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Fletcher S. Brockman and family papers

Identifier: Y.USA.77

Content Description

Materials written by and about Fletcher Sims Brockman (1867-1944), who worked for the YMCA in various positions for 37 years. The collection includes correspondence, published material, photographs, a photo album, and other records. A significant portion of the colleciton is comprised of family correspondence written mainly by Brockman’s daughter-in-law Hazel (Iles) Brockman to her parents while she and her husband, Allen Clark Brockman (Fletcher's eldest son), lived abroad in both Hong Kong and Bombay. While neither of the two worked directly for the YMCA, the letters detail different aspects of Hazel’s life throughout time, including some of her volunteer work with the YWCA in each place she lived abroad. Additionally, the collection contains materials regarding biographical and genealogical records of the Brockmans (including Fletcher's two other sons Washington Clark Brockman and Emory Wood Brockman), the memorial service for Fletcher Sims Brockman, both published and unpublished written work by Brockman (including records of his book “I Discover the Orient” and miscellaneous speeches, articles and pamphlets), material from his time working for the YMCA in China, and reports and meeting notes from the Committee for the Promotion of Friendship between America and the Far East, Inc.


  • 1900-1959


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biography of Fletcher S. Brockman

Fletcher Sims Brockman (1867-1944) was born to Willis Allen Brockman and Rosa Emory Wood in Amherst County, Virginia as the oldest of six boys born to the couple. For the first years of his life, the Brockmans lived on “Glenwood Plantation” in Douglas County, Georgia. When he was of high school age the family moved to Atlanta so that Fletcher and his brothers could have better educational opportunities. It was there at the age of 14 that he began teaching Sunday School at a Methodist church, where he met Laura Haygood. She is credited as being the strongest influence in his decision to join the mission field in China later in life. After graduating high school in 1885, Fletcher worked as a teacher at Gordon Institute in Calhoun, Georgia from 1885-1886 and was principal of Boys’ High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama from 1886-1887.

Fletcher went on to attend college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and later elected to Phi Beta Kappa. It was there that he first became interested in the YMCA and became an active member. Following his graduation in 1891, Fletcher served as Student Secretary of the International Committee of YMCAs for the thirteen southern states for 6 years (1891-1897) and as Travelling Secretary of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions from 1897-1898. Following this, Fletcher became the foreign Secretary of the International Committee serving in China from 1899-1915. While still on the staff of the International Committee, he also served as the General Secretary of the National Committee of the YMCA of China for 12 years during this period after its creation in 1901.

While visiting South Carolina College in 1892, Fletcher met Mary Buford Clark (1876-1974). The two were married on November 21, 1895 and had four children together: Allen Clark Brockman (1896-1928), Washington Clark Brockman (b. 1899), Emory Wood Brockman (b. 1901) and Julia Whaley Brockman (1902-1904).

In response to a call from Dr. John Mott, the Brockmans returned to America in 1915 where Fletcher served as the Associate General Secretary of the National War Work Council during World War I and of the International Committee of the YMCAs (1915-1924). Following the war, Fletcher and his family returned to the Far East where Fletcher continued as Associate General Secretary of the International Committee until the National Council of the YMCA of the United States was formed. From 1924-1929 Fletcher served as the Administrative Secretary in the Far East of the Foreign Committee of the National Councils of YMCA of the United States and Canada; the territory comprised of Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indo-China, Thailand (referred to at the time as Siam), and the Straits Settlements.

After 37 years, Fletcher retired from YMCA work in 1929 and returned to the United States. He lectured on Far Eastern affairs at Vanderbilt in 1929 and became Secretary of the Committee for the Promotion of Friendship between America and the Far East, Inc. from 1929-1941. Fletcher retired from work for good in 1941 and lived at Silver Dunes Orchard in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife. Fletcher Sims Brockman died on November 12, 1944 of illness and complications from a previous automobile accident at the age of 77.

Among other accomplishments, he was awarded honorary degrees from Colgate University (L.L.D) in 1929 and Springfield College (Master of Humanics) in 1930. Additionally, he received the Order of the Bountiful Crop and the Order of the Jade by the Chinese Government. His published books include “I Discover the Orient,”, “How to Hold English-Speaking Chinese in the Church,” “The Programme of Reform”, and “The Future of China.”

Biography of Allen Clark Brockman

Allen Clark Brockman (1896-1928) was the eldest child of Fletcher and Mary Brockman. He was born in South Carolina, and spent the majority of his childhood overseas while his father was working with the YMCA. He returned to America for college and attended Yale University. During his time at Yale, WWI broke out and Allen Clark volunteered and served in the US Navy. He returned to school after the war and graduated in 1919. After college, he worked for the International Banking Corporation of New York City in their foreign department, serving in both Hong Kong and Bombay (1919-1928). Allen Clark Brockman married Hazel Carver Iles in 1923 and had two children with her: James Fletcher Brockman (b.1924) and Buford Clark Brockman (later renamed Allen Clark Brockman, b. 1928). He died of complications due to appendicitis in Bombay in 1928.

Biography of Washington Clark Brockman

Washington Clark Brockman (b. 1899) was born in Kuling, China. After graduating from Branham and Hughes School for Boys in Spring Hill, Tennessee in 1914 Clark worked with the Army YMCA and served at Fort Oglethorpe, GA for a year. He attended Yale University from 1918-1922. He worked briefly as a reporter for the Columbia Record, then left the position to work as his father’s private secretary in 1924 after Fletcher started as the Administrative Secretary of the Foreign Work Committee for the Far East . After completing his work with Fletcher, Clark spent two years in China, visiting family and teaching English two colleges. Following this, Clark returned to America and worked as a writer, later becoming an English teacher at Columbia High School and the Principal of McMaster School and AC Moore School (1938-1951). He married Hazel Iles Brockman in 1930 (following the death of his older brother) and the pair had a son together, William Iles Brockman (b.1932).

Biography of Hazel Iles Brockman

Hazel Carver Iles Brockman was the daughter of James A. Iles and Aurelia Smith Iles. She met her first husband, Allen Clark Brockman, while working in the office of Mr. A.G. Knebel who was one of the secretaries of the International Committee of the YMCA in New York. They were married in 1923 in Shanghai. The pair lived in China for the first years of their marriage, then relocated to Bombay, India in 1925 after a furlough in the United States. While living abroad, Hazel was a volunteer for several different YWCA organizations. After the death of her husband, she moved back to the United States with her children and later married Washington Clark Brockman. During World War II Hazel served as Executive Secretary of the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office in Columbia, South Carolina from 1942-1946. In November of 1946 she became the Public Relations Director of the Richland Tuberculosis Association, and was later elected the Executive Secretary of the Association in 1947.


3.3 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Condition Description

Many many letters and other items bundled in envelopes. Lots of paper that appears to be brittle. Photo album has a special box that is in bad shape.

Processing Information

Processed July 2018 by Emma Schwartz.

Catalog Record ID number: 9975823806301701

An Inventory of Papers
July 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area