Ward, William Earl Dodge, 1884-1977

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Son, grandson, brother, husband, nephew, uncle, and cousin of missionaries, William Earl Dodge Ward was born in Newton Center, Massachusetts in 1884 to Langdon Storer Ward, Treasurer of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and Laura Arixene Bliss Ward, herself a missionary at a young age. Ward, known to family and friends as Earl, spent the first twenty-two years of his life in Massachusetts. His father died in 1895 when Earl was not quite 11 years old, leaving Laura Ward with seven children (an eighth having died earlier) to raise on a small income. Laura Ward had made a commitment to her husband to educate the children - all of them, including the girls - and she followed through on the promise, sending Earl and his brothers to Amherst College (Earl and his twin Mark Hopkins Ward were graduates in the Class of 1906) and daughters Mary, Ruth, and Laura to Mt. Holyoke College. Laura herself moved to Amherst to be near her children.

All but one of the close-knit Ward children became missionaries. When Earl's turn came, he went first to the mission station in Harpoot, Turkey in 1909, serving as treasurer of Euphrates College and the Harpoot mission. As his letters home testify, the position was not a good match, and Earl returned to the U.S. in 1913. In 1915 he married missionary Dora (or Doreen) Judd Mattoon (1883-1979), whom he had met while in Harpoot, where Doreen taught in schools and was a touring missionary (supervising native Bible women) in the area until her marriage in 1915.

The YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) next posted Earl and Dora to India, which seems to have been a happier match. The couple worked in Calcutta from 1916-1922 and again from 1930-1932, and in Bombay from 1922-1929. In 1932 Earl and Dora were posted for six months in Egypt before being recalled to the U.S. due to funding problems during the Great Depression. Upon his return to the U.S., Earl then worked for the YMCA in New Hampshire. After his retirement in 1952 he moved back to Amherst and became involved with alumni affairs at Amherst College as a devoted and active member of the Class of 1906.

One of Earl Ward's hobbies was photography, and the collection includes several hundred photographs documenting his work and surroundings in both Turkey and India.

Earl Ward died in 1977, and Dora Ward in 1979.

Other members of the Ward family represented in the collection include, but are not limited to, the following:

Earl's father Langdon Storer Ward (1828-1895), treasurer of the ABCFM for 29 years, and mother, Laura Arixene Bliss (1846-1914). Laura Ward's parents Isabella Holmes Porter Bliss (1819-1897) and Edwin Elisha Bliss (1817-1892, AC 1837) missionaries in Turkey, are also well represented in the collection. Earl's twin, Mark Hopkins Ward (1884-1952), a physician and administrator involved in overseeing medical work, in Turkey, Syria, China, France, and India. Immediately after WWI, Mark Ward was stationed in Harpoot, Turkey, providing relief to the refugees of war until the Turks expelled him. He then returned to the U.S. and helped raise funds for Near East relief. After leaving work abroad, he served as medical secretary for the ABCFM until his death in 1952. Edwin St. John (1880-1951, AC 1900), Earl's older brother, was a surgeon in Turkey and Syria (1907-1911; 1947-1948), and dean of the Medical School of the American University of Beirut, and afterward a surgeon in Massachusetts hospitals and institutions. Edwin and his brother Mark also performed relief work for the Red Cross in Constantinople (Istanbul) during WWI. Sisters Laura Dwight Ward (1887-1972), Ruth Porter Ward Beach (1881-1933), and Mary Isabella Ward (1874-1961) were all graduates of Mt. Holyoke College and became missionaries in China (Laura, from 1914-1950, and Ruth, from 1911-1933) and Turkey (Mary, from 1900-1944). Paul Theodore Bliss Ward (1878-1910; AC 1899) taught at Robert College in Turkey for three years (1899-1902) and then returned to work in the U.S. for the Samuel Ward Co. until his early death in 1910.

Box 4, folder 4 contains a useful letter (April 21, 1968) from Earl Ward to a younger family member outlining the lives and careers of his parents, grandparents, and siblings.

From the guide to the William Earl Dodge Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers, 1791-1977, 1870-1935, (Amherst College Archives and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf William Earl Dodge Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers, 1791-1977, 1870-1935 Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions corporateBody
associatedWith Amherst College corporateBody
associatedWith Beach, Ruth Porter Ward, 1881-1933 person
associatedWith Bliss, Edwin Elisha, 1817-1892 person
associatedWith Bliss family. family
associatedWith Bliss, Isabella Holmes Porter, 1819-1897 person
associatedWith Bliss, William Dwight Porter, 1856-1926 person
associatedWith Dwight, Harrison Griswold, 1875-1959 person
associatedWith Dwight, Henry Otis, 1843-1917 person
associatedWith King, Olive Storer, 1802-1871 person
associatedWith Storer, John, 1750-1826 person
associatedWith Ward, Charlotte Allen, 1880-1973 person
associatedWith Ward, Dora Mattoon, 1883-1979 person
associatedWith Ward, Edwin St. John, 1880-1951 person
associatedWith Ward family. family
associatedWith Ward, Langdon Storer, 1828-1895 person
associatedWith Ward, Laura Arixene Bliss, 1846-1914 person
associatedWith Ward, Laura Dwight, 1887-1972 person
associatedWith Ward, Lauriston, 1786-1851 person
associatedWith Ward, Mark Hopkins, 1884-1952 person
associatedWith Ward, Martha Storer, 1876-1887 person
associatedWith Ward, Mary Isabella, 1874-1961 person
associatedWith Ward, Paul Theodore Bliss, 1878-1910 person
associatedWith Young Men's Christian Association (India) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Family--United States--History--Sources
Women missionaries--Turkey--Correspondence
Women teachers--Turkey--Correspondence
Missionaries, Medical
World War, 1914-1918 - Armenia
Women--Turkey--Social conditions--Sources


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