Hazel Chamberlain papers, 1922-1925  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Chamberlain, Hazel
Hazel Chamberlain papers
1922-1925 (inclusive)
0.75 linear feet, (3 containers)
Collection Number
A 195
Hazel Chamberlain was a Christian missionary stationed in Paraguay in the 1920s. The collection includes correspondence, an essay, and photographs that reflect Chamberlain's life as a missionary.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Hazel Chamberlain served as a missionary in Paraguay in the early 1920s. A native of New Jersey, Chamberlain immigrated to Villarrica, Paraguay, in May 1922. Chamberlain served as an educator and evangelist in this town and the surrounding countryside for the next two years. Paraguay grappled with internal violence and revolution during Chamberlain's first year of residency and she discusses how this impacted her, her missionary work, and the lives of locals. At some point during the 1920s, Chamberlain married fellow missionary W. J. Anderson, a Canadian, and she may have moved to Toronto. Little else is known about Chamberlain since the collection consists of only three years of letters.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Hazel Chamberlain Papers consist of several of Chamberlain's outgoing letters, some photographs, and an essay written about the Chamberlain Papers by E. G. Kirkpatrick. This collection offers a brief glimpse into the first years of an American missionary's experiences in central South America.

Chamberlain's letters are appropriately filled with information on evangelical activities--either through the mission's school or visits to nearby villages or hospitals. Chamberlain appears to have been part of a mission that tried to convert Guarani Indians. Her letters discusses the missionaries' successes (primarily through the counting of converts or students) and some of the challenges they encountered (as when neighbors banished converts from their village). Moreover, this collection gives some indication of the impact Protestant missionary work had on central Paraguay; for example, Chamberlain observed that children in their schools had to pass a government exam--one administered by Catholics who were, according to Chamberlain, "very much opposed to the Gospel." Chamberlain offered observations on her students, local politics, and the 1922 revolution that disrupted her life (despite persistent claims to the contrary).

The novelty of Paraguayan life to Chamberlain is evident in her letters. Initially, she tried to describe everything--including houses, food, and furnishings as well as the poverty of local residents and Guarani Indians. Subsequent letters focus on day-to-day living. Aside from missionary work, Chamberlain described the weather, insects, domestic and wild animals, local markets, and her finances.

The six photographs shelved with this collection contain images of Chamberlain's acquaintances, a group of Guarani school children, and landscape photos. Other photos associated with this collection are stored separately with the Missionary Photographs under call number PH279_03. They include 30 images in the form of 42 prints and negatives from 1922-1925. The images are primarily of the women working at the mission; other images show members of the Hay family and a trip the missionaries took to Brazil.

The Kirkpatrick paper features excerpts from Chamberlain's letters on specific topics (such as "supplies" or "civics"). It includes several photographs.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Evangelistic work--Paraguay--Villarrica
  • Guarani Indians--Missions--Paraguay--Villarrica
  • Guarani Indians--Paraguay--Villarrica
  • Missions, American--Paraguay
  • Teachers--Paraguay--Cillarrica--Correspondence
  • Women Christian educators--Paraguay--Villarrica--Correspondence
  • Women evangelists--Paraguay--Villarrica--Correspondence
  • Women missionaries--Paraguay--Villarrica--Correspondence
  • Women missionaries--Paraguay--Villarrica--Photographs
  • Personal Names :
  • Chamberlain, Hazel
  • Kirkpatrick, E.G.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Paraguay--Description and travel
  • Paraguay--Economic conditions--1918-1954
  • Paraguay--History--Revolution, 1922-1923
  • Paraguay--Politics and government--1870-1938
  • Paraguay--Social conditions--20th century
  • Paraguay--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence
  • Negatives
  • Photographic prints
  • Postcards
  • Safety film negatives
  • Silver gelatin prints