mission, and move to Hong Kong. November and December, 1978.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 72 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Elizabeth Howard Warner by Wheaton College student, Lois Tressler. Reel tape was copied from original master tape for preservation purposes. Includes discussion of work with missions and denominations in Canton and Hong Kong, relationships with other ministries, relations with Chinese, Chinese reactions to the gospel, evangelism, Buddhism, Confucianism, teaching and education, Japanese invasion, and Warner's post-China work. November and December, 1978.

Send us a message

Return to BGC Archives Home Page
Last Revised: 2/26/00
Expiration: indefinite