William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Henry W. Hale Family Letters, 1887-1928
Clements Staff, December 1997, and Meg Hixon, May 2012
Henry W. Hale family letters
0.75 linear feet
This collection holds approximately 160 letters exchanged by the family members of Reverend Henry Ware Hale in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry and his wife Susanna wrote 80 letters to their eldest children about their experiences as Baptist missionaries in Tavoy (now Dawei), Burma, between 1894 and 1902, and their children responded with 60 letters concerning their daily lives and education in Hebron and Waterville, Maine, where they lived while their parents worked abroad. The Hale siblings wrote over 10 letters and postcards to each other. The rest of the items are miscellaneous letters and receipts.
The material is in English and Burmese
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Henry W. Hale Family Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
Henry Ware Hale was born in Maine on October 7, 1843. After graduating from Colby College in 1867, he attended the Baptist Union Theological Seminary in Chicago (1871-1872) and the Newton Theological Institution (now Andover Newton Theological School), in Newton Massachusetts (1872-1874). He was ordained on August 20, 1874, and shortly thereafter moved to Burma, where he served as a missionary for the American Baptist Missionary Union in Shwegyin and, after 1894, in Tavoy. He returned to the United States between 1902 and 1910, and lived in Chatham County, Georgia. He married Susanna Norton Coffin (b. February 7, 1849) on April 21, 1870, in Berrien County, Michigan, and they had 5 children, all born in Burma: Emma Norton (b. October 1875), John Alden (b. June 1877), William Freedman (b. February 1879), Lucy Helen Hancock, and Charles E. A. The eldest children, Emma, John, and William, lived in Hebron and Waterville, Maine, between 1894 and 1902, while their parents and younger siblings lived in Asia.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This collection holds approximately 160 letters exchanged by the family members of Reverend Henry Ware Hale in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry and his wife Susanna wrote 80 letters to their eldest children about their experiences as Baptist missionaries in Tavoy (now Dawei), Burma, between 1894 and 1902, and their children responded with 60 letters concerning their daily lives and education in Hebron and Waterville, Maine, where they lived while their parents worked abroad. The Hale siblings wrote over 10 letters and postcards to each other. The rest of the items are miscellaneous letters and receipts. Most letters are part of a numbered series of over 200 items.
Henry Ware Hale and his wife Susanna wrote lengthy letters to their children, often as long as 20 pages, with details of their daily lives, religious work, and local community, which included both English speakers and native Burmese. Reverend Hale often wrote of his work with children, and both parents described the local scenery. Henry also received official correspondence about his salary and about the finances of the American Baptist Missionary Union (February 27, 1901, et al.). Another missionary W. P. Byers, in Bengal, India, shared homeopathic remedies with the Hales (October 22, 1901).
The Hale children also wrote long letters, commenting about their daily lives, and often mentioning their study habits and school subjects, such as Greek and Latin. They also occasionally referred to current events, such as the sinking of the USS Maine (February 21, 1898).
Several unusual items are with the letters. Henry and Susanna Hale sent brief examples of Burmese script; one letter, signed "Helen," is written entirely in Burmese (September 16, 1903). Some correspondence contains samples of dried plants, and drawings of floor plans are part of the letter of January 13, 1902.
- American Baptist Missionary Union.
- Children of missionaries.
- Hebron (Me.)
- Missionaries--Salaries, etc.
- Spanish-American War, 1898.
- Tavoy (Burma)--Description and travel.
- Tavoy (Burma)--Religious life and customs.
- Tavoy (Burma)--Social life and customs.
- Waterville (Me.)
- Byers, W. P.
- Hale, Emma Norton, b. 1875.
- Hale, Henry Ware, b. 1843.
- Hale, John Alden, b. 1877.
- Hale, Lucy Helen Hancock.
- Hale, Susanna Norton Coffin, b. 1849.
- Hale, William Freedman, b. 1879.
- Flowers (plants)
- Letters (correspondence)
- Receipts (financial records)
Additional Descriptive Data
Burrage, Henry S. History of the Baptists in Maine. Portland, Maine: Marks Printing House, Printers, 1904.