Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Grace Service papers
Date (inclusive): 1855-1957,
Date (bulk): bulk 1905-1954
Collection Number: BANC MSS 87/22 cz
Service, Grace, 1879-1954
Number of containers: 13 boxes, 1 oversize folder
Linear feet: 8.0
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, contain correspondence,
diaries, short stories and other writings, along with some family and personal papers, with
the bulk of the collection spanning the years 1905 to 1954.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite
and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must
be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University
of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as
the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from
the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See:
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of
digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
[Identification of item], Grace Service Papers, BANC MSS 87/22 cz, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
Golden inches: typescript, BANC MSS 81/29 c
Golden inches: the China memoir of Grace Service, BV3427.A1.S48.1989
John Service Papers, BANC MSS 87/21 cz
Caroline Schulz Service Papers, BANC MSS 99/237 cz
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
Young Men's Christian
Associations of China. National Committee
Daughters of the American
American Association of
China--Description and travel
China--Social life and
The Grace Service Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by John Stewart Service in
July 1986. Additions were made by Robert E. Service on February 24, 1999.
No additions are expected.
System of Arrangement
Arranged to the folder level.
Processed by Clayton Chan; revised and completed by Mary Morganti in December 2001.
Grace Josephine Boggs was born to William S. Boggs and Virginia Clarke of Independence,
Iowa on November 26, 1879. The family moved to San Bernardino, California, where Mr. Boggs
became a banker and Grace spent her childhood. She entered the University of California in
1898 and graduated in 1902. Grace was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and several literary
societies, and was active in the campus Y.M.C.A. Before graduation, she became engaged to a
classmate, Robert Roy Service, who was class president, an athlete, a member of Psi Upsilon,
and active in various honor societies and campus affairs. They both joined the Student
Volunteer Movement, declaring their intention to devote their lives to missionary work. Roy
was accepted by the Y.M.C.A. for its foreign work, and sent to the Y.M.C.A. at Purdue
University for training; Grace taught high school Latin. After Roy completed his training,
they were married in Independence, Iowa on June 30, 1904.
The International Committee of the Y.M.C.A. sent the young couple to Chengtu, Szechwan, in
far west China to establish Y.M.C.A. work in that developing center of new, "modern"
education. They arrived in Shanghai in late 1905 and reached Chengtu, their final
destination, in May 1906. Part of the 5-month journey was a tedious and slow trip up through
the Yangtze Gorges by Chinese junk, during which their infant daughter, Virginia, became
sick and, with no medical aid available, died.
Except for a home leave during 1915-1916, the Services resided in Chengtu from 1906 to
1921, and where sons, John Stewart (Jack), Robert Kennedy, and Richard Montgomery were born.
In 1921, Roy Service was sent by the Y.M.C.A. to open their work in Chungking, also in
Szechwan province. Grace, however, had developed a number of health problems, and in 1925
doctors for the Y.M.C.A. objected to her continued residence in the isolated and primitive
conditions that existed in Szechwan. The family was transferred to Shanghai, where they
resided until Roy died in October 1935. During their years in Shanghai, Grace served as a
member of the China National Committee of the Y.M.C.A. and was active in American and
international women's activities, including the American Association of University Women and
Daughters of the American Revolution.
After her husband's death, Grace lived with her youngest son, Richard, a member of the
staff of the American Consulate in Foochow, Fukien. Later, she lived with her eldest son,
John, an officer of the American Embassy in Peking, followed by another period with Richard
in Tsingtao, Shantung. In 1940, families of American official personnel in China were
advised by the State Department to return to the U.S. because of the threatening situation
between Japan and the U.S. Grace returned home in the late 1940s and took up residence in
Claremont, Calif. She was assigned a lot in Pilgrim Place, a developing retirement community
for missionaries and Christian workers, on which was built a small cottage of her own
design. Here she lived quietly until her death, following several strokes, on October 20,
Adapted from biographical information supplied by John Stewart
Scope and Content of Collection
The Grace Service Papers, 1855-1957, contain correspondence, diaries, short stories and
other writings, along with some family and personal papers, with the bulk of the collection
spanning the years 1905 to 1954.
The greatest quantity of correspondence is found in the detailed letters Grace wrote to her
mother from 1906 to 1931, as well as to her friend, Mabel Yard from 1923 to 1931. The
contents of her letters to family and friends vary from political events in China to family
affairs. The letters to Grace primarily discuss family matters, with most of the letters
from her son, Jack, and his wife, Caroline.
Service records her daily activities and feelings in her diaries, but the entries are not
very detailed and do not necessarily discuss events occurring in the mission or in China; in
fact, she does not always indicate in the diaries when she travels or relocates.
Service's stories, which are very detailed and descriptive, provide a unique insight into
China's culture and landscapes. Her notebooks include travel journals, poems, and quotations
copied from the books she read.