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Jacob N. Anderson

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Anderson, Jacob Nelson (1867–1958)

By Michael W. Campbell


Michael W. Campbell, Ph.D., is North American Division Archives, Statistics, and Research director. Previously, he was professor of church history and systematic theology at Southwestern Adventist University. An ordained minister, he pastored in Colorado and Kansas. He is assistant editor of The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia (Review and Herald, 2013) and currently is co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Seventh-day Adventism. He also taught at the Adventist International Institute for Advanced Studies (2013-18) and recently wrote the Pocket Dictionary for Understanding Adventism (Pacific Press, 2020).

First Published: December 12, 2022

Jacob Nelson Anderson was a pioneer Adventist missionary to China. He along with his wife, Emma, and sister-in-law, Ida Thompson, were the first official missionaries to China on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Jacob’s Chinese name is: 安得纯 (pinyin: Ān Déchún).

Early Life and Ministry

Jacob Nelson Anderson was born January 27, 1867, in Swerborg, Denmark, the son of Niels (1827-1916) and Karen (1834-1906) Anderson.1 His parents emigrated to America when he was eighteen months old. They settled in Poy Sippi, Wisconsin, where his parents converted to Adventism in the 1870s due to the labors of J. G. Matteson.2 At the age of 16, he was baptized by O. A. Olsen at the Wisconsin camp meeting. He worked on farms and taught part time while attending Milton College, where two of his older siblings, James Charles (b. 1861-1940) and Mary E. (1864-1913) were located, making it possible for him to graduate in 1892.3 Jacob also had three younger siblings: Libbie (1869-before 1880), Hans Peter (b. 1871-after 1962), and Benjamin Leland (1873-1962).

Following his graduation, Jacob began assisting evangelists in Wisconsin and first received a ministerial license in 1892.4 By late 1893 he was conducting his own evangelistic meetings, and in February-April 1894 he taught a ten-week course covering “language and such other common branches” at a special canvassing school.5 In 1894 Jacob was asked to assist B. G. Wilkinson, who was conducting an evangelistic series in Richland Center, Wisconsin, which resulted in fourteen converts.6 On December 22, 1896, Jacob married Emma Thompson, a Bible worker in the Wisconsin Conference.

Anderson was an evangelistic innovator. In 1897 he participated in evangelistic meetings in Madison, Wisconsin, where the first Adventist “tabernacle” was constructed. He described it as “a neat, convenient, and cheap house of worship.” It measured 24 feet wide by 40 feet long and 18 feet high at its peak, using a steel frame with two-inch posts.7 Another exciting development for the newlyweds at this time was the birth of their first child, Stanley Burton Anderson (1897-1980) on October 28, 1897, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Anderson also completed a Master of Science degree from Milton College that same year.

During his pastoral and evangelistic work, Anderson began to also study at the University of Chicago, pursuing his passions for biblical languages and church history. He discovered that with just a little bit more work he could earn a Bachelor of Divinity (the equivalent today of a Master of Divinity degree) after about three years of study. During this time, he published a significant article about the importance of understanding Hebrew poetry, a topic he would pursue the rest of his life as well.8 During the June 1899 Wisconsin camp meeting, J. N. Anderson was ordained to the ministry.9 At his ordination, I. H. Evans, from the General Conference, made a personal appeal for the Andersons to consider going to China as missionaries. That same summer he met Erik (1857-1925) and Ida (b. 1867) Pilquist who also encouraged him to serve in China. Then, in the summer of 1901, after Anderson completed his degree at the University of Chicago10—his dissertation was entitled “An Exegesis of Romans III:21-26”11—the Andersons attended the famous 1901 General Conference session, focused on institutional re-organization and the mission of the church. The earlier seeds planted by Evans bore fruit when the Andersons “offered ourselves and received an appointment for China.”12

Travel to and Early Ministry in China (1902-1905)

The official vote by the Foreign Mission Board approving the Andersons’ call occurred on October 29, 1901, whereby Jacob was appointed as the superintendent of the China Mission, and together with his wife, Emma, received missionary credentials.13 They arrived during the Boxer Rebellion, which killed an estimated 240 missionaries, making their coming to China “still problematic.”14 Yet, in the wake of this tragedy more opportunities were created for missionaries to come into China. Anderson believed that this whole “lamentable affair,” despite its sinister origins in the cosmic conflict, demonstrated God’s “ever unfolding and progressing” purpose of spreading the Gospel. 15

