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Annie Jenkins recognized the compromise implied by marriage, and she resisted Mr. Sallee's entreaties for several months.

I don't want to marry,
she stated clearly in her diary.

I told him I did not come to China for that. I came as a single missionary, and I could not think of giving up what I had so longed to do. Sallee, 1905 (no specific day noted).

I feel a single woman can do so much more work than a married one with house-hold cares. . . .I never did feel called upon to keep house for a man. I want to be in the work myself. Ibid., December 31, 1905.

But his attractiveness, the isolation of their foreign experience, and cultural expectations won the day. They married in 1906, her resistance having dwindled to instructing the minister to substitute the word "help" for "obey" in the vows they made. Ibid., September 18, 1906.

Part of the reason for Annie's succumbing to a partially domestic role lay in the discovery that she preferred operating in the institutions of the missionary compound, teaching and administering, rather than traveling and doing evangelistic work in the countryside. And home life having been such an important facet of her past experience, she no doubt sought to recreate a "nest" of her own. Missionaries commonly depended heavily on one another, but the alien nature of Chinese culture even heightened the situation. There they tended to build their homes close together or live in compounds which also included space or buildings for schools and worship. The Sallees eventually built a two-story home in Kaifeng, Honan, and completed it with fine Asian furnishings as well as many American conveniences. Personal interview with Hallie Jenkins Singleton, in Waco, Texas, February 4, 1976. Mrs. Singleton and her husband furnished a room in honor of her sister, Annie Jenkins Sallee, in the Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas. Mrs. Singleton still had Chinese rugs and vases that were gifts of Mrs. Sallee in her possession; a number of Mrs. Sallee's other things were destroyed in a fire at the Jenkins family home in Waco. Annie's early reticence toward Eugene Sallee was replaced with a mutual devotion that was enhanced not only by their cultural isolation, but also by their remaining childless. See particularly the correspondence of Annie J. Sallee to W. Eugene Sallee, Spring, 1929, when she was in the United States and he remained in China. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

The whole interior mission station prospered between Annie's arrival in 1905 and the end of this study, 1920. She and Eugene were both good teachers and effective administrators; in a compound at important crossroads a mile from the capital city of the province, Kaifeng, they developed a seminary to train preachers, schools for boys and girls, and an industrial school where women engaged in crafts and learned Bible lessons. Mr. Sallee worked mainly with churches and the seminary, but was interested in wider programs and participated in agricultural reform, an attempt to assist the rural poor but one eventually equated with political action.

William A. Brown, "The Protestant Rural Movement in China (1920-1937," American Missionaries in China , ed. Kwang-Ching Liu (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), p. 228.

The operation of the schools for children and women were left in Mrs. Sallee's hands. She encouraged other women from the United States to join her, particularly single women who came to live in the dormitories and handle the boarding aspects of student life. Native Chinese women were also taught to supervise other women and to teach artisan skills. A young Chinese woman who had been employed as Annie's housekeeper and, as such, had learned to do needlework became a key instructor in the industrial school; a talented boy in the boarding school created the patterns from which the women worked to pay part of their schooling costs.

BS , October 11, 1911, pp. 9, 29.

Questions & Answers

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Smarajit Reply
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