W. P. Mills

Based on: “Wilson Plumer Mills”, 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: 10/07/2019

Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library

Wilson Plumer Mills was born on December 1, 1883 in Winnsboro, South California. In 1903, he received a B.A. from Davidson College in North Carolina and in 1910 from Oxford University.
Two years later he obtained a B.D. from Columbia Theological Seminary. 

Mills served under the YMCA in China for the next 19 years (1912-1931). In 1933, he began working for the Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board in Nanjing. Mills was one of the founding members of the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone and was appointed Vice Chairman on November 22, 1937, the day of the Safety Zone’s inception. When John Rabe left Nanjing on February 23, 1938, Mills took his place as Chairman. 

Mills was very active in writing protest letters to the Japanese and American embassy, in which he complained about the atrocities committed by the Japanese army. He stayed in China until he was detained by the Japanese in February 1943 and was repatriated. He returned to China in 1944 and worked in Chongqing and Shanghai until 1951. Mills passed away on February 26, 1959.

Testifying and Contesting War Experiences in China and Japan