Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Harriet Noyes' Arrival in Canton, China


Dublin Core


Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Harriet Noyes' Arrival in Canton, China


Anniversaries; Women missionaries; Missionaries; Students; Gifts


This typed piece, written by Hattie's close friend and fellow missionary, Electa M. Butler, recounts the celebration of her fifty years as a missionary in China, as well as some of her accomplishments during her time as a missionary. Electa specifically highlights the differences Harriet has made amongst female students.


Butler, Electa M.


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


[Note: Written in four columns, columns indicated by spaces between lines]
The Fiftieth Anniversary
of Miss Harriet Noyes'
Arrival in Canton,
The True Light Seminary has just
passed thru one of the most interesting
events in its history, viz. The celebration
of the fiftieth anniversary of Miss Noyes'
arrival in Canton, China. The Chinese
looked forward to the celebration
for months before the time. I was constant-
ly besieged to tell them what was pre-
cious enough to give to their dear Miss
Noyes. When told that she would not
wish them to spend so much money for
her, they said, "Oh, but we must--noth-
ing is too good for her."
Never have I witnessed greater enthus-
iasm over anything than was manifested
in their preparations to do honor to their
beloved Miss Noyes.
They took possesion of the lower rooms
in our dwelling, and soon they looked like
the apartments of an Egyptian princess,
filled as they were with cut flowers.
Every variety of Chrysanthemums and
lovely roses being in evidence. The walls
were covered with red and gold banners
on which were embossed felicitous in-
scriptions and the names of the donors.
On the floor and leaning against the
walls were beautiful panels incased in in-
laid pearl frames. The table and piano
were covered with costly gifts, conspic-
uous among them were brass trays and
bowls, silver articles, embroideries and
bric-a-brac. In a neat little case was a
medal from Governor Chue sent from
Peking. When he was in Canton last
year, he visited True Light and presented
Miss Noyes with a large panel on which
he wrote with his own hand, "Miss Noyes
is the Pan Koo from beyond the seas who
came to China to uplift her daughters."
Pan Koo was a famous woman who did
much for the women of her own country.
The school wished to give Miss Noyes a
dress worthy of the occasion, they pur-
chased a beautiful gray flowerd satin
with a faint tinge of green. Some of the
former pupils said, "She must have a long
fur coat to protect her from adverse
winds, an umbrella to ward off rain and
too much of the sun, and a camphor wood
chest to pack away the things from
moths." The very best of these articles
were presented to her. A tailor was em-
ployed to make the dress and coat and
when they saw her arrayed in them on
the days of the celebration their eyees
glowed with satisfaction.
My heart was deeply touched by the
love showered upon her. It seemed em-
inently fitting and lovely. It brought
to mind the Centurion, who called Jesus to
heal his servant, and the elders who he
sent, said to Jesus that he was worthy
for whom he should do this "for he loveth
our nation and hath buit a us a syna-
gogue." Miss Noyes has given her life to
the women and girls of China. She has
never spared herself. She is worthy of
of their love and gratitude, and I was
glad to see them pour it upon her
without stint.

[Note: In pencil Jan 14, 1868]
Letters were sent out to as many of
the pupils of former years as could be
reached, inviting them to return for the
celebration. One floor of the True Light
building was set aside for their accommo-
dation. It was truly inspiring to see
their faces once more. No longer young
and girlish but bearing the marks of deep
experience along life's journey.
Monday. Jan. 14th, the day Miss Noyes
arrived in Canton (fifty years ago) a great
meeting in her honor was held in the
Second Presbyterian Church of Canton
The auditorium was beautifully decorated
with flowers, flags and banners.
On the rostrum Miss Noyes sat be-
tween representatives of the Chinese
government and the United States Consul
Keintzleman. Speeches from these gen-
tlemen were interpreted by Rev. James
McClure Henry. Mrs. San, who came to
the school in its infancy and has been
connected with it as scholar and teacher
every since, gave history of its growth
from year to year.
Rev. William Dean Noyes was on the
program for an address, but unfortunately
was detained at home by sickness
Many letters of congratulation were
sent in and read to the audience. Miss
Noyes responded in her happy easy way.
The students then rose and sang.
Have you never heard of True Light
That's a shame, that's a shame
If you never heard of True Light
You're to blame, you're to blame
Don't take a map for we're on the map
We're here to prove it, what a snap.
Oh, Miss Noyes is the founder
Don't you know, don't you know
Right in the city of Canton
Yes it's so, yes it's so
We learn to know and love our fellow men
For Miss Noyes has taught us and she can.
(This was modeled after a Mt. Holyoke song.)
In the evening the grounds in front of
our dwelling were packed with people to
witness a play given by the students to
represent the changes in the five decades.
It was greatly appreciated. It seemed
wonderful to me when I remembered that
scarcely twenty years ago it was almost
impossible to induce a girl to speak above
a whisper and in dialogue they were
stiff and unnatural. In this short time
they have acquired ease, grace and re-
sourcefullness. The evening closed with
beautiful fire works. In one piece, a star
Miss Noyes' face appeared.
Second Day Jan. 15, 1918.
Our school accompanied us across the
Pearl River to our fine new building. The
location is called "The White Crane's
Nest." Our dear girls who left us to enter
this higher grade welcomed us and showed
us every attention into their power. It was
a mutual joy to be together again After
going over the building we sat down to
luncheon. While partaking of lunch, lit-
tle congratulatory speeches were made
and twice the students rose and sang,
songs in which Miss Noyes' name was
mentioned several times.
At 2 P. M. the large Assembly Hall
was packed with students and guests. On
the rostrum sitting at Miss Noyes' right
and left were representatives from all the
Christian Schools in Canton. The exer-
cises consisted of speeches, songs and