After 29 days travel across the Pacific Ocean, the Anderson family finally arrived in China on February 2, 1902.16 Upon arrival, they joined forces with Abram La Rue (1822-1903), an early self-supporting missionary, who did “ship missionary work,” sharing tracts and ministering to mostly English-speaking sailors. They found a Chinese teacher and began networking with Erik Pilquist (1857-1925), who agreed to meet them in Shanghai. The Andersons asked for reinforcements adding that there were plenty of opportunities for outreach.17

By July the Andersons found a home of their own, while La Rue continued to live in his home at 3 Arsenal Street, near the harbor, which was “very favourable for mission work for both soldiers and sailors.”18 The Andersons made some alterations and repairs to the home where they were living. They set up one room as a “public mission room” in which they could seat up to thirty or forty persons for worship. Some young men on the HMS Terrible also began to keep the Sabbath.19 The Andersons also continued to learn about Chinese culture and history, including a reference to what is today known as the Nestorian Stelle detailing the spread of Christianity to China in the seventh century.20 Jacob described how everything seemed backwards from what a westerner might expect. Learning new cultural norms included red “as a sign of rejoicing” for weddings and festal occasions, greeting people with two hands as a sign of respect, and learning how to properly greet people.21 Jacob furthermore tried to educate Adventists back in America about some of the significant technological contributions for which the West was indebted to the Chinese: gunpowder, the mariner’s compass, the printing press, porcelain, silk, and making paper.22

A highlight was the first Adventist baptism that occurred on March 1, 1902. Eight people made a public commitment that included seven sailors who were in the British Navy. They had learned of the Adventist message when William J. Young (d. 1941), a torpedo training officer, obtained Adventist literature just before his deployment. Gradually, he came to a conviction and held Bible studies on the HMS Terrible. When they arrived in Hong Kong, these young men continued to meet with Abram La Rue and were baptized by Anderson. As he described this historic occasion:

For several months they had been anxiously and patiently waiting for baptism, which was administered Sabbath, March 1. It was an ideal day, bright and warm. The place selected was a beautiful spot about two miles east of Arsenal Street, on the beach of Hong Kong Harbor, which is a part of the great Pacific Ocean. Here, about three o’clock in the afternoon, after a short song and prayer service, witnessed by several onlookers from the shore, the six sailor boys and one elderly man, who has lived in Hong Kong for several years, were buried with their Lord in baptism. Although Europeans, they seemed to be the firstfruits [sic] of the great spiritual harvest to be gathered from the great empire of China. It was a good day for us all—one long to be remembered.23

Within the first six months, the Andersons survived a strong typhoon that caused eighty fatalities in Hong Kong.24 They continued intensive language study and spent most of their time learning the New Testament in Chinese in order “to give us a Bible vocabulary,” making “it easier for us to speak of spiritual things.”25 He shared:

The Chinese language is very difficult, and our progress in learning it has been somewhat slow. However, we feel that we are making advancement, and that we shall be able in time to teach this people in their own tongue.26

A significant turning point occurred when Anderson went to visit Erik Pilquist in Honan. On February 14, 1903, Anderson baptized the first six indigenous Chinese converts, the fruit of Pilquist’s labors, in mainland China. Anderson made an appeal that it was not enough for Adventists to simply share the Adventist message to other Protestants, but they must intentionally reach all people groups, especially to those who were non-Christian.27 By early May 1904, Anderson had begun public meetings in Chinese. “It was a small beginning,” he wrote, “but it was a beginning, and has continued to grow until now we have a good attendance every night.”28

Life was not easy in China, as Anderson noted, with sweeping social and political changes. As was common at this time, Anderson identified China in Isaiah 49:12 as an ancient kingdom mentioned in the Bible. These “sons of Han” would become a “great Oriental giant that has last been aroused by the persistent and unwelcome intrusion of the Western barbarians, only to find his strength shorn and his many merciless enemies ready and eager to plunder and despoil.” As a result, these were “sad days” for China, ruled by a foreign dynasty “antagonistic to her best interests.”29

In 1904 the Andersons witnessed a series of crop failures, followed by drought and floods, that contributed to significant instability. Jacob furthermore noted how a wave of popular sentiment in favor of the west had quickly subsided. Despite this, “from the missionary standpoint” he remained hopeful, noting the millions of copies of the Bible made available thanks to missionary societies across China. Now was a pivotal time for the Adventist Church to send more missionaries he believed.30

This is the Chinese world—a great ancient empire—with abundant resources undeveloped, a population exceeding one fourth that of the entire race, thousands of whom are scattered to all parts of the Orient, and many to Western lands. With these facts before us, it is manifest that China, or the Chinese race, is one of the great, if not the greatest, missionary problems confronting us.31

A particularly exciting development was the arrival of Timothy Tay, a young man who was converted through the labors of Pastor Munson, who went to Amoy, China, for language study. While there, Tay contributed to the conversion of Keh Nga Pit (also known as Ziying Guo) (1865-1937). Together the two traveled to Canton in August 1904, where Anderson baptized Keh soon afterward.

