Global Asia Journal


John R. Stanely


Occasional Paper No. 8

Document Type



Between the arrival of Robert Morrison in 1807, the first Protestant

missionary to China, and the expulsion of Western missionaries in the early

1950s, one important area of missionary work for Chinese women was the

establishment of schools at the primary, secondary and university levels.

This education work afforded girls and young women opportunities for

advancement not provided under the existing patriarchal society. This

article focuses on the development of the American Presbyterian primary

and secondary schools for girls in the rural area of Weixian in Shandong

province. The Presbyterian station in Weixian played a leading role in

establishing primary and secondary schools for girls throughout its

mission field. Although the missionaries began with a conservative agenda

of creating good Christian households at the time, the local population

eventually embraced the schools. These girls’ schools not only trained

female students to become professional teachers but also enlightened and

empowered them in the local cultural sphere.