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)

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.

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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:

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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

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