Harriet Mildred Whitmer


Miss Harriet Mildred Whitmer (1885-1976) was born in 1885. She received her Master’s at University of Michigan in 1917. In 1924, she went to Ginling in 1924, intending only to become interim head of the biology department there for one year while another professor took a year off. However, Miss Whitmer ended up remaining in Ginling for an extra twenty-three years, until 1948. In 1941, she received the Second Prize of Achievement from the Chinese government. After Japan surrendered in August of 1945, Ginling students and faculty were eager to return to Nanking from Chengtu where they had their wartime campus since 1937. However, the Nanking campus was severely damaged by the Japanese occupation that began in June of 1942. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, Miss Whitmer joined the rehabilitation effort led by Dr. David S. Hsiung so the campus could re-open in September of 1946. She left China in 1948, followed by two years of missionary work in Malaya. After her retirement, she spent five years in Chicago with the Midwest Chinese Student and Alumni Service, which reunited her with thirteen fellow Ginlingers.