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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

January 27, 2020
John Bingham, ca. 1860-1865, by Mathew Brady. Photo negatives courtesy of the National Archives

--by Sam Kidder

In a New York Times opinion piece in 2013, constitutional law scholar Gerrard Magliocca wrote, “More than any man except Abraham Lincoln, John Bingham (1815-1900) was responsible for what the Civil War meant for America’s future.”[1]

While a Congressman Bingham...

January 2, 2018

Mary Parke Thompson and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In the last installment of this continuing series, Mary recorded how the tensions with fellow missionaries over the direction of Japanese Christianity weighed on her—even as their vision of a Union Church (Protestant rather than just Presbyterian) run by its Japanese congregants with its own building was close to fruition. In this selection, she...

November 29, 2016

 Mary Parke Thompson and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In the last installment of this continuing series, Mary recorded all of the pressures that had been building on their lives for months including disagreements among missionaries and an increase in government monitoring of Japanese Christians. In January 1875, David had begun his services as interpreter to the U.S. legation in...

August 11, 2016

Mary Parke and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In this installment from her diary, Mary celebrates their first Christmas as husband and wife amidst continuing tensions over the form and future of Japanese Christianity.[1]

Dec 25 [1874, Toyko]: Christmas! but not white and frozen as we are wont to see it at home. A gray day in which the rain has continued to fall without intermission through its whole length. But this has not kept us from our purposes, though it has kept...

March 4, 2016

Mary Parke and her husband David Thompson served as missionaries to Japan for over five decades. In this installment from her diary, Mary writes about civil court actions against Okuno, Ogawa, and Kitahara, three Japanese converts who worked closely with the Thompsons and were leaders in the native church.

In August and October 1874, David Thompson presided over the burials of two Japanese Christians “after the Christian manner.” Christian burial is this context probably meant burial of the body without cremation. Such burials were not unknown in Japan, but...

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