Billy Graham Center

Margaret Rice Elliott Crossett -
Collection 287

[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. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Margaret Crossett

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Transcript 4

Transcript 5

Transcript 6

Transcript 7

Transcript 8

Brief Description.
Four interviews describing Crossett's childhood with her missionary parents in China, her education at Wheaton College, and missionary career with her husband, Vincent, in China and Taiwan with China Inland Mission/Overseas Missionary Fellowship (1929-1948, 1961-1973). The interviews were conducted in November 1984, February 1985, and April and May 1986.

Collection 287 [May 9, 2017]
Crossett, Margaret Rice Elliott; 1906-1991
Interview; 1984-1986
8 Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.



Margaret Elliott was born in 1906 in Daming, Hubei Province, China, where her parents, Rev. Walter Scott and Dr. Eleanor Edwards Elliott, were missionaries. Elliott was the third eldest of six children (Curtis, Nathan, Margaret, Eleanor ("Ruth"), Frances, and Edwards). She spent her early childhood in Changsha, Hunan Province, from where her father coordinated the distribution of Bibles and Christian literature through colporteurs of the American Bible Society. The Elliott children often accompanied their father on his tours of the country, gaining early experience with the Chinese language and culture. When old enough, Elliott joined her older brothers at the Kuling American School in Jiangsu Province, where she received her early formal education.

When Elliott was about ten, the Elliotts returned to the United States for their furlough in Claremont, California. While the Bible Society sent the Elliott parents to work in France in the Chinese community there, their children remained in California with an aunt to continue their education. From 1924 to 1926, Elliott attended Biola College. In 1926 she transferred to Wheaton College, from which she graduated in 1929, majoring in education. Also in 1929, she applied to and was accepted by China Inland Mission (CIM). She had a longer-than-usual stay at CIM's language school due to illness and the shortage of senior missionaries to supervise new workers. In 1931 she was sent to her first station at Shucheng, Anhui Province. Throughout her missionary career, Elliott focused her work on teaching the Bible, primarily among Chinese women and children, with the goal of establishing healthy Chinese congregations which could lead themselves. In 1933, having achieved senior missionary status, she was transferred to Tungcheng, Anhui; she was senior missionary at the station, supervising her sister, Eleanor "Ruth" Elliott, who had also come to China with CIM. In 1934, Elliott was returned to Shucheng.

In 1935, she married Vincent Crossett. Together, the Crossetts went to Zhengyangguang, Anhui, also working in nearby Huoqiu and the surrounding countryside. The Crossetts were then transferred to Hoqiu to continue their work in the area, which was hindered by the presence of Japanese troops. In 1939, the Crossetts went to the United States for their first furlough. Returning to China in 1941, they were again stationed at Zhengyangguang. As World War II continued and Japanese troops threatened Anhui Province, Mrs. Crossett and daughters left Mr. Crossett behind in 1944 to travel west and south to a safer station. She was temporarily posted at Fengxian, Sichuan Province. She was reunited with Mr. Crossett in 1946 and they were then stationed at Lu Xian, Sichuan. In 1947 the Crossetts took their second furlough, living in Wheaton, Illinois, while Mr. Crossett worked on a masters degree in the Wheaton College Graduate School; Mrs. Crossett took courses in the Christian Education Department.

Due to civil war conditions in China and the needs of the their daughters, the Crossetts resigned from China Inland Mission in 1948 and accepted a pastorate in Honolulu. In 1961, having seen the completion of their daughters' college educations, they reapplied to the mission, by then renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). They were sent to Taiwan and stationed at OMF's mission home in Tainan. For two years, the Crossetts were responsible for administrative tasks and hospitality. In 1963 they were assigned to teach at the Yu Shan Theological Institute, a school for a Taiwanese tribal people located in Hualien. With a furlough in 1965, the Crossetts continued teaching at the Institute until their 1970 furlough. Upon returning to Taiwan in 1971, Rev. Crossett worked on preparing audio taped instructional materials for use by tribal groups in Taiwan. In 1973, the Crossetts retired from the mission due to Mrs. Crossett's heart attack.

The Crossetts continued their Bible teaching ministry in the United States as Mr. Crossett pastored a small community church in Alto Pass, Illinois. They later moved to Wyanet, Illinois, from where Mr. Crossett worked as an area evangelist for the Reformed Presbyterian Evangelical Synod and Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and served as a volunteer regional representative for OMF. In 1986, the Crossetts moved to OMF's retirement home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they continued to reside in 1988.

