Essential facts about Gladys Aylward, as well as a very extensive reading list! 

Born February 24, 1902 in outskirts of London, England. Oldest of 2 sisters, 1 brother. Father: mailman. Parents lived well into her adult years. Raised in Anglican church. Schooling adequate. Childhood distinctions: play-acting and service. Never married. Went into 'service', attaining level of parlor maid in rich West End manors before being 'born again'. At 26 failed school of China Inland Mission. 1930 took train across Russia to China to help aging missionary Agnes Lawson found an inn. 1932 Mandarin appointed her 'foot -inspector', a job she used to evangelize villagers all over his province. Prison riot valor in 1933 cemented her reputation as holy person and miracle worker. Became known as 'Ai-weh-deh', Chinese for 'Virtuous One'. 1936 became Chinese citizen. 1940 wounded by Japanese soldiers, only months before she shepherded 100 orphans across mountains to safety. Nearly dead she 'recovered' to evangelize until Communists evicted her in late 1940's. The Small Woman won her fame in 1957, increased by inaccurate but popular movie version 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness'. Founded orphanage in 1958 in Taiwan, where she died January 3, 1970.

Please note that although 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' is a well-produced, heartwarming movie starring the great actress Ingrid Bergman it was a thorn in the side of Gladys Aylward. She was deeply embarrassed by the movie because it was so full of inaccuracies. Hollywood also took great liberties with her infatuation with the Chinese Colonel Linnan, even changing him into an Eurasian. But Gladys, the most chaste of women, was horrified to learn the movie had portrayed her in 'love scenes'. She suffered greatly over what she considered her soiled reputation.

          Go to anecdotes on Gladys Aylward's...                               
                                                                Wart (or flaw)
                                                                Defining Moment

         Go to this page to learn five values that made her a hero of history.

         Go to this page to find links to other websites about this hero.

         Go to this page to give your opinion of this hero.

In association with

Order key books by clicking:

HC                             PB
(for hardcover)         (for paperback)

Barnes, Irene, Behind the Great Wall, 1896.
Barnett, Suzanne Wilson and J. K. Fairbank,
Christianity in China: Early                   PB
     Protestant Missionary Writings.
Barr, Pat,
To China With Love: The Lives and Times of Protestant Missionaries        PB
     in China 1860-1900. Doubleday, 1973. 
Bird, Isabella,
Yangtze Valley and Beyond, 1899.                                                                    PB
Broomhall, Marshall,
Jubilee Story of the China Inland Mission, 1915.
Broomhall, Marshall,
Martyred Missionaries of the China Inland Mission, 1901.
Burgess, Alan,
The Small Woman. UK: F. A. Thorpe Ltd., revised 1969.                          HC
Chao-Kwang, Wu,
International Aspect of the Missionary Movement in China.          HC
     AMS Press, 1930.
Crozier, Brian,
The Man Who Lost China. New York: Scribner's, 1976.
Danforth, Kenneth C., et al. (ed.),
Journey Into China. Washington, D.C.:                      HC
     National Geographic Society, 1982.
Davies, Hannah,
Among  the Hills and Valleys of West China, 1901.
Dawes, Frank Victor, 
Not In Front of the Servants: Domestic Service in England .    PB
Edwards, E. H.,
Fire and Sword in Shansi, 1903, Ayer reprint, 1970.                                  HC
Elliot, Elizabeth,
Let Me Be a Woman. Tyndale, 1977.                                                                PB
Eunson, Roby, The Soong Sisters. New York: Franklin Watts, 1975.                                    PB
French, Patrick,
Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer. London:          PB
HarperCollins, 1994.
Gibson, J. Campbell,
Missionary Methods in South China, 1901.
Gillin, Donald G.,
Warlord: Yen His-Shan in Shansi Province, 1911-1949.                        PB
Gleason, Gene,
Joy to My Heart: The True Story of Annie Skau, Medical
     Missionary to China and Hong Kong
. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.
Guinness, Geraldine,
The Story of the China Inland Mission, 1893.
Hahn, Emily,
Chiang Kai-shek: An Unauthorized Biography. Doubleday, 1955.
Hook, Brian, ed.,
Cambridge Encyclopedia of China.  Cambridge Un. Press, 1991.      HC
Hunter, Christine (as told by Gladys Aylward)
The Small Woman of the Inn                  PB
     of the Sixth Happiness. Moody, 1970. 
Lambert, John C., 
The Romance of Missionary Heroism, 1907.
Lattimore, Owen, ed.,
China Memoirs : Chiang Kai-Shek and the War Against             PB
     Japan. Un. Tokyo Pr., 1991.   
Moule, A. E., 
Half a Century in China, 1911.
Niven, Alexander C.,
From Moscow to Vladivostok: A Historical, Geographical          PB
     and Economic Guide to Travelers on the Trans-Siberian Railroad
Pollock, J.,
Cambridge Seven.                                                                                                            PB
Riggs, Fred W.,
Formosa Under Chinese Nationalist Rule.                                                      PB
Seaver, George,
Francis Younghusband: Explorer and Mystic. London:
     John Murray, 1952.
Steurt, Marjorie Rankin,
Broken Bits of Old China: Glimpses of China                              PB
     1912-1923. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1973.
Stockwell, Olin,
Meditations From A Prison Cell. Nashville: Upper Room, 1954. 
Stockwell, Olin,
With God in Red China. Harper, 1953. 
Taylor, Mrs. Howard,
Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, 1919.
Thompson, Phyllis,
A Transparent Woman. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1972.
Wellman, Sam.
Gladys Aylward: Missionary in China. Barbour, 1998.                              PB
White, Theodore H. and Annalee Jacoby,
Thunder Out Of China, New York:                    PB
     William Sloane, 1946. 
Younghusband, Francis,
The Heart of a Continent: A narrative of travels                         PB
     …1884-1894.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896.

Sam Wellman's

Explorers, writers, missionaries...Heroes of History!

Biography Site