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Published on June 5th, 2014 | by ABCUSA

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Archivist Highlights Japanese Internment Resources at ABHS

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/5/14)—American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS) Archivist Jan Ballard is speaking on June 5th about Japanese American history and resources for studying it at the American Baptist Historical Society. Presenting in a conference session focusing on Asian Baptists, Ballard’s topic comes from a recent film “A Church Stands With Its People,” produced by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) in cooperation with ABHS. View the film here.

The 2014 Annual Conference of the Baptist History and Heritage Society and the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions meets June 4-6 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For more information see the full conference program at http://www.baptisthistory.org/bhhs/.

Documenting American Baptist Ministry in World War II Internment Camps required digging into many parts of the library. One starting place was the records of John Thomas, Florence Rumsey, and Esther McCollough—home missionaries working with Japanese Americans through the program of ABHMS. Other valuable sources include the records of American Baptist missionaries to Japan, several of whom spent the war years teaching those incarcerated.

Records of the ministry of a Rev. Wada are also included in the ABHMS files. A minister and missionary for Japanese Baptist, Rev. Mashiko Wada (1880-1957), was a product of the Japanese church and American Baptist Foreign Mission Society work. At the invitation of the Los Angeles Baptist Mission and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, Rev. Wada came to the United States in 1928, expressly to minister in the Japanese immigrant communities. Also instructive are the records of college students, including two children of Rev. Wada, who were able to leave the camps because of sponsorship by American Baptists. These scholarship students included a young Mari Yoriko Sabusawa, who later married the famous author James Michener.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.


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