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HARRIET BRADFORD STEWART (1798-1830)

The Religious Keepsake (Hartford, 1846), plate opposite p. 99.

HARRIET BRADFORD STEWART (1798 - 1830)

The daughter of an American Revolutionary War colonel, Harriet Bradford Stewart was born in Stamford Connecticut, and married the Rev. C.S. Stewart in Albany shortly before her twenty-fourth birthday. After the marriage, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent him and nearly thirty other missionaries for Hawaii (then known as the Sandwich Islands). For several years the Stewarts labored on the island of Maui, until ill health caused them to return to the United States, where Mrs. Steward died five years later.

A memoir of Mrs. Stewart published in the Religious Keepsake for 1847 includes a description of the missionaries’ living conditions:

“Situated on a bare sandbank, by the seaside, without shade or verdure, [the community] consisted of a couple of small native huts, formed of a framework of poles fastened together by strings of wild vine, and covered, at the sides and ends, as well as on the roofs, with a rough thatch of coarse grass. Each contained a single apartment, the only floor of which was the ground, strewed with rushes and spread with mats of the native manufacture; and the only windows, holes two feet square cut in the sides, through the thatch.… the food of the missionaries consisted principally of salt beef and pork, and shipbread, brought from America, with occasional presents from the chiefs of fish, a pig or kid, and such vegetables and fruits as the island then afforded….” (p. 121-122)

Other portraits appear in:

The Religious Souvenir for MDCCCXXXIX (New York, 1838), plate opposite p. 98.

The Wintergreen, a Perennial Gift for 1844 (New York, 1843), plate opposite p. 209.

Rufus S. Griswold. “The Heroism of the Knights Errant and the Female Missionaries of America,” in Godey’s Lady’s Book 37 (August, 1848): 61-68, frontispiece containing five separate portraits.

Sarah J. Hale, ed. Woman’s Record (New York, 1853), p. 521; also 1855 ed.

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