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A photograph showing Dr. Anna Degenring working in camp in Vellore, India.

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“Why I Want to Go to Arabia”: Early Medical Missionaries in the Middle East

Anna Degenring graduated from Woman’s Medical College in 1904.  Anna entered Woman’s Medical College for the sole purpose of becoming a medical missionary, and her education was funded by the Woman’s Baptist Foreign Missionary Society of New Jersey.  She had previously trained as a nurse.  In 1906, she was sent as medical missionary to Vellore, India, by the American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.  In Vellore, she worked at the American Baptist Mission Hospital for Women and Children. The hospital began a small dispensary in 1900, set up by Dr. Ida Scudder, and by 1902, it had grown to 40-bed hospital.  Degenring was also a professor at the Vellore Medical College, where she taught Indian students prevention and care of children’s diseases.  She took a leave to come home and when she returned to Vellore in 1923, she became superintendent of the hospital and remained there until 1936, when she retired.

Medical missionaries often worked with few supplies in less-than-ideal locations. This photograph illustrates the difficult circumstances the missionaries sometimes had to work in.

Language: english

Item Number: a069_014

Pages: 64

Size: 12X17

Physical Collection: Papers of Missionaries, 1915-1972, ACC-069

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. Early Medical Missionaries in the Middle East: Why I Want to Go to Arabia. Doctor or Doctress?: Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians. The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Philadelphia, PA. Date of access.

Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania -- Alumni and alumnae

Missionaries, Medical--India

Women in missionary work

Vellore (India)