How Protestant Missionaries Changed the United States

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Speaker: David A. Hollinger
David A. Hollinger, UC Berkeley

We will be hosting historian David A. Hollinger to talk about his upcoming book, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World But Changed America. This is a unique opportunity, not only to meet a leading historian — Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of History emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley — but also to learn a new story about missionaries and about modern American culture.

Missionaries may have set out to change the world, as Hollinger explains, but they ended up transformed by the very people they encountered. Many returned home critical of racism, imperialism, and religious orthodoxy, and made an enduring mark on American public life as writers, diplomats, academics, church officials, publishers, foundation executives, and social activists.

Among the most prominent of the missionary cosmopolitans were John Hersey, Pearl Buck, Edwin Reischauer, and several of the "China Hands" purged from the US government during the McCarthy Era. Among the lesser known was the Congregationalist leader Buell G. Gallagher, whose book of 1946, Color and Conscience, was one of the most searching critiques of racism written by any white American prior to the 1960s.

Thursday, June 29th
Reception begins at 6:00 pm
Event ends by 8:00 pm

Reservations are required. If you are planning on bringing a guest, please let us know as well.

Please R.S.V.P. by Monday, June 26 by emailing to Jillian Jennett at

Become a Member