- Purchase/rental options available:
Roxana Nott traveled to India in 1812 along with Harriet Newell and Ann Judson as the female portion of the first group of missionaries under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. When early death removed Newell and conversion separated the Judsons from the group, Nott found herself the first and only woman at the initial station of the American foreign missionary movement in Bombay. She quickly found herself at the center of fierce debates between her husband and the other men of the mission over finances, household management, and the place of a woman at the mission. Nott's story has been largely forgotten, yet it reveals important aspects of the mission movement's approach to marriage and the role of women in missions. Missionaries tried to model and export ideal forms of marriage, yet this was harder to enact than expected, particularly when men and women had different ideas about women's evangelistic duties. Using missionary records of the arguments surrounding Nott's mission participation, as well as her later reflections on her time in the mission field, this essay examines the debates about different models of missionary marriage during the early years of the American foreign mission movement.