Lewis S. C. Smythe

Based on: “Lewis S. C. Smythe”, Yale University Library: Divinity Library
Suping Lu, They Were in Nanjing. The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals. Hong Kong 2004
Thomas Rabe, John Rabe. Sein Leben, seine Zeit. Heidelberg 2009

Last updated: 07/10/2019

Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library

Lewis Strong Casey Smythe was born on January 31, 1901 in Washington D.C. While he studied at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, he met his future wife Margret Garrett. Garrett was an American born in Nanjing, China. After receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1928, he was appointed to Nanjing University by the United Christian Missionary Society of Indianapolis, Indiana. He worked as a Professor of Sociology until 1951.

In 1937, Smythe  became Secretary of the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone. Together with Rabe, he started a campaign of protest letters to the Japanese Embassy. For the first six weeks of the occupation, they filed nearly two protests a day.
Smythe left Nanjing in July 1938. He reunited with his family and resumed teaching in Chengdu, Sichuan province, where Nanjing University had been relocated. In 1951, the Smythes moved back to the United States. While he was unable to attend the International Military Tribunal himself, Smythe submitted written testimony. He died on June 4, 1978.

He wrote the report: War Damage in the Nanking Area, December 1937 to March 1938.  Shanghai: Mercury Press 1938.

Testifying and Contesting War Experiences in China and Japan