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Hazel Chamberlain papers

Identifier: A 195

Scope and Contents

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.

Scope and Contents

History of the “Inland South American Missionary Union of New York”:

In 1902 the Paraguayan Evangelistic and Medical Mission was started. The work rapidly spread to Brazil and Argentina, thus the name was changed to Inland South America Missionary Union. The Missionary was created by John Hay and Margaret Elizabeth Hay. (Several members of the Hay family are pictured in one of the images in this collection). The missionary work was not limited to just the Indians, soon mixed blood and descendents of white settlers were serviced also.

In 1932 Alex Hay took over the mission and renamed it the New Testament Missionary Union. This mission held the deep conviction that Biblical principles and methods of working should take preference over conventional ones. The workers were also no longer allowed to appeal for money. (Hazel would have been a member of the mission before this final name change, because she mentions money received from an individual in one of her postcards.)


  • Creation: 1922-1925


Conditions Governing Access

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.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

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.


0.75 linear feet (3 containers)

Language of Materials



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.


Collection is organized into the following series: Series I: CorrespondenceSeries II: EssaySeries III: PhotographsSeries IV: Photographs (PH279_03)

Existence and Location of Copies

Available in microfilm as part of: Women's lives. Series 3, American women missionaries and pioneers collection (MICROFILM BV3703 .W66 2006, reel 74); Primary Source Microfilm, 12 Lunar Dr., Woodbridge, Conn. 06525.

Physical Description

3 containers

Processing Information

Photographs processed by Megan Dazey.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Hazel Chamberlain papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Veta Schlimgen, Manuscripts Processor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA