Beach, Harlan Page (1854-1933)
American mission scholar
Beach was born in Orange, New Jersey, and graduated from Yale University (B.A., 1878) and Andover Theological Seminary (B.D., 1883). He served from 1883 to 1889 as American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions missionary in North China, where he taught in a high school and seminary in Tung-chau and founded one of China’s first YMCAs. He returned to the United States because of his wife’s ill health. Working under the direction of John R. Mott he became educational secretary of the Student Volunteer Movement in 1895, with responsibility for a program of missionary education for students in colleges and seminaries. He served on the executive committee and was chairman of the exhibit committee of the Ecumenical Missionary Conference at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1900. His work as a statistician and compiler of atlases of foreign missions, his major contribution to scholarship, began during this period with the publication of A Geography and Atlas of Protestant Missions (vol. 1, 1901; vol. 2, 1903). In 1906 he became the first professor of missions at Yale Divinity School, and from 1911 he was also librarian of the Day Missions Library at Yale. At the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, Beach reported to the commission on “The Preparation of Missionaries” that Yale had the largest collection of missionary literature in America. His greatest achievement at Yale was the expansion and development of the Day Missions Library, which greatly facilitated the work of his successor, Kenneth Scott Latourette. Beach traveled frequently to visit overseas mission fields in connection with his teaching and research. His other major scholarly works were World Atlas of Christian Missions (1911), with James S. Dennis and Charles H. Fahs, World Statistics of Christian Missions (1916), with Burton St. John, and World Missionary Atlas (1925), with Charles Fahs. After retirement from Yale in 1921, he was lecturer in missions at Drew University Theological School until ill health caused his permanent retirement in 1928.
Gerald H. Anderson, “Beach, Harlan Page,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 49-50.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Beach, Harlan P. The Cross in the Land of the Trident. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell, [c. 1895].
_____. Knights Of The Labarum; Being Studies In The Lives Of Judson, Duff, Mackenzie And Mackay . New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1896.
_____. “James Gilmour, ‘Brave’ Missionary to the Mongols, 1843-1891.” In Modern Apostles of Missionary Byways by Augustus Charles Thompson, William Pakenham Walsh, Simon James Humphrey, Harlan Page Beach, Abbie B. Child and Arthur Tappan Pierson, 46-70. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1899.
_____. New Testament Studies in Missions. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1899.
_____. Protestant Missions in South America. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1900.
_____. A Geography and Atlas of Protestant Missions: Their Environment, Forces, Distribution, Methods. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1901-1903.
_____. Dawn on the Hills of T’Ang; or, Missions in China. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1903.
_____. Princely Men in the Heavenly Kingdom. New York: Young People’s Missionary Movement, 1903.
_____. India and Christian Opportunity. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1904.
_____. “Introduction.” In The Evolution of a Missionary: A Biography of John Hyde DeForest, for Thirty-Seven Years Missionary of the American Board, in Japan. Charlotte B. DeForest, 3- 5. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1914.
_____. Renaissant Latin America; An Outline and Interpretation of the Congress on Christian Work in Latin America, held at Panama, February 10-19, 1916. New York: Missionary Education Movement of the United States and Canada, 1916.
_____. Missions as a Cultural Factor in the Pacific: A Paper Prepared for the July 1927 Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations. New York: American Group; Institute of American Relations, 1927.
Beach, Harlan P. and Frank Knight Sanders. The Presentation of Christianity in Confucian Lands: The Report of a Committee Appointed by the Board of Missionary Preparation: Presented at the Seventh Annual Meeting in New York, December, 1917. New York: Board of Missionary Preparation, 1917.
Dennis, James S. and Harlan P. Beach, et al. World Atlas of Christian Missions; Containing a Directory of Missionary Societies, a Classified Summary of Statistics, an Index of Mission Stations, and Maps Showing the Location of Mission Stations Throughout the World. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1911.
World Missionary Conference. The Findings of the Continuation Committee Conferences held in Asia, 1912-1913: Arranged by Topics: with General and Chapter Introductions by Harlan P. Beach. New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1913.
Beach, Harlan P. and Charles Fahs. World Missionary Atlas; Containing a Directory of Missionary Societies, Classified Summaries of Statistics, Maps Showing the Location of Mission Stations Throughout the World, a Descriptive Account of the Principal Mission Lands, and Comprehensive Indices. New York: Institute for Social and Religious Research, 1925.
Beach, Harlan P. and Burton St. John. World Statistics of Christian Missions; Containing a Directory of Missionary Societies, a Classified Summary of Statistics, and an Index of Mission Stations throughout the World. New York: The Committee of Reference and Counsel of the Foreign Missions Conference of North America, 1916.
Myklebust, Olav Guttorm. The Study of Missions in Theological Education: An Historical Inquiry into the Place of World Evangelisation in Western Protestant Ministerial Training with Particular Reference to Alexander Duff’s Chair of Evangelistic Theology. Vol 2. Oslo: Egede Instituttet, 1957, esp. 80-84, 314.
Stanley, Brian. The World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh 1910. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009, esp. 47, 60-3.
From the Yale Divinity School Library’s Finding Aid Database: “Guide to the Beach Family Papers” (1858-1961), created by David Nelson Beach (1848-1926). Includes timeline of the life of Harlan Beach. From the database summary of the guide: “The papers document various aspects of the lives of brothers David Nelson Beach and Harlan Page Beach, including their student days at Yale (1868-1878), Harlan’s work in North China (1883-1890), David’s work as a clergyman and with the Anti-Saloon League while in Cambridge, Minneapolis and Denver. David Nelson Beach, 1848-1926, was a prominent Congregational clergyman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Denver, Colorado and was active in temperance reform. He was president of Bangor Theological Seminary from 1903-1921.”
An introduction to the Day Missions Library of the Yale University Divinity School Library