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Lelia Judson Tuttle Papers and Chinese Artifacts

Identifier: MSS 0222

Scope and Contents

The Lelia Judson Tuttle Papers and Chinese Artifacts date from 1834 to 2005, with the bulk of materials dating from the late 1800s to the 1960s, and contain clippings, correspondence, photographs, writings, artifacts and books that mainly document Tuttle's time in China and her interest in Chinese culture and art, as well as the history of the Tuttle family.

The biographical materials include clippings related to Tuttle's life, work and family; personal narratives written by Tuttle and others' writings about her; family documents; and materials relating to the Tuttle Educational State Forest. Correspondence is also included, mainly between Tuttle and her family, documenting her experiences and her passion for her work while also expressing her sadness at being separated from them. Tuttle also collected some correspondence from other missionaries. Finally, photographs feature Tuttle in China; the Tuttle family homeplace, Glen Serene Farm, in Lenoir, North Carolina; and some family events and gravestones.

Artifacts include 148 art items ranging from porcelain bowls to cloth dolls to brass incense burners to silver and coral chopsticks. The books are mainly illustrated, hardcover reference books on Chinese and Japanese history, culture and art.


  • 1834 - 2005
  • Majority of material found within late 1800s - 1960s


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Lelia Judson Tuttle was born in 1878 in Caldwell County, North Carolina, where she grew up on the family farm. She graduated from the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG) in 1900, and did postgraduate work in English at the State Normal before receiving her Master of Arts degree in English from Columbia University in New York.

From 1902 to 1904, Tuttle taught English and history at Davenport College in Lenoir, North Carolina. She then decided to pursue missionary work, and prepared at the Scarritt Bible Training School in Kansas City. In 1910, she set sail for China, where she was appointed chair of English literature at the McTyeire Institute in Shanghai. She remained there until 1926, when she transferred to Soochow University, to serve as Dean of Women as well as professor of English and history. Tuttle remained in China until 1942, when World War II necessitated her departure.

Upon her return to the States, Tuttle bought a house near her old home in Caldwell County, and remained busy giving talks to local churches, clubs and schools. In 1956 she deeded 160 acres of land she had inherited from her father to the Tuttle Forest Foundation; the Tuttle State Forest is now used by the North Carolina Forest Service as an Educational State Forest. Lelia Tuttle passed away in 1967.


20.00 Linear Feet (20 boxes, 10 books)

Language of Materials



Lelia Judson Tuttle (1878-1976) was an alumna of the State Normal and Industrial College (now UNCG), and spent over 30 years as a missionary teaching English in China.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into the following series: Biographical Materials, Artifacts, and Books.

Method of Acquisition

Transferred from the Caldwell Heritage Museum to UNCG Archives in 2004.

Separated Materials

Articles of Chinese clothing and accessories were given to the Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS), UNCG School of Human Environmental Sciences.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Michelle Belden, December 2007.

Lelia Judson Tuttle Papers and Chinese Artifacts
Michelle Belden
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US