Cover for Vautrin: Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38. Click for larger image

Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing

Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38

A daily account of enormous courage and unthinkable horror during the Nanjing Massacre

In December of 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into China's capital city of Nanjing and launched six weeks of carnage that would become known as the Rape of Nanjing. In addition to the deaths of Chinese POWs and civilians, tens of thousands of women were raped, tortured, and killed by Japanese soldiers. In this traumatic environment, both native and foreign-born inhabitants of Nanjing struggled to carry on with their lives.

This volume collects the diaries and correspondence of Minnie Vautrin, a farmgirl from Illinois who had dedicated herself to the education of Chinese women at Ginling College in Nanjing. Faced with the impending Japanese attack, she turned the school into a sanctuary for ten thousand women and girls. Vautrin's firsthand accounts of daily life in Nanjing and the intensifying threat of Japanese invasion reveal the courage of the occupants under siege--Chinese nationals as well as Western missionaries, teachers, surgeons and business people--and the personal costs of violence in wartime.

Thanks to Vautrin's painstaking effort in keeping a day-to-day account, present-day readers are able to examine this episode of history at close range through her eyes. With detailed maps, photographs, and carefully researched in-depth annotations, Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38 presents a comprehensive and detailed daily account of the events and of life during the horror-stricken days within the city walls and in particular on the Ginling campus. Through chronologically arranged diaries, letters, reports, documents, and telegrams, Vautrin bears witness to those terrible events and to the magnitude of trauma that the Nanjing Massacre exacted on the populace.


"A powerful account. . . .This book will immediately communicate the severity of the massacre to a general audience. . . . The terrible psychological effects of the Japanese invasion on such a good-hearted person comes across vividly, and are difficult to forget."--The China Quarterly

"Through the harrowing stories of the victims, accounts of heroic confrontation with Japanese soldiers, and personal testimony, Minnie Vautrin's diaries provide a wealth of information on the Nanking Massacre. A close reading of her remarkable descriptions will help historians and students understand the tragic consequences of war from the vantage point of a civilian who worked helplessly to protect Chinese civilians from Japanese brutality."--Christian Henriot, author of Prostitution and Sexuality in Shanghai: A Social History, 1849-1949

"This diary is not only an important record of a tumultuous period of wartime Nanjing, but also a valuable document about the life of a female American missionary teaching in Republican China."--Daqing Yang, coeditor of Rethinking Historical Injustice and Reconciliation in Northeast Asia: The Korean Experience


Wilhelmina (Minnie) Vautrin (1886-1941), raised in Secor, Illinois, was a graduate of the University of Illinois and moved to China in 1912 to serve as a missionary and educator. Suping Lu is a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the author of They Were in Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals.

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