Kenneth S. Latourette

Kenneth S. Latourette books and biography

Kenneth Scott Latourette

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Born August 6, 1884
Oregon City, Oregon
Died December 26, 1968
Occupation History professor
Parents DeWitt Clinton Latourette and Rhoda Scott Latourette

Kenneth Scott Latourette (August 6, 1884 – December 26, 1968) was an American academic historian and historiographer who specialized mainly in the History of Christianity and the History of China.


Education and Academic Career

He was born in Oregon City, Oregon, the son of DeWitt Clinton Latourette and Rhoda (Scott) Latourette. In 1904, Latourette received a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He went from there to Yale, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1906 and a Ph.D. in 1909. In 1909 and 1910 he served as a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, and from 1910 to 1912 he was on the faculty of the College of Yale in China, Changsha, China, whence he was forced to return to the United States for health reasons. After recovering his health, he was Professor of History at Reed College, Portland, Oregon, from 1914 to 1916, and at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, from 1916 to 1921. From Denison he moved on to his alma mater, Yale, where he served successively as Professor of Missions (1921-1927), Professor of Missions and Oriental History (1927-1953, including periods as Chairman of the Department of Religion in the Graduate School, 1938-1946, and as Director of Graduate Studies in the same department, 1946-1953), and ultimately as Professor Emeritus from his retirement in 1953 until his death in 1968. In 1938 he received the Order of Jade from the Government of China.

Other Achievements

In 1918, while at Denison, Latourette was ordained as a Baptist minister. In addition to his professorial career, in the course of his life he held leadership positions in the American Baptist Convention and American Baptist Missionary Union, the American Historical Association, the Far Eastern Association, the International Board of the Y.M.C.A., the Japan International Christian University Foundation, the United Board for Christian Colleges in China, the World Council of Churches, and the Yale-in-China Association.


The single work for which Kenneth Scott Latourette is most remembered is the two-volume History of Christianity, which remains in print almost forty years after the author's death. However, most of the contents reflect the state of historical scholarship and knowledge as of the time of the first edition (1953). Equally if not more dated, but perhaps no less interesting, are his writings on China, such as The Chinese: Their History and Culture and The Development of China, and A History of Christian Missions in China. Other titles include Christianity in a Revolutionary Age: A History of Christianity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, The nineteenth century outside Europe: the Americas, the Pacific, Asia, and Africa, China, A History of Modern China, The Christian Outlook, and A Short History of the Far East.

Latourette's papers are archived in the Divinity Library Special Collections of the Yale University Library.


Gerald H. Anderson, "Kenneth Scott Latourette," Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. [1]

See also

Template:Protestant missions to China

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