America’s First Female Foreign Missionary: Ann Judson in Burma

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University of Delaware
In 1812, Ann Hasseltine Judson was one of the first two American women to go abroad as missionary wives. Despite general opposition to foreign missions as well as to women‘s involvement in the missionary movement, Judson believed it was her duty to God to sacrifice her home, friends, and family forever in order to evangelize "heathens." Despite being confined by tradition to the domestic sphere as a woman, Judson was able to carry out her traditional duties as well as to serve as a missionary although she was not officially recognized as one. Especially after her death, the American Protestant community published works with the intention of depicting Judson as an icon of evangelical femininity as well as a heroine of the American foreign missionary movement, using vivid descriptions of what many in the nineteenth century considered remarkable and exemplary experiences and characteristics. This project explores Judson‘s significant role in the founding of the American missionary movement through the various agendas in nineteenth-century written works that told her story as a means to promote the missionary effort in general and women‘s place in the movement as well as woman‘s place in nineteenth-century society.