The Life of Isabel Crawford: More Than I Asked For
This biography of Isabel Crawford is a lively account of a feisty and fascinating Baptist missionary. Born in Canada in 1865, she had an independent spirit leading her to remarkable accomplishments in a life marked by obstacles. Her conversion at age ten created a life-long commitment to Christian service. In her teens a near-fatal illness left her deaf, but nevertheless in 1893 she completed studies to become a missionary. Rejected for overseas service, she was assigned to a troubled Indian mission in Oklahoma. She began her work there with great reluctance but developed a life-long bond with her beloved Kiowa converts. Her success as a woman missionary created friction with the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and she left the mission in 1906. Remaining committed to the Women’s Home Mission Society, Crawford became a sought-after inspirational speaker for them and later served again as missionary, this time in western New York. She retired in 1930 and moved back to Canada in 1942. Crawford is buried, as she had arranged, at her Saddle Mountain, Oklahoma, mission. The biography is enriched by extensive use of Crawford’s witty and perceptive descriptions of the extraordinary challenges and variety of experiences that marked her life.
(Published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, June 2015)
As I indexed the Canadian Methodist newspaper the Christian Guardian and as I read other reports by early Methodists, I began to notice how much women had done in and for the church and also times when their work was not credited. Eventually I undertook a major research project, traveling to all the archives within the United Church of Canada, reading biographies and autobiographies, and searching for the lost stories of women wherever I could find them. Canadian Methodist Women, 1766-1925: Marys, Marthas, Mothers in Israel was the result. To learn more, go to: http://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Catalog/whiteley-methodist.shtml
Also as I indexed the Guardian, I noticed reports about an unusual mission, a rescue home for Chinese prostitutes in Victoria, British Columbia, and its first matron, Annie Leake (1839-1934). Then, to my great surprise, I learned that a friend and colleague of mine had possession of her memoir and some of her letters, which his mother, Leake’s niece, had preserved. I discovered that there was much more of interest in her life than her five years in Victoria, and her descriptions of growing up in rural Nova Scotia were fascinating, as was her tale of her later-life marriage to her girlhood sweetheart. The family graciously let me use Annie Leake Tuttle’s writings in this book. You can learn more at: http://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Catalog/whiteley.shtml