Fonds CMBS Personal Papers: Unruh; Tapes: NA-1: 116 to 140; 142 to 147; 196-209; 211-212. NA-15: 30. NA-19: 1-6; 9. NA-16: 11, 12; Photographs: NP120-1 - Abraham Johann Friesen (1859-1920) and Maria Martens Friesen ( -1917) fonds

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Abraham Johann Friesen (1859-1920) and Maria Martens Friesen ( -1917) fonds

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CA CMBS CMBS Personal Papers: Unruh; Tapes: NA-1: 116 to 140; 142 to 147; 196-209; 211-212. NA-15: 30. NA-19: 1-6; 9. NA-16: 11, 12; Photographs: NP120-1

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  • 1889-1922 (Creation)

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3 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Abraham Johann Friesen was born in Einlage, South Russia. As a young man, he was employed as a business man in his father's large factory. In his early twenties, he married Maria Martens. Soon the young couple felt a call to mission work. In 1884 he entered the Baptist Theological Seminary in Hamburg to prepare himself for missionary work. During his four years there, he studied the various mission fields and became greatly interested in the Telegu Mission. From 1885-1889 Maria studied "women's work" at Hamburg Baptist Seminary in Germany. Following a year of language training in Madras, they moved to Nalgonda, India in October of 1890. Abraham and Maria Friesen were the first Mennonite Brethren foreign missionaries, serving for 19 years in India. Because Russian Mennonite Brethren were not allowed to organize a missionary society, the Friesens worked under the American Baptist Missionary Union, although they were financially supported by the Russian Mennonite Brethren Churches. In 1891 they baptized 178 converts and founded an indigenous congregation. At the time of their first furlough, 1897-1899, the Nalgonda Church numbered 700 baptised members. Abraham and Maria returned to India in 1899 with additional missionaries. Maria's ill health forced them to return to Russia in 1908 by which time Indian churches numbered 3,000 baptized members. Both remained active in promoting mission work. Maria died in Spat, Russia on April 19, 1917 and Abraham died in November, 1920. They had no children. -taken from the Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 404

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The contents of this fonds were purchased from the American Baptist Historical Society in 1987.

Scope and content

The Abraham and Maria Friesen fonds consists of photocopies of correspondence by and to Abraham Friesen relating to his missionary work in India. Much of it is in regards to his financial support which was worked out in cooperation between the American Baptist Missionary Union and the Russian Mennonite Brethren. The letters are in the English language.

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The accession number is 1987-21.

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Some German

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