The American Baptists’ first overseas mission was to Burma, in 1813.

It is due to our long history in Burma that the ABHS is now home to a range of photo collections from American Baptists who lived in Burma.  On the Judson200 web site, we display a selection of these early images from three missionaries.

Sydney V. Hollingworth  was born and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He worked for the Superior Printing Company in Akron, Ohio before being sent to Burma, accompanied by his wife and their three children, by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society in 1921. He worked at the Mission Press in Rangoon (Yangon) and lived in the country until 1936.

Arthur E. and Laura H. Carson highlight the Chin people of the Haka Hills, where the Carsons established and operated a mission from 1899 until Arthur’s death in 1908.   After her husband’s death, Laura continued serving at the mission until 1924, when her own failing health compelled her to return to the United States

Elva Jenkins Hendershot  served from 1924 to 1927 as an American Baptist missionary nurse in Kengtung, a town in the Shan state of Burma.  She was given an  album of drawings by an artist from the nearby village of Yan Hlwa to thank her for caring for his sick wife.  Only a few examples of Shan albums still exist today, and of these, the 26-page album dated 1925 in the ABHS holdings is one of the most complete.  These albums comprise “illustrations of multiple ethnic groups, each represented by paired male and female figures in distinctive costumes, often holding an emblematic artifact which evokes a characteristic cultural practice.”

Click here for more information about the missionaries and to see the images preserved in the ABHS archives.

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