The papers, photographs, and objects originating with Frances Cade and E. John Hamlin reflect the lives of two Oberlin graduates who met during their service in China as Shansi representatives in the mid-1930s, and continued after their marriage in 1942 to pursue a lifetime of service in the Far East. Both the Hamlins wrote articles for their hometown newspapers during their time at Taigu, and gave presentations on their experiences later in life as employees of the World Council of Churches. Their report letters back to OSMA in Oberlin are of interest for their candid observations of societal changes and political instability during the early Communist era in China. John Hamlin was a particularly gifted photographer in the journalistic sense; his photographs are some of the most vivid documentary evidence of China in the mid-1930s taken by Shansi representatives.
Frances Cade Hamlin assembled a remarkable coin and charm collection spanning the ancient era in China, and collected paper bills and coins that reflect the shifting political terrain in Europe, China, Japan and Manchuria in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Several of the photographs and paper bills in the Hamlin Collection were digitized and appear in the “Shansi: Oberlin and Asia” digital collection online at http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/shansi/index.html.
Series 1. Correspondence, 1948, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2006 (Series 1-5: 0.4 l.f.)
Correspondence from Frances Hamlin to her parents with accompanying skit script, 1948, sent from China; various letters to the Hamlins received from former students in China in the 1980s and 1994, and John’s email correspondence with OSMA personnel regarding Frances’s death in 2006.
Series 2. Report Letters to OSMA and Others, 1934-37
This series contains John and Frances’s report letters to OSMA during their representative years in China from 1934-37.
Series 3. Speeches and Talks, 1934-37, 1983-84, 1986, 1988, n.d.
Consists of notes from talks at Station meetings in Taigu during John and Frances’s years as Shansi representatives in China, and talk outlines or scripts for presentations given by the Hamlins in the 1980s for various groups or conferences.
Series 4. Newspaper Writings, 1934-37, ca. 1946
Original typescripts and copies of published articles in the local newspapers of John and Frances’s hometowns about their experiences in China as Shansi representatives and teachers.
Series 5. Miscellaneous, 1934-37, 1976, 1984-86, 1988, 1992-93, 2006, 2010, n.d.
Comprises a file of Chinese student compositions collected by Frances Cade, a hand-made illustrated booklet, OSMA printed matter, World Council of Churches publications, and lists of OSMA representatives and personnel prepared for a China Celebration, n.d. Also includes materials such as eulogies relating to the deaths of Frances Hamlin in 2006, and John Hamlin in 2010.
Series 6. Photographs, 1935-37, 1982, 2006, n.d. (1.66 l.f.)
Consists of loose photographs by John Hamlin taken in China in 1935-37, albums of similar photographs arranged by Frances Cade with notes by John Hamlin written in 2006, and mounted photographs on colored paper of a 1982 trip to China by the Hamlins, for exhibition at the OSMA centennial celebration in 2008.
Series 7. Mixed Media, 1982 (0.54 l.f.)
Comprises nine small photograph albums and an accompanying voice diary on six cassette tapes of the Hamlin’s trip to China in 1982. Additional photographs from this trip can be found in Series 6.
Series 8. Films, 1938, 1942 (0.87 l.f.)
Two reels of 16mm black and white silent film by John Hamlin. Footage of the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology’s faculty and students, 1938, and footage of Frances and John Hamlin’s wedding, July 1942. Several reels of footage taken in China between 1934 and 1937 by John Hamlin (not all have been positively identified) can be found in the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association records, RG. 15, Subgroup VII, Series 5. At least two of Hamlin’s films were transferred as digital files to DVD for public access. See the “Shansi: Oberlin and Asia” digital collection (2012) at http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/shansi/index.html.
Series 9. Coin, Currency and Charm Collection, Ancient period and late 19th and early 20th Centuries (0.91 l.f.)
France Cade Hamlin’s collection of ancient Chinese coins and charms, as well as currencies from Asia and Europe from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Included is a small, handwritten guide to some of the ancient coins.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1948, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2006
Series 2: Report Letters to OSMA and Others, 1934-37
Series 3: Speeches and Talks, 1934-37, 1983-84, 1986, 1988, n.d.
Series 4: Newspaper Writings, 1934-37, ca. 1946
Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1934-37, 1976, 1984-86, 1988, 1992-93, 2006, 2010, n.d.
Series 6: Photographs, 1935-37, 1982, 2006, n.d.
Series 7: Mixed Media, 1982
Series 8: Films, 1938, 1942
Series 9: Coin, Currency & Charm Collection, Ancient period and late 19th and early 20th Centuries