"Siam, Land of the White Elephant" - Video of American Presbyterian Mission & Thai churches, schools in 1932

In January 1932, the Publication Department of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) sent Rev. Henri R. Rabb, a missionary in India, to visit Thailand to gather footage to make a short film about Presbyterian missions there.  Arriving on Feb 2nd with his wife and 8-year-old son, Rabb visited Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  Paul Eakin, the executive secretary of the Siam Mission, assigned Rev. Paul Fuller to assist Rabb in Bangkok, and Dr. D.R. Collier to assist him in Chiang Mai.
Title Screen
Title Screen "Siam, Land of the White Elephant"
The resulting movie, linked below, was a 34-minute black-and-white silent film titled, “Siam, Land of the White Elephant”.  The first half of the film shows lots of cultural material about Thailand - elephants moving logs, women weaving, farmers threshing grain, etc. The second half of the film focuses specifically on the work of the American Presbyterian Mission in Thailand (Siam).  It includes many mission institutions and churches, including McKean's leper colony in Chiang Mai, McCormick Hospital, Prince Royal’s College, Dara Wittaya Academy, Bangkok Christian College, First Church Samray, Second Church (Bangkok), Fourth Church (Suebsampantawong), and the Loyal School (Bangkok).  We also get to see rural evangelism and a church service conducted by an older missionary couple (whom I have yet to identify) as well as a missionary (probably Paul Fuller) doing open-air evangelism at Ban Phachi train station in Ayuthaya province.  There are some Thai Christian leaders in the video as well, but unfortunately, only institutions are named in this movie, not individuals, either Thai or foreigners.
Video of Thailand in the 1920s is not plentiful and video of Thai Christians and missionaries and their work is even more difficult to find.  For that reason, I was delighted to find this video in the archives at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia and didn’t mind paying to get it digitized because I believe this short film is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of Christianity in Thailand.

English Teaching vs. Evangelism - A Lesson from 19th Century Bangkok

On August 4, 1851 a unique opportunity opened up for Mrs. Sarah Bradley and a couple of other missionary women in Bangkok. It was a chance that any missionary would have jumped at, but also one that needed to be managed well… which it wasn’t, as will be seen.

Despite the general neglect of women’s education in mid-nineteenth century Thailand, King Mongkut (Rama IV) invited Mrs. Mary Mattoon, Mrs. Sarah Bradley, and Mrs. Sarah Jones to teach English to his wives and other women in the royal palace. The king was a forward-looking and modern-minded monarch who was eager to gain Western knowledge from missionaries and other Westerners. Previously, missionary Jesse Caswell had been a private tutor to the king and as a result King Mongkut became quite adept in English and was eager for others in the royal household to learn English as well.

View of Bangkok during Mongkut's lifetime, Grand Palace shown in center
View of Bangkok during King Mongkut's lifetime (Grand Palace is shown in center)

Map of the Journeys of Daniel McGilvary in Thailand, 1860-1898

While looking through Kenneth E. Wells's book on the "History of Protestant Work in Thailand, 1828-1958" (Bangkok: Church of Christ in Thailand, 1968), I discovered inside the back cover a fold-out map of the journeys of Daniel McGilvary, considered by many to be the father of the church in Northern Thailand.  In McGilvary's autobiography, he recounts many of his evangelistic trips throughout what is now Northern Thailand and Laos, but the reader may have trouble tracking where he is going.  This handy map serves to fill that gap.


Map of the Journeys of Daniel McGilvary, 1860-1898

Jacob Tomlin's Journal of a Nine Months Residence in Siam

Arriving in Bangkok on August 23, 1828, Jacob Tomlin and Karl Gutzlaff were the first two Protestant missionaries to be resident in Thailand and were greatly influential in recruiting other Protestant missionaries to take up work there.  Embedded below is the full-text PDF of Tomlin's journal of their first nine months in Thailand.  Pages 1 to 137 consist of Tomlin's journal entries and starting on page 138 is Tomlin's summary account of their first 6 months for those who may not have the "time or inclination" to read his journal in full.  This PDF is hosted by the Hathi Trust is also available via this link.