Annie Armstrong
Annie Armstrong

 

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Annie Walker Armstrong

(b. Baltimore, Md., July 11, 1850; d. Baltimore, Md., Dec. 20, 1938). Woman's Missionary Union leader. Daughter of James D. and Mary (Walker) Armstrong, she did not become a Christian until she was 19, after which she was baptized by Richard Fuller into the Seventh Baptist Church of Baltimore, Md. She left Seventh Church with 117 others, joined Eutaw Place Baptist Church at its organization, Feb. 20, 1871, and taught the infant class there for at least 30 years.

She led in framing the constitution of Woman's Missionary Union which made the organization auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention instead of an independent body with power to collect and administer its own money and send out its own missionaries. Never discouraged, "Miss Annie" wrote, spoke, planned indefatigably. In 1899, while corresponding secretary of Woman's Missionary Union, she was absent from the Mission Rooms, which served as the Woman's Missionary Union office, for nearly two weeks due to sickness, and it was the first time this had occurred in 11 years. "The clerk made daily visits to the home-and the work was continued." She refused to accept a salary from 1900 until her resignation in 1906, when the union voted that the corresponding secretary must be paid. The fact that she did not approve of establishing the W.M.U. Training School in Louisville added to her reasons for resigning.

Caring for her own travel expenses until 1901, Miss Armstrong traveled great distances-3,300 miles in 21 days, visiting 19 places, and making 26 addresses. Besides writing leaflets for Woman's Missionary Union, Miss Armstrong, at the request of the editors, started a young people's Scripture department in Kind Words, a "Folks and Facts" column, and two departments in The Teacher. She was a frequent contributor to the two mission publications, Foreign Mission Journal and Our Home Field. In 1888, after conference with Henry Allen Tupper, secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Miss Armstrong wrote by hand letters to all the societies, asking them to contribute to the first Christmas offering, which resulted in $2,833.49 for Lottie Moon in China. She led Woman's Missionary Union to enlarge its efforts in providing organizations for Negro Baptist women and children and in publishing literature for them.

As memorials to Miss Armstrong, Woman's Missionary Union voted in 1907 to give $5,000 to a Home Mission Board mountain school and $5,000 to a hospital in China. The Annie Walker Armstrong building, erected at Burnsville, N. C., was dedicated in 1908 in appreciation of her service. More permanent memorials are the Annie Armstrong Offering for Home Missions and the structure of Woman's Missionary Union, which she led in establishing.


Biographical sources:
Evans, Elizabeth Marshall. Annie Armstrong, 1963.
Sorrill, Bobbie. Annie Armstrong dreamer in action, 1984.
"Annie Armstrong", Shapers of Southern Baptist Heritage pamphlet series. Southern Baptist Historical Society.

Archival sources in Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives:
Compere, Ebenezer Lee. Papers, 1852-1945. AR. 2.
Frost, James Marion. Papers. AR. 795-109.
Lawrence, Una Roberts. Collection, 1839-1974. AR. 631.



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