It was his zeal [Pastor Keh] to reclaim Brother Timothy from Sunday desecration that led him to investigate the Sabbath question. It appears he made a hard fight, with all the scripture he could command, but when once he saw the light, the question of his position or reputation with the mission was nothing. After several days of Bible study, I baptized him, understanding that he would return to his former position in the school, where, under the guidance of the Spirit, which he testified he had received in new measure, he would endeavor to make the most of his influence to bring the truth to his fellow workers, and the students of his school; that when the mission should indicate a desire for him to resign, he would comply with their request, and consider himself free to disseminate the light he had received, in the name of the Seventh-day Adventist Mission.32

Emma and Jacob celebrated the birth of their second child, a daughter, who they named Karen Elizabeth (often nicknamed “Betty”), born March 29, 1904, in Canton. Jacob would work closely with Ida Thompson, the Wilburs, and Tidbury to help establish a new mission station, but first he would travel to the United States. Upon his return, he could report that thanks to his sister-in-law, Ida Thompson, they had started a school for girls (March 1904), a boys’ school (March 11, 1904), regular preaching services (May 1, 1904), and the publication of literature.33 Jacob would assist E. H. Wilbur and Tidbury with a short Bible and singing class each morning at the boys’ school.34 In January 20, 1905, Jacob left on a trip for five to six weeks to help establish some mission stations in Honan.35

Fundraising in the United States (1905)

In April 1905 the early workers in China gathered for a meeting to better coordinate efforts. At this meeting they agreed that J. N. Anderson would represent the workers in China at the upcoming General Conference session. Others who attended included Drs. Arthur & Bertha Selmon, Eric Pilquist, Karrie Ericksen, and Charlotte Simpson. They furthermore decided to locate the printing press, under Dr. Harry Miller’s leadership, at Shang Tsai and to begin printing literature in Chinese with hopes of soon starting a school.36

In 1905 the Andersons were able to travel back to the United States. Emma was pregnant with their third child as they attended the 1905 General Conference session, which began on May 11, 1905, in Takoma Park, Maryland. On the evening of May 17, 1905, Anderson gave the evening talk with a lengthy review of the missionary beginnings in China and a call for more resources and missionaries.37 He stated: “Our working force consists of twelve foreigners, all laboring in the Chinese, and for the Chinamen. These are assisted by nine native helpers.”38 As one person reported on his talk: “Elder Anderson brings good news from China, telling of the openings for our work in different places, and in languages which pave the way for reaching a large per cent of the people in that dark land of Sinim, from which, the prophet has said, some shall come in the gathering day.”39

After the General Conference session, Anderson participated in fundraising efforts with a goal to raise $3,000 for more permanent missionary living arrangements.40 This included stops at the Northern Union, Northern Illinois, and Wisconsin camp meetings in June 1905.41 By mid-August 1905 he was on his way across the Pacific Ocean on the steamship Tartar.42 They arrived back in Canton in time for Emma to give birth to their third child, Benjamin Neilson Anderson, on November 3, 1905.

Continued Mission Service in China

Upon Anderson’s return to China, he went with W. C. Hankins and Keh Nga Pit to establish an Adventist missionary presence in Amoy (Xiamen). In November they opened a small chapel in a village about twenty-five miles southwest of the city. Pastor Keh and the Hankins turned out to be an effective evangelistic team, and they began to lay plans to open a school in the spring of 1906.43 They also completed a new mission home, which allowed them to save the high cost of rent and provided a permanent mission headquarters. A significant milestone was reached in June 1906 when five Hakka believers were baptized.44

Between 1905 and 1906 China was swept up in the war between Russia and Japan. In addition to all the turmoil, there was a massacre of missionaries, riots at Amoy and Shanghai, and a wave of nationalistic sentiments against foreigners including boycotting American made goods.45 This created “indescribable intensity” with an “ominous unrest and suspicious foreboding.”46 Anderson added: “The national spirit of China is at once both antidynastic and antiforeign.”47 The ancient educational system was abolished. As things once again stabilized, there was a rush for western literature, the widespread growth of new newspapers, and a rush by western companies to build railroads.48 Jacob described it as “an intensely military as well as a commercial age.”49 Adventists, as pacifists, were emphatic that they must avoid any forms of nationalism or militarism, including avoiding military drills or marching in mission schools.50

