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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.

March 17, 2019

--by Youngeun Koo

I visited PHS in August 2018 as part of my doctoral project. My thesis examines the development of intercountry adoption from South Korea between 1953 and 1979. I’m particularly interested in better understanding activities and efforts carried out by state and institutional actors to support needy children and families in Korea.

Since 2017, I’ve gathered archival and oral data from Korea, Sweden, and Denmark. The United States was my last stop for data collection. I was very fortunate to receive a ...

September 11, 2018

--by Jennifer Graber

Session minutes of the Anadarko Presbyterian Church, founded in Indian Territory in 1889, referred to the “problem” of Native American church membership on the very first page. Rev. Silas Fait, along with an elder, examined an “Indian named Emma.” Though she “accept[ed] Christ,” the leaders rejected Emma’s application as she maintained that Christ could not “interfere with her own gods.” In the follow-up notes, Rev. Fait worried that “great harm will come to the mission if care is not exercised...

November 14, 2017

--by Nakia Parker

While investigating sources for a final paper in an undergraduate course on the American Civil War, I painfully discovered the history of American Indian participation in chattel slavery. Previously, I had viewed African Americans and Native Americans as identical comrades in the struggle against racism and oppression in this country. My desire to correct this thinking and contribute to the scholarship about the African American diaspora and the practice of chattel slavery in Southeastern Indian nations became the foundation for my current research...

June 11, 2017

I have thought that my coming West was a great mistake. I must be in the wrong place or work, or I would not be so forsaken. In the midst of all my affliction vc [sic] in Africa, I could feel that I was in God’s work: but not so here. The trouble is the trying to serve two masters.”[1]

This was the reflection of the Revered John Menaul, a Presbyterian missionary, after five years of service in the New Mexico and Arizona Territories. A former missionary to Corisco, an island off the coast of West Africa, Menaul...

September 13, 2016

--by Christopher N. Phillips

How much do you love your church’s hymn-singing tradition? Enough to steal its hymnbook? That was the case for George Fleming, a newspaper publisher in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Why would he do such a thing? A quick history of Presbyterian hymnbooks gives some clues.

Presbyterians, like most English-speaking Calvinists, didn’t sing hymns in church until the second half of the 18th century; it took the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America’s General Assembly (GA) until 1802 to declare that Isaac Watts’...

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