|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
Bertha E. Davis papers, 1892 -- 1960
This series may contain some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list.
This series contains diaries, address books, expense records, photographs, a copy of the 1946 Anglican Bishops Report from the Diocese of Rangoon, and other personal items relating to Davis's life before, during, and after her missionary work in Burma from 1899-1931. The bulk of the collection is diaries. Earlier diary entries (1892-1899) reveal the details of her final years at Franklin College, her announcement to her father of her intention to become a foreign missionary, and her entrance into the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Union's training program in Chicago. There are only two brief diaries from her time in Burma: one from February 1900, and a later entry on scrap paper from July 22, 1916. These entries, however, contain information including the weather in Burma, descriptions of the villages, relationships between Protestant and Catholic missionary stations, and folk tales from the Karen people, an ethnic group in Southern Burma. Most of the diaries in the collection document Davis's life after returning to the United States; spanning from 1932 to 1940, they discuss her life traveling locally and participating in various church-related activities, as well as the details of her family relationships, and records of the weather with great consistency and detail. In addition to diaries, the collection contains nine address books, six ledgers of Davis' expense records that date from 1916 to 1937, and three memo books containing a combination of addresses, expenses, notes, and diary entries, some of which relate to her time in Burma. The collection also includes an undated account of Davis' memories from childhood, some correspondence, a Longmans' Burmese Primer from 1933 with language exercises in Burmese phonetics, an undated class grade record, and a document entitled "Ecclesia Resurgens: Bishop's Report for the half year ending 31st Dec. 1945." Printed in 1946, this report was compiled by George Algernon West, Anglican Lord Bishop of Rangoon, who was one of the first British civilians allowed back into Burma after the defeat of the Japanese in World War II. It details his experience of post-war return, including an account of rebuilding his cathedral, which had been converted into a distillery for Japanese occupiers, the process of re-establishing the diocesan administration, and stories of Christian victory and persecution during wartime. There is also scrapbook of photographs, some of which are presumably from her time in Burma.
This series is arranged by format.