Scudder Profiles in Courage and Vision:
Celebrating Dr. Ida Scudder and Dr. John and Harriet Scudder
By Margery Boyden, Scudder Association Foundation Historian
© Scudder Association Foundation, all rights reserved
Ida Scudder with Her surgical team
This Winter 2021 issue of the Journal is again dedicated to the goal of preserving our family stories that show what inspired vision and service can accomplish and that our heritage suggests that we can do hard things if called upon to do so. In this issue we spotlight Dr. John and Harriet Scudder and their son Dr. Silas D. Scudder, founder of Scudder Memorial Hospital at Ranipet, India and granddaughter Dr. Ida S. Scudder, founder of Christian Medical College at Vellore.
Through its News and Features articles and the Scudder Family Historical & Biographical Journal, the Scudder Association Foundation has spent 2019 and 2020 remembering and honoring the Bicentennial commemoration of the service of Dr. John and Harriet (Waterbury) Scudder and their family in their many years of missionary service to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and India.
Forty of Dr. John and Harriet Scudder’s posterity later served in the India Mission effort, including their granddaughter Dr. Ida S. Scudder, whose 150th anniversary of her birth was recently celebrated in a worldwide, 24-hour celebration hosted by CMC-Vellore and Vellore Christian Medical College Foundation and other Friends of Vellore.
Our Journal articles in 2019 also honored the Lathrop/Scudder missionary family who were the children of Charles and Joanna (Leffingwell) Lathrop. Harriet Wadsworth (Lathrop) Winslow, her three sisters, Mrs. Charlotte Huntington (Lathrop) Cherry, Elizabeth Coit (Lathrop) Hutchins and Harriet Joanna (Lathrop) Perry and the Winslow’s daughter Harriet Lathrop (Winslow) Dulles. These all served in Sri Lanka or India. Add to that list Harriet W. L. Winslow’s second cousin, Jane Lathrop and their cousin David Coit Scudder and their spouses who served in the same mission fields as their cousins. A Thousand Years in Thy Sight by Dorothy Jealous Scudder (D.V.), pages 335–336, documents that 43 Scudder missionaries of Dr. John’s family, including their spouses, spent a collective 1074 years of service in India. Add to that the service years of the other 14 of the Lathrop/Scudders or David Coit Scudders and the number of years climbs further. A fair number of these 57 missionaries are buried in Sri Lanka and India.
There is so much more of human interest yet to share about these people that this Winter 2021 issue of the Journal focuses on family relationships as well as achievements. We hope you will join us as though we were gathered at a happy family reunion celebration reminiscing and trading stories about some of our illustrious ancestors. We hope you will tell these stories in your own family circles, even if only virtually for the present, and share them in future times with children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Ideally, we will meet in person in the future to trade more stories.
- “The Missionary Scudder Family, 1819–1970,” the progenitors Dr. John and Harriet Waterbury Scudder.”
A historical essay by Susan Swanson, a past president of the Scudder Association, and direct descendant of Dr. John and Harriet Scudder.
- Who Was Miron Winslow’s Second Wife? Did Dr. John and Harriet (Waterbury) Scudder Recruit Their New Brother-in-law?
One little known story is the tender reunion of Harriet (Waterbury) Scudder with her sister Catherine (Waterbury) (Carman) Winslow who came to India as Miron Winslow’s second wife. This account also shines the spotlight on Harriet (Waterbury) Scudder whose contribution to the mission effort and to the family deserves more notice. This article will be the first installment of the story.
There is so much to share about Dr. Ida’s spunky personality that fitted her to fulfill her vision that has since been realized as the Christian Medical College of Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. This issue initiates the sharing of segments of Dr. Ida’s story from Dorothy Jealous Scudder’s A Thousand Years in Thy Sight, the Story of the Scudder Missionaries of India. The author is also known as D.V. Scudder or just “D.V.” Having served in India herself gives unique authenticity to her account.
See a one–hour portion of the worldwide celebration of the 150th anniversary of Dr. Ida’s birth with these links to “Be Thou My Vision” shared by Christian Medical College-Vellore:
- “Be Thou My Vision” Main Event,
- “Ida’s Army.”
- “From the Scudder Archives: Newspaper Notices of the 100th Anniversary of Dr. Ida S. Scudder’s Birth.”
We include a separate artifacts article with newspaper clippings to show honors paid to Dr. Ida on the 100th anniversary of her birth, fifty years ago.
- “What Can We Learn from Dr. John Scudder’s Most Difficult Trials That May Inspire Us to Greater Courage in the Challenges of 2021?”
There is much to consider about the preparation and trials that were required of the Scudder missionaries to India, and other missionaries in the family to other mission locations around the globe. Dr. John Scudder’s brother-in-law Jared Bell Waterbury and Dr. John’s son Henry Martyn Scudder have preserved some of these. Henry does not tell us precisely when Dr. John went through what he considered his father’s severest trial, but it was prior to Dr. John’s departure for his mission. Dorothy V. (Jealous) Scudder, wife of Dr. John III, tells us how Dr. John had to make the difficult choice between what he knew to be the will of God for his life or pleasing his earthly father who was much opposed to his missionary service. We do not know whether these trials were connected.
- “The Haystack Monument” by Jack Gillmar
Coming Soon. The story of Scudder Memorial Hospital at Ranipet, Tamil Nadu will honor its founder Dr. Silas D. Scudder and other family members who gave dedicated service to Scudder Memorial Hospital.
And “Dr. John Scudder’s Parents and Grandparents: Physicians, Politicians and Patriots.”