Jenny Olin papers  1898-1911
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Biography

Jenny Olin was born in 1867 on the coast of Sweden, and immigrated to an aunt's home in New England in 1881. She attended Mt. Holyoke Seminary from 1887 to 1892, with the intent of becoming a foreign missionary. After teaching school for four years in Massachusetts, she went to Kusaie, which is one of the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, in the South Pacific. There Olin worked at the mission school, under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Miss Jessie Hoppin was principal of the school, Louise Wilson and Olin were the teachers and care-givers. Olin cared for some thirty to sixty girls, and occasionally boys, all from the Caroline, Gilbert, and Marshall Islands. Many of the students came from neighboring islands, most of which had their own individual language, characteristics, and customs, which increased the teacher's challenge. Eventually Olin taught in three languages, not including English. She taught housekeeping, sewing, personal hygiene, simple arithmetic, a written language, and bible study, all to help her pupils become "christianized."

Besides teaching, the tiny staff of whites had the complete care of these students: housing, providing and preparing food, sewing to clothe them, plus gardening, caring for some domestic animals, and tending to the house and grounds. Olin also managed to get a printing press to print materials, particularly biblical, in the native languages of the islanders. Olin also preached, advised native superintendents, and wrote sermons for them to give to their congregations. She usually had at least one other American missionary with her, plus the help of the girls themselves. In her fourteen years there, she had but one furlough home to the states in 1905. She died in 1911 in Sydney, Australia, of an unspecified, lengthy illness.