Reading Religion in the 19th Century: Kalamazoo College and Baptist Missions
De Witt, Claire
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In 1851 the Kalamazoo Theological Seminary stated in their yearly course catalogue that, “It is the design of its [the Seminary’s] founders to promote the cause of sound learning, to assist in training up an efficient and godly ministry for the West, and to furnish our quota of missionaries for a world lying in wickedness.” The spirit of this quotation demonstrates what I analyze in this project, the genuine passion with which ministry, and specifically missionary, work was undertaken by Kalamazoo College graduates as part of a national American Baptist trend in the 1850s and 1860s. In pursuing this thesis I wanted to try and understand what circumstances led to the establishment of Kalamazoo College and why one of the central aspects of the College in those early years was the education of ministers and missionaries. Why did graduates become missionaries? How did their time at the College influence their decision to become missionaries? What role did the College play in the greater missionary movement amongst Baptists?