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

The Rev. Jesse Caswell, 1841

Friday, February 6, 2015

Surviving Titanic: the Caldwell Family's Story

The Titanic
The study of Thai church history takes its practitioners into sometimes unexpected places. "Surfing the Web" for entries for my Bibliography of materials related to Christianity in Thailand, I recently came across a citation that was very much unexpected.  It is a book by Dr. Julie Hedgepeth Williams entitled, A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells Story of Survival (NewSouth Books, 2012), which tells the story of Albert and Sylvia Caldwell and their infant daughter.  The Caldwells were appointed by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to serve as missionaries in Bangkok.  They arrived in 1909 where they took up their duties at the Bangkok Christian High School (BCC today).  Sylvia, however, soon became ill, and they resigned from the Siam Mission at the end of 1911.  The Caldwells and their infant daughter travelled home via Europe and booked passage on the Titanic for their Atlantic crossing.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

The publisher has made available a podcast of an interview done with Albert in the early 1970s.  It is 22 minutes long and provides fascinating insights into the sinking of the Titanic.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"A Missionary in Siam" - A Digital Exhibition

The Five Colleges of Ohio Digital Exhibitions website is currently hosting an exhibit by Genevieve Senechal of Oberlin College entitled, "A Missionary in Siam."  The subject of the exhibit is the life and word of the Rev. Dr. Dan Beach Bradley, the premier Protestant missionary in Siam in the nineteenth century.  The exhibit includes photographs, including the unique family portrait on the life (taken in 1864 and including Rev. Daniel McGilvary), documents, historical sketches, and historical notes not only on Bradley but also on the nation of Siam during his lifetime.
The exhibit provides a good introduction to Bradley, to Protestant missions in Siam in his time, and to Siam generally in that era.  It is worth spending a little time.