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Papers of Lillian Ruth (LeVesconte) Dickson - Collection 593


[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.]

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Lillian Ruth (LeVesconte) Dickson

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

Lists of Audio Tapes, Photo Albums, Photographs, Slides, and Video Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes
    Photo Albums
    Photographs
    Slides
    Video tapes
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Box List)




Collection 593

[November 15, 2005]

Dickson, Lillian Ruth (LeVesconte); 1901-1983

Papers; 1926-1983, n.d.

7 Boxes (RC), Audio Tapes, Photo Albums, Photographs, Slides, Video Tapes (2.8 cubic feet)


Brief Description: Correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, newsletters, audio tapes, clippings, photo albums, photographs, prayer calendars, and video tapes all related to the life and ministry of Lillian Dickson, missionary to Taiwan under the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church of Canada along with her husband James and founder of the small independent mission Mustard Seed, Inc. The collection documents as well the mission’s founding and development over the years and in its activities in church planting, evangelism, adoption, childcare, education, medicine, development aid and relief in Taiwan, Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea.


Restrictions: None.



Biography


Full name

Lillian Ruth (LeVesconte) Dickson

Birth

January 29, 1901, Prior Lake, Minnesota

Death

January 14, 1983, Taipei, Taiwan

Family

 

Parents

John & Lillie Belle (Gibbs) LeVesconte

 

Siblings

Older siblings Harold and Amy and younger brother Lester

 

Marital Status

Married James Ira Dickson (February 23, 1900 - June 15, 1967) on May 16, 1927

 

Children

Ronald James Dickson (1930-1982), Marilyn Ruth (Dickson) Tank, Bi-lian “Mei-ling” Dickson

Education

 

1924

Macalester College (B.A.), St. Paul, Minnesota

 

Ca. 1925

Biblical Seminary, New York City, New York

Career

 

1927-1940

First term: Missionary to Taiwan with her husband James under the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

 

1940-1946

Evangelistic work in British Guiana (now Guyana), South America

 

1948

Founded The Mustard Seed, Inc. a small interdenominational sending agency of evangelical tradition partnering with churches engaged in Christian education, childcare/orphanage programs, church planting, theological education, medical work and relief aid.

 

1946-1983

Evangelistic work and social ministry in Taiwan especially to the mountain peoples and in Borneo, Irian Jaya, and Papua New Guinea. Established orphanages, tuberculous sanitariums, maternity wards, vocational schools, etc.

Other significant information

 

1927-1967

James Dickson was a missionary to Taiwan under the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. Mostly involved in the work of the Theological College in Taiwan.

 

1958

Authored These My People: Serving Christ Among the Mountain People of Formosa



[Note: In the Scope & Content section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]


Scope and Content


Series: Paper Records

Arrangement: Alphabetical by title of folder which were created by the archivist.

Date Range: 1926-1983, n.d.

Volume: 2.65 cubic feet

Boxes: 1-7

Geographic coverage: United States, Taiwan, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia

Type of documents: Articles, church bulletins, clippings (newspaper & magazine), correspondence, diaries, newsletters, notes, poems, passports, prayer calendars, speeches, telegrams.

Correspondents: Lillian Dickson to her family and others, James Dickson to his wife Lillian, Marilyn and Ronald Dickson to their parents.

Subjects: Life and ministry of Dickson, Mustard Seed, Inc., James Dickson, missionary and social work in Asia

Notes: The bulk of the collection consists of Lillian Dickson’s letters and diaries. The correspondence were written mostly to her family and begin just before she was married and end a few months before her death. The materials documents as well the mission’s founding and development over the years and in its activities in church planting, evangelism, adoption, childcare, education, medicine, development aid and relief in Taiwan, Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea.