The Crossetts had two daughters, Virginia and Margaret, born in 1937 and 1939 respectively. Margaret Elliott Crossett died June 7, 1991.

Scope and Content

The interviews with Crossett were conducted by Paul A. Ericksen in Wheaton, Illinois, on November 16, 1984; February 15, 1985; April 7, 1986; and May 30, 1986. The approximate time periods of the events described in the interviews are as follows: T1, 1910-1915; T2, 1910-1926; T3, 1926-1930; T4, 1930-1934; T5, 1935-1943; T6, 1943-1945; T7, 1935, 1947-1973; T8, 1963-1974.

Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is noted in the margin to the left of the topics discussed. The index is keyed to a cassette copy of the interview, not the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:20 Introduction to interview (November 16, 1984)
01:40 Family background; born in Daming, Hubei, to missionaries in China; father a church planting missionary
04:00 Father's work with the American Bible Society in China to coordinate through colporteurs the sale of Bibles and distribution of literature
06:25 Recruitment of colporteurs
08:15 Traveling with her father on month-long trips by boat; school on the junk
10:00 Experience of anti-foreign feeling; fleeing from Changsha, Hunan, during Chinese Revolution in 1911; changes upon returning; father's arrest, ongoing anti-foreign sentiment
15:30 Description of Changsha
16:30 Tape barely audible
18:10 Fire worship; Buddhist temples and idol worship; playing hide and seek behind temple idols
20:00 Fire tower used to alert city to fires
20:55 Style and structure of houses
21:35 Excursions around the city, including to its first department store
23:10 Description of home in Changsha and holiday home in Kuling, Jiangxi
25:50 Tape barely audible
27:00 Life at holiday resort in Kuling; included missionary gatherings in Kuling church
29:40 Brothers and sisters; family relationships
32:25 Mother's work as a doctor in a Kuling clinic, serving the Chinese and missionary children
36:25 Parents' original plans in going to China; language learning
37:15 Children played with siblings rather than with Chinese children
38:15 Being objects of curiosity
39:30 Beggars asking for money
40:30 Chinese religious life: Buddhists, Taoists, Confucionists. Prevalence of syncretism
44:00 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
03:50 Yale College students teaching Chinese high school students; recreational activities with missionary children; sense of community
06:00 Mother's coping with father being away: children's education by aunt, mother's discipline
08:15 Description of father: strict, serious, quick tempered, good at telling Bible stories and singing
09:25 Description of mother; reading to children
11:35 Typical day in Changsha for Elliott children
13:35 Tape barely audible
18:15 End of side 2

T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:25 Celebration of Christmas
02:55 Tape barely audible
04:00 School in China; transfer to mission school in Kuling
05:40 Tape barely audible
06:10 Feelings about her education
07:05 Tape barely audible
07:45 Returning to America by ship for furlough
10:20 Impressions of United States; life and school in Claremont, California
14:00 High school; life with aunt and uncle while parents returned to mission field
17:00 Aunt's involvement in Pentecostal group; group's theology; aunt's death
20:30 Conversion; participation in church and young people's group strong influences on spiritual growth; developing regular spiritual habits
25:20 Enrolled in general course at Biola College
26:30 Transfer to Wheaton College; recollections of Dr. Buswell
29:40 End of first interview

T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:25 Introduction to interview (February 15, 1985)
01:45 Wheaton College's impact on father
03:00 Crossett's favorite classes
06:10 Theological discussions by students at Wheaton
07:35 Enjoying dorm life in clique on 4th floor of Williston Hall
12:30 Activities while at Wheaton: Literary Society, employment, ministry
17:20 Sisters' musical trio
18:20 Financial aid; church attendance
19:10 Acquaintance with Mr. Crossett
21:20 Campus social life, spiritual life, campus rules: examples and attitudes toward
31:50 Student volunteer missions group
33:40 Application process to join China Inland Mission (CIM)
36:45 Transfer to Canadian mission home in Toronto after graduation; meeting with Council; contacts with CIM during college
41:25 Departure for China from Toronto via Vancouver; outfit list provided by the mission
45:30 End of side 1

