Marshman, Hannah
(1767-1847)
   first British woman missionary
   Hannah Marshman was born in Bristol, England, on May 13, 1767. Orphaned at the age of 11, she went to live with her grandfather. In 1799, she traveled with her celebrated husband, Joshua Marshman, to Serampore, India. The mission station was founded there the following year upon the arrival of William Carey. The Baptist Missionary Society did not approve of women missionaries, so Hannah decided to focus her attention unofficially on the women of East Bengal. At the time, women were subjected to various humilities, their rights were largely ignored, and they fell victim to regulations about which they were largely ignorant. Many of these women began to see Hannah as a person to whom they could turn in times of distress.
   Hannah founded a girls' boarding school, a pioneering effort in the area that became a major source of income for the Serampore Mission. Hannah also took care of a number of orphans and destitute people. She died at Serampore on March 7, 1847, the last survivor of the original group.
   Further reading:
   ■ The Bengal Obituary, or a Record to Perpetuate the Memory of Departed Worth, Being a Compilation of Tablets and Monumental Inscriptions from Various Parts of the Bengal and Agra Presidencies. To which is Added Biographical Sketches and Memoirs of Such as Have Pre-Eminently Distinguished Themselves in the History of British India, since the Formation of the European Settlement to the Present Time (Calcutta, india: J. Thomas, Baptist Mission Press, 1848)
   ■ Sunil K. Chatterjee, Hannah Marshman: First Woman Missionary in India (India, 1987)
   ■ A. Christopher Smith, "The Legacy of William Ward and Joshua and Hannah Marshman," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 23 (1999): 120-29.

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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