The first Queen's-China connection
News of Queen’s University’s growing ties with China must be exciting for everyone, but for me it is impossible not to think of James Frazer Smith, MD’1888, DDiv’38.
Having been the first medical missionary sent to North China by the Missionary Association of Queen’s University in 1888, no one would be more gratified by the ever-expanding links in the Queen’s-China chain than he would, were he alive today.
His China experiences, along with those of his wife Minnie and their children—including Cameron, MD’1915, who was born at Cheroo—are a truly remarkable story that is related in his autobiography, Life’s Waking Part. Published in 1937, one year before he was honoured with a Doctor of Divinity degree from Queen’s, this account also details the unwavering and meaningful support he enjoyed from his fellow students, and most particularly from Principal Grant.
That was then. Today, James Frazer Smith appears to have been largely forgotten by Queen’s. The same cannot be said for academic discourse in general. In her 2008 book Healing Henan: Canadian Nurses at the North China Mission, 1888-1947, Dr. Sonya Grypma extols Smith as a courageous visionary who went against the tide in paving the way for Canadian nurses in China.
Clearly Queen’s has China roots which go much deeper than might be suggested by mention of the opening of the University’s office in China “back in 2007”!
Edward Smith, Arts’73, Ed‘74