Series I. Lord Family Correspondence, 1877-98, n.d. (2f)
Contains letters to and from the Lord family of Ravenna, Ohio. Correspondence includes six letters (1887-88) from Lydia Lord (1867-1952) to her parents, Eleazer (1823-1904) and Mary Lord (1844-1929). A letter (1885) to Eleazer Lord from oneJ. Ross Lee describes Lydia's progress at Normal School in Ada, Ohio. Correspondence is chronologically arranged.
Series II. Courtship Correspondence Between Lydia Lord and Francis Davis, June-August 1889 (1f)
Includes two letters written by Lydia Lord and 21 letterswritten by Francis Davis. Letters date from the six-week period following the couple's first meeting and prior to their August 14 marriage. Subjects discussed include the propriety of Lydia's attendance at Francis' ordination, their expectations of Christian marriage, and their anticipation of a life together as missionaries in China. Correspondence is chronologically arranged.
Series III. Personal Correspondence (Outgoing) of Lydia and Francis Davis, 1889-1906, 1924, n.d. .8 l.f.
Mainly includes letters sent by Lydia and Francis Davis to their friends and family in America during their eight-year stay in China (1889-97). Some letters are incomplete. Largely written by Lydia Davis, they describe daily life in abundant detail. Included also are letters written by Francis to Lydia during the Davis' furlough in the United States (1897-99); Francis' last letters to his wife prior to his murder (1899-1900); and Lydia's last letters to Francis in Shansi (May to August 1900). The series also contains a small group of letters from Lydia to her friend Mrs. Lois Pickett (1894-99, 1903-06) and one letter to her mother (1924). Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, beginning with the joint correspondence of Francis and Lydia Davis. Thereunder, it is chronologically arranged.
Series IV. Personal Correspondence (Incoming) of Lydia and Francis Davis, 1888-1913, n.d. .8 l.f.
Contains correspondence received by Lydia and Francis Davis in China (1889-1900) and by Lydia after Francis' death (1900-13, n.d.). Located here are letters (1889-96) from Lydia's parents, Eleazer and Mary Lord, which often include as enclosures letters sent to Mrs. Lord by Lydia's Ohio friends. Letters (1889-99) received are mainly from Lydia's "Shansi sisters," (identified as "Missionary Colleagues" in the inventory) who included Susan Rowena Bird (d. 1900), Jennie Pond Atwater (d. 1900), Mrs. D. H. Clapp (d.1900), Mrs. James Goldsbury, Eva Price (d. 1900), D'Etta Hewett Thompson, and Alice Moon Williams (1860-1952). The post-1900 correspondence includes letters of condolence to Lydia from family, friends, and from the clergy and parishioners of Leavitt Street Congregational Church, Chicago (1900-04). Official correspondence (1900) from the U.S. State Department (ten letters) notifies Lydia of Francis' murder at Taigu. These letters are filed with five printed petitions (1909), which were submitted to the U.S. Court of Claims by Lydia Lord Davis. Additional correspondents include Judson Smith (1837-1906) of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1888-89, 1899-1903) and Dr. Henry S. Upson (1859-1913), Lydia's Cleveland physician from 1898 to 1905.
Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the correspondents designated by Lydia Lord Davis and chronologically thereunder. Notes in Davis' hand, accompanying the correspondence, identify her relation to the letter-writer. The category of "Missionary Colleagues" supersedes that of "Letters sent by others" in the original box listing.
Series V. Professional Correspondence of Lydia Lord Davis, 1902, 1920-43 .2 l.f.
Includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence of Lydia Lord Davis relating to her work as a fund-raiser, lecturer, and Field Secretary for both the Women's Board of Missions for the Interior (1919-26) and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1927-32). Correspondents include officials of the A.B.C.F.M., the Commission on Missions of the National Council of Congregational Churches, the Kobe College Corporation, and the Women's Board of Missions for the Interior, Mid-West Regional Commission. The series includes Davis' final report (1941) as Executive Secretary of the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association. Correspondence is alphabetically arranged by subjects designated by Lydia Lord Davis; it is arranged chronologically thereunder.
Series VI. Diaries of Lydia Lord Davis, 1888-1900 3 vols.
Volume 1 (1888-89) offers a daily account of the journey of Francis and Lydia Davis from Ravenna, Ohio to Fenzhou, China (August 27 to October 21, 1889). Volume 2 (1891-97) was begun on the death of Lydia's first newborn, December 20, 1890, and contains annual entries on the anniversary of his passing. Volume 3 (1898-1900) records the news of Francis' death, received on September 8, 1900.
Series VII. Writings of Lydia Lord Davis, [ca. 1924], 1944 (1f)
Includes an unpublished typescript of an autobiography, "Letters to My Grandchildren," (1944), and one copy of My Letters from the Orient (ca. 1924). A second copy is filed in Series XI, Files Received From John Lord Davis, together with published and unpublished poems (n.d.) of Lydia Lord Davis.
Series VIII. Miscellaneous Printed Materials Relating to the Shansi Mission and its Martyrs, 1899-1909, 1924, 1938, n.d. (5f)
Includes printed materials relating to the Shansi mission, including a booklet by Judson Smith (1837-1906), Foreign Secretary of the American Board, entitled "China, The Situation and the Outlook," (1900). Papers relating specifically to the 1900 massacre include photocopies of news accounts in The Ravenna Republican (Sept. 13, 1900) and the New-York Daily Tribune (Sept. 9, 1900). Memorials to Francis Davis include a silk banner, hand-painted with Chinese characters. This is housed separately, in Box 9.
Series IX. Photographs of the Shansi Mission, 1889-1924, n.d. (2f)
Contains photographs of the Davis family, group portraits of the Shansi missionaries, and photographs of the graves of the murdered missionaries at Taigu. The photographs are largely identified and dated on the verso. Photographs are chronologically arranged. Also, found here is a photograph of Davis' house on 284 W. College Street, Oberlin, Ohio.
Series X. Album of Lydia Lord Davis, 1941 .2 l.f.
Includes a red silk album of letters from colleagues and friends presented to Lydia Lord Davis on her retirement as Executive Secretary of the Oberlin Shansi Memorial Association in 1941. Loose papers found in the album and housed in a separate folder include letters from President Ernest Hatch Wilkins (1880-1966), William Frederick Bohn (1878-1947), and letters to and from Kung Hsiang Hsi (1880-1967; A.B., L.L.D. 1906) relating to Davis' retirement.
Series XI. Files Received from John Lord Davis, [ca. 1924], 1981, n.d. .2 l.f.
The provenance of these files differs from that of the remainder of the collection (see "Provenance Note" below). Included are materials received in 1980 and 1981 from John Lord Davis (b. 1896). Two folders contain ms. drafts of Lydia Lord Davis' poems and mediations (n.d.), booklets of published poems (n.d.), a second copy of My Letters From the Orient (ca. 1924), an issue of the periodical, Fenchow, vol. VI, No. 2, 1924, and a printed map of China (n.d.). One folder contains correspondence of John Lord Davis (1981) relating to Davis' disenchantment with Oberlin College.