Letter from Fidelia Fiske '42 to her mother, Hannah Fiske, and "dearly beloved Friends" (at Mount Holyoke)
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Letter from Fidelia Fiske '42, to Beloved Friends in Section "No. 4," North Division, Mount Holyoke Seminary
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Copies of letters from Fidelia Fiske '42 to friends at Mount Holyoke and Missionary Society of Holyoke Seminary
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Letters from Fidelia Fiske '42 to Abigail (Moore) Burgess '38, Lucy Lyon, Sophia (Hazen) Stoddard '41, Ann Mowry, Martha Chapin, others in Missionary Circle at Mount Holyoke, and her uncle
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Scope and Contents
This series includes Fiske's correspondence from her departure for Persia in 1864, until her death in the United States in 1863. A letter book and other letters describe her missionary work, especially with regard to the progress of her school and its pupils, her work with village women and Persia's volatile political environment. Also included are descriptions of setbacks caused by cholera epidemics and natural disasters. Correpondence written after her return to the United States focuses on her ties to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, her desire to return to Persia and her failing health.
Letters of special noteFrom the Series:
- 1843 May 3. Constantinople Stayed with Dwights. Fear services - is German, English, Armenian, Turkish. Four miss, families in city work mostly with Armenians who have corrupted form of Christianity. School for boys (20-30) - Mrs. Hamlin takes whole charge of their board. House open morn till night.She is glad to do anything for good of this people "though the labor of the kitchen." Boys cannot believe F has no husband; "can you cipher'!"
- 1843 Jul 10. In Erzeroom Armenian bishop violent in his persecution of little mission clock. Simple repast seated on matted floor - cakes of finest wheat, milk from flock, butter and honey.
- 1843 Sep 14. Visited home of pupil, dined on floor, ate with hands; ate with relish as good as any time in America. Women ate with them. Walk in Persian vineyard - alas much drunkenness.
- 1843 Sep 18. People more interested in being delivered from Mussulman oppression rather than oppression of sin Nestorians consent to early marriage for girls else they may marry Mussulman. Boy thought Paul an Englishman because his words sounded just like the missionary language. Attended Nestorian Church service - 80 seated on ground; first lady of Mission to do so.Took tent and spent night beside lake; enjoy bathing. Bishop says Mount Holyoke is best of all schools because fear of God there.
- 1843 Oct 2. Read to girls in Syrian. Received first mall, Emissaries of Rome here again.
- 1843 Dec 25. Problem of girls living at hose - under influence of parents. Many heard word but few conversions.
- 1844 Feb 24. People are Christian "in name only." Like moot missionary stations, prejudice against doing anything for the fallen woman. Now they come to our room when service for men is held. Fidelia "wandered in highways" entreating them to come. Now 8 boarders, incl. one aged 4.Much more difficult here to judge from appearances than at home; how sincere is their faith? School - 2 rooms with straw mats; oiled paper windows. Stove, benches. Need to raise quality of missionaries. Never felt better but poor eyes. End of Letter Book.
- 1848 Dec 19. Political changes among Mountain Nestorians. $19 raised by Nestorians for spreading Gospel. Koordish chiefs now prisoners.
- 1855 Apr 23. Several pupils who have finished their studies are teaching little girls in villages - nurseries of piety. Some teaching women to read Bible. King of Persia issued firman against Americans - stopped printing presses. Disapproves schools for girls.
- 1856 Jun 20. Our mud tenement in danger of falling down. Miss Rice away so she has care of dozen men "all alone" - every morning they meet in schoolroom and F reads Bible and cue pious workman leads in prayer. No miss. brother with us.City surrounded by fruit gardens - trees loaded with cherries.Prayer meeting on roof - 70-80 there; slept but little sleep a/c heat and sandflies.Friday morning meetings with mothers - P reads to them from Mothers' Mag. (bound volumes sent to her).
- 1856 Jul 3. At meeting of 16 mothers found 43 living children, 66 had died. 16 children have died in mission since beginning.
- 1857 Jul 15. F had 2 angel sisters who died before she was born. Spent 3 weeks in the mts. of Koordistan. Trying journey "over such roads I never imagined". Mr. Stoddard's death in Jan., then his daughter in March.
- 1863 Apr 23. Had hoped to leave for Persia early August with Dr. Wright but his printing of N.T. in Syriac not ready. Cannot cross mts. of Armenia later than Oct. Very disappointed. Now busy with history of revivals.
- 1863 Oct 28. At MR 340 pupils; more than 200 were refused admission. Growing improvement in religious character of school.
- 1864 Mar 3. Not well - unable to go out for 5/6 weeks. Day of prayer for literary institutions - 325 in prayer all day. Dr. Hitchcock's death.
- 1864 Mar 31. Very few lady teachers are laying by in store for old age.
- 1864 Jun 17. Strength less than 6 weeks ago. Physician feels sea voyage home of 80 days gave her 5 years of comfortable health. Not in habit of writing so fully about herself.
- 1848 Oct 29. Some may feel Holyoke no longer Holyoke now that Miss Lyon has gone but I cannot feel so.
- 1848 Oct 30. Plunder, bloodshed. Koords desolated villages. Mission messenger striped and beaten.
- 1848 Nov 16. Assembling of school delayed a/c dampness in new opts.
- 1848 Dec 18. Persia land of my adoption - here expect to live and die. Mrs. Stoddard's death.
- Creation: 1843-1844
Conditions Governing Access
From the Series: 6 folders
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository
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8 Dwight Hall
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