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Mark Hopkins Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers

Identifier: MA.00365

Scope and Contents

The Mark Hopkins Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers document the personal and professional lives of Mark H. Ward and many of his family members. The professional papers include documentation of Ward's work as a medical missionary in the Near East Relief efforts during World War I. Mark Ward was deported from Turkey because of his objections to the treatment of Armenians, and the collection contains documentation important for the history of the Armenian Genocide.

Other strengths of the collection include documentation about Mark's grandparents Edwin and Isabella Bliss, and his mother, Laura A. Bliss, during their work as missionaries between about 1850-1895. There is a good deal of unique correspondence among Bliss family members in this period, in particular correspondence from Laura's siblings, William, Mary, and Isabella, all of whom are well respresented here.

The collection also contains correspondence from H.O. Dwight, husband to two Bliss daughters (Mary and Isabella), a member of another important missionary family, and a writer and editor in the Publications Department of the American Board in Turkey.

Related Ward collections (the papers of Isabella and Edwin Bliss, William E.D. Ward, Dora Judd Mattoon Ward, Edwin St. John Ward, and Ethel Socolar) have complementary materials, but no other collection has as much correspondence among the generation of Bliss siblings as Mark's does. This material documents missionary work in Turkey as well as daily life among missionaries from many families (e.g., Riggs, Bliss, Dwight and many others) who intermarried regularly and regarded each other as extended family.


  • circa 1800-1950


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Mark Hopkins Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Mark Hopkins Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Mark Hopkins Ward and his twin, William Earl Dodge Ward, were born on October 21, 1884, to Langdon Storer and Laura Arixene Bliss Ward in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. Both sides of the family had deep roots in the Protestant missionary work of the 19th century. After Langdon Ward's early death in 1895, Laura moved to Amherst with her seven children to be closer to them while they were in college. Her four sons went to Amherst College (Paul, Edwin, Earl, and Mark), and her three daughters (Mary, Ruth, and Laura --a fourth had died young) went to Mount Holyoke College. A half-brother, Langdon Lauriston Ward, son of Langdon Ward and his first wife, Ellen Mary Spaulding Ward (1831-1869), also attended Amherst College, graduating as a member of the Class of 1879.

Mark and Earl graduated from Amherst College in 1906. Mark then attended Columbia University and received his M.D. there in 1911. He worked in New York City hospitals until 1915, when he became a medical missionary for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (the ABCFM), which sent him to Turkey. In Turkey he worked as a physician for the American Red Cross and the Near East Relief until 1922. His work with Greek and Armenian refugees, and his vocal opposition to the unfolding Armenian genocide led to his deporation from Turkey during World War I, and he returned to work in the United States, where he worked as Medical Secretary for the ABCFM from 1923 to his death. He was a member of numerous professional organizations.

Mark Ward married Anna Theodosia Rathbun on August 4, 1915. The couple had two children, Ann Bliss Ward [Curby] and Robert Theodore Ward (AC 1953). Anna T. Rathbun Ward died on January 23, 1950, and Mark Ward on December 22, 1952.

For additional biographical information about the Ward and Bliss families, see the finding aid for the William Earl Dodge Ward (AC 1906) Papers.


16 Linear feet (11 records boxes, 2 oversize flat boxes, 2 small flat boxes)

Language of Materials



The Mark Hopkins Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers contain the personal and professional papers of Mark Ward, as well as personal papers of members of his Ward and Bliss family relatives, including items from earlier generations of related Porter and Clapp family members. There is also material related to missionaries associated with the Ward and Bliss families in Turkey.


The material is arranged in nine series, each of which is broken into sub-series and, in some cases, sections:

  1. Series 1: Mark Hopkins Ward and Anna Theodosia Rathbun Ward Personal Correspondence
  2. Series 2: Mark Hopkins Ward General Correspondence
  3. Series 3: Mark Hopkins Ward Personal Papers
  4. Series 4: Mark Hopkins Ward Academic Papers
  5. Series 5: Cased Images and Photographs
  6. Series 6: Ward Family Papers and Correspondence
  7. Series 7: Laura A. Bliss Ward Correspondence
  8. Series 8: Edwin Elisha Bliss and Isabella Holmes Porter Bliss Family Papers and Correspondence
  9. Series 9: Objects

Custodial History

The Mark Hopkins Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers were a gift of Mark and Anna R. Ward's daughter Ann Curby in 2014.

Related Materials

Related materials at Amherst College:

  1. Journals of Edwin Elisha Bliss (AC 1837) and Isabella Holmes Porter Bliss (MA.00322)
  2. William Earl Dodge Ward (AC 1906) Family Papers (MA.00234)
  3. Dora Judd Mattoon Ward Papers (MA.00285)
  4. Edwin St. John Ward (AC 1900) Papers (MA.00189)
  5. Ethel (Sandy) Beach Socolar Papers (MA.000338)
  6. Harrison Griswold Dwight (AC 1898) Papers (MA.00012)
  7. Daniel Bliss Family Papers (MA.000021)

Related materials at other institutions:

Laura D. Ward Papers at Mt. Holyoke College
Mary I. Ward Papers at Mt. Holyoke College
Charlotte Edwards Allen Ward Papers at Mt. Holyoke College
Mt. Holyoke Missionaries Collection
Near East Relief Collection at Oberlin College
Digital Library for International Research

Names of Women in the Collection

Women in the Bliss and Ward families who figure regularly in the collection and whose marital histories are known are listed in two ways in order to clarify whether an item is relative to their lives before marriage or after:

Name form before marriage:

First name, maiden name, [married name] and Name form after marriage: First name, maiden name, married name

As an example, Mark's mother is Laura A. Bliss [Ward] before her marriage and Laura A. Bliss Ward after marriage. A letter she wrote before her marriage will be identified as written by Laura A. Bliss [Ward], while a letter written after her marriage will be identified as written by Laura A. Bliss Ward.

Processing Information

Initial inventory and daguerreotype conservation work in 2014 by Margaret R. Dakin, Archives and Special Collections. Processed into ArchivesSpace in 2018-2022 by Anna Flynn (AC 2020E) and Margaret Dakin (series 5, sub-series E, and series 9).

Editing and front matter by Margaret R. Dakin in 2019-2022.

Anna Flynn (AC 2020E) and Margaret R. Dakin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299