Biographies > Katherine Jennings Abbey

Source: "Abbey, Katherine J., Class of 1910" Alumnae Biographical Files, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts.

By Danielle Ryan, MHC Class of 2006

Katherine Jennings Abbey was born on July 27, 1888 to Reverend Robert Easton and Louise Parsons Abbey in Nanking China. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1910 and taught history for one year at Cottey College in Missouri before sailing as a missionary to China in September, 1911 with sponsorship from the Woman's Union Missionary Society. She worked at the Bridgman School for Girls in Shanghai China from 1911 to 1918, teaching English the first year and serving as a principle the remainder of the time. She married Horace Anderson Vanderbeck, a teacher of Civil Engineering at the Government Institute of Technology in Shanghai, on September