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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

May 2, 2019

In 1897 the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. sent its first mission workers, Theodore and Julia Pond, to Venezuela. The couple was well-accomplished at the time of their appointment; they had spent over 20 years serving in Syria and had been working in Columbia since 1890. In Venezuela the Ponds encountered resistance from a largely Catholic population, but by 1900 were able to establish The Church of the Redeemer (Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana El Redentor) in the capital, Caracas...

May 2, 2019

The period following World War II was particularly turbulent in Venezuela. Between 1945 and 1958, the nation experienced four coups d’état, its first democratic election, and the rise and fall of a dictator. Correspondence and reports in PHS’s Venezuela collections reveal the thoughts of Americans experiencing these events first- hand—thoughts as varied and contradictory as those of Americans regarding the current unrest in Venezuela.

By the mid-twentieth century, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. mission to Venezuela was well-established; it employed...

March 18, 2019

Mission workers often serve as cultural conduits, bringing together differing customs in unexpected ways. Take the case of the Sidebothams—mission workers who introduced the piano to the Korean Peninsula.        

A 1908 article from the Michigan Presbyterian reveals that Richard Henry Sidebotham was born in England and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1883. His father William,...

March 1, 2019

The next U.S. presidential primary election will feature at least three viable women candidates—a development that would have no doubt thrilled Presbyterian minister and leader, Eunice Poethig. PHS recently completed the processing of Poethig’s papers, and they illuminate her advocacy work in expanding the numbers of women and people from other marginalized communities serving as leaders in ministry and civic life.

Eunice was born in 1930 to Pete and Juliet Blanchard, and they...

August 30, 2018

A story from the records of a missionary family in northwestern Iran serves as a reminder of the fraught dynamics of class and ethnicity in the nineteenth century mission encounter.

The daughter of Kasha and Shawa Oshana, Shushan Oshana Wright grew up in the mountains of Kurdistan. Her parents, Nestorians who converted to Evangelical Christianity in the 1840s, worked with Protestant missionaries among the Nestorian community. In her young adulthood, Oshana Wright spent time in the United States receiving training at Ferndale Seminary in Norwalk, Connecticut before returning to Iran....

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