"Truth of any kind is food for the soul."

The Rev. Jesse Caswell, 1841

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

North Carolina Presbyterian online

The last posting on a 1904 article in the Boston Evening Transcript (here) concerning the state of Christianity in Siam noted the importance of the religious and secular press as a source for the study of the church in Siam up to the 1920s.  That thought inspired me to see if the North Carolina Presbyterian is available online, and it turns out that it is. The North Carolina Presbyterian was a nineteenth-century publication that is a key source for the study of the Laos Mission from it inception in 1867 into the 1890s.  The Rev. Dr. Daniel McGilvary was from North Carolina and sent numerous letters and quite a few articles back to the publication over the years, which thus contains data available nowhere else about the mission, its churches, and its personnel.  The paper is also an important source for the study of northern Thai history generally.

It turns out that almost all of the issues of the North Carolina Presbyterian are available online at the Internet Archive.  They are not listed there in order, however, and I have taken the liberty of listing them chronologically beginning with the first available year 1861 until the paper ceased publication in 1898.  Linked to An English-Language Bibliography of Materials Related to Christianity in Thailand, you can access the list (here).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Boston Evening Transcript Article

In its Last Edition for Saturday, 21 May 1904, page 28, the Boston Evening Transcript published an article entitled, "Christianity in Siam," which provides commentary based on a "report to the American Bible Society from its agency in Siam."  In the summary sub-headings the contents of the article are described as including: "The Present King Favorable to Missionaries—Bible Circulation Helped by Railroad—New Protestant Church to Be Built at Bangkok."  This article appeared on the second page of a Google search, "siam protestant."

A few random thoughts:

  • For those trolling the Web for sources relevant to Christianity in Thailand, it is important to use as many different combinations of search terms as one can think of.  I've spent many hours in the last couple of years doing just that and continue to come up with new sources nearly every time.  Obviously, there is still a large amount of primary material unavailable online and most more recent publications are unavailable, but even so the Web is a rich source of data—if one can find it.
  • This article appeared in a "secular" newspaper,  Boston Evening Transcript, at the turn of the 20th century at a time when the press, secular and religious, was still an important source of missionary and foreign church news.  For the nineteenth century, that press provides an immense amount of crucial data for mission and church work in Siam.
  • Much of the focus of this particular article is on "the Laos people," meaning the people of Bangkok's northern dependencies, which in 1904 were being increasingly integrated into the Siamese state.  It documents on the ongoing need, as seen by the ABS, for translating the whole Bible in northern Thai, a task that in fact was never completed.
I should note, finally, that I won't include this source in this website's "English-Language Bibliography of Materials Related to Christianity in Thailand," because it is not significant enough for inclusion.  It is too brief, and it is a secondary source.  Including all of the article on Christianity in Siam is simply not an option for the bibliography, but I did want to mention it here as an example of what is "out there" on the Web.