Nicholas Sneed Ogburn Papers

Identifier: MSS.0317

Scope and Contents

This collection contains scrapbooks related to Reverend Nicholas Sneed Ogburn’s 30 years as a missionary in Japan before the outbreak of WWII. Rev. Ogburn was a graduate of Vanderbilt (B.D. 1911).

Subjects of the scrapbooks include the following.

“Japan As I Saw It, 1912-1941” Scrapbooks: Autobiographical statements Comments on a troubled Japan Japanese attitudes toward suicide Comments on Japanese geography and demography Hunger in Japan Japanese language Recreation in missionary life Japanese economy Japanese kindness Japanese social customs Japanese militarism More on Japanese kindness Mikimoto, the Pearl King of Japan Vignettes of Japanese life Notable Japanese men and women Japanese criticisms of missionaries Background of the war ln Japan (1942) Analysis of the “Bushido” cult The Negro and Civil Rights

Additional Scrapbooks: Attitudes toward War Church and War Conscientious Objectors and Conscription Opponents Foolishness of War How Have Peace - Vols. I-II Missions - Vols. I-III Substitute for War Tobacco - Vols. I-II War Causes


  • 1912 - 1942

Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact

Biographical Note - Nicholas Sneed Ogburn

Nicholas Snethen “Sneed” Ogburn, Jr. was born on September 24, 1884 in Monroe, North Carolina to Nicholas Snethen Ogburn and Eliza Bright Wolfe. Sneed was raised in Monroe’s Central Methodist Church.

Beginning in the fall of 1900, Sneed attended Trinity College and graduated in 1905. While at the college, Sneed roomed with a Japanese Christian named Zentsuki “Zensky” Hinohara. Hinohara’s conversion sparked an interest in conducting missionary work in Japan, a dream Sneed would fulfill years later. Sneed completed a summer term at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1908 before enrolling in Vanderbilt for seminary training in the Fall of 1908. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 1911 with a B.D. and became an ordained deacon in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Sneed set sail from San Francisco on October 19, 1912 to begin what would become a nearly 30-year mission to Japan. He spent the first two years at the Missionary Japanese Language School before being appointed to an evangelical ministry in the agricultural town of Uwajima.

When he left for Japan in 1912, Sneed was betrothed to Maude Shuford Hoyle. The two would marry in 1921 during a year-long furlough in the United States. After the furlough, Sneed returned to Japan on an appointment as a teacher at Kwansei Gakuin School in Kobe. The family would furlough in Charlotte, North Carolina every few years until Maude and the children returned to the U.S. permanently in 1940. Rev. Ogburn stayed another year, but finally returned in November 1941, days before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

When Rev. Ogburn returned, he became a preacher in several pastorates in the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He and his wife retired in 1950.

Maude died in 1976 and Rev. Ogburn died on December 20, 1983 at the age of 99.


1.25 Linear Feet (1 Paige box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains scrapbooks related to Reverend Nicholas Sneed Ogburn’s 30 years as a missionary in Japan before the outbreak of WWII. Rev. Ogburn was a graduate of Vanderbilt (B.D. 1911).

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The initial two scrapbooks were donated sometime before 1966. Thirteen additional scrapbooks were donated between September 1966 and March 1972.

Processing Information

The first two scrapbooks were processed in October 1973, and the thirteen additional scrapbooks were processed in November 1973.

Finding Aid for the Nicholas Sneed Ogburn Papers
revised by Zach Johnson
1973; revised May 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


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