Exceptional items: In folder 1-8 she describes her future husband’s desire to do missionary work in Taiwan and her plan to take medical courses in preparation to be the “family doctor” (September 28, 1926) and tells of the lack good medical care for lepers (December 31, 1927). In a letter (May 20, 1928) in folder 1-9 she describes the Nationalists soldiers and the shelling of the city of Amoy. Two letters from Lillian’s nurse tell of the stillborn birth of her son (September 15, 1928). Folder 2-1 contains letters in which Lillian tells about her new home and includes a floor plan (April 2, 1929), counseling with a Ko-niu woman and problems of unmarried men (February 23, 1930). Folder 2-2 contains letters which describes the difficult time missionaries and native Christians had in China (August 25, 1931), progress the Japanese brought to Taiwan (October 14, 1932), teaching English in a college (June 18, 1933), and the varied and many jobs she has (January 23, 1934). She describes preaching at a Taiwan churches women’s meeting (folder 2-3, May 20, 1938) and visiting with native Christians in Guiana (March 14, 1942). A few letters (folders 1-9, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3) have been transcribed and are attached to the original letters.


Folder 2-4 includes several letters addressed to “Dear Friends” which were probably sent to her prayer supporters. She describes the reasons Chinese aren’t willing to continue their education (June 30, 1947), her evangelistic work (September 20, 1948), outreach to mountain people living in Taipeh, Taiwan (January 31, 1949), and the work in a medical mobile clinic (May 1, 1950). Folder 2-5 contains a letter from DeWitt Wallace (July 5, 1972), founder of the Reader’s Digest, who mentions he was glad to hear she was “carrying on so successfully” and enclosed a $10,000 donation for the work of Mustard Seed, Inc., a letter (July 28, 1970) from Mrs. Shia-ek-lan thanking Dickson for allowing Shou Pin (her daughter?) to “learn the work of God.” Also described is her rescue home ministry (August 4, 1964), and a telegram listing the needs of the Hwalien babies home, school chapel, and tuberculous sanitarium as a result of Typhoon Nina (August 6, 1975), Lillian’s work in helping foreign prisoners in Taiwan jails (March 20, 1978), copy of letter (May 4, 1982) to Madame Chiang Kai-shek telling of the death of Lillian’s son, Ronald Dickson, and a copy of letter (August 27, 1982) written five months before her death to Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship in which she describes prison work. Folder 7-3 contains telegrams mostly sent by Lillian to her daughter, Marilyn.


Many of James Dickson’s letters in folder 1-6 were written to Lillian during his 1953 trip to Asia and Europe. His letter of June 5, 1946 describes the deplorable conditions at a hospital, leprosy colony, college, and middle schools which were being occupied at that time by Chinese soldiers. Folder 2-6 contains a few correspondences of Lillian’s children, Ronald and Marilyn.


Lillian’s diaries in boxes 2, 3, 4, and 5 contain mostly her writings related to the work of Mustard Seed, Inc. The diaries do not record descriptions of daily events but contain her inner thoughts about these events. Some passages were used in the monthly newsletters of MSI (folders 6-3, 6-4, 6-5). Part of the diary entry for June 1974 (folder 3-4) about Indonesia was published in the June 29, 1974 newsletter (folder 6-4). The diaries that are dated cover the period from 1966 to 1982 although there are twelve undated diaries in folders 5-2, 3, 4. In her small 1973 diary (folder 3-3) on the February 22nd page she writes, “Another day in court. Another child to be ushered in to a Safe Harbour.” In her red 1973 diary (folder 3-3) is a business card from Madame Chiang Kai Shek address “For Mrs. Dickson.”


Five pocket calendar diaries of James Dickson, which appear to have been used mostly for keeping track of meetings and appointments, are in folder 2-7.


Three magazine articles about the Dicksons appeared in Christian Herald (folder 1-2) titled “Lillian Dickson of Taiwan,” “Candlelight and Compassion,” and “Escape,” and one in Christian Life (folder 1-3) “Formosa Story.” Folder 1-4 contains an assortment of magazine clippings from various magazines several of which describe the work of the Dicksons. Some of the titles are “Orchid Island - the Formosan Paradise” by James Dickson, “The Lady and the Head-hunters” (evangelistic and social work of Lillian), “The Gospel in Formosa,” “Our Impromptu Visit to Formosa” by Mrs. Lyle Caspell includes a draft manuscript of the article.


