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Allen, Young John William (03 January 1836–30 May 1907), missionary, educator, and journalist in China, was born in Burke County, Georgia, the son of Andrew Young John Allen and Jane Wooten. Because of the early death of both parents, Allen was raised by an aunt and uncle, Wiley and Nancy (Wooten) Hutchins, who lived in Meriwether County, Georgia. He received a sizable inheritance from his father, which financed his education at several small private schools near his home in Starrsville, Georgia, including the Baptist-run Brownwood Institute in LaGrange, Georgia, and the Morgan H. Looney schools in Palmetto, Georgia. His inheritance also allowed him to collect a personal library, which made him the envy of his classmates as early as 1850, when he was only fourteen years old. He began college work at Emory and Henry College in Virginia in 1853 but transferred to Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, in the spring of 1854. At Emory, Allen acquired the secular learning of the European tradition as well as knowledge of Christianity. His extracurricular activities included membership in a debating society and religious study groups, both of which prepared him for his subsequent careers in China....

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Anderson, David Lawrence (04 February 1850–16 March 1911), China missionary and first president of Suzhou University, was born in Summerhill, South Carolina, the son of James Harkins Anderson and Mary Margaret Adams. For two years he attended Washington and Lee University, at that time under the presidency of ...

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Andrews, Lorrin (29 April 1795–29 September 1868), missionary and educator, was born in East Windsor (now Vernon), Connecticut, the son of Samuel Andrews and his wife, whose name is unknown. Andrews grew up on the frontier in Kentucky and Ohio and later attended Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. After graduation he studied at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he graduated in 1825. He worked as a mechanic and printer while in school, and later as a teacher. On 26 April 1827 he volunteered his services to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and was accepted for work in the Sandwich Islands, as Hawaii was then called. His various job experiences and his life in rough pioneer country where hard work was valued prepared him well for his missionary tasks....

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Bapst, John (07 December 1815–02 November 1887), missionary and educator, was born at La Roche in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland, the son of a prosperous farmer. He received a classical education at the Jesuit College of Fribourg and entered the Society of Jesus in 1835. Two years after his ordination in 1846 the Jesuits were expelled from Switzerland as the result of a brief war in which Swiss Catholics were defeated by Swiss Protestants. Though his success in theological studies seemed to destine him for a career as a professor of theology, Bapst was sent to the United States as a missionary to the Penobscot Indians in Old Town, Maine. It was a daunting assignment since he knew neither English nor the Abnaki language of the Indians. However, with the help of an Indian girl who knew French, he was able to communicate with the natives and learn their language, which he felt somewhat resembled Hebrew....

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Beach, Harlan Page (04 April 1854–04 March 1933), missionary, missions librarian, and professor of missions, was born in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Wickliff Beach and Mary Angeline Walkley, farmers. He prepared for college at Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from Yale University in 1878. He taught at Phillips Andover Academy for two years, then entered Andover Theological Seminary, graduating (B.D.) in 1883. His father opposed his decision to be a missionary, but his mother encouraged him. He married Lucy Lucretia Ward on 29 June 1883 and was ordained to the Congregational ministry on 19 July 1883; later in the same year they were sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve in North China. After language study he was on the staff of a high school and theological seminary at Tung-chau until December 1889, when his wife’s ill health caused their return to the United States....

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Bingham, Sybil Moseley (14 September 1792–27 February 1848), missionary and teacher, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the eldest child of Pliny Moseley and Sophia Pomeroy. Both parents had died by the time Sybil was nineteen, and she supported her three younger sisters by accepting teaching positions in Hartford, Connecticut; Canandaigua, New York; and Ontario Female Seminary. Invited by friends, she attended the ordination ceremony of ...

