Timothy Richard’s Vision: Education and Reform in China, 1880-1910

By Eunice V. Johnson and Carol Lee Hamrin (editor)

A study of the life and work of Timothy Richard, who played a key role in the development of higher education in late-19th- and early-20th-century China.

ISBN: 9780718893835


The Welsh Baptist missionary, Timothy Richard, served for over forty years in China from 1870 and became a household name among educated Chinese. Largely forgotten for decades, his amazing life is reintroduced in this most welcome volume.

In 1880, Richard first articulated a vision for modern higher education as the basis for overall progress in China. His influence grew, along with high official honours, after 1891 when he became general secretary of the Christian Literature Society and continued as a leader in the Educational Association of China. By the mid-1890s, many Chinese scholars and officials began to embrace his expanding vision and approach to reform.

After the 1900 Boxer Uprising, Richard was invited by the Chinese government to represent Protestant missions, advising and mediating the settlement for the losses of life and property, especially heavy in Shanxi. Following his recommendation, which received Imperial approval by June 1901, the province paid a fine, but it was used to found a college of Western learning in its capital city. The Imperial University of Shansi (now Shanxi University), with Chinese and Western Learning Departments, overseen by Richard and the provincial governor as joint chancellors, was to serve as the model institution in a national system of modern higher education.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 208
Illustrations b&w

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Eunice V. Johnson began her educational career as a psychologist with South Carolina’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Commission for the Blind, and received her PhD from the University of Florida. Teaching English in Shanxi and Henan sparked her research on missionary contributions to education in China.

Carol Lee Hamrin served in the U.S. State Department as a China specialist, taught in Washington graduate schools, and has published widely.


Foreword by Ruth Hayhoe
Note on Romanization
List of Abbreviations

1. Reintroducing a Pioneer Missionary
2. Becoming a Practical Reformer, 1865-85
3. Refining the Reformer, 1885-91
4. Shaping China’s Reform Movements, 1891-1910
5. Fulfilling the Vision: The Imperial University of Shansi, 1901-10
6. Giving Honor Where Honor is Due

Afterword by Aisi Li
Author’s Biographical Sketch and Acknowledgments

1. Chronology of Timothy Richard’s Life
2. Compilation of Works in Chinese by Timothy Richard

Sources of Illustrations


Endorsements and Reviews

A touching book. While reading it, I have really felt the greatness of Timothy Richard in all that he did for China. I was inspired by his vision and mission and amazed at how vision can give meaning and purpose to life, whether there is endorsement from others or not. Richard’s vision drove him to an unknown land where he contributed all his life’s effort to education in its highest sense, leaving a significant legacy.
Wing On Lee, Dean of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore

This remarkable book reflects much sensitive research within a wider framework of cross-cultural dialogue across generations. Eunice V. Johnson has addressed her theme with diligence and insight, and the foreword by Ruth Hayhoe and afterword by Aisi Li add to its charm.
Mark Bray, UNESCO Chair Professor in Comparative Education, The University of Hong Kong

Timothy Richard’s Vision is a meticulously researched account of the life of pioneer Welsh Baptist missionary, Timothy Richard, with a focus on his contribution to education in China. It is an essential read for anyone interested in early twentieth century China or missionary history.
Elizabeth J Harris, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28, No 1