"Women's Work for Women": Annie Jenkins Sallee in China
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The growth of feminist movements in the wake of the American Civil War inspired the development of foreign missionary work as an acceptable and desirable career for young single women. Southern Baptist Annie Jenkins Sallee took up such a career after becoming the first woman to receive a master’s degree from Baylor University. She journeyed across the world with the intention of rescuing Chinese women and girls from the depths of degradation into which years of sinfulness and cultural repression had plunged them. Sallee worked primarily among young girls and women in China through the establishment of preparatory day schools, a boarding school, and an industrial school for women. Though her work produced positive results with regards to increased literacy among Chinese women, these results must be viewed in light of the impact of issues relating to gender, race, and class upon her work. This paper examines these aspects of Sallee’s educational work for women in China between 1905 and 1925.