T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:10 Overlap from side 1
05:00 Sailing to China
06:30 Comparison of Chinese and Japanese women
07:00 Arrival at and first impressions of Shanghai
08:30 China Inland Mission (CIM) compound headquarters in Shanghai
09:40 Language school in Yangzhou, Jiangsu. Rationale for separate male and female language schools related to Chinese custom
11:00 Language school: fellow students, Chinese faculty, classes, recreation
15:00 Anti-foreign feeling required avoiding impression of large foreign population: quiet recreation and control of water used
16:45 Description of language school compound housing.
17:30 Typical day at language school
18:40 British character of CIM: very structured
19:20 Dixon Edward Hoste: authoritarian leadership.
20:20 Transfer to assigned station delayed due to lack of senior missionary at station and getting dysentery
23:15 End of side 2

T4 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:15 Miss Cole, supervisor at language school
03:45 Hoste's designation to stations.
04:30 Relationship with Vincent Crossett; his decision to come to China
08:40 Ongoing conflict and frustration with interference from senior missionary, Hazel Todd; missed opportunities for evangelism and teaching among women and men
22:50 Mission expectations for adjustment of new missionaries high
22:25 Description of Shucheng, Anhui: crowded and dirty; nearby countryside, agriculture.
25:10 Good example of converted family
25:05 Description of Tungcheng, Anhui, in 1933; educated and cultured inhabitants, lifestyle
25:15 History of young woman who became Christian, trained as a nurse; experiences during war, Christian commitment and bravery; reunion with woman's sister in Taiwan
34:35 Recounted experiences of woman during China's cultural revolution
35:25 End of interview

T5 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:20 Introduction to interview (April 7, 1986).
01:50 Description of Zhengyangguang, Anhui. Comparison with Tungcheng: culture, dialects, church
05:00 Bible classes in rural area outside Zhengyangguang and in nearby Hoqiu
07:50 People of Zhengyangguang: spoiled by missionary predecessor; transition away from demand for relief funds during Crossett's term
10:35 Mission policy on giving relief to church people
12:55 Crossetts working together with Mrs. Crossett initially functioning as senior missionary
15:50 Comparison of work with rural and city people; Chinese initiative in church building project by Chinese
19:15 Church work in hands of Chinese: missionaries in advisory capacity and teaching Bible classes; history of Zhengyangguang after the Crossetts' departure
21:30 Comparison of rural and city people in their response to the Gospel; feelings of each group about each other.
23:00 Contact with Japanese before and after furlough
30:30 Major impact of Japanese on mission work; refugees coming to compound in Huoqiu after bombing of Zhengyangguang; scattering of families
36:50 Response of Christian Chinese to suffering caused by Japanese; some denied their Christianity
38:30 Sister ran refugee camp for women
39:30 Leaving for furlough with sister; threat of bandit group, the Red Spear Society
42:00 Contact with communists
44:15 End of tape

T5 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:10 Overlap from of side 1
03:50 Continuation of account of contact with communists in village
05:10 Impact of raising a family on the mission work
06:20 Furlough in 1939; birth of child; deputation work.
08:45 Changes in American Christians since departure 10 years earlier: use of makeup
09:55 Dread of returning to China
10:15 Return to Zhengyangguang following furlough; changes in the church: people wanted worship meetings rather than Bible studies
11:45 Chinese leading their church as soon as possible; teaching women to read
13:30 Flight from the Japanese without Mr. Crossett
20:05 End of tape

T6 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:40 Continuation of description of flight from Japanese; temporary rest a mission compound in Xian, Shanxi
06:50 Daughter's departure from family to attend school; eventual evacuation of school to American air base; Christmas party given by Americans; plane flight to southern China
11:30 Children evacuated to India despite Chinese attempt to prevent; school reconvened in facilities near Himilayas
13:50 Restationed in Fengxiang, Shaanxi in the mountains
15:20 Response of daughters to war continued after returning to US
17:00 Communication with Mr. Crossett while traveling through China; evacuation in American convoy; encounter with Chinese on road
21:45 Resolve to continue missionary work despite difficulty
23:10 Lack of contact with communists during second term. Mr. Crossett's contact at an American air base with Baptist missionary John Birch and assisting evacuation of missionaries from Anhui
26:00 Arranging to wait for Mr. Crossett in Chongqing
27:00 Restationed in Lu Xian, Sichuan, until end of war: limited responsiveness
28:20 Excessive dependence of fellow worker, Doris Hinkley, on Mrs. Crossett, while junior missionaries at Shucheng
30:45 End of interview