From December 15-30, 1905, Anderson, working closely with E. H. Wilbur and Dr. Law Keem, helped organize the first Bible Institute convened at Canton, China.51 On the last Sabbath they had two baptisms followed by the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.52 Afterward, Anderson traveled north to Honan, China, where, from January 25-31, 1906, he met with missionaries—Harry Miller, Bertha and Arthur Selmon, Carrie Ericksen, and Charlotte Simpson, along with Eric and Ida Pilquist— located there. These latter meetings were meant to encourage the missionaries in the midst of so much social and political unrest. Together they laid plans for a general meeting of the workers in China the following year, in which they voted to ask the General Conference to send a church leader to give them “counsel and help.” They conclude by making sure they would be “well represented” at the forthcoming missionary conference in south China in May 1907, marking the hundredth anniversary of Morrison entering China.53 Anderson was happy to report that by the end of 1905, during the first three years of missionary work they had approximately fifty baptisms. Their chief priority, according to Anderson, was the training of “native helpers” as preachers, teachers, Bible workers, and printers.54

This means much, since our work in this field must be done largely by the native himself, though with the sympathetic counsel, and wise, but modest leadership of the foreign worker. Should the foreigner be driven out of the country, as many signs all about might lead us to believe may happen in the not distant future, the message would then, humanly speaking, rest entirely with the native believers, especially the workers. How important, then, that we carefully and thoroughly train a class of good workers, who, in turn, will bear the message forward!55

On the return trip J. N. Andereson tried to meet J. P. Anderson in Shanghai, who was expected to arrive as further reinforcements to these early missionaries.56 He would lead the way in opening up new missionary work for the Hakka people in Kong Mun (Kung Ming).57 Also of significance was the conversion of P. J. Laird and his wife, Dr. Emma Perrine-Laird, who had already trained as missionaries and learned Mandarin. They began missionary work in Chang-sha.58

Strategic 1907 Missionary Councils

The year 1907 brought two major conferences that were turning points in the development of Adventism in China. In early February 1907 most of the early workers met in Shanghai for a meeting to strategize and organize the Adventist missionary work in China. W. W. Prescott from the General Conference met with them, along with E. H. Gates who arrived in time for the end of the meeting. They made a number of significant steps that led to the organization of the work, the expansion and further development of publishing efforts, and the recruitment of more missionaries.

Of note was Anderson’s participation in a Protestant conference celebrating the centennial of Robert Morrison’s arrival in China. The meeting, held in Shanghai from April 25 to May 7, 1907, featured 1,170 representatives from a plethora of missionary organizations with an estimated 4,000 active missionaries serving an estimated 175,000 converts.59

A significant turning point was achieved in 1908 when additional missionary reinforcements arrived in response to the appeals made from the 1907 conference. These new missionaries helped to significantly expand the reach of Adventism in China. This included R. F. Cottrell and his wife, along with Pauline Schilberg, who went to Hunan to assist the Lairds.60 Also, in response to the council, Dr. H. W. Miller moved the Adventist publishing efforts to Shanghai— “the gateway to nearly all China and the highway of the Orient.”61 Miller would later be replaced by John J. (1863-1945) and Christine (1859-1944) Westrup, who continued the Adventist mission in Shang-tsai.62 In the meantime, Miller would lead a group of six other missionaries in establishing a significant Adventist missionary presence in and around Shanghai in what would become the primary missionary base from which further Adventist efforts would expand. Soon, the Roberts family from Pacific Press arrived. Mr. Roberts was a stereotype operator and Mrs. Roberts was an expert proofreader. Miller became editor of the Gospel Herald with Dr. A. C. Selmon and E. H. Wilbur as associate editors. In addition, H. H. Winslow was appointed the secretary and treasurer of the newly organized China Mission based out of Shanghai. Miller was also assisted by is aunt, B. Moultrup, who joined this new Adventist missionary “nucleus.”63

By 1908 Anderson noted that as a new revolution was underway that this was a time of opportunity. Although there were strong “anti-foreign” sentiments, it was also an opportunity for “self-government and self-direction.”64 Anderson also resisted efforts, begun at the centenary conference the previous year, at church federation between missionary societies.65 In Canton they held a quarterly meeting that maxed out the space in their rented chapel. He dreamed of the day when they would have a larger place of worship, so that they could invite people off the street to worship with them (a practice they did their first few years after they arrived). Together the group worshiped, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and then rented a house boat from which they baptized eleven more people.66

