Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher L. Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Henggeler

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert E. Johnson Jr.


Between 1810 and 1860 in American Indian missions, single missionary women comprised half of the female workforce in the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). Because the ABCFM operated as a business for converting and assimilating American Indians, it hired single women to perform vital and various tasks. Missionary couples requested that the ABCFM appoint single women to teach, perform domestic work, and care for mission children. Biographically, they resembled each other, but their reasons for becoming missionaries varied. Some single women became missionaries after lifelong dreams, but others because the suggestion was made. As workers, some were better received than others. Familial and social connections and the demand for their help often determined how single missionary women were perceived. Their history reveals as much about the past as it does professionalism, manipulation, and human nature.


Copyright 2000 Lisa Jacqueline Travis. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American