Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections
Mount Holyoke College seal
Buyse papers, 1917-1977.
1 box (2.5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0515 (LD 7096.6 1907 Easton)

Abstract:
Buyse, Mabel Easton, 1882-1977; Missionary. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1907. Papers contain correspondence, writings, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs. Primarily documenting her work in Uganda and the Congo with special note of famine and the effects of the World Wars.

Terms of Access and Use:

Unrestricted

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Mabel Easton was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, on September 24, 1882, to John A. Easton and Martha P. Brock Easton. She went to English High School in Somerville, Massachusetts from 1898 to 1902. She attended Mount Holyoke College in 1902-1903 and from 1904-1907. After graduating with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in English, she attended the National Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) Training School from September to December 1907. In 1923-1924 she enrolled at the Second Biblical Seminary in New York City. She worked as a general secretary of the Industrial YWCA between the years 1908-1910 and she was a county agent for dependent children in Lockport, New York from 1913-1917. From 1917 to 1957 she worked as a missionary in Africa as part of the Africa Inland Mission. She was stationed in the Belgian Congo, Uganda, and the Sudan. In 1928 she married John George Buyse in Kijabe, Kenya. He was a medical missionary from the Netherlands who also worked for the Africa Inland Mission. The Buyses retired to Clermont, Florida, in 1957. She died on January 26, 1977, in Clermont at the age of ninety-five.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mabel Easton Buyse Papers consist of correspondence, writings, memorabilia, biographical information, and photographs. Of particular interest is Buyse's correspondence, which consists of about sixty extremely detailed letters (originals or copies and extracts) written from Africa between September 30, 1917 and November 10, 1944. These letters are to Rose Alden, a Mount Holyoke College alumna, and other friends; many of them are transcripts or excerpts of original letters, prepared by Alden. These documents describe Buyse's life as a missionary in an area of Africa where the Sudan, the Belgian Congo and Uganda meet. They reflect her work for the Africa Inland Mission and give detailed descriptions of her daily life as a missionary, teacher, wife, and midwife. They discuss her teaching; her travels throughout Africa; her personal life, including mention of the books that she read; social and political conditions such as outbreaks of famine and disease and the impact of World Wars I and II and the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s on Africa. Writings, 1919-1945, consist of a book by Buyse, "Nyilak and other African Sketches," published in 1923 and articles by Buyse published in missionary magazines. Memorabilia contains cards, brochures and maps from Buyse's missionary travels between 1928-1955. Included in this series are two maps of the "Fields and Stations of the Africa Inland Mission" drawn by John Buyse in 1937 and 1938. Rounding out the collection are biographical information about Buyse, circa 1919-1977, including a memorial letter of tribute to her, and photographs, 1913-circa 1958, of Buyse and her husband taken in Florida.

This collection is organized into five series:


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Mabel Easton Buyse Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Correspondence,
1917-1944
3 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of about sixty letters that Buyse wrote between 1917-1944. Most of these letters are addressed to a friend, Rose Alden, and the series contains many copies and extracts of Buyse's letters that Alden prepared. In her letters, Buyse describes her life and work in Africa, where she served as a missionary for the Africa Inland Mission, an international organization founded in 1895. She discusses teaching women and children at mission boarding schools and the problems associated with that work, such as the difficulty of learning many local dialects. Buyse also mentions her many other tasks, which included serving as a midwife. She traveled widely in Africa and describes her many visits to missionary stations, schools, and conferences, as well as occasional vacations. She also discusses social and political conditions in Africa, including outbreaks of disease and famine; customs related to housing, clothing, food, and celebrations; government policies and responses to local uprisings; and the impact of world events such as World Wars I and II and the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s on Africa. In addition, Buyse mentions many details of her personal life. She discusses her religious faith and missionary philosophy; her marriage and work with her husband; her health, loneliness and feelings of discouragement with the progress of Protestant mission work in Africa; and the pleasure that she receives from writing music to hymns and reading books by Dicken, Proust, and others.

Correspondence,
1917-1930

Box 1: folder 1
Correspondence,
1931-1935

Box 1: folder 2
Correspondence,
1936-1944

Box 1: folder 3
Writings,
circa 1919-1945
2 folders

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series includes Buyse's published writings about her missionary experiences teaching English and religion in various African villages between circa 1919 and 1945. These writings are descriptive sketches of the lives and culture of the African villagers whom Buyse interacted with as a missionary. Several documents are articles from the missionary magazine, "Inland Africa." These articles give Buyse's impressions of people of Arua, a village in the Belgian Congo circa 1919-1928, Lugbara Village, Belgian Congo, before 1939, and Tanganyika, Kenya in 1944. A small book of narratives entitled "Missionary Cameos" briefly describes various "branches of the work of the Africa Inland Mission in Congo." This booklet includes photographs and narrative sketches of the Nadi tribe, Mwanza Bay, the Aba and Adi Villages of the Belgian Congo, and Goli, Uganda. Of particular interest is Buyse's book, "Nyilak and other African Sketches," published in 1923. The manuscript copy of the first chapter of "Nyilak" is included in Buyse's writings.

Articles,
circa 1919-1945

Box 1: folder 4
"Nyilak and Other African Sketches,"
1923

Box 1: folder 5
Memorabilia,
circa 1928-1955
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of cards, brochures, and maps from Buyse's missionary travels between circa 1928-1955. Included in the documents are a business card of Rev. and Mrs. John G. Buyse and two cards advertising the Africa Inland Mission, one with photographs of Buyse and her husband and their travel route from New York to Aba, Belgian Congo. Also contained in this series are two maps of the "Fields and Stations of the Africa Inland Mission" drawn by John Buyse in 1937 and 1938.

Memorabilia,
circa 1928-1955

Box 1: folder 6
Biographical Information,
circa 1919-1977
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series contains articles, notes, Mount Holyoke Class of 1907 reports, and Buyse's memorial service program. Of particular interest in this series is a statement by R. Floyd Pierson, a friend and fellow African missionary, entitled "In Memorium of Mabel Easton Buyse" and written after her death in 1977. In this document, Pierson gives his recollections of Buyse and records many of her beliefs about religious faith.

Biographical information,
circa 1919-1977

Box 1: folder 7
Photographs,
1913-circa 1958
1 folder

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access:

Unrestricted

Scope and content:

This series consists of formal and informal photographs of Buyse and her husband taken between 1913 and 1958. The photograph from 1913 is captioned "Leaving Jersey" and shows Buyse in travel clothes at a ferryboat dock. There are four formal photographs and three snapshots of Buyse and her husband by their home and church in Florida in about 1958.

Photographs,
1913-circa 1958

Box 1: folder 8

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Buyse, John G. (John George)
  • Buyse, Mabel Easton, 1882-1977.
  • Africa.
  • Books and reading.
  • Education - Uganda - History - Sources.
  • Education - Zaire - History - Sources.
  • Marriage - United States - History - Sources.
  • Missionaries - Uganda - Correspondence.
  • Missionaries - Zaire - Correspondence.
  • Uganda - Description and travel.
  • Uganda - Social conditions.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Women missionaries - Uganda - Correspondence.
  • Women missionaries - Zaire - Correspondence.
  • Zaire - Description and travel.
  • Zaire - Social conditions.

Contributors
  • Alden, Rose, 1878-1961.

Genre terms
  • Letters


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