Billy Graham Center

Interview with Marie Huttenlock Little - Collection 315

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Marie Huttenlock Little

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Brief Description:

Two Missionary Sources Collection interviews with Little in which she describes her childhood in Philadelphia, training as a nurse and further education at Philadelphia School of Bible and the University of Pennsylvania; becoming a missionary for China Inland Mission in 1947, working in Lanzhou and Wu Wei, Gansu province; return to the U.S. in 1950 to become a staff worker for Inter-Varsity. Interviews were recorded in October and December, 1985.

Collection 315 [July 29, 2009]
Little, Marie Huttenlock; 1918-2009
Interviews; 1985

3 Reels of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Marie Huttenlock Little was born April 28, 1918, in Philadelphia, PA, child of Theresa and George B. Huttenlock, and sister of George B. Huttenlock, Jr. When she was ten years old her father left the family permanently and her mother became a seamstress, choir director and organist for a Baptist church in the city. Marie attended Whittier School until 1930 and attended high school at Simon Gratz High School. After graduation in 1935 she entered the nursing school at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia and was there until 1939. While at the hospital, she was active in Nurses' Christian Fellowship. She worked in public health for two and a half years.

Marie's conversion during her teens, brought about through contacts with a Methodist church school teacher, caused a major change in her behavior and also affected her mother and brother. She subsequently became even more deeply involved in the youth program of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, which included evangelistic team activity. As a singer, she also participated, with her brother, in a Salvation Army instrumental street group and attended jail meetings held by the Army.

As a result of her involvement with the church, Inter-Varsity, and other Christian activities, Marie began to study in the evening school of Philadelphia School of the Bible in 1942, where she received a certificate in 1946. Contacts there further influenced her to begin courses at the University of Pennsylvania, first in the evening after full-time work as a public health nurse, and then as a full-time student, with private duty nursing in the evenings as her vocation. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University in 1945. While on campus she initiated the installation of an Inter-Varsity chapter at the University. She also taught a weekly Bible class for children being ministered to as part of the program of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the Philadelphia area.

Marie's interest in missions began to develop through attendance at the first Inter-Varsity Mission Conference held in Toronto. She also visited China Inland Mission meetings in Germantown, and subsequently made the decision to apply to the Mission for assignment. By 1947 she had completed preliminary preparation and left in October to be stationed at Lanzhou, in Gansu Province. She remained with CIM until 1951 when that mission decided to leave China because of the Communist takeover there.

After returning to the United States, Marie was asked in 1952 to become a part of the staff of Inter-Varsity. She was assigned to work with Paul Little, who became her husband in 1953. The Littles had two children, Deborah Ann, born June 4, 1957, and Paul Robert Little, born November 30, 1958. Paul Little died in 1975. Marie lived in Mount Prospect, IL and other Chicago suburbs in the next few decades. She died July 28, 2009.

Scope and Content:

