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Beulah H. Reitz Papers, 1922-1936

Manuscript Collection #217

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Beulah H. Reitz Papers
Creator: Reitz, Beulah, b. 1893
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1922-1936) consisting of correspondence, conference reports, clippings, pamphlets, information of climate season, Christians celebrations and magazine articles.
Extent: 0.495 Cubic feet, 259 items .

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

December 15, 1972, 275 items; Correspondence, (1922-1936). Gift of Miss Beulah H. Reitz, Asheville, North Carolina.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Beulah H. Reitz Papers (#217), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Miss Beulah H. Reitz

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Bouldin, November 1974

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Beulah H. Reitz was born in Kansas in 1893. She was educated at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. From 1922 to 1955, Miss Reitz served as a missionary to Rhodesia under the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The correspondence consists of letters from Beulah H. Reitz in Rhodesia, Africa, to family and friends in Kansas. There are also a few letters written by other missionaries and by native students.

The majority of the letters falls between the years 1922 to 1925 with fewer letters from 1927 to 1936. More specifically, the letters are written from Old Umtali (1922), Mutambara (1922-1926), Nyadiri (1929-1931), and the Native Girls' Hostel at Umtali (1931-1936). Also included in are undated and incomplete letters, some of which are carbon copies of the dated letters.

Miss Reitz's correspondence while en route to and from Africa (1922, 1925) includes a good description of travel on ships and activities and games on board. Reference is made to other relgious peoples and travelers.

Of interest are the descriptions of such African towns as Cape Town (1925) and Johannesburg (1922). A great deal of history and physical description is given on the missions in Rhodesia where Miss Reitz served: Old Umtali (1922), Mutambara (1922-1926), Nyadiri (1929-1931), and the Native Girls' Hostel at Umtali (1931-1936).

Detailed information is given on the climate and seasons of this area. There are descriptions of the waterfalls, mountains, flowers, fruits, and wheat crops. In addition, physical descriptions are included for buildings- how they are made and the materials used. Native life in the "wilds" or kraals and villages is revealed by her accounts of her trips into these areas.

The work with the native students at the missions is enumerated. It includes teaching, ministering, training, as well as improvement of their health and physical surroundings. Subjects taught, levels of education, work of the students, clothing problems, and methods of "play" are dealt with in the letters. Also given are descriptions of the work at outstations by the native or pastor-teachers. A pamphlet on "Hartzell Training School," Old Umtali, Rhodesia explains the reason and methods of training native teachers. Also, a history of the school is given.

A subject dealt with throughout all of the letters is the customs and superstition of the natives as opposed to the Christian practices. The customs and superstitions cover such areas as weddings, marriage, widows, children, birth, death and burial, sickness, demons and gods, witchdoctors, and huntings. In contrast to this, descriptions of Christian celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are given in detail.

Of interest also are the methods for the acquisition and preparation by the natives of food and clothing. Missionaries appeal for scholarships for food, while the girls plant gardens to earn money for clothing.

Insight is shed on the medical work being down in the kraals and at the dispensary. Medical practices and cures are given in detail. The lack of doctors and medicine is documented as in the presence of the more common diseases such as malaria and chicken pox. There is a great deal of discussion on a quarantine from an epidemic of East Coast Fever which infects the cattle (May 1926).

The work being done by the Parent Board in conjunction with the Methodists is discussed in detail (Nov. 1923, Jan. 1926). Reference is made to the work of the Church of England and the Seventh Day Adventists. In addition, the influence of the native commissioners is noted. Several references are included on the work and progress in the Portuguese territory.

Noted also is the various publications of the missions and the Committee on Publications. The history of Umbowo hwe Ukristu (The Christian Witness) is one of interest in the letters (July 1929, and undated "There Shall Be Light").

Other entries provide significant information on such topics as Camp meetings (1931), cruelties to the blacks, conference work, and quarterly reports (Aug. 1924, Oct. 1924, 1925).

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0217.1
Correspondence (1922-1924)
Box 2#0217.2
Correspondence (1925-1936), Conference Reports, Clippings

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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