- Scudder, Ida Sophia
- ( 1870 - 1960 )pioneer medical missionary in IndiaIda S. Scudder carried on the family tradition started by her grandfather, John Scudder, a minister of the Reformed Church in America and the first American medical missionary. Scudder was born on December 9, 1870 and raised on the mission field in India. Though she attended North-field Seminary, the school founded by evangelist Dwight L. Moody, she firmly set against becoming a missionary, until receiving a call one night during a 1894 visit to india. The call to the mission field took the form of three women who approached her to ask for help, all three of whom subsequently died giving birth for lack of a woman doctor who could assist them.Scudder returned to study in the first class of Cornell University Medical School to admit women. She began her work out of her father's bungalow in Vellore, but had already initiated a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital. She moved into the new hospital in 1902, and by 1906 she was seeing as many as 40,000 patients a year; she gained an impressive reputation as a surgeon. She began to train nurses, her effort growing into the nursing school at the University of Madras. in 1909, she founded the first of her roadside dispensaries to treat patients in nearby rural communities. They grew into the Vellore Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs.in 1918, drawing together Protestant women of different denominations, she founded a small school to train women as physicians, and in 1923 she founded a large hospital in Vellore. Work proceeded smoothly for two decades, but the relatively isolated facility gradually fell behind the advancing medical field. in 1941, she returned to the United States to raise money and attract the personnel needed to upgrade the hospital. She succeeded, and both the college and the hospital expanded to provide quality medical services to southern india. Since World War ii, it has operated with broad interdenominational support. Scudder died in 1960 at age 90.See also medical missions.Further reading:■ Carol E. Jameson, Be Thou My Vision (Vellore, India: Christian Medical College Board, 1983)■ Mary Pauline Jeffrey, Dr. Ida: India. The Life Story of Ida S. Scudder (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1918)■ Dorothy Clarke Wilson, The Story of Dr. Ida Scudder of Vellore (New York: McGraw-Hill 1959); , "Ida S. Scudder, 1870-1960: Life and Health for Women of India," in Gerald H. Anderson, et al., eds., Mission Legacies: Biographical Studies of the Modern Missionary Movement (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1998): 307-15.
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.