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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 701

Papers of Ida Pruitt and Marjorie King, 1891-1994


Correspondence, articles, photographs, and other papers of author and social worker Ida Pruitt.


  • Creation: 1891-1994


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


4.38 linear feet (3 cartons, 1 file box, 1 folio box)

Materials are in their original order. Original folder titles have been maintained. Titles and information in square brackets [ ] have been supplied by the processor. The collection includes Ida Pruitt's correspondence; unpublished writings; notes regarding the China Liberated Areas Relief Association; articles; a booklet by and scrapbook of Pruitt's mother, Anna Seward Pruitt; Pruitt family genealogy; and photographs. In addition to Pruitt's papers, the collection also contains papers of Marjorie King, including correspondence, interviews, and notes with Pruitt's family, friends, and co-workers.


Writer, educator, and social worker Ida Pruitt was born in China on December 2, 1888, the daughter of American, Southern Baptist missionaries, Cicero Washington and Anna Seward Pruitt. She lived in Hwanghsien, a village in Shantung Province, until she was twelve and then went on to be educated in the United States. She attended Cox College in College Park, Georgia (1906-1909); received a B.S. from Columbia University Teachers' College (1910); and studied social work in Boston and Philadelphia. In 1912, Pruitt returned to China as an adult to become a teacher and principal of Wai Ling School for girls in Chefoo (1912-1918). The Rockefeller Foundation later appointed her chief of the Department of Social Services, Peking Union Medical College (1921-1939). During the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s, Pruitt and social reformer, Rewi Alley, organized Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (CIC), an international committee that worked to promote Chinese self-sufficiency. She also served as executive secretary (1939-1952) of Indusco, the American fundraising arm for the CIC, and was an author and translator of several books including A China Childhood (1978) and Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Working Woman (1945). Pruitt died in Philadelphia on July 24, 1985; she was survived by two adopted daughters, Kuei-ching Ho and Tania (Cosman) Wahl.

Marjorie King is a historian and Ida Pruitt's biographer. The two women met in the 1980s while King was working on her dissertation about Pruitt at Temple University (Ph.D., 1985). That project was entitled "Missionary Mother and Radical Daughter: Anna and Ida Pruitt in China, 1887-1939." King continued her research about Pruitt as a visiting scholar in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona. She later published a biography of Ida Pruitt entitled China's American Daughter: Ida Pruitt, 1888-1985.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2004-M63

The papers of Ida Pruitt and Marjorie King were given to the Schlesinger Library by Marjorie King in June 2004.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection was processed as part of the Schlesinger Library's Experimental Archives Project. Every item in the collection was digitized and is available for research through Flickr. See digital images for the entire collection.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Ida Pruitt Papers, 1850s-1992 (MC 465).

Processing Information

Container list by: May 2012

By: Cat Lea Holbrook, Reina Uhler, and Jaimie Fritz, with assistance from Jeanne Mack.


Pruitt, Ida. Papers of Ida Pruitt and Marjorie King, 1891-1994: A Container List
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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