Woman of the Century/Esther E. Baldwin

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BALDWIN, Mrs. Esther E., missionary, born in Marlton, N. J., 8th November, 1840. Her father, the Rev. M. Jerman, was for many years an honored and successful member of the New Jersey Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Esther was constitutionally frail, sensitive and studious. Her first schooling was given her at home, where was laid the foundation of all her future usefulness. To this was added instruction in the public schools and in an excellent private school in Salem, followed by a full course in Pennington Seminary, New Jersey. She was graduated from that institution in 1859, taking the highest honors. During the next year she became a teacher of higher mathematics, Latin and French in a seminary in Virginia. At the beginning of the Civil War her sympathies were with the North, and she resigned her position and returned home. Mrs. Baldwin became a Christian when only ten years old and united with the church of her parents. In 1862 she was married to the Rev. Dr. S. L. Baldwin, a missionary to China. After her marriage she accompanied her husband to Foochow, China, and at once entered heartily into her work. Besides her domestic responsibilities, she was soon entrusted with the supervision of several day schools and of a class of Bible women who were sent out to read the Bible to their country-women. In her thoughtful survey of the condition of woman and childhood in China, quickened by her personal observation and experience, she became deeply impressed with the need of educated Christian woman physicians. She saw that through this means access and confidence could be gained and the way opened for missionary work. Her voice was the first to ask for a medical woman to be sent to China. When the hospital for women and children was opened in Foochow, the first for such a purpose founded in that great empire, she gave it her coöperation. For several years she translated the Berean Lessons into the Chinese language for the use of the Methodist Mission and of the American Board. For two years she edited in the same language the "Youth's Illustrated Paper." She had the pleasure of seeing the missions grow from small beginnings into strong churches of intelligent and self-sacrificing Christians. In the midst of her usefulness sickness came to her of such a character that her physician declared that a change of climate and entire rest were essential to the preservation of her life, and, after eighteen years of earnest, patient, hopeful service in the foreign field, she turned her face homeward. ESTHER E. BALDWIN.jpgESTHER K. BALDWIN. The American pulpit was freely open to Dr. Baldwin, and his pastonal services were eagerlv sought. For some years he has been the recording secretary of the Board of Missions of the M. h. Church. Mrs. Baldwin's health has been largely restored since her return to this country, and she spends the full measure of her strength in active benevolence. She has been extensively employed in the interests of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, being president of the New York branch of that society in the Methodist Church, of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in lectures on various subjects, and in many charities. She is an ardent advocate of the equality of women with men, both in the State and in the Church. The Chinese question in all its aspects has her sympathies. The misrepresentation and abuse of the Chinese have kindled her indignation. She has been called to speak before large audiences in many places on the Chinese question and has contributed numerous articles on the subject to various city papers. She has carefully collected and forcibly stated both the laws and the facts bearing on the subject, and has published them in a small volume entitled "Must the Chinese Go?" which has had three editions. It is especially addressed to the thoughtful and ruling minds of America. She has won the distinction of being the "Chinese Champion." Mrs. Baldwin is the mother of seven children, two of whom died in Foochow. She now resides in Brooklyn, N. Y.