Rev. William M. Kelly, M.D., Papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US TxSaT SC.016

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Rev. William M. Kelly, M.D., Papers


  • 1924-2005 (bulk 1924-1935) (Creation)


1 box (0.25 linear feet)

Name of creator


Biographical history

William M. Kelly was born October 14, 1874 in Carrollton, Missouri, one of eight children. Kelly attended Trinity University in Tehuacana, Texas from 1891 through 1897. While at Trinity, Kelly was involved in the Timotheans society. He graduated from medical school at the University of Nashville in 1899, and was ordained a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on May 9, 1899. Rev. Kelly departed for China as a medical missionary on September 19, 1899, working under the auspices of the Cumberland Presbyterian China Mission. He married Carrie Goodrich, a missionary associated with the Foreign Christian Missionary Society, on August 22, 1900 in Shanghai. Mrs. Kelly passed away in December 1901. He again married in 1903, to Grace Miller Hill, a Methodist missionary born in Northern Ireland. Grace and William had five children; one passed away in childhood. Grace returned to the United States with their surviving children around 1922, and passed away in 1972. Rev. Kelly married his third wife, Mu Yi Chi, sometime in the 1930s. They moved to Inner Mongolia and had three children. During World War II, Rev. Kelly and his family were interned by the Japanese in Wihsien from 1943-1945. Two of Kelly's children were sent to the United States in 1948 to be raised by foster families. Despite pressure from Communist leaders, Rev. Kelly remained in Beijing, distributing bibles and operating an "underground church" until his death on June 22, 1957. He is buried at the Seven Trees Foreign Cemetery. His youngest child, Daniel Kelly, was then 16 years of age and attempted to flee China. He was stopped by border guards and was forced to serve twenty-one years in forced labor camps because he refused to renounce his American citizenship. Authorities allowed him to leave China in 1978; he arrived in America in 1979.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Rev. William M. Kelly, M.D., Papers consist primarily of typed copies of correspondence between Dr. Samuel Lee Hornbeak, President of Trinity University, and William Kelly, a Trinity alumnus and medical missionary in China. The correspondence is concerned with discussions of Chinese artifacts, accounts of Chinese history and customs, and descriptions of Dr. Kelly's journeys in China. There is some correspondence between Kelly and other Trinity affiliates, as well as between Hornbeak and other Chinese missionaries. The collection also contains later correspondence and inventories regarding the Chinese artifacts given to Trinity by Rev. Kelly, and genealogical research conducted by Kelly's grandson, Brooks Kelly.

System of arrangement

Series 1 consists of correspondence, primarily between Rev. Kelly and Dr. Hornbeak, but also including correspondence with John H. Burma, M. Kate Spencer, C.M. Meyers, the Associated Mission Treasurers, and Ana K. Tootell. Correspondence is arranged by date. Series 2 contains documentation related to the Chinese art collection, including correspondence from later decades and inventories, as well as genealogical research conducted by Kelly's grandson.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the Special Collections & Archives reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

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Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Languages of the material

  • English

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Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

The disposition of the original correspondence between Rev. Kelly and Dr. Hornbeak is unclear. The library has records recommending that the originals be kept in the "vault" in the old Northrup Hall, but their current location is unknown.

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Notes element

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Rev. William M. Kelly, M.D., Papers. Coates Library Special Collections & Archives, Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

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Archivist's note

Finding aid created by Colleen Hoelscher, August 7, 2019.

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Physical storage

  • Box: SC.016 Box 1