- Written by Administrator
- Category: Book Buzz
Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16 by Grace and Harvey Roys (Judy Hogan, Editor)
“This thoroughly annotated five-year diary, including contemporary accounts of the retreat colony Kuling and schools in Nanking, provides rich and illuminating primary documentation toward understanding the daily personal, family, social and professional lives of American educators and missionaries in early 20th century China, the native culture in which they devoted themselves, and their influence on subsequent generations. A graceful window on the lives of Westerners and Chinese alike.”
—J. Samuel Hammond, Duke University
“Grace, a rich portrait of missionary life in early twentieth century China, is told through diary entries, photos, narratives, and an epilogue by Judy Hogan, editor and annotator of her grandmother’s diary. Most poignant for me, as a former missionary child, is Hogan’s appreciation of Grace’s difficult transition from the China where she spent her first 32 years to the United States where her mental illness took flight.”
—Nancy Henderson-James, author of Home Abroad: An American Girl in Africa
Grace Woodbridge Roys suffered from bi-polar disease before it was well understood. Her daughter feared that her children would also suffer mental illness. This annotation of Grace’s diary opens the early 1900s missionary world in China and the personality of Grace to the reader.
In December, 1910, Grace married Harvey Curtis Roys, who was teaching physics at Kiang Nan government school in Nanking, under the sponsorship of the YMCA. Grace had had a mental breakdown weeks earlier when her missionary father forbade the marriage. The diary records their early married life, the births of their first two children, their social life with other missionaries in China, many of whom made major contributions to Nanking life and education: medical doctors and nurses; theology professors; agricultural innovators; founders of universities, hospitals, nursing schools, and schools for young Chinese women and men. Included is their experience evacuating during the Sun Yat-sen Revolution of 1911. Well-known missionaries of that time came to tea and taught at the Hillcrest School the mothers began for foreign children. The Nanyang Exposition took place in 1910, too, as China was in the throes of entering the modern era, with trains, electricity, telegraph, and a new interest in democracy.
Judy Hogan was co-editor of a poetry journal (Hyperion, 1970-81). In 1976, she founded Carolina Wren Press. She has been active in central North Carolina as a reviewer, book distributor, publisher, teacher, and writing consultant.
Her newest publication is Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16, which she edited and annotated, and Political Peaches, The Fifth Penny Weaver Mystery. Six other mystery novels are in print. She has published six volumes of poetry with small presses, including Beaver Soul (2013) and This River: An Epic Poem (2014). Her papers and twenty-five years of extensive diaries are in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, Duke University. She has taught creative writing since 1974. Judy served as Chair of the North Carolina Writers' Network from 1984-87. She lives and farms in Moncure, near Jordan Lake.