From the holdings of the Presbyterian Historical Society
Women’s Missionary Magazine (1887-1953) and its successor, Missionary Horizons (1953-1958), provide unique insight into the customs, attitudes, and living conditions of people in Africa, India, China, Latin America, and the Middle East at a time when missionaries were usually the only foreigners residing there for long periods. Because the magazines were circulated primarily to church members, they are not widely available.
In addition to field reports, the magazines contain photographs, line drawings, poems, sermons, bible lessons, editorials, letters to the editor, and a Young People’s Department. Early issues are sprinkled with fervent reports of women missionaries’ life. One such report recalls the efforts of a medical missionary to establish a hospital in India in 1887 only to learn that in Indian society male physicians were not allowed to examine women and so he had to ask questions while a woman performed the examination. A letter from a woman missionary about meeting a pasha and his wives in Egypt tells as much about the missionary’s attitudes as about the customs of society in Egypt. Issues devoted to missionary work in the United States trace changing attitudes toward African Americans: although early issues contain articles about colleges and programs for African Americans, by the 1940s the magazine features photos of black faculty members at colleges and black women alongside white women on church committees. Also of interest are field reports and photos of the church’s work in establishing schools and churches for Navajo and Apache tribes through the decades.
This collection will be of interest to researchers in religious studies, women’s studies, sociology, anthropology, African American studies, and Native American studies.