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Writing paper letterhead image
[Letter to Father and Mother, May 12, 1933 - 1933a\0048-05-12-B]

For 18 years Florence Kirk taught English in China. Raised on a homestead in Saskatchewan, Kirk left Canada in 1932 to join the staff of Ginling College, a small Christian university in Nanjing that was among the first in China to offer degrees to women. China was an exotic adventure that Florence documented with letters home to friends and family. She also witnessed the Japanese invasion and occupation, the civil war, and the establishment of the People’s Republic. During the Nanking massacre the college harbored women who tried to hide from the Japanese imperial army.

Her archival collection contains these letters that provide a compelling, captivating, and profoundly moving record of the upheaval. Approximately 2700 pages of hand-written and typed correspondence have been digitized and are presented here along with: a detailed biography of Kirk; a timeline of the historical events; a bibliography of books on Chinese history covering this time; and a number of interpretive essays. They provide great original source materials on this history and are simply fascinating to browse and read.

Last Revision: 2011-Feb-16