In 1909 J. N. Anderson attended the General Conference session in Takoma Park, Maryland.67 Afterward he stopped to attend meetings in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, New York, and College View, Nebraska.68 Anderson could report about the progress of the Adventist mission in China. He reported “steady and permanent” progress:

Four years ago our total force, besides native workers, was fourteen, located in the provinces of Honan and Kwang-tung; to-day we have thirty-seven, distributed in five provinces. Our force of Chinese assistants has increased from nine to forty. Then our foreign workers were making a beginning in but two Chinese languages; to-day we have workers whose knowledge of Mandarin, Cantonese, Amoyese, and Hakka, makes them efficient teachers of the message in those languages.69

J. N. Anderson returned to China while his wife continued to recuperate in southern California. By March 1910 he was in Pakhoi assisting with evangelistic meetings when the bubonic plague broke out. This made it extremely difficult to know how to best help “the stricken people” while not contributing to the spread of disease.70

One of Anderson’s last major initiatives, in light of the continuing push for Chinese autonomy and nationalism, was for more schools for “preparing young men and women as helpers” in spreading the Adventist message. The education and empowerment of local peoples would (1) multiply their efforts; (2) provide stability should missionaries be forced to leave; (3) recognize that foreigners can “never fully meet the Chinese people” and training local workers provided more permanence; (4) eventually foreign missionaries would be “supplanted, sooner or later, by the Chinese church” with the rising spirit of “independence” that was “sweeping over that empire;” (5) “every cause needs well-informed and intelligent advocates;” and (6) such schools would contribute to “the unification, the solidification, of all the work.”71

Unfortunately, the continued illness of his wife, Emma, necessitated Jacob’s return to the United States. When they returned to the United States, most of the Anderson’s records were unfortunately lost when he refused to pay duplicate freight charges.72 The September 15, 1910, issue of the Review, noted their disappointment that Emma was unable to sufficiently recover to return to mission service in China. It also noted that Jacob would now begin teaching at the Foreign Mission Seminary in Washington, D.C.73

College Teacher and Later Life

After serving in China, Jacob taught in the department of Biblical languages and religion at Washington Missionary College from 1910 to 1915. From 1915 to 1924 he was professor of Greek, Hebrew and missions at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. While at Union College he attended the 1919 Bible Conference. He gave a series of presentations on the Seven Trumpets and was one of the more active participants at that important gathering.74 He was concerned about providing clarity about the Trinity and doctrine of sin.75 Similarly, he was concerned about the double interpretation of prophecy. For example, the early church anticipation of Christ’s return and its later application just prior to Christ’s return.76 He argued that a key difference in interpreting Daniel 11 was the difference between predictive versus apocalyptic (historical) prophecy.77 During the final discussions about the relationship of Ellen White’s writings to the Bible, Anderson expressed concern about extreme views of Ellen White’s writings and that her writings not be considered an infallible interpreter or commentary upon Scripture.78 He believed as an educator that they must educate the church about inspiration. At the same time, he worried that if they did not, that they might be setting themselves up “for a crisis that will be very serious some day.”79 Overall he considered the 1919 Bible Conference “a very profitable meeting.”80

Anderson returned to teach at Washington Missionary College (1924-28). After Emma’s death in 1925, he married Daisy Belle Vincint (1872-1942), who was a Seventh Day Baptist and a classmate from Milton College. He also returned once again to teach at Union College (1928-1943) where, with his academic credentials, he became an asset as church leaders sought regional accreditation. His many years of teaching at Union earned him the affectionate title, “Union’s Grand Old Man,” as a consummate Christian educator, and a portrait of him with this title hung in the school’s library.81 His second wife felt somewhat of an outsider so she continued to reside in Milton, Wisconsin, and Anderson would visit her during the summers. Anderson arranged for Everett Dick and his family to take over his home on condition that he live with them, and he became a beloved member of their family.82 His candor about Ellen White’s writings, especially at the 1939 Educational Council with other college teachers, contributed to his being forced to retire.83 After his retirement, he was married for a third time in 1945, to the widowed Louise Moehr (Mohr) Stahnke (1879-1961). Anderson died in Lincoln, Nebraska, on February 23, 1958. He was buried in the Mauston-Oakwood Cemetery next to his first wife, Emma, located in Mauston, Wisconsin.84 A collection of diaries, correspondence, and other effects is located in the Heritage Room at Union College.85

Jacob and Emma Anderson served as the first official Seventh-day Adventist missionaries to China. Their pioneer work was remembered by Jacob as “the best and the most meaningful of my life.”86 Although illness prevented them from staying longer as missionaries, he took satisfaction in knowing that he could help to inspire and qualify a new generation of young people “to the work in the large, ripened harvest field of the Lord.”87 The remainder of his life would be spent in teaching young people, many of whom were inspired by his example, to go and serve as missionaries as well.


