Missionary Girls’ Schools Yearbooks in Republican China: Navigating Youth, Gender and Nation, 1917-1948
This thesis examines the yearbooks of two missionary girls’ secondary schools in Shanghai, the McTyeire School and St. Mary’s Hall, from 1917 to 1948. In response to the increasing Chinese nationalism, the female students from the two schools, who were mostly daughters from well-to-do elite Chinese families, started to publish annual yearbooks to record their thoughts and activities. This research investigates the advertisements, essays, fictional writings, and pictures in the yearbooks from both schools to analyze gendered self-expression among the female students during this period. Although the female students faced societal pressure to conform to women’s proper roles, they navigated divergent pressures emanating from nationalism, tradition, and idealized, allegedly modern, womanhood, and asserted their own ideals of independence and self-awareness in the space of the yearbooks.