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Bliss, Daniel (17 August 1823–27 July 1916), missionary educator and founder and first president of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut (later the American University), missionary educator and founder and first president of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut (later the American University), was born in Georgia, Vermont, the son of Loomis Bliss and Susanna Farwell, farmers. When he was a young child, his family moved to a farm in Cambridge, Vermont. His mother died when he was nine years old, and soon thereafter his father moved to a new farm in Jericho, Vermont, moving again to Painesville, Ohio, when Bliss was thirteen and then to Kingsville, Ohio. Bliss attended local schools and was apprenticed by his father to a tanner. In 1844 his master’s business failed, and he turned his hand to grafting fruit trees. Two years later he entered Kingsville Academy in Ohio and earned his living by teaching at a local school....

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Boardman, Sarah Hall (04 November 1803–01 September 1845), Baptist missionary and translator, was born in Alstead, New Hampshire, the daughter of Ralph Hall and Abiah O. Hall (her maiden name). Sarah learned Latin, read widely in Christian apologetics and philosophy, and taught school for a time. She was also a writer and poet, and as the eldest of thirteen children, she helped to raise her siblings. Sarah converted to the Christian faith at age sixteen and was baptized by Lucius Bolles, a Baptist pastor in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1825 she married the Reverend George Dana Boardman; they had three children. The couple then accepted a missionary assignment with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in Burma. Temporarily detained in Calcutta, India, due to the Burmese War, they arrived in Moulmain in 1827 and settled in Tavoy in 1828. In 1831 George died, and Boardman was left with her children in Tavoy, which was under military siege....

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Kathleen L. Lodwick and Lisabeth G. Svendsgaard

Brown, Samuel Robbins (1810–26 June 1880), missionary and educator, was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Hill Brown, a carpenter and painter, and Phoebe Hinsdale. His parents had strong religious convictions, and his mother was the author of several hymns published in Protestant hymnals. The family moved to Monson, Massachusetts, when Brown was a young child, and he attended the Monson Academy before going to Yale. While in college, he supported himself by sawing wood, instructing fellow students in music, and ringing the college bell. After graduating in 1832, he applied to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for appointment as a foreign missionary; but as no post was immediately forthcoming, he became a teacher of the deaf in New York City. In 1835 he began a two-year course of study first at Columbia Theological Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, then at Union Seminary in New York....

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Mother Cabrini. From a portrait by W. Victor Guiness. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103568).

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Cabrini, Frances Xavier (15 July 1850–22 December 1917), educator and founder, was born Maria Francesca Cabrini in Saint’ Angelo Lodigiano, Italy, the daughter of Agostino Cabrini and Stella Oldini, farmers. Cabrini’s early life was greatly influenced by the political and religious disputes of her day. The drive for Italian unification, ...

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Davis, Jerome Dean (17 January 1838–04 November 1910), missionary and professor of theology, was born in Groton, New York, the son of Hope Davis, a farmer and schoolteacher, and Brooksy Woodbury. In 1861, while a student at Beloit College, he joined the Union army, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel at the age of twenty-six. He reentered Beloit College in 1865 and graduated as salutatorian of his class in 1866. Upon graduation from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1869, he was appointed to serve a church in Cheyenne, Wyoming, by the Congregational Home Missionary Society. On 15 July of the same year, he was married to Sophia Strong, a first cousin of ...

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Dempster, John (02 January 1794–28 November 1863), Methodist educator and minister, was born in Florida, Montgomery (Fulton) County, New York, the son of the Reverend James Dempster, a Scotsman and graduate of Edinburgh University, and his second wife (name unknown). His father came to New York in 1774 as one of John Wesley’s missionaries but chose to retain his Presbyterian convictions and became a minister in the settlement of Florida. As a child, Dempster was “eccentric and thoughtless.” His father died in 1803, and he failed to secure a formal education. At first he helped keep a tin store with one of his three brothers, but at the age of eighteen, while at a Methodist camp meeting, he was dramatically affected by a sudden religious impulse, through which he made a commitment to the Methodist ministry. He began to preach but also proceeded to harness his innate intellectual and scholarly abilities, educating himself in the classics, mathematics, theology, philosophy, and Hebrew. His metamorphosis, both spiritually and academically, was striking. For the rest of his life he would retire at nine and rise again at four to work, applying himself entirely to the investigation of a given subject or discipline....