Original and photocopies of newspaper clippings in folder 1-5 contain information on the work of both Lillian and James. Two clippings reprint excerpts of letters the Dicksons sent to Lillian’s parents in Minnesota.


Typewritten manuscripts in folder 5-6 were mostly written by Lillian. “History of Nipa Homecraft Center”describes the mission work in Papua New Guinea., “James Dickson” gives a chronological account of the educational and missionary work of James Dickson, and “Out in the Fields with God” describes Lillian’s visitation ministry.


Undated notes and outlines in folder 6-6 were probably used in talks given by Dickson. Three loose-leaf notebooks (folder 7-2) contain a few of Lillian’s speeches in outline form (most are about the work and needs of Mustard Seed). A spiral notebook with published poems by various authors pasted into it and loose pages of poems are in folder 6-8. Two of Lillian’s passports are in folder 6-7. Folder 7-1 contains prayer calendars for British Guiana and Taiwan and three address books of Lillian are in folder 1-1.


The monthly MSI newsletters (folders 6-3, 6-4, 6-5) contain articles on the preaching of the gospel and educational, medical, vocational, orphanage, and children homes work. Most of these were written by Lillian until just before her death and then by her daughter, Marilyn. Folder 6-2 contains advertisements, booklets, brochures, and other materials related to the work of MSI in Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, and the South Seas Islands. Two record books (folder 5-5) lists donors to Mustard Seed, Inc. There are eighty-three individuals listed in the 1983 book and four in the 1977 book.


Some miscellaneous items in folder 6-1 include materials about the Taiwan Theological College and Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto (Dicksons’ home church), Dicksons’ missionary certificate for service in British Guiana as educational missionaries, booklet commemorating the 80th birthday of Lillian (Great Social Services Rendered in Taiwan, R.O.C. by Mrs. Lillian R. Dickson, President of Mustard Seed, Inc.), memorial folder with information on Lillian’s career, two letters from Mustard Seed, Inc. concerning the death of Lillian and future of MSI, photograph of a typed letter from Chiang Kai-shek giving support to the work of the Pocket Testament League, poster of the Burning Bush Mission Society with photos of the first four missionaries from the mountain churches of Taiwan to minister to the people of Sarawak, Borneo, and Lillian’s 1960 will.


A small loose-leaf notebook (folder 6-9) contains bulletins for the Randeholl Memorial Church (British Guiana) where Rev. James Dickson was moderator of the session. Also in the folder are dedication service bulletins for the Palmyra and Dharam Ashram (Albion Plantation) Canadian Mission Churches. An unusual item in this notebook is a one page sheet titled, “Service of Prayer and Supplication on the Occasion of the Commencement of the Invasion, Tuesday, June 6, 1944.”



Series: Audio and Video Tapes

Arrangement: Chronological

Date Range: 1951-1988, n.d.

Volume: 0.108 cubic feet

Geographic coverage: China, Indonesia, Irian Jaya, Taiwan

Type of documents: Interviews and reports

Subjects: Life and ministry of Lillian Dickson, Mustard Seed, Inc., Burning Bush Mission Society, Jonathan & Rosalind Goforth


T1 (58 minutes). Message by Lillian Dickson given at Parkway Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, Washington. Short introduction by a fellow missionary (name unknown). Lillian describes the missionary work among the mountain peoples of Taiwan, statistics on the churches, vocational schools, Burning Bush Mission Society (ministry to South Seas tribes), teacher training schools in Indonesia, boys and girls schools in Papua New Guinea, community centers, schools in Irian Jaya, experiences in Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asian schools, and exhorts Christians to be involved Christian work and the need of student scholarships. October 28, 1980.


T2 (37 minutes). Mary Goforth Moynan speaking at Calgary. Tape begins with Moynan opening in prayer and describes why God was able to use her father, Jonathan Goforth, a Korean revival meeting, preaching trip with her husband Bob, reads poem Cherish Your Man (encouraging wives to support their husbands). N.d.


V1 (24 minutes). Lillian Dickson. One hundred eighty black and white and color photos of Lillian Dickson (and others) with background music but no description of the photos; n.d.


V2 (34 minutes). Spotlight on Formosa. James Dickson narrates his film footage about Formosa. It’s history, geography, peoples (especially the mountain aborigines), and mission work; ca. 1951.


V3 (12 minutes). Miracle at Matarah. Information about the country of Indonesia and the Mustard Seed, Inc. school at Matarah, Borneo which was nearly destroyed by a fire on September 19, 1982. See the MSI newsletter of November 30, 1982 (folder 6-5) for information about the fire; ca. 1982


V4 (44 minutes). While It Is Day: Lillian Dickson’s Taiwan and Matarah. Two programs on tape. While It Is Day describes a typical day in the life of Dickson as she visits the Mustard Seed office in Taipei, Taiwan, orphanages, schools (Bible and trade), rescue home, maternity home, tuberculosis clinic, black foot disease clinic, and prison ministry. Matarah is the same as V3; ca. 1982.


V5 (70 minutes). The Goforth Centennial, 1888-1988. Part One: Jonathan & Rosalind Goforth in China, Part Two: Mary’s Story. Interview of Mary Goforth Moynan by Sherry McGloughlan and Kathy Peters at Christian Heritage College; ca. 1988.




Provenance

The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Mustard Seed, Inc. (Ontario) in December 1984, Mustard Seed, Inc. (California), and by Marilyn Dickson Tank in July 1986 through March 1996. Books received from Mrs. Tank have been given to the Center library. A list of these books is available by request.


Accession: 84-159, 86-66, 86-74, 87-19, 87-22, 89-59. 89-70, 89-102, 90-39, 90-44, 91-30, 91-40, 91-53, 91-65, 91-70. 92-5, 92-14, 92-48, 92-112, 96-5, 96-19, 96-20

November 2, 2004

Wayne D. Weber



LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 86-66

Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE file.


Item# - Reel or cassette, speed, length, number of sides, contents (title of session, participants) according to the program, date.

 

 #

R/C

length

Sides

Contents

Dates

T1

C

58

2

Lillian Dickson speaking at Parkway Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, Washington

Oct. 28, 1980

T2

C

37

1

“Mary Goforth Moynan Speaking at Calgary”

n.d.


*****

LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 86-74, 91-40, 96-20

Type of material: Photo Albums

The following items are located in the PHOTO ALBUM FILE; request by Folder Titles (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.


DICKSON, LILLIAN. Three sets of photographs pasted on loose pages clipped together. One set contains eight photographs with captions pasted onto seven pages of loose leaf paper with photos of Lillian playing her accordion, doing evangelistic work, a group of Christian workers, Marilyn Dickson on a tricycle, and Steve, a Taiwanese, preaching at the Bamboo Clinic in Sin-tek. Another set includes six photographs pasted onto eight pages of loose leaf paper titled, “The Mackay Memorial Hospital and the Workers Therein.” The third set contains two photographs one of the Theological College teachers and students and another of the Bible school. 1936-1971, n.d.


*****

LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 86-74, 90-39, 91-40, 92-5, 96-19, 96-20

Type of material: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.


DICKSON, LILLIAN. Individual photos of Dickson and many with her friends, co-workers, Bob Pierce, Robert Schuller, orphan children, groups of individuals (e.g. graduating class of nurse aides), distributing gifts to children, banquet honoring Dickson (1973), television program “It Could Be You” on which Lillian was honored, program taken at Macalester College (Minnesota), in Taiwan, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, and other unidentified places. Also photos of Dickson’s parents, nurses standing in front of signs to a maternity ward and tuberculous sanatoriums in Taiwan, photo of memorial stone with the history of Chi-Oang Memorial Church (in English and Taiwanese) and Chi-oang, Burning Bush committee (?), Wiren Takko (imprisoned by Japanese for his faith), groups of children, funeral and memorial service for Jim Dickson, Happy Mount Leprosy Colony, native peoples of Taiwan, two interesting photos labeled “leper’s children in Church of Lepers brought back to be seen but not touched by leper parents” and “the Japanese try to rule the tribes-have called a council of a friendly tribe.” Individual images of James Dickson and with Taiwanese women believers (used in the publication of Christian Life, see folder 1-3, at Oxford College (Taiwan?), dedication of new site for theological college, two photos with a group at Student Volunteer Mission Conference in Ohio one labeled “Seventh Council of the S.V.M., Oberlin, Ohio, 1926.” 102 b&w, 29 color, 1924-1980, n.d.


