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Founding Years




Gracious Living

Broader Diversity

Forward Looking





Student Life

Historical Contexts

Wider World



Renovating the World

Evangelism to Social Gospel


Mary Lyon daguerreotype 1845 (1). Courtesy of MHC Archives.
Ruth Parker White gives comfort and care, 1950 (2). Courtesy of MHC Archives.

"…this object is the salvation of the immortal souls ready to perish, and the glory of Him, who gave his life as ransom for sin (3).”

Mary Lyon had a vision.
With her book Missionary Offering she set forth a call to action:

Missionaries followed the channels of imperial expansion. Emblematic of more than one master, they had multiple allegiances: Christ, American womanhood, a global woman’s movement and the indigenous people whom they served (4).

With ethnocentric notions of superiority, American missionaries acted as crusaders for religious and social reform. They contributed a great deal to the westernization on India (5).

The active missionary movement spanned a little more than a century, from 1830 – 1940. At the turn of the century, a readjustment of purpose occurred in the Christian mission effort. The emphasis shifted to humanism – in education and social work.

The missionaries of India
Sixty-two years apart and at opposite ends of India, Mary Browning Herron and Ruth Parker White were representative of their kind. Both alumnae of Mount Holyoke, they braved the unknown in an effort to make the world a better place. The missionary campaign had many intended and unintended consequences.



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This page was created by Margaret O'Neal '08 in History 283, Spring Semester 2006 -