Document 10: Excerpt from Mary C. Leavitt, "Our Round-the-World Missionary," Union Signal, 5 August 1886, p. 8.


   WWCTU's first "around-the-world missionary," Mary C. Leavitt, reported on her activities in Japan to the National WCTU in the United States. In one section of the report, Leavitt described the days immediately after her arrival at Yokohama on July 1st. She successfully introduced herself to the missionary circle by visiting the Bible Society sustained by interdenominational Christian efforts. Then she was introduced to Dr. Hepburn, met her old acquaintance, WUMS missionary Mrs. Anne L. Viele, and stayed with women missionaries working at the American Mission Home. In her interactions with WUMS missionaries working for the Home, Mrs. Viele, Mrs. Pierson, and Miss Crosby, Leavitt quickly realized that Paul's injunction was still influential in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle. Describing the activities of WUMS missionary women, Leavitt commented that "they also preach themselves and ought to have more encouragement in this work from their missionary brethren than they get." Obviously she was frustrated with the pressure imposed by male conservatives to restrict the activities of American missionaries.

Tokyo, Japan, June 30, 1886

DEAR Sisters of the W.C.T.U.--I take up my story where I dropped it, as we were nearing the shores of Japan. Bad weather, thick, rainy, but not otherwise, delayed us, so that we came into harbor, a beautiful bay, about daylight on the morning of June 1. These shores are worthy of the name "emerald," which has been appropriated by another island. A range of low hills was seen, coming close to the sea, and terminating in an earthy cliff at the water's brink. We made fast to the buoy, and were ready to go ashore about nine o'clock. I faced the customs officers in company with the tourists of whom I have written. it was not, however, a severe ordeal. No room was to be had at the only "ladies" hotel; I therefore concluded to deposit my luggage at the "Club Hotel," where other tourists stopped, and deliver some letters of introduction before going on to Tokyo. In a few minutes the French hotel clerk, who speaks English very well had called a jinrikisha (do not pronounce the last i), and I was starting off for postoffice, bank, American consulate, and missionaries' houses. I accomplished all of my errands successfully by the aid of the jinrikisha who speaks a little English. I then went to the Bible Society rooms. Mr. Loomis was away, but his assistant, Mr. Elmer, received me most cordially, invited me to his house for lunch, and I went on to Dr. Hepburn's. Interesting school exercises were to take place at Tokyo the next day, and Mrs. Hepburn proposed to go up; so I went on to Mr. Elmer's making a moment's stop by the way at Dr. Theodore Gulick's, where I was most cordially received. While at lunch, Mrs. Viele came in to see me, to my great surprise. Afterward I saw Mrs. Pierson and Miss Crosby, and finally settled down for the night with Mrs. Van Petten. All these are missionaries or in the circle, and I received a most cordial welcome. I may interrupt my story a little to say that in my instances, three single missionary ladies live together, their main work being teaching a school in the house, here English and the Bible are the prominent features, but where a really good education can be obtained. Astronomy, history, algebra, psychology, music and drawing are some of the branches in which I heard young ladies examined. These ladies training Bible women to work in the cities, and send them, sometimes accompany them, into the county on tours. They also preach themselves and ought to have more encouragement in this work from their missionary brethren than they get. One of these ladies, taking a Bible Reading of Hannah Whitall Smith's that came in her way as a model, has laid out a body of religious truth covering the whole ground, for her women to use. The reader turns from passage to passage, following the written directions. These have proved so useful that many native pastors have requested a copy saying they had nothing of such value. The readings are soon to be printed. A mustard seed dropped in America, and lo! a forest in far-off Japan!

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