Anderson, Mrs. J. N. [Emma]. “China.” ARH, April 20, 1905.

Anderson, J. N. “The All-Comprehending Missionary Circle.” ARH, November 19, 1903.

Anderson, J. N. “Another Year in China.” ARH, February 23, 1905; The Present Truth, March 16, 1905.

Anderson, J. N. “’As Much as In Me Is.’” The Signs of the Times, August 13, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “Baptism in the Pearl River, Canton, China.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 27, 1907.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, April 22, 1902; [republished in The Present Truth, May 29, 1902].

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, May 6, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, July 8, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, December 14, 1905.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, April 5, 1906.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, April 19, 1906.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, November 12, 1908.

Anderson, J. N. “China.” ARH, December 24, 1908.

Anderson, J. N. “China During the Past Year.” The Signs of the Times, April 4, 1906.

Anderson, J. N. “China in the Light of Passing Events.” The Signs of the Times, March 16, 1904; Australasian Signs of the Times, May 2, 1904.

Anderson, J. N. “China Preparing for the Final Battle.” ARH, September 27, 1906.

Anderson, J. N. “China’s High Priest.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 2, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “China’s Empress Dowager.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 14, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “China’s Future.” ARH, May 27, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “Chinese Jews.” The Signs of the Times, October 10, 1906.

Anderson, J. N. “The Chinese World.” Australasian Signs of the Times, February 8, 1904.

Anderson, J. N. “Dialects of China” ARH, March 31, 1903.

Anderson, J. N. “Federation in China.” Signs of the Times [Australasian], January 4, 1909.

Anderson, J. N. “First Baptism in China: A Memorable Day.” The Missionary Magazine, May 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “Forty Recruits Called For.” ARH, Harvest Ingathering for Missions Special Issue, November 4, 1909.

[Anderson, J. N.], “From the Orient.” The Workers’ Bulletin, August 12, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “The Gospel in China.” ARH, August 5, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “The Hakkas.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 6, 1906; The Present Truth, January 3, 1907.

Anderson, J. N. “Hunan, China.” ARH, July 9, 1908.

Anderson, J. N. “The International Date-Line.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 12, 1905.

Anderson, J. N. Life Sketch Manuscript, General Conference Archives, ca. 1923.

Anderson, J. N. “The Macedonian Call” [dated September 19, 1904]. The Caribbean Watchman, January 1905.

Anderson, J. N. “Our Antipodes.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 4, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “Pakhoi, China.” ARH, August 11, 1910.

Anderson, J. N. “Protestant Missions in China.” ARH, October 28, 1902.

Anderson, J. N. “A Report of the China Mission Field.” ARH, May 25, 1905.

Anderson, J. N. “School Work in Mission Fields.” ARH, December 15, 1910.

Anderson, J. N. “The Shanghai Centenary Conference.” The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1907. (republished in ARH, October 10, 1907).

Anderson, J. N. “Sustentation Fund Application Blank.” August 2, 1928, General Conference Archives.

Anderson, J. N. “Victories for the Truth in China.” The Signs of the Times, August 19, 1907.

Anderson, J. N. “Wang’s Choice.” ARH, June 30, 1903.

Anderson, J. N. “What We Owe to the Chinese.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 22, 1902.

“Jacob Nelson Anderson obituary.” Central Union Reaper, May 6, 1958.

“Jacob Nelson Anderson obituary.” ARH, April 24, 1958.

“Jacob N. Anderson obituary,” Lincoln Star, February 24, 1958.

Onsager, Larry W. “J. N. Anderson’s China Diary.” Cord [Union College alumni magazine], Spring 1984.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Second revised edition. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996. S.v. “Jacob Nelson Anderson.”

Wilbur, E. H. “The Boys’ School, Canton, China.” ARH, March 23, 1905.

Wilbur, E. H. “Chinese Bible Institute.” ARH, April 12, 1906.


  1. For a genealogical tree, see:, accessed January 17, 1922.

  2. J. N. Anderson, Life Sketch Manuscript, General Conference Archives, ca. 1923, 1.

  3. Ibid.

  4. “Wisconsin,” ARH, July 26, 1892, 475; “Wisconsin Conference Proceedings,” ARH, August 2, 1892, 493.

