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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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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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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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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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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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Jones, Charles Colcock (20 December 1804–16 March 1863), Presbyterian clergyman, professor, and missionary to African-American slaves, was born at Liberty Hall plantation in Liberty County, Georgia, the son of John Jones, a wealthy planter, and Susannah Hyrne Girardeau. Jones attended Sunbury Academy, in Sunbury, Georgia (1811–1819); Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts (1825–1827); Andover Theological Seminary (1827–1829); and Princeton Theological Seminary (1829–1830). After graduating from Princeton, he returned to Georgia and married his first cousin Mary Jones. They had three children. Ordained by the Georgia Presbytery, in May 1831 he accepted a call to be pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Savannah. Eighteen months later he resigned his pastorate, returned to a family plantation in Liberty County, and began his work as a missionary to the African-American slaves of the region....

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Mackay, John Alexander (17 May 1889–09 June 1983), missionary and theological educator, was born in Inverness, Scotland, the son of Duncan Mackay, a prosperous tailor and clothing merchant in Inverness, and Isabelle Macdonald. The family belonged to the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, a denomination known for its strict doctrine and pietistic practices. Mackay and his family attended three services each Sunday—two in Gaelic and one in English. In his teens he applied several times for membership before he was finally accepted....

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Martin, William Alexander Parsons (10 April 1827–17 December 1916), missionary educator to China, was born in Livonia, Indiana, the son of William Martin, a Presbyterian minister and educator, and Susan Depew. His father personally educated Martin to become a missionary. In 1842 he matriculated at Indiana University, where Chancellor ...

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Mazzuchelli, Samuel Charles (04 November 1806–23 February 1864), Catholic priest, missionary, and educator, was born in Milan, Italy, the son of Luigi Mazzuchelli, a merchant, and Rachele Merlini. He came from a distinguished Lombard family of long-remembered artists, scholars, merchants, and public servants. After his education in Milan and Lugano, Switzerland, the youth believed himself called to religious life in the worldwide Order of Preachers, or Dominican friars, founded by St. Dominic. After secondary schooling Mazzuchelli entered the novitiate of the order and made his studies in Rome at the ancient Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine. As a youth of twenty-two he came to the United States, one of the earliest Italian immigrants, to serve in a role little known among the Mazzuchellis: that of a Catholic missionary....

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Miner, Sarah Luella (30 October 1861–02 December 1935), missionary educator in China, was born in Oberlin, Ohio, the daughter of Daniel Irenaeus Miner, a missionary and teacher, and Lydia Jane Cooley. One of seven children and the only survivor among the eldest four, Luella received the special and solitary attention of her father in the family’s posts on the Kansas plains and at Tougaloo University in Mississippi. She graduated from the normal department at Tougaloo, the only white student in her class....

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Packard, Sophia Betsey (03 January 1824–21 June 1891), educator and home missionary, was born in New Salem, Massachusetts, the daughter of Winslow Packard and Rachel Freeman, farmers. During Packard’s childhood she and her family attended the Baptist church in North Prescott, a town near New Salem. She received a diploma from the Charlestown (Mass.) Female Academy in 1850, then taught at a number of New England schools before accepting in 1854 the position of preceptress and teacher at the New Salem Academy. There she met Harriet Giles, a twenty-year-old senior student and “assistant pupil.” Vowing to establish a school of their own, the two women became lifelong friends and co-workers. They later taught at schools in the villages of Petersham and Orange, Massachusetts, before opening their own school in 1859 at Fitchburg, fifty miles northwest of Boston. Trustees of the Connecticut Literary Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, soon persuaded Packard, however, to accept the position as preceptress at their school. Giles also joined the faculty of this Baptist-controlled institution, and both women remained there from 1859 to 1864....

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Peck, John Mason (31 October 1789–14 March 1858), Baptist missionary and educator, was born near Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Asa Peck and Hannah Farnum, farmers. Hard work on poor farmland left little time for schooling, and Peck struggled to overcome that deficiency through private study. By 1807 he was teaching school in Greene County, New York, where he met Sarah Paine, whom he married in 1809. When the first of their ten children was born, Sarah Peck questioned the traditional Congregationalist practice of baptizing infants. Her husband tried to answer her doubts but found that he too could not justify such a ritual. The couple affiliated with Baptists thereafter, and Peck soon devoted himself to that denomination. Licensed to preach in 1811 and ordained in Catskill, New York, in 1813, he served as minister and schoolteacher in small towns such as Catskill and Amenia, New York. In 1815 he met ...

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Porter, Eliza Emily Chappell (05 November 1807–01 January 1888), educator, relief worker, and missionary, was born in Geneseo, New York, the daughter of Robert Chappell and Elizabeth Kneeland, farmers. In 1811 her father died, increasing her emotional attachment to her highly religious mother. Nevertheless, when affluent relatives offered a home to the bright, attractive child, she agreed to live with them in Franklin, New York. She was educated with the family’s children but could not overcome her longing for her mother and guilt at the separation. She returned at twelve and, amid bouts of illness made worse by harsh medical treatments, sought comfort in religion. She joined the Presbyterian church in 1822; at fifteen she and her mother moved to Rochester to continue her education. Upon the death of her sister in childbirth, both returned to Geneseo....