Henry W. Hale family letters  1887-1928 (bulk 1894-1902)
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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.

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