Born in Amherst County, Virginia, and a graduate of Vanderbilt University, Brockman began his career with the YMCA as the first student secretary for the thirteen southern states, 1891-1897. In 1897 and 1898 he was traveling secretary of the Student Volunteer Movement. A member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, he served the YMCA in China from 1898 to 1915, first as foreign secretary in Nanking (Nanjing) and from 1901 as the first general secretary of the Chinese YMCA, based in Shanghai. He also helped to organize the National Christian Council of China.
In 1915 he handed responsibility for the Chinese YMCA over to C. T. Wang and, at the request of John R. Mott, returned to the United States to serve as associate general secretary both of the YMCA National War Work Council and of the International Committee. After the National Council of the YMCAs of the United States was formed in 1924, he became its administrative secretary for the Far East. Following his retirement from the YMCA in 1929, he lectured at Vanderbilt University and served as secretary of the Committee on the Promotion of Friendship between America and the Far East. He received an honorary LL.D. from Colgate University in 1929.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
Fletcher Sims Brockman, I Discover the Orient (1935). Eugene R. Barnett, “Builders of the YMCA-3.” Old Guard News 25, no. 8 (November 1954); Sherwood Eddy; Pathfinders of the World Missionary Crusade (1945), pp. 200-212. Additional biographical information available in a memorial booklet, Fletcher Sims Brockman, 1867-1944: In Remembrance, Mott papers, Yale Univ. Divinity School (1944).