Charles Henry Riggs


Charles Henry Riggs (1892–1953) was born in Aintab, Turkey to a pair of missionaries. When he was two years old, the family moved back to their hometown of Oberlin, Ohio where Riggs grew up and attended school. In 1914 he received his B.S. in Agriculture from Ohio State University and shortly thereafter he married Grace Edna Frederick and in 1916 the pair moved to Nanjing where they attended language school for a year. Riggs then took a job at an Agricultural Experiment Station in Shaowu, Fujian province where they remained until Charles Riggs was accepted into the B.D. program at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He graduated in 1931 and went on to earn a M.S. in Agricultural Engineering at Cornell University in 1932.

Charles and Grace returned to China after Charles accepted a position as Professor of Agricultural Engineering at Nanjing University in 1932. During the 1937/8 Nanjing Massacre, Riggs assumed the role of Housing Commissioner of the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone. While his family departed for the United States in advance of the Japanese invasion, Riggs chose to stay in Nanjing to assist other Westerners in protecting the civilian population.