Marie Little was interviewed by Robert Shuster on October 3 and December 4, 1985, at her home in Prospect Heights, IL. The dates covered by the interview range from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Tape T1 (125 minutes).
First ten years of her life in Philadelphia; father's leaving of the family and results; parents' names; mother's occupation as organist and choir director, seamstress; impact of conversion of Marie and her brother on their mother; intense pleasure in Bible study; Marie's personality as a child; church affiliations; Methodist church school teacher who converted her brother and his Christian growth; attendance at Presbyterian church; lying, deceiving her mother and effect of believing in Christ's forgiveness; examples of her behavior with the "3 M's," in stores, talking to boys, up to about 13 years old; Mother's teaching about ethics, morals, and guilt feelings; Rev. Cooper, minister at the church; visiting evangelist and repetitive sermons of Rev. Cooper; activities after conversion; music and Sunday night parties; differences in standards of fun after conversion; acknowledgement of brother's criticism of her Sunday parties; mother's Lutheran background and her real spiritual transformation and strength; playing at Baptist churches and teaching Sunday School; contact with her re-married father in Chicago and going with him to Moody Church; further contacts and father's third re-marriage; activities at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia; Sunday evening meetings; brother's playing in Percy Crawford's brass quartet; jail meetings with Salvation Army and playing, singing with the Army; content of jail meetings; Salvation Army man and death of his dog; brother's discernment of spiritual matters; street meetings; getting hit by a tomato; "suffering for Jesus"; her evangelistic approach; Marie's few contacts with Percy Crawford in summer camp; jobs after high school graduation; reasons for going into nurse's training; working at Hahnemann Hospital and hours; learning about Philadelphia School of the Bible and attendance after graduation; length of nurse's training; giving a bath; Nurses' Christian Fellowship, Bible studies; Mrs. Grant Payne and daughter's involvement with Bible classes; evening studies at Philadelphia School of the Bible; experience and influence of meeting educated Christians; future president Clarence Mason's wife as role model; decision to attend University of Pennsylvania; shift of emphasis from nursing to the arts at the University of Pennsylvania; night work as nurse, then full-time work as public-health nurse and night classes at the University; switch to full-time classes at the University and private-duty night nursing to pay tuition; decision to complete nurse's training; attending China Inland Mission prayer meetings in Germantown; contacts with missionaries; Robert Hall Glover; attending youth group at Tenth Presbyterian Church; evangelistic teams; monthly Inter-Varsity meetings; "mother" Margaret Haynes; Larry Culp, scientist; Faith Seminary men, Laird Harris, Gordon McCrae; dynamic preaching in Philadelphia area and outstanding participants in Inter-Varsity meetings; participation of students from Princeton, Eastern Baptist Seminary; brother's studies at Eastern Baptist, working in steel factory, and later attendance at Eastern Baptist College; struggles with scornful university attitudes toward Christian beliefs and support from fine preaching and growing toward intellectual maturity as a Christian; struggles about father's leaving the family and supportive love of her brother; her immaturities as a Christian; beginning an Inter-Varsity chapter at the University with Jean Kirkman and encouragement of Margaret Haynes; getting permission from Dana Howe and problems with conceptions of fundamentalist, liberal positions; League of Evangelical Students and highly intellectual approach in Reformed biblical studies; differences in theological emphasis then and in contemporary world; talk about the sovereignty of God, science and religion; lack of discussion about personal struggles and lack of understanding about these; Inter-Varsity and Tenth Presbyterian intellectual emphasis and its stimulation; committed leaders, Paul Little, and subsequent careers; meeting with Dana Howe and getting permission to begin Inter-Varsity group; calling Miss Haynes to tell about success of meeting; her role as initiator; Margaret Haynes, "mother in Israel," her home, activities, guests; description of Margaret Haynes and her godly use of wealth; work for Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children; teaching children's Bible classes; age of children in the home and scope of care; effects of the war; theological exemptions of her brother and other friends; discussions among her friends about the war; mission contacts and her commitment; attendance at first Inter-Varsity mission conference, Toronto; hearing speaker at Prairie Bible Institute; attendance at Wycliffe for one summer; staff members; Charles Goose of Sudan Interior Mission; struggles with issue of marriage after graduation from Bible school and University of Pennsylvania; study of 1 Peter, chapter 5, and understanding of suffering in the flesh; application to CIM, departure in October and euphoria of decision as answer to prayer; inner turmoil during training and companionship of Wheaton graduate to discuss God's role in their decisions; unchristian pride and sense of intellectual superiority; Margaret Haynes as role model for her in every way; Haynes' personality; application process, psychological test; meeting with resident psychologist; conflict of desire for mission service and pain of confrontation of personal situation of broken home; cultural adaptation classes; orientation to the CIM and field; contents of classes and recommendations for life style on the mission field; memories of raising support; brother's need to raise his own; CIM's financial policy; evaluation of preparation for the field and CIM's care of young women missionaries; learning to live a godly life without having self-understanding; Hudson Taylor's two-volume life story, Oswald Chambers, J. B. Frazer's book on prayer written by man who worked with Lisu; Isobel Kuhn's visit; Isobel Kuhn's abilities as a story-teller, her personality, physical appearance; Robert Glover's messages, his wife; content of Glover's messages; theme of victorious life; operation for heart surgery by Glover's son on Maria's husband [Paul]; prayers for Paul Little's contacts with Robert Glover Jr; conversations of Paul and Glover's colleague, Dr. Jansen; conversion of Robert Glover Jr. after experience with abdominal cancer and plaque marking location in the hospital; f amily reaction to desire to be a missionary; Mother's understanding of her personality; brother George's raising support and departure for Japan, 1950; trip conditions en route to China; other missionaries and CIM group.

