1856  — 1934

David Duncan Main

Scottish medical missionary in China.

Born and raised in Scotland, Main performed brilliantly at school and studied business at Glasgow, where he had a conversion experience in 1873, and joined the evangelistic revival movement, meeting D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey in 1874. An encounter with a medical missionary inspired him to become a medical missionary himself. Educated at Edinburgh with the help of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, he sailed with his wife, Florence Nightingale (Smith), for China in 1881 under the Church Missionary Society. They 1ived at Hangchow (Hangzhou) for their entire service, in spite of frequent revolutionary unrest. When the Mains left China in 1926, at least thirty different medical and welfare institutions had been established through their efforts.


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.


  • Alexander Gammie, Duncan Main of Hangchow (1935); Kingston de Gruch��, Dr. Apricot of “Heaven Below” (1910) and Dr. D. Duncan Main of Hangchow, Who Is Known in China as Dr. Apricot of Heaven Below (1930). A personal file is in the CMS archive, Univ. of Birmingham.

About the Author

Christoffer H. Grundmann

Lecturer, Department of Missions Oecumenics and Religion, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany