My Namesake

Get this. They would have called her Adoniram if Ann Judson Henderson were born a boy:

Historian David S. Schaff, son of the famous historian Phillip Schaff, was surely right when he noted that the name of Ann Hasseltine Judson (1789–1826) “is one of the immortal names in missionary biography.” Francis Wayland (1796–1865), the major nineteenth-century biographer of Ann’s husband, said after he spent time with her in 1822: “I do not remember ever to have met a more remarkable woman.”

With her husband Adoniram Judson (1788–1850) she was the first of a long line of American evangelical missionaries. In fact, her embrace, and that of her husband, in 1812 of Baptist principles is one of the key turning points in the history of the American Baptists: it marked this community’s entry into the modern missionary movement, an event sealed two years later by the formation of the Triennial Convention, so called because it met every three years. Moreover, Ann’s life story was repeated innumerable times in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—almost every year between 1830 and 1856 there was a new edition of her biography, which prompted one author, Lydia Maria Child, to describe it as “a book . . . universally known.”

Thus, she became, along with her husband and others such as William Carey (1761–1834) and Hudson Taylor (1832–1905), a key source of inspiration for the modern missionary movement.