Benjamin Hartley, associate professor of Christian mission from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, is currently researching former Upper Iowa University student and 1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner John Mott at UIU’s Henderson-Wilder Library. Hartley is writing a book that focuses on Mott’s contributions to non-Western countries.
“It’s amazing how Mott developed so many friendships with people from various countries for the cause of peace,” Hartley said. “He knew everybody. He was instrumental in helping out prisoners of war on both sides after World War I.”
Hartley has conducted research on Mott in other libraries, such as the Yale Divinity School Library where Mott’s papers are stored. During his recent visit to Henderson-Wilder and the University Archives, the researcher discovered information about Mott’s academic performance at UIU.
“Mott was one of the brightest students at Upper Iowa University,” Hartley said. “He wanted to excel in public speaking and so he set a goal for himself to achieve excellence in speaking during the three years he spent at this university. He was an outstanding debater on the debate team. He also learned two years of German here.”
John Mott was born in Livingston Manor, New York, in 1865, and moved to Postville, Iowa, with his family that same year. At age 16, he enrolled at Upper Iowa University where he studied history and literature before transferring to Cornell University in 1885. Mott was a famous organizer of the Christian movement in the early 20th century.
“In the next 50 years, the next generation of Christians will collaborate with other religions,” Hartley said. “It’s important for people to promote collaboration across religions, and I hope that my book would successfully support this idea.”