June 2010 Archives

Believed to be the first Protestant hymnal printed in India is Amos Sutton's Hymns Especially Designed for Divine Worship Public, Social, and Private, Selected from Various Authors (Cuttack, Calcutta, Orissa Mission Press, 1840). A copy of this scarce hymnal can be found in the Robert Guy McCutchan Collection in Special Collections, Honnold Library. Call number BV 510.O7 S88 1840

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Title Page of Sutton's Hymns

This small note about its printing is found at the end of the Preface:

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The Orissa Province had been under the control of Britain since the late 18th century. In the 19th century, control was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown. The Orissa Mission was the site of significant development when business and political enterprise brought with it the establishment of schools and missions, and by the 1860s, it was a center for printing and publishing of newspapers and journals.

Amos Sutton arrived in India around 1825 and established himself at Cattuck in the Orissa Province where he translated hymns into the Oriya language, among other activities. His hymnal from 1840 is printed in English and comprises texts edited by Sutton from various sources; in his Preface, Sutton admits he edited some source texts dramatically.

For many years Dean of the School of Music at DePauw University, McCutchan was editor of the 1935 edition of the Methodist hymnal. The McCutchan Collection is particularly rich in Methodist hymnals and psalters including early editions by John Wesley, but it also contains hymns that have been sung in America by all denominations.

The collection dates from the early 17th century to the present, and the majority are American publications. The range is broader than hymnology: song books of temperance societies, Grange and fraternal organizations, and political parties; Civil War songs; and children's song books are to be found among the titles.

From the papers of Marjorie Rankin Steurt held in Special Collections are numerous photographs taken by Mrs. Steurt while she served as a missionary and educator in China during the 1920s-1930s. Her diaries, too, are full of keen descriptions of the everyday lives of the Chinese people to whom she was deeply devoted. This photo of a man working with newly handmade paper is just one example.

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Marjorie Rankin was born in Pennsylvania in 1888 to evangelical Protestant parents. She received a BA from Mt. Holyoke College in 1911 and later received an MA and PhD from Columbia University. Her first teaching position was in 1911 in a rural school for African Americans in Alabama. In 1912, she traveled to China as a missionary and teacher at the Christian college in Weihsien. From 1926-1927 she moved on to Cheeloo University in Tsinanfu, the capital of Shentung. In 1929 she became the director of an experimental school in Nankai, in Tientsin; when the university was destroyed by the Japanese in 1932 , she moved back to the United States and taught psychology at a college in New York for many years.

Mrs. Steurt was interviewed in 1970 about her life and career in China, and the transcript of her oral history is available to read in Special Collections: Call number XC 14 OR24 ST46. She gave to us her papers shortly thereafter. The finding aid to her papers, and those of other American missionaries in China that are in our Special Collections, can be found on the web at the Online Archive of California. http://tinyurl.com/34euqpe

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Special Collections recently received a gift of approximately 45 original posters and prints from mid-century China. They will be processed and available for study by September 2010. We've had them digitized for the Claremont Colleges Digital Library, debut date to be announced.