Document Type

Finding Aid

Publication Date


Inclusive Dates--Span


Inclusive Dates--Bulk


Scope and Content Note

This collection contains letters, photos, and books related to William and Clara Bishop’s mission work for the Churches of Christ in Japan.

Biographical Note

The following biographical note was excerpted from

“Little is known about William Bishop’s childhood except that he attended Nashville public schools and served in an apprenticeship in the printing business before entering Nashville Bible School. He married Alice Davis, a young widow, and began planning to go to Japan. After he found that his efforts to fundraise money for their trip had not produced enough money, he and Alice determined to go as far as their funds allowed. Having made this decision, he received the necessary funds and even more for his planned printing work. Upon arrival in Japan, despite Alice’s sickly condition, they threw themselves into their work. Alice soon became sick and died only nine months after their wedding. Two year after her death, he began a correspondence with Clara Elliot, a former acquaintance, and by letter, they secretly made plans for marriage. He promised to return to the United States and marry her in the spring of 1902. Returning to Japan, Clara became his partner in the work which prospered. Bishop greatly desired to publish McGarvey’s Commentary on Acts in Japanese. Requests for funds were sent to churches in the States, but little was given. Determined to continue, Bishop gathered the necessary funds by selling his printing press and hiring himself out to the largest Christian publishing house in Japan. He distributed the commentary free of charge to Japanese evangelists of all denominations throughout the country and even made it available in Shinto temples and priests. In 1912, Bishop was diagnosed with tuberculosis and moved back to Los Angeles where he died later that year. Clara returned to the states with their two daughters to be with him in his last moments, but they arrived two days after his death. Clara and their daughters returned to Japan to continue their work for several more years. They returned to Texas where Clara began working at Abilene Christian College in 1921 as President Jesse P. Sewell’s and President Batsell Baxter’s secretary and dormitory hostess. Five years later she was named registrar of the college and served in that office until her retirement in June 1951. She moved to live with her daughter in Missouri in 1952 and later passed away in 1970.”

Donor Note

Mary Bishop Alredge


This collection was reboxed and reordered in order to match the finding aid previously created for it when it was added to the University Manuscripts.

Content List

See PDF finding aid for folder inventory.


Churches of Christ -- History -- 20th century Churches of Christ -- Japan Manuscripts



Extent of Collection

3 linear feet (Two boxes)

Manuscript Number

Center for Restoration Studies Manuscripts #347

Physical Location

Center for Restoration Studies

Use Restrictions

Open to researchers. Contact Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives to make an appointment.

Processing Status


Finding Aid created by

Diana Fleming, Brady Cox, Mac Ice, Amanda Dietz, Ashlen Planes

Subjects--Personal Names

Bishop, William James; Bishop, Clara; McCaleb, James Harding (1896-1982); Hiratsuka, Yunosuke


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