Tape T2 (119 minutes).
Arrival in Shanghai after 25-day trip; CIM home there; impressions of Shanghai and boat trip on Yangtze River; breakfast with Chinese cabbage gravy; trip to Anking, Anhwei, for language school; CIM's training in cultural setting, customs, protection from errors; traveling to language school; Nationalists' control at that point; inflation, loyalty to Chiang Kai-Shek and reactions to Communist propaganda; mission activities in Shanghai; language school and those attending from other countries and missions; British influence in CIM and being taught how to brew tea by Scottish lady; friend Judith Anderson from Evangelical Alliance Mission; learning sounds from Chinese teachers; Chinese teachers, dialects and Mandarin; grammar classes and expected fluency after seven years' training; finishing Chinese by correspondence; time-intensive period at the school, exams; being taught grammar by Raymond Frame and his wife [Helen] and British couple; training in wearing modest clothes; CIM "tidy"; worship services and devotions with class training; participation of entire staff in devotions; British practice of worshipful, laid-back, intellectual decorum as Christian behavior; view of this approach from decade of 1980s; perceived differences between American and British culture at that time; German woman and her organ playing; Swiss ballet dancer who became a Christian and member of Swiss CIM; other nationalities represented; Australian missionaries more "American" , i.e., informal, in their approach to work; flair for comedy of one Australian missionary; accepting CIM's geographical assignment; prayerful attempt of senior staff to assign effectively; anticipation of "dedicated" spot; Hudson Taylor's vision to put two missionaries in each major city. No differentiation of assignment for Americans; arrangements with Christian and Missionary Alliance for non-conflicting coverage of geographical territories; government of mission through its Council; Council members' abilities as reason for choice and their responsibility for particular geographic areas; Leonard Street, northwest China; senior missionary Maxwell Rank; widow Ruth Thomas and her adjustment and work for CIM in language training; Marie's trips by truck for lessons; responding to call for nurse in Shanghai after completion of language school; birth of David Adeney's child in the hospital; work in the mission hospital; friendship with unhappy wealthy Chinese woman who wanted to learn English and resulting friendship; unfaithfulness of Chinese men; probable danger of wealthy Chinese after Communist takeover in Shanghai; temporary school for mission children; participation in radio broadcasts and their effectiveness in evangelism; appointment of language teachers; staff at the mission headquarters and hospital: Dr. [Harold] Adolph; live radio programs, children's programs; weekly radio program of woman missionary; her participation in this and use of talents in Shanghai; leaving Shanghai in December 1948; description of being flown on Flying Tiger plane from Shanghai to Lanzhou, Gansu province, in northwestern China; description of neighboring provinces and geographical shape; description of arid area, south of Gobi Desert; arriving at Wuwei and CIM compound; description of compound and those who lived there; thriving church near compound; Sunday attendance; study of Chinese; programs of the church, Chinese itinerant pastor; missionary home with three women missionaries; Buddhist temple next door to the church with idol, chicken blood; impact of idol-worshiping men; Chinese name for God, "Old Man of the Heavens"; belief in benevolent god; Buddhist idols' personification of God in human form; lack of contact with Buddhist priests; well-liked Chinese preacher and other preachers; Hsueh family with godly matriarch and pharmacist son; Wednesday prayer meetings, other services, vacation Bible school; evangelistic services for two weeks before Communists' arrival; farewell for the missionaries; cold weather and poor attendance during cold months; use of lamp to warm hands; wearing padded clothes; description of conditions during services, furnishings, informality of behavior at services; illustration of Oriental setting of the Bible, choice of examples used for preaching and teaching; length of services and singing; beautiful sound of singing, responses of congregation to rhythms; scripture in Chinese song; literacy work with poor, uneducated women of Gansu province directed by Mrs. Thomas; great sewing skills of Chinese women; family garments; undergarments, padded trousers and parallel to Old Testament--Daniel's new annual garment; work with children in Sunday School, supplies; reading classes for women; primary efforts directed toward learning Chinese language; Southern Baptist out-patient clinic and her work in the clinic; making new friends; health conditions, practices; medicines and illnesses; low life expectancy; dispensing medicine through pharmacist in the church; tooth-pulling by itinerant surgeon; occupations of church members; mobile food dispensers carrying hot pots with rod across shoulders; noodles and green onions for breakfast; wealthy owners of stores in town; size of town; attending second century Chinese Han dynasty exhibit, Washington, DC, 1974, from king's grave outside Wuwei; bronze horses, chariots, buried with king; small number of cities where exhibit shown; Communists' use of archaeology for showcase; Church's reaction, late 1948 to September 1949, when Peking was reported fallen to Communists' Liberation Army; fear and its provocation of many conversions; two-month evangelistic trip into the countryside before Communists' arrival.

