Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
 

Bertha E. Davis papers, 1892 -- 1960

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.

1.5 linear feet; 1.5 linear feet; 4 boxes

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.

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Box 1 Folder 1 Diary, December 1892 – January 1894


Box 1 Folder 2 Diary, June 1895 – January 1899


Box 1 Folder 3 Diary, February 2-19, 1900 and July 22, 1916


Box 1 Folder 4 Diary, February – October 1932


Box 1 Folder 5 Diary, 1934


Box 1 Folder 6 Diary, January – April 1935


Box 1 Folder 7 Diary, January 1935 – July 1938


Box 1 Folder 8 Diary, April 1936 – August 1936



Box 2 Folder 1 Diary, July 1936 – March 1937


Box 2 Folder 2 Diary, February – September 1939


Box 2 Folder 3 Diary, September 1939 – August 1940


Box 2 Folder 4-8 Address Books, circa 1899 and 1923



Box 3 Folder 1 Expense Record Ledgers, 1916 and 1930


Box 3 Folder 2 Expense Record Ledgers, 1931 -- 1935


Box 3 Folder 3 Expense Record Ledgers, 1935 -- 1937


Box 3 Folder 4 Memo Book, 1897


Box 3 Folder 5 Memo Books, 1903 -- 1924


Box 3 Folder 6 Longmans' Burmese Phonetic Language Primer, 1933


Box 3 Folder 7 Ecclesia Resurgens: Bishop's Report from Diocese of Rangoon, 1946


Box 3 Folder 8 Correspondence, 1914 -- 1960


Box 3 Folder 9 Notes on Childhood, circa 1900 -- 1960


Box 3 Folder 10 Class Grade Records, circa 1900 -- 1960



Box 4 Scrapbook, circa 1900 -- 1960

This item is open for research, but is extremely fragile, necessitating great care in handling. Please contact Burke Library staff for more information.