*****

LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 86-74

Type of material: Slides

The following items are located in the SLIDE FILE. All of the slides are in color, unless otherwise noted.


SLIDE BOX 23

Information on each slide written by Lillian Dickson or someone else is enclosed in quotation marks.


S1 - “Lillian Dickson, Evelyn McLeod, Khohbar, Saudi Arabia, Mar. 1966."


S2 - “Nov. 15 ‘67.” Lillian Dickson and others standing by James Dickson’s tombstone.


S3 - “Nov. 15 ‘67.” James Dickson’s tombstone in Taiwan.


*****

LOCATION RECORD

Type of material: Videos

Accession: 91-30, 92-14, 96-5, 96-20

The Archives has one copy of each video, unless otherwise noted. The following items are in the Video FILE:


Video

#

Type

b&w / c

Length in minutes

Title

Description

Date



 V2

 vhs

c

 34

Spotlight on Formosa

James Dickson narrates film footage about Taiwan.

ca. 1951

 V3

 vhs

c

 12

Miracle at Matarah

Information about the country of Indonesia and the Mustard Seed school at Matarah, Borneo.

ca. 1982.

 V4

 vhs

c

 44

While It Is Day: Lillian Dickson’s Taiwan & [Miracle at] Matarah

Two programs on tape. While It Is Day (32 minutes) describes a typical day in the life of Dickson. [Miracle at] Matarah is the same as V3

ca. 1982

 V5

 vhs

 c

 70

 The Goforth Centennial, 1888-1988

Interview of Mary Goforth Moynan by Sherry McGloughlan and Kathy Peters.

 ca.

1988

 V1

 vhs

b&w, c

 24

Lillian Dickson

One hundred eighty photos of Lillian Dickson (and others) with background music.

n.d.




BOX LIST

Box

Folder

Item

Dates

1

1

Address books

n.d.

1

2

Clippings: Magazine: Christian Herald

1962, 1964

1

3

Clippings: Magazine: Christian Life

1953

1

4

Clippings: Magazine: Miscellaneous

1953-1974

1

5

Clippings: Newspapers

1937-1983, n.d.

1

6

Correspondence: Dickson, James

1942-1967, n.d.

 

 

Correspondence: Dickson, Lillian

1

7

 

n.d.

1

8

 

1926-1927

1

9

 

1928

2

1

 

1929-1930

2

2

 

1931-1934

2

3

 

1935-1944

2

4

 

1947-1958

2

5

 

1963-1982

2

6

Correspondence: Dickson, Marilyn & Ronald

1942-1983, n.d.

2

7

Diaries: Dickson, James

1962-1964

 

 

Diaries: Dickson, Lillian

2

8

 

1966

2

9

 

1968

3

1

 

1969, 1970

3

2

 

1971, 1972

3

3

 

1973

3

4

 

July 1973-June 1974

3

5

 

August 1974-1975

4

1

 

1976, 1977

4

2

 

1978

4

3

 

1979

4

4

 

1980-1981

5

1

 

1981-1982

5

2

 

n.d. Part 1 of 3

5

3

 

n.d. Part 2 of 3

5

4

 

n.d. Part 3 of 3

5

5

Donation Record Books

1977, 1983

5

6

Manuscripts

1964, n.d.

6

1

Miscellaneous

1927-1979, n.d.

6

2

Mustard Seed, Inc.: Miscellaneous

n.d.

 

 

Mustard Seed, Inc.: Newsletters

6

3

 

1964, 1968-1973

6

4

 

1974-1979

6

5

 

1980-1985

6

6

Notes and Outlines

1964, n.d.

6

7

Passports

1946, 1978

6

8

Poems

n.d.

7

1

Prayer Calendars

1944, n.d.

6

9

Randeholl Memorial Church Bulletins

1941-1942

7

2

Speeches

n.d.

7

3

Telegrams

1953, 1961, n.d.





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