Tape T3 (60 minutes).
Working of the Holy Spirit through Chinese church to spur evangelistic tour before communists came, and evidence of this on the trip; visiting small villages in Wuwei area; riding on wooden saddles; sleeping on "kang," clay shelf, in homes; children watching non-Chinese through open windows; gathering for meetings in compounds; using flannelgraph, preaching, talking to women; different types of people visited, occupations, ethnic origins; description of compounds; Tibetan girl with 107 braids; Chinese skill in differentiating between races; Tibetan customs of braiding hair, arranged marriages; curiosity of Chinese toward western white woman; simple Bible stories told in Chinese; using "Old God of Heaven" to describe Christian God; hidden quality of compounds; biblical sense of reaching "every tribe and nation" in this location; response to the trip; simple explanations and skill of Chinese Christians in using these; prayers, later visits of the people to Hseih; questions from the people about how Christianity fit with Buddhism, other gods; explanations about worshipping gods made with hands; reality of Paul's New Testament preaching about unknown god in primitive contemporary cultures; lack of hostility to westerners by Chinese until coming of Communists; battle between Nationalists and Communists; guerilla activities preceding successful Communist conquests; origins of hostility to rich because of past exploitation; corruption of Chiang's government; Wuwei under Communists and problem of targeted store-owners who were church members; CIM's hope to weather the political shift; movement of Communists through the area; policy of equality and its appeal; attempts of mission to be apolitical; government's organization of the town; killing of former government staff; meetings for indoctrination, confessions; visit to Lanzhou, December, 1950, and instructions from CIM to leave; attempt to get to clinic and work as a nurse thwarted by events requiring departure; women remaining in Wuwei, Olive and Ivy Graisley; departure of Mrs. Thomas; Marie's inability to return to Wuwei CIM staff members including Otto Schoerner, business manager; widespread knowledge that time had come to leave; government's decree for an indigenous church only; mass killings in 1951; shelter given in compound to church families; Communist soldiers' visits to compound from occupied Buddhist temple; indoctrination against rich; sixty million deaths admitted in Communist publications; runaway inflationprevious to takeover and immediate stabilization, price regulation; expert propaganda; establishment of three-self movement, 1950; Peking Conference manifesto for church, self-government, self-importance, self-propagation; soldiers in every public meeting, church; no criticism of government implied in prayers; effectiveness of Communist propaganda; loss of CIM's hopes to be able to stay in China; Chinese prisoners taken by Communists, gifts to soldiers; distorted version of attack on South Korea; trial of colleague who had come to China in same year; living in leprosarium until all doctors, nurse gone; only Austin and Street remaining in headquarters; being refused permission to leave for two months more; August 1st celebration of founding of Communist army and planned takeover of Borden Memorial Hospital; training Chinese doctor's widow, Lee T'ai T'ai, to take over leprosarium; sending medicine from Hong Kong for the leprosarium; army's planned march to the city; contacts with the soldiers in Wuwei; invitation to trial of two prisoners accused of subversion; dust storm and refusal of soldiers to allow anyone to leave until decision made to kill prisoners; allowance of only one service on Sunday morning with attendance by soldiers; Communists' organization of literature, streets; pressure on young not to attend church; taking Bibles from Christians; demotion, firing, no jobs or ridicule for possession; Communists' desire to wipe out all religions because of emphasis on future instead of the present and its problems; closed Bible school in Lanzhou; contacts with Otto Schoerner; church still meeting in Wuwei and Lanzhou; contrast of church in Wuwei after coming of Communists; Peking Manifesto and Three-Self Movement; well-founded apprehension of Chinese church elders returning from Peking Conference; continual communication with Leonard Street; inability to comply with his request because of conditions; German woman born under German Communism and her eventual decision to leave because of danger to lepers; Communists' attitude and treatment toward unproductive lepers, older people; concentration on the young; indoctrination against parents, others, and acceptability only of the state; anti-American literature; no personal encounter with effects; trip with Leonard Street by bus and train; wearing Chinese liberation outfit; encounter with Communist Chinese man vehement against United States; expertise of propaganda; maps in post offices with occupied areas in red; Communist system like a prison; return to America after leaving Shanghai; invitation from David Adeney to joint staff of Inter-Varsity to help Chinese Christians trapped in New York City by changes in China; staff member, Paul Little, her co-worker, later to become her husband.


The materials for this collection were received by the Center in October and December, 1985 from Marie Little.

Accession 85-130, 85-168
November 20, 1986
Frances L. Brocker
J. Nasgowitz

Accession 85-130, 85-168
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The items listed below are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 90 minutes. One side only. Interview with Marie Little by Robert Shuster. Discussion of background, youth, conversion, meetings with Salvation Army, street meetings, Percy Crawford, nurse's training, Philadelphia School of the Bible, Inter-Varsity meetings, Paul Little, Margaret Haynes, effects of war, missionary service with China Inland Mission, Isobel Kuhn, and Robert Glover; October 3, 1985.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 90 minutes. One side only. Interview with Marie Little by Robert Shuster. Discussion of missionary service in Shanghai, mission activities, language school, Chinese grammer, worship services, American and British culture, Hudson Taylor, geographic areas of service, work in mission hospital, Dr. Harold Adolph, women missionaries, idol-worship, apparal, and Communist's arrival in Peking; December 4, 1985.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 90 minutes. One side only. Interview with Marie Little by Robert Shuster. Discussion of evangelist tour, Christianity and Buddhism, Communists, Nationalists, mass killings, three-self movement, Peking Conference, anti-American feelings, propaganda, and Paul Little; December 4, 1985.

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