T7 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:10 Introduction of interview (May 30, 1986)
01:40 Wedding; arrangements changed due to John and Betty Stam's funeral
04:55 Desire not to be separated from children frustrated by war conditions and bad examples (swearing) in surrounding environment.
06:35 Problems of sending children away to school
07:50 Funny incidents
08:50 Furlough in 1947
09:25 Things most appreciated in Chinese culture: friendliness, relationships; least likeable about life in China: lack of sanitary con ditions
11:30 Aspects of Chinese culture resistant to the Gospel: ancestor and spirit worship; worship practices and their genealogical function
15:15 Aspects in Chinese culture which helped them understand the Gospel--blood sacrifices, intermediaries
16:33 Weakness of Chinese church: dependency on missionaries; process of developing independence; fear of acknowledging Christianity
18:55 Most liked about work in China: work with women and children. Least liked part of work: unhealthy conditions of children, theft of supplies
21:30 Wheaton College: changes in college and community churches
23:45 Improvements in College's spiritual atmosphere: missions interest
24:45 Taking courses in Christian Education; disagreement about use of aids in worship
26:45 Benefit of learning about characteristics of age groups
27:55 Changes in American churches: use of makeup, didn't see committed
30:10 Evaluation of supporters
30:30 Resignation from mission in 1948: children the major consideration; mission's attempts to dissuade resignation
33:00 Mr. Crossett's pastorate of church in Hawaii; difficulties with one member who lobbied Crossett out of the congregation; formation of new congregation
37:30 Difficulties of being a pastor's wife; expectations Crossett felt; difficulty in accepting criticism; preferred the freedom of being a missionary
40:00 Family stability for children in Hawaii.
40:30 Return to mission work when daughters finished college
42:05 Process of reapplying to mission; comparison with first application
42:45 Comparison between assignments in Taiwan and China; administrative tasks in Taiwan
43:30 End of tape

T7 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
04:50 Continued description of work in Taiwan; lack of communication about transfer from mission home in Tainan; reassigned to teach at a tribal school, Yu Shan Theological Institute
06:50 Difference between Chinese in Taiwan and in China: language
08:00 Description of Taiwan's tribal people; taken advantage of
10:25 Racial heritage Tsou tribe; pre-Christian characteristics of tribes: animists, headhunters, ancestor worshipers, superstitious; examples of difficulty of giving up superstitions
15:30 Duties at Institute: teaching; free time used for church work.
17:35 Background of Institute
19:15 End of tape

T8 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:15 Development of Yu Shan Theological Institute from primary to high school level; difficulty for students to think independently and make application following graduation
04:50 Relationship between Chinese and tribal Christians
05:35 Typical tribal church service and description of building; largest tribal church leading charismatic movement among tribes
09:40 Charismatics ("shouters") and practices in Taiwan
11:15 Weaknesses of Taiwan's tribal church in Taiwan: weak leadership and marriage customs
13:30 Crossett's contribution to the tribal church: teaching, training teachers
15:00 Ian and Helen Anderson
16:00 Circumstances leading to retirement: her heart attack and age
17:10 Voluntary work as OMF regional representatives
18:00 Evaluation of American Christians' interest and involvement.
18:45 Margaret Crossett Day in Wyanet, at Church in Wyanet
21:30 Women's role as missionaries in OMF
22:00 Comparison of contributions of married and single missionaries
22:45 Changes in OMF since first going out: decentralization of authority; current administrative structure
26:15 Mission's difficulty with director of mission at close of China period; discrimination against American worker
28:10 Gratitude for God's guidance
29:00 End of interview



The materials in this collection were received by the Center in November 1984, February 1985, April and May 1986, from Margaret Crossett.

Accession 84-133, 85-21, 86-31, 86-82
April 18, 1988
Paul A. Ericksen
K. Elwell
J. Nasgowitz
J. Watson

January 19, 1990, revised
J. Nasgowitz
L. Beloz

Accession 84-133, 85-21, 86-31, 86-82
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE

T1 - Interview with Margaret Rice Elliott Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on November 16, 1984; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 60 minutes (1 hour).

T2 - Continuation of interview on T1. Approximately 30 minutes.

T3 - Interview with Margaret Rice Elliott Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on February 15, 1985; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 70 minutes (1 hour, 10 minutes).

T4 - Continuation of interview on T3. Approximately 35 minutes.

T5 - Interview with Margaret Rice Elliott Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on April 7, 1986; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 65 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes).

T6 - Continuation of interview on T5. Approximately 30 minutes.

T7 - Interview with Margaret Rice Elliott Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on May 30, 1986; reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 65 minutes (1 hour, 5 minutes).

T8 - Continuation of interview on T7. Approximately 30 minutes.

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Last Revised: 05/17/02
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