Nellie Arnott's Writings on Angola, 1905-1913: Missionary Narratives Linking Africa and America

By Reeves-Ellington, Barbara | Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Nellie Arnott's Writings on Angola, 1905-1913: Missionary Narratives Linking Africa and America


Reeves-Ellington, Barbara, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers


Nellie Arnott's Writings on Angola, 1905-1913: Missionary Narratives Linking Africa and America. By Sarah Robbins and Ann Ellis Pullen. Anderson: Parlor Press, 2011. xliv + 337 pp. $65.00 cloth/$32.00 paper.

Reviewed by Barbara Reeves-Ellington, Siena College

Born into a Congregationalist family in Minnesota in 1873, Nellie Arnott graduated from high school in Illinois, worked five years as a home missionary in Georgia and Mississippi, and, after studying at the Moody Bible Institute and Oberlin College and a period in New York State to remedy a health problem, embarked for Portuguese West Africa in 1905 as a missionary. Her brief career in Africa ended just eight years later. While home on leave in 1913, she married an old friend and settled down to obscurity in California.

These are the bare biographical bones of one of the thousands of unheralded participants in the American women's missionary movement. Yet, at the turn of the twentieth century, Arnott was a household name within a small, widely scattered, yet dedicated community of women readers. Supporters of foreign missions eagerly sought her byline in missionary periodicals.

By unearthing Arnott's writings, Sarah Robbins and Ann Ellis Pullen have done more than recover a life. They trace Arnott's development as a writer, highlight her participation in a transnational network of writers and readers, and show how her narratives helped to shape the imagination of new constituencies of American supporters for Protestant missions in Africa. In the process, the authors demonstrate the relevance of a transnational women's literacy network as "a key site of American culture-making" in the early twentieth century (xv). They argue that Arnott and other women missionaries operated in social networks based on accepted literacy practices that turned them into "early practitioners of global communications bound up with both nation-enhancing and transnational social goals" (xxxii).

By the time Arnott traveled to Africa, sponsored by the Congregationalist Woman's Board of Missions of the Interior (WBMI, affiliated with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions), two-thirds of all American Protestant missionaries were women. They were aware that all but their most private correspondence might find its way into public forums. They wrote in several different genres and for a variety of audiences and purposes. Their writings have provided the foundation for individual biographies and wide-ranging histories of the women's missionary movement. Robbins and Pullen are interested in Arnott's experiences, but they are more Concerned with examining how Arnott and the managers of the WBMI represented themselves and their work in Africa to their readers in the United States.

One of the book's strengths is its organizational structure. The first part offers a critical analysis in three chapters, in which the authors provide a biographical sketch of Arnott's life, a historical background of the American missionary enterprise in Portuguese West Africa as context for her narratives, and a literary analysis of her texts situated within scholarship on travel writing. In the second part, Robbins and Pullen include a selection of Arnott's writings, inviting readers to connect the previous section's analysis with these texts. In an appendix, the authors highlight the editorial revisions that WBMI managers made to Arnott's works. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Nellie Arnott's Writings on Angola, 1905-1913: Missionary Narratives Linking Africa and America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.