  5. H. R. Johnson, “Wisconsin School,” January 9, 1894, 29.

  6. J. N. Anderson and F. W. Phelms, “Wisconsin,” ARH, October 9, 1894, 637; “Field Notes,” Signs of the Times, October 22, 1894, 796.

  7. J. N. Anderson, “The New Tabernacle,” ARH, May 18, 1897, 317.

  8. J. N. Anderson, “Hebrew Poetry,” ARH, September 21, 1897, 595-596.

  9. Wm. Covert, “The Wisconsin Camp-Meeting,” ARH, July 11, 1899, 448.

  10. J. N. Anderson, Life Sketch Manuscript, General Conference Archives, ca. 1923, 3.

  11. University of Chicago library catalog, accessed December 8, 2022, I’m indebted to Ed Allen for locating this source.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Foreign Mission Board Minutes, October 29, 1901, 34; November 3, 1901, 36.

  14. J. N. Anderson, “China’s Future,” ARH, May 27, 1902, 12-13.

  15. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, April 22, 1902, 13-14.

  16. J. N. Anderson, “First Baptism in China: A Memorable Day,” The Missionary Magazine, May 1902, 198.

  17. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, May 6, 1902, 19.

  18. See note, The Bible Echo, July 28, 1902, 247.

  19. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, July 8, 1902, 16-17.

  20. J. N. Anderson, “The Gospel in China,” ARH, August 5, 1902, 13.

  21. J. N. Anderson, “Our Antipodes,” The Youth’s Instructor, December 4, 1902, 377-378.

  22. J. N. Anderson, “What We Owe to the Chinese,” The Youth’s Instructor, May 22, 1902, 161-162.

  23. J. N. Anderson, “First Baptism in China: A Memorable Day,” The Missionary Magazine, May 1902, 198-199.

  24. See note, ARH, October 7, 1902, 19.

  25. See note, ARH, October 22, 1903, 17.

  26. J. N. Anderson, “China,” Australasian Signs of the Times, February 23, 1903, 6.

  27. J. N. Anderson, “The All-Comprehending Missionary Circle,” ARH, November 19, 1903, 15-16.

  28. J. N. Anderson, “Another Year in China,” The Present Truth, March 16, 1905, 174.

  29. J. N. Anderson, “China in the Light of Passing Events,” The Youth’s Instructor, March 16, 1904, 12; for another example of the use of Isa. 49:12, see: idem., “China,” Union Conference Record, August 15, 1905, 2.

  30. J. N. Anderson, “China in the Light of Passing Events,” The Youth’s Instructor, March 16, 1904, 13.

  31. J. N. Anderson, “The Chinese World,” Australasian Signs of the Times, February 8, 1904, 67.

  32. J. N. Anderson, “The Macedonian Call,” The Caribbean Watchman, January 1905, 10.

  33. J. N. Anderson, “Another Year in China,” The Present Truth, March 16, 1905, 174.

  34. E. H. Wilbur, “The Boys’ School, Canton, China,” ARH, March 23, 1905, 12.

  35. Mrs. J. N. [Emma] Anderson, “China,” ARH, April 20, 1905, 14.

  36. H. W. Miller, “China,” The Welcome Visitor, April 12, 1905, 1. [dated March 2, 1905]

  37. J. N. Anderson, “A Report of the China Mission Field,” ARH, May 25, 1905, 21-22.

  38. Ibid., 22.

  39. “Memorial and Appeal,” ARH, June 8, 1905, 21.

  40. General Conference Executive Committee Minutes, December 11, 1905, 86.

  41. General Conference Executive Committee Minutes, May 31, 1905, 9.

  42. J. N. Anderson, “The International Date-Line,” The Youth’s Instructor, December 12, 1905, 6.

  43. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, December 14, 1905, 14.

  44. J. N. Anderson, “The Hakkas,” The Youth’s Instructor, November 6, 1906, 1. This article is published significantly later. In an earlier “Mission Note” it is possible to date the baptism of these five young men to June 1906. See ARH, August 23, 1906, 14.

  45. J. N. Anderson, “China During the Past Year,” The Signs of the Times, April 4, 1906, 12-13.

  46. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, June 21, 1906, 17.