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Dorsey, James Owen (31 October 1848–04 February 1895), ethnologist and missionary, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Thomas Anderson Dorsey and Mary Sweetser Hance. As a child, James showed an aptitude for languages, learning to read Hebrew by the age of ten. He entered Central High School in Baltimore in 1862 and in 1867 began studies at the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. Ordained as a deacon in 1871, Dorsey immediately left for the Dakota Territory, where he began missionary work among the Ponca Indians, a Siouan tribe. He quickly learned to speak the Ponca language well enough to communicate without an interpreter, and he was working on a Ponca grammar and dictionaries in 1873 when serious illness forced him to return east. Dorsey contacted the Smithsonian Institution, hoping to have his materials published, but his work was judged to be insufficiently professional....

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Engelhardt, Zephyrin (13 November 1851–27 April 1934), California missions historian and Franciscan missionary to Indians, was born in Bilshausen, Hanover, Germany, the son of Anthony Engelhardt, an expert in the manufacture of willowware, and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). In 1852 the family immigrated to the United States, settling in Covington, Kentucky. In 1869 Engelhardt entered St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati, and in 1872 he entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Minor of the Sacred Heart Province in Teutopolis, Illinois. He made his solemn vows in 1876 and was ordained to the priesthood on 18 June 1878 in St. Louis, Missouri....

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Fiske, Fidelia (01 May 1816–26 July 1864), missionary and educator, was born in Shelburne, Massachusetts, the daughter of Rufus Fisk, a farmer and cooper, and Hannah Woodward. (Descended from William Fiske, who had settled in Salem in 1637, she preferred that spelling of her surname.) Her father instructed her in the Bible and encouraged her avid reading, including such works as ...

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Gates, Caleb Frank (18 October 1859–09 April 1946), missionary and college president, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Caleb Foote Gates, a business executive, and Mary Eliza Hutchins. Gates, Sr., was a benefactor of numerous Congregationalist projects, including the Chicago Theological Seminary. Gates was educated by his parents and in private schools, entering the preparatory department of Wheaton College in 1866 and graduating from Beloit College in 1877....

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Goodell, William (14 February 1792–18 February 1867), missionary and linguist, was born in Templeton, Massachusetts, the son of William Goodell and Phebe Newton, farmers. Goodell’s father was too poor to provide an education for his son but recognized that his mind was keen and that his physique was not suited for hard manual labor. Consequently he encouraged Goodell to seek aid from the charity fund at Phillips Academy in Andover. At the age of fifteen he packed all of his belongings and walked sixty miles to Andover, where he so impressed the preceptor ...

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Hayden, Mother Bridget (26 August 1814–23 January 1890), Roman Catholic missionary nun and educator, was born Margaret Hayden in Kilkenny, Ireland, the daughter of Thomas Hayden and Bridget Hart. She and her family emigrated to the United States around 1820, settling in Perryville, Missouri, where her Father worked as a wheelwright. She attended schools at the Barrens near Perryville and at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Both schools were run by the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross, a congregation of Catholic women religious of chiefly American origin. After two of her sisters joined the congregation, Hayden followed their example in 1841, taking the religious name of Sister Mary Bridget. She received her early training at Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and at the congregation’s mother house in Loretto, Kentucky....

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Hepburn, James Curtis (13 March 1815–21 September 1911), medical missionary, oculist, and lexicographer, was born in Milton, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Hepburn, a lawyer, and Ann Clay, the daughter of the Reverend Slator Clay. Hepburn received his early education at home and at the Milton Academy. At the age of fourteen he matriculated as a junior in Princeton College, from which he graduated in 1832. He began his medical studies with Dr. Samuel Pollack of Milton, Pennsylvania, and then attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, from which he graduated with an M.D. in 1836. In 1835 he was awarded an A.M. by Princeton College....