music discoursed by the band. One very
beautiful song was the Alumnae sung to
Miss Noyes. I have not the translation
here, but the last lines were: "Hurrah,
hurrah we are True Light scholars Miss
Noyes, Miss Noyes."
One woman in the audience was found
to be one of the first four pupils who came
to the school. There was also one of the
second year’s pupils present. These two
were brought forward to the rostrum amid
deafening applause.
From the second story verandas we
witnessed a fine Calisthenic drill. The
girls formed the figures 1868 the year of
Miss Noyes’ arrival in Canton, and 1918
the present year. Standing in line they
1868 that was the year she came
1918 she’s workiug just the same
Half a hundred years has given her fame
Oh who is she? and who is she?
Miss Noyes is her name.
Keeping in step they went thru the mo-
tions of sowing the seed, watering it,
weeding, harvesting it and gathering it
in. This was intended to be symbolic of
what Miss Noyes has done.
They marched off the g ound to the
music of the band in five rows. Each girl
produced a square piece of paper which
she carried over her head. The first row
was red, the second row was yellow, the
third row was blue, the fourth row was
white and the fifth row was black. Thus
was formed the Chinese national flag.
As we watched them we recalled the
time more than thirty years ago when we
introduced calisthenics in the school.
What hard, uphill work it was. At first
the scholars refused to take them, and
their parents said they were afraid it
would loosen their bones. So we bided
our time until common sense came to the
rescue, and now behold the fruit of our
A most interesting feature of the after-
noon’s exercises was the unveiling of the
memorial tablet, presenting to the women
of China the fine new building of the True
Light, given by the generous donor in
memory of her own and her husband's
mother, Martha and Mary. The inscrip-
tion on the beautiful tablet is in the
words—"To the glory of God and in the
memory of Martha M. Barber and Mary G.
Marr of America. Who like Martha ana
Mary of Bethany loved the Lord Jesus
and strove to make their homes His abid-
ing place. These two buildings are
rected by a daughter, and hereby dedi-
cated to the women of China.” It seems
that new blessings must come to the True
Light with the gift thus given by one of
the Lord’s own in memory of two other
chosen ones who have entered into their
inheritance and are “ever with the Lord.”
It was felt by all that it was a most hap-
py addition to the pleasure of the occas-
ion that Mrs. Barber’s niece, Miss Margaret
Maun, was present and unveiled the tablet
and in fitly chosen words, presented it to
the women of China.
The gift which we hope will mean so
much in the future to China’s daughters
was received in their name by Miss San
a former student of True Light, and now
a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College, and a
member of the faculty of True Light.
Thus ended two wonderful days, Janu-
ary 14 and 15, 1918.

One of the speakers said that a degree
should have been conferred for fifty years
of such service, but Miss Noyes said ofter-
wards that the highest degree that the
very highest institution could give would
not be a thousandth paat as precious as
these two davs and the memory of the
love and appreciation expressed.
We both thought of the Society at
home which has kept so closely in touch
with the True Light since its establish-
ment in 1872.
The True Light was one of the first
special objects taken up bythe Mission-
ary Society of Philadelphia. The first
letter received from the foreign field by
the Philadelphia Board in 1871 was from
Miss Noyes telling of the plan to open the
school for women and girls, and asking
the Womens’ Board to take up the sup-
port of the school, which they did, mak-
ing the True Light Seminary one of the’
very first special objects of the Philadel-
phia Board.
This sketch would not be complete, if
I failed to speak of the banquet given to
Miss Noyes vy the Presbyterian Mission
Tuesday evening, Jan. 18th. The tables
were beautifully decorated with roses and
lighted by candles only, They were set in
the form of H. N. The missionaries long-
est on the field were placed nearest Miss
Noyes. The others marched in to music
and sat down where they happened to be
when the music ceased. They looked
very pretty coming in. In front of Miss
Noyes was a very large cake ornamented
with flowers and fifty candles, Rev.
James McClure Henry was Toast Master.
There were many good stunts as the even-
ing progressed and all united in pronoun-
cing the banquet a grand success.
At the close of our annual mission
meeting Jan. 17th, Rev. James McClure
Henry, the chairman, rose and said; “You
will all, I know, unite with me in giving
honor to the first lady in the
land (applause) and wish to show your
apprcciation of her many years of, faith-
ful service.” He then on behalf of the
mission presented to her a beautiful long
silk quilted robe, expressing the hope
that its warmth and comfort might often
remind her of their affection fer her,
Miss Noyes in response said that she
had recently read of an occasion when
some of Gen. Grant’s friends decided to
give him a loving cup. They selected one
of his friends. a comrade in arms, to pre-
sent this gift. When the time came for
the presentation, all gathered round, ex-
pecting to hear some interesting reminis-
cences, but the old soldier, taking the cup
in his hand, said to the General, ---‘‘Here’s
the cup," and the General responded
with “Thank you.”
Realizing that the time had come in
the course of the Mission meeting when
words should be few (applause), the dis-
cussions had been unusually lengthy, she
wished in a few words to say, how over
whelming the many beautiful gifts
received and kind words spoken, had
been, and felt that they should be justly
shared with others who had been asso-
ciated with her in the work. She wished
for each one of those present, fifty years
of service on the Mission field, and that
their fiftieth anniversaries might be as
happy and frought with as many precious
memories as her own had been.
Electa M, Butler.

Original Format



Butler, Electa M. , “Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Harriet Noyes' Arrival in Canton, China,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed May 19, 2022, http://noyesletters.org/items/show/1058.

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