Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Mary Briscoe Baldwin 1811 ~ 1877


Born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, May 20, 1811, and died June 21, 1877. Her mother was the niece of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. She received her education from private tutors.

She was a disciple of Bishop Meade of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who greatly influenced her in her religious life. The death of her parents breaking up her home when but twenty years of age, she went to Stanton, Pennsylvania to live. Wearying of fashionable life, she decided to engage in some Christian work.

First she became a teacher in a young ladies' seminary, then the call came for her to enter the missionary field, through Mrs. Hill of Athens and the Protestant Episcopal Society. Being a friend of Mrs. Hill, she decided to accept this call, and went into the work in Greece.

Dr. and Mrs. Hill were American missionaries who had established a school, and Miss Baldwin joined them as an assistant in this work. She took entire charge of the domestic department; teaching fine sewing and other useful arts. She became so beloved that she was known among her scholars and the people as "Good Lady Mary." Not only did she train these young Greek girls in the domestic arts, but she Christianized them and taught them to be good daughters, wives and mothers.

In 1866 when the Christians of Crete revolted against the Turkish government, many impoverished and destitute Cretans fled to Athens. Among these poor people. Miss Baldwin labored with great success. She opened day schools and Sunday schools, feeding them and providing the women and girls with work.

For forty-two years she labored among these people. She was buried on a bluff overlooking the Jordan Valley, and these loving people placed over her a tombstone of Greek marble.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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