Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church

Manuscript Collections :
Synthetic Collections :

James Augustine & Pauline Herron (Smith) McAlpine

Manuscript Collection #021
Boxes #318-326 and 501-506

Content Summary:

Span dates: 1882-1984 Size: 11.25 cu. ft. (15 boxes)

Access: This collection is open to researchers.

Preferred citation:
James A. and Pauline H. McAlpine Manuscript Collection, PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

Related Collections:
Manuscript collections of William A. & Aurine W. McIlwaine; R. Heber McIlwaine; and John M. L. Young. Also the Japan Missions Library

James Augustine McAlpine
[14 September 1905 – 20 May 1982]

Links to the finding aids within this collection :

Box 318 -Biographical and autobiographical materials on the life of James H. Ballagh, maternal grandfather of the Rev. McAlpine; Family correspondence; Correspondence with the PCUS Board of World Missions; News clipping files.

Box 319 -Correspondence files including McAlpine family, Japan Mission (PCUS), church and individual supporters, U.S. Navy Language School,
Darby Fulton, W.A. McIlwaine, Frank Sapp, and others.

Box 320 -Includes McAlpine family history materials and genealogical tree, Japan Mission (PCUS) documents and Bulletins, Japanese correspondence files and Japanese materials used in the Japan Mission.

Box 321 -Joint Committee on Evangelism, Minutes and other materials; Correspondence; Missionary newsletters; Napkin Project materials; miscellaneous documents in Japanese.

Box 322 -Notable materials include Annual Reports for the Japan Mission, The Presbyterian Survey, a family history by Frank Herron Smith, and scrapbooks kept by Rev. McAlpine.

Box 323 -Family correspondence, 1975 - 1983, and Trinity Times newsletters from Trinity Church, Asheville, NC.

Box 324 -Diaries of Pauline Herron (Smith) McAlpine, 1908 - 1983. Some years are missing.

Box 325 -This box contains miscellaneous artifacts, artwork and gifts given to the McAlpines.

Box 326 - James A. McAlpine Photograph Collection

Box 501 - 506 -These boxes contain Minutes of the Japan Mission, 1950 - 1971 and histories of Kinjo College, Seoul Foreign School and Reformed Theological Seminary.

Biographical Sketch: James Augustine McAlpine was born on 14 September 1905 in Nagoya, Japan to the Rev. and Mrs. R.E. McAlpine. His maternal grandfather, the Rev. James H. Ballagh, was one of the first four Presbyterian missionaries to enter Japan in 1858. Thus he was a third generation missionary to Japan.

[In a letter dated 27 January 1981, Rev. McAlpine wrote a brief history of his family's involvement in missions to Japan: "...My grandfather, Rev. James Hamilton Ballagh, D.D., went to Japan in 1861 as the first missionary of the RCA to go directly from the USA. One or two others had already arrived having been transferred over to Japan from China. As a result of Dr. Ballagh writing to the Presbyterian Church, U.S. asking for help, my father was sent out in 1885, and married Anna Ballagh (my mother) in 1887. Ballagh turned over to Dad all the work in the Aichi-Gifu-Nagano areas which he had been doing, and Dad developed that work thru the years until he retired in 1932. Then I arrived out there in the PCUS mission in 1935 and worked until 1975 (excluding the war years), in the same part of Japan."]

His education included Greenbriar Military School, Lewisburg, WV and Davidson College, where he earned the A.B. degree. From there he next attended Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI, graduating in 1935 with the Bachelor of Divinity degree.
On 18 August 1934 he married Pauline Herron Smith, who was herself the daughter of the Methodist missionaries to Japan, Dr. and Mrs. F.H. Smith. The newlywed McAlpines were commissioned by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS) to the Japan mission field on 7 June 1935 and set sail from San Francisco on August 20th that same year. From 1935 until 1941 they worked in Japan as evangelists until the rising tensions of war forced a return in January of 1941. Upon his return to the United States, Rev. McAlpine taught Japanese at the University of California, the University of Colorado and at the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mining College. During these same years he also translated F.B. Meyer's A Devotional Commentary into Japanese.
In 1947 Rev. McAlpine was able to return to Japan with his family and settled in the city of Gifu where he continued evangelistic work and church planting efforts along with a radio ministry. In 1952 the McAlpines
relocated to Nagoya where Rev. McAlpine began to work as the pastor of a newly organized congregation of the Reformed Church. Here he also served as the Director of Radio Evangelism for the PCUS Japan Mission. The radio program that he produced, "The Hour for Christ" was heard over five stations in Central Japan and was broadcast from Quito, Ecador and from Manila in the Philippines. His work in radio evangelism and as pastor continued for 23 years, during which time he also translated and published five books concerning Christian faith and life, as well a numerous articles in the monthly magazine produced under the auspices of the radio ministry. The Japanese government honored Rev. McAlpine with the Fourth Order of the Sacred Treasure in November of 1968 for his twenty years of service on the official boards of several schools in Japan.

In 1975, Rev. and Mrs. McAlpine retired to Weaverville, NC, where his attention then turned to a term of service as the business manager for The Presbyterian Journal, from 1975 - 1978. He also remained active in preaching, serving in this way nearly every Sunday up until the time of his death. A final literary effort was the translation from Japanese into English of a book covering 100 years of evangelism, as conducted by his grandfather, his father and himself. The book had been written by friends and co-workers in Japan and the work of translation was nearing completion at the time of his death. Final completion of the work was left to his daughter Jean.

James A. McAlpine died on 20 May 1982 at the age of 76, as the result of a heart attack. Funeral services were held at the Weaverville Presbyterian Church, Weaverville, NC, 21 May 1982.


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