  47. Ibid.

  48. J. N. Anderson, “China During the Past Year,” The Signs of the Times, April 4, 1906, 12-13.

  49. J. N. Anderson, “China Preparing for the Final Battle,” ARH, September 27, 1906, 14.

  50. J. N. Anderson, “China Preparing for the Final Battle,” ARH, September 27, 1906, 14.

  51. E. H. Wilbur, “Chinese Bible Institute,” ARH, April 12, 1906, 17.

  52. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, April 5, 1906, 16.

  53. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, June 21, 1906, 17.

  54. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, April 19, 1906, 16.

  55. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, April 19, 1906, 16.

  56. J. N. Anderson, “China,” ARH, April 5, 1906, 16.

  57. J. N. Anderson, “Victories for the Truth in China,” The Signs of the Times, August 19, 1907, 522.

  58. J. N. Anderson, “Hunan, China,” ARH, July 9, 1908, 13.

  59. J. N. Anderson, “The Shanghai Centenary Conference,” The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1907, 457.

  60. J. N. Anderson, “Hunan, China,” ARH, July 9, 1908, 13; for details about the Hankins taking over Miller’s previous missionary post, see “W. C. Hankins, “Hunan, China,” ARH, October 8, 1908, 14-15.

  61. Ibid.

  62. J. N. Anderson, “Another Province in China Entered,” ARH, July 23, 1908, 13.

  63. Ibid.

  64. J. N. Anderson, “China,” November 12, 1908, 14.

  65. J. N. Anderson, “Federation in China,” The Signs of the Times [Australasian], January 4, 1909, 1-2.

  66. J. N. Anderson, “China,” December 24, 1908, 16.

  67. See J. N. Anderson’s name in the list of delegates. ARH, June 17, 1909, 18. His untitled speech to the delegates appears in ARH, June 10, 1909, 4.

  68. Cf. “The Educational Messenger,” July 8, 1909, 14.

  69. J. N. Anderson, “Forty Recruits Called For,” ARH, Harvest Ingathering for Missions Special Issue, November 4, 1909, 6.

  70. J. N. Anderson, “Pakhoi, China,” ARH, August 11, 1910, 9.

  71. J. N. Anderson,” School Work in Mission Fields,” ARH, December 15, 1910, 12-13.

  72. Larry Onsager, e-mail to Michael Campbell, December 7, 2022.

  73. See note, ARH, September 15, 1910, 24.

  74. Report of Bible Conference, July 17, 1919, 964-978.

  75. Report of Bible Conference, July 2, 1919, 84, 97-98; July 7, 1919, 287; July 13, 1919, 678-679.

  76. Report of Bible Conference, July 3, 1919, 183.

  77. Report of Bible Conference, July 8, 1919, 389-390.

  78. Report of Bible Conference, July 30, 1919, 9, 18, 27.

  79. Report of Bible Conference, August 1, 1919, 1231, 1232.

  80. See news items, Central Union Outlook, September 2, 1919, 5.

  81. Everett Dick to Larry W. Onsager, Memory Statement of Professor J. N. Anderson, 1984, 8.

  82. Everett Dick, Oral History, tape 13 (no date), track 2, personal collection of Lorle Dick Stacey.

  83. Everett Dick to Larry W. Onsager, Memory Statement of Professor J. N. Anderson, 1984, 6. In the statement Dick recalled that at this educational council, led by M. L. Andreasen (head of the Bible section) and himself (in charge of the history section) they talked about how to teach Ellen White’s writings in relationship to history. He added that since Anderson had participated in the 1919 Bible Conference that he was “careful . . . to avoid anything which might undermine the faith of his students, but he knew what we know today and tried to live with it. And so, we would say he believed very much as the church is coming to believe today, was under fire by conservative boards of trustees from time to time. It finally caught up with him.” He went on to note his subsequent dismissal from the college although he “never complained nor had any harsh words against the college.”

  84. See “Jacob N. Anderson obituary,” Lincoln Star, February 24, 1958, 3; “Jacob Nelson Anderson, Find a Grave, accessed April 24, 2022,

  85. Jacob Nelson Anderson Collection, Collection 2, Union College Library, Lincoln, Nebraska, accessed April 24, 2022,

  86. J. N. Anderson, Life Sketch Manuscript, General Conference Archives, ca. 1923, 4.

  87. Ibid.


Campbell, Michael W. "Anderson, Jacob Nelson (1867–1958)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 12, 2022. Accessed April 09, 2024.

Campbell, Michael W. "Anderson, Jacob Nelson (1867–1958)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 12, 2022. Date of access April 09, 2024,

Campbell, Michael W. (2022, December 12). Anderson, Jacob Nelson (1867–1958). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved April 09, 2024,