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Edling correspondence, 1918-1960 (Bulk: 1921-1924)
1 box (5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0529 (LD 7096.6 1917 Childs)

Edling, Leila Childs, 1895-1976; Nurse and missionary. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1917. Papers consist of correspondence, primarily documenting her travels to Africa and her subsequent work as a mother and medical missionary in Angola.

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Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Leila M. Childs was born on November 27, 1895 in Northbridge Center, Massachusetts. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1917. In 1920 she became an R.N. after training at Massachusetts General Hospital. She married Eddie Emanuel Edling on October 22, 1920 and in 1921 they sailed to Africa to work as missionaries. They returned to the United States in 1950, after raising four children in Africa. Reverend Edling died on October 29, 1957. Leila M. Childs Edling died on October 9, 1976 in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Leila M. Childs Edling Correspondence consists of letters to relatives and friends, written between 1921-1924, describing her experiences as a teacher and nurse while at a mission station in Angola. Edling recounts the travels with her husband, Edie Emmanuel Edling to Lisbon before their departure to Angola. While in Lisbon, Edling writes of the sites in the Belem district. Upon departure for Africa, Edling describes the activities aboard the ship, including interactions with German travelers. In Angola, where Edling was stationed with her husband between 1921-1950, she describes her encounters with the "native" population and highlights many of the cultural differences between herself and the people of the surrounding community. Edling further attempts to dispel some of the myths of the "Dark Continent" by describing her personal interaction with the local people, while at the same time describes the "heathens" within the mission community. Edling's later correspondence describes the health conditions in Angola, particularly the bubonic plague and malaria, the growth of her clinic, and her struggles to raise her children.

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Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:


Preferred Citation

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

Leila M. Childs Edling Correspondence, 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:
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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.

  • Edling, E. E. (Eddie Emanuel), d. 1957.
  • Edling, Leila Childs, 1895-1976.
  • Africa.
  • Angola - Description and travel.
  • Angola - Social conditions.
  • Clergy - United States - Biography.
  • Disease.
  • Education - Angola - History - Sources.
  • Family - United States - History - Sources.
  • Lisbon (Portugal) - Description and travel.
  • Marriage - United States - History - Sources.
  • Medical care - Angola - History - Sources.
  • Missionaries - Africa.
  • Missionaries - Angola - Biography.
  • Missionaries - Angola - Correspondence.
  • Mount Holyoke College - Alumnae - Nurses.
  • Nurses - Angola - Correspondence.
  • Portugal.
  • Religion.
  • Spouses of clergy - United States - Biography.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • Women - Health and hygiene - United States - History - Sources.
  • Women missionaries - Angola - Correspondence.

  • Childs, Leila, M., Class of 1917.

Genre terms
  • Letters

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