Part I


August 6, 1884 in Oregon City, Oregon; DeWitt Clinton Latourette' wife, Rhoda (Scott) gave birth to their boy, Kenneth Scott. Twenty years later he would be starting his career in Academia with his Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

Two years after entering Yale University in Saybrook, Connecticut, he received his Bachelor of Arts, and from there in 1909, he was holding his Doctorate in Philosophy. The following year he was Yale's Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Mission's Traveling Secretary.

1910, another year later, Kenneth Latourette was experiencing China in what would become a profound influence on his life's work, where he kept a diary of his experiences there. But his employment as a Faculty member in Ghangsha, for the College of Yale, was cut short by illness; and he was compelled back to the United States in 1914.

Part II

Kenneth Scott Latourette could now enjoy the title of Professor from here on, just the first of many leadership honors he would have as he accepted this position in 1914 at Reed College in their History Department in Portland, Oregon. He remained here until he became in 1916, Denison University's History Professor in Granville, Ohio. It was here that he published:


  • The History of the Far East, a Neglected Field"; The History Teacher's Magazine, 1916
  • "The History of Early Relations Between The United States and China", 1784- 1844; Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. XXII, 1917
  • "China, the United States and the War" ; The League of Nations, 1919
  • "Japan and Christian Missionaries to China" The Chinese Recorder, 1919

Part III

He was ordained in 1918 to the Baptist ministry, and he returned to Yale to become Professor of Missions in 1921. During this tenure he published the following:


  • "Chinese Historical Studies During the Past Seven Years" American Historical Review 1921
  • "China Under the Republic" Institute of International Education 1921
  • "The Proving of Isabel M. Grover" Linfield College Bulletin Supplement 1922
  • "Impressions of Some Present Tendencies in the Christian Movement in China" The Chinese Recorder 1922
  • "Roman Catholic and Protestant Missions in China: Some Comparisons" The International Review of Missions 1926

In 1927 he became Professor of Oriental History as well as remaining Professor of missions. He Received the Chinese Government's Order of Jade in 1938. From this year until 1946 he was the Chairman of the Yale Department of Religion Graduate School, from which point he was its Director until 1953. His published works from this period:


  • "Boards and Missionaries: Suggestions Toward an Understanding" in The Chinese Recorder
  • 1927
  • "Voyages of American Ships to China, 1784-1844" in Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 1927
  • "A Missionary's Relation with Fellow-Westerners" in The Student Volunteer Movement Bulletin 1927
  • "What Must We Do if our Christian Colleges are to be Christian?" in Christian Education 1927
  • "An Appreciation of Non-Christian Faiths" in The World Tomorrow 1928
  • "On Keeping Intellectually Alert" in The Student Volunteer Movement Bulletin 1928
  • "Far Eastern History in the World History Course in High School" in The Historical Outlook 1929
  • "Christian Missions in China" 1929
  • "The Lamen's {sic} Foreign Missions Inquiry: The Report of its Commission of Appraisal" in The International Review of Misisons 1933
  • "Japan: Suggested Outlines for a Discussion of Japan, her History, Culture, Problems, and Relations with the United States" in Japan Society Syllabus 1934
  • "The Decisive Question Before Protestant Missions" in The Chinese Recorder 1935
  • "The Christian Association and the Foreign Missionary Enterprise" in Some Annals of the Yale Christian Association 1937
  • "Far Eastern Studies at Yale" in Amerasia 1938
  • "The Madras Conference of the International Missionary Council" in The Crozer Quarterly 1939
  • "In Determining its Character" in The Evanston Series 1941
  • "New Perspectives in Church History" in The Journal of Religion 1941
  • "The Christian Church in the Last Seventy Years" in American Historical Association, Annual Report 1942
  • "Samuel Wells Williams" in Far Eastern Studies 1943
  • "Problems Confronting Christian Missionaries in the Far East" in Pacific Affairs 1948
  • "Troubled Times for Religion" in The Yale Daily New Review of the Year 1951

From 1953 until his death at his old hometown of Oregon City, he held the prestigous honor of Professor Emeritus at Yale, and this is when one of his most notable achievements was released in a two book form, his A History of Christianity, Volume I: A.D. to A.D 1500, and Volume II: A.D. 1500 to A.D. 1952 (to 1975 in later revisions by Ralph D. Winter). It has a 6000 item index, more than a dozen hundred pages totalled together. He is listed under the authors' line as "Sterling Professor of Missions and Oriental History and Fellow of Berkeley College in Yale University. He informs us his intent in the Preface:


At best the historian can only record what has thus far occurred within history. If he could see in detail what is to come and what and when the culmination is to be he could ventur on interpretation with greater assurance. As it is, the full pattern is not yet perceived and for much of it can only offer conjectures. We are reminded that both knowledge and prophecy shall be done away and that now we see as in a mirror, darkly. A profound Christian conviction is that only faith, hope, and love endure. These can be a matter of history, but we cannot understand the past fully because not yet has history been completed nor the final outcome seen of that love which the Christian believes to be the dominant characteristic of God Who made all this vast universe and Who continues to work in it.

Other books that are in print are:


  • The Chinese: Their History and Culture
  • Christianity in a Revolutionary Age (5 volumes)
  • Christianity Through the Ages
  • The Gospel, The Church, and the World
  • A History of Christian Missions in China
  • A History of Early Relations Between the United States and China
  • A History of Japan
  • A History of the Expansion of Christianity (7 volumes)
  • A Short History of the Far East
  • The Yale University Library, Divinity Special Collections has the more than an hundred of his writings: letters, manuscripts, and other papers. The list of Kenneth Scott Latourette's Offices he led is impressive:


    • American Baptist Convention and Foreign Mission Society
    • American Historical Association
    • Far Eastern Association
    • International Board, Y.M.C.A.
    • .
    • Japan International Christian University Foundation
    • United Board for Christian Colleges in China
    • World Council of Churches
    • Yale-in-China Association
    • Sources: Yale University Library (online)
      A History of Christianity'Also Available' page, 'Other books by Kenneth Scott Latourette', and the 'Forward' and 'Preface', Harper & Row, Pub. S.F. 1975

      Notes: The inspiration of Professor Lateroutte influenced me for a decade since I used his A History of Christianity for a reference whilst writing several papers on doctrine, and I needed the historical background. He did more than that, he made the people come alive, and put you in the environments where upheaval was part of the growing pains of Christianity, which I am unashamed to say I am in love with. His perspective increased that passion. Other writers would be: J. Barton Payne, Alister E. McGrath, and Dr. Ryrie.



















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