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Sprague papers, ca. 1871-1923 (Bulk: 1893-1923)
1 box (2.5 linear in.)
Collection number: MS 0709 (LD 7096.6 1871 Brown)

Sprague, Viette Isabel Brown, 1846-1923; missionary. Mount Holyoke Female Seminary graduate, 1871. Papers consist of correspondence, writings, biographical information and photographs primarily documenting her work as a missionary in China during the Boxer Rebellion and the political rights of Chinese women with special emphasis on foot binding.

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Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Viette Isabel Brown was born on February 12, 1846 in Newark, Wayne County, New York. She was the third of Hiram Leicester Brown and Hester Ann Bonker's ten children. She attended public school in Newark and then in Shortsville, New York. After graduating from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1871 she taught school in Red Creek, New York; Muncie, Pennsylvania; and Emory, Ohio. In 1893 she went to China and married Reverend William P. Sprague in Tientsin. The Spragues then went to Kalgan in northern China to work at a missionary there. On June 11 in 1900 the Boxer Uprising forced them to flee the mission with a group of nineteen people including other American and Swedish missionaries and children. The group reached Urga, the capital of Mongolia, and then had to move on to Siberia, Moscow and finally St. Petersburg on September 18. The Spragues returned to New York for one furlough and then went back to Kalgan in 1902, staying there until 1910. William Sprague died in 1919 and Viette Brown Sprague spent the rest of her life in Shortsville, New York remaining involved in church activities, missionary organizations and choir. She died on November 2, 1923 at the age of seventy-seven.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Viette Isabel Brown Sprague papers consist of correspondence (original manuscripts or transcript copies), writings, biographical information, and photographs. Most of this material reflects Sprague's work as a missionary in Kalgan in northern China from 1900-1919. In letters written to her friend, Anna C. Edwards, she discusses her work in China as a missionary, as well as the social and political conditions in China during the time of the Boxer Uprising. Her writings include an article on her missionary work and two reports on women's work in Kalgan. In these writings she discusses growing anti-foot binding sentiments and the mission's progress. Her writings and letters are supplemented by more than thirty photographs relating to her work in China. Biographical information includes articles and notes relating to her time in China and two detailed obituaries.

Material from this collection is available in an online digital format.

This collection is organized into four series:

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Preferred Citation

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

Viette Brown Sprague Papers, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

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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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