The Blough missionary letters and diaries from China are an invaluable resource to those researching Church of the Brethren history, along with those scholars studying the Western missionary endeavor in China in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They enhance other collections of Western missionary documents, such as those housed at Yale Divinity School, the Union Theological Seminary, and Harvard University. IN addition, the letters and diaries of Anna Blough provide information about Chinese people and events that may not be available in China, as well as offering general information about life in China at that time (1913-1922).
Anna V. Blough was born in 1885 near Waterloo, Iowa. She was baptized into the Church of the Brethren in 1989, and later attended Mt. Morris Academy and Bethany Bible School. In 1913 she sailed for China, where she served as a missionary at the Pingding station until her death from typhus on May 9, 1922.
Blough's service was part of the broader Church of the Brethren involvement in China, which began in 1906 when Daniel Long Miller traveled there for the General Mission Board to investigate possible sites. He stopped at Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shanghai; after returning home, he made his report to the board. In the fall of 1908, the board sent George and Blanche Hilton, Frank and Anna Crumpacker, and Anna Horning to China to begin the church's missionary work. After speaking with missionaries of other denominations, devoting themselves to prayer, and studying the Atlas of Missions by H.P. Beach, they selected Shanxi Province as their mission field. The Crumpackers opened the first mission station in Pingding on May 25th, 1910, and the Hiltons opened a second station in Zuoquan in June 1912. The Brethren missionary presence in China ended in 1951 following Mao's rise to power.