Helen Fayville Topping papers, 1872-1968
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Brief Description:

This collection consists of  correspondence and other papers of Christian missionaries Helen Topping and Toyohiko Kagawa. The materials include his addresses, mostly issues of his various English-language publications, and publicity materials regarding Kagawa and his work. There is an unpublished translation of a Japanese biography by Haruichi Yokoyama in the collection.  There are also numerous first-hand accounts of Japanese and even Chinese social conditions and missionary activities, and a good bit of material on cooperatives in the Philippines.

Among the typescripts in the collection (Kagawa was the author of over 150 books in Japanese) is the third of his autobiographical novels, Listening to the Walls, which is translated but unpublished in English.

Held at:
Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
605 Agriculture Dr.
MC 6632
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-2516
Fax: 618-453-3451
Email: speccoll [at] lib.siu.edu
Record Series Number: 1/2/MSS 034
Created by: Topping, Helen, (1889-1981.)
Volume: 76.0 Boxes
Arrangement: Arranged in twelve series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Sermons and Addresses-Kagawa, (3) Typescripts, (4) Biographical, (5) Organizations, (6) Research Material-Kagawa & Topping, (7) Sermons, Addresses, and Papers-Topping, (8) Educational Material, (9) Research Material-Asia, Europe, United States, (10) Printed Material, (11) Japanese Material, (12) Miscellaneous
Biographical Note for Topping, Helen, (1889-1981.) :

Helen Topping was born April 12, 1889, in Rochester, New York, the daughter of two American missionaries, Genevieve and Henry Topping. In 1895 she was taken to Japan for six years, which began her interest in other cultures.  She attended the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago and began spreading Parker's theories of education.  In 1905 at a religious conference at Silver Bay, Wisconsin, she dedicated herself to missionary work.  She later obtained degrees in education from a Baptist school, Denison University, and later Columbia University.

In 1925 she found her mission when a Japanese evangelist, Toyohiko Kagawa called her to work for him as his English secretary and organizer in America.

Toyohiko Kagawa was born in 1888. By the time Helen Topping went to work for him he was already well-known for his work in founding churches, settlement houses, cooperatives, labor unions, schools, relief work after the earthquake of 1923, and for the publication of his highly successful first novel, Crossing the Death Line.

Topping joined Kagawa in Japan in 1927  when he was in the midst of a monumental crusade, the "Kingdom of God Movement," which aimed at converting a significant portion of Japanese to Christianity.

Topping's parents, officially retired, joined her in working for Kagawa and together they edited and distributed Kagawa's English-language magazine, "Friends of Jesus," and the Kagawa calendar.

In 1932 Topping lost her American funding, but she continued to function unofficially on Kagawa's behalf until nearly the beginning of World War II.  Following the war -which Topping spent in the U.S.- she resumed her efforts for him, but the indeterminate nature of her responsibilities and the lack of an assured income often proved unsettling. She also went to the Philippines to teach four times, always stressing the propagation of Kagawa's doctrine of cooperation and Parker's theories on education.

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.
Subject Index
Christianity. - Japan
Japan - Religion
Kagawa, Toyohiko, 1888-1960
Topping, Helen, 1889-1981.
Genres/Forms of Material
Kagawa, Toyohiko, 1888-1960 - Correspondence
Manuscripts for publication.
Records (documents)
Speeches, addresses, etc.
Topping, Helen, 1889-1981. - Correspondence
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Japanese [jpn]
Rights/Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contian the complete citation to the original.
Related Materials: Helen Fayville Topping photograph collection PH 34
PreferredCitation: [Item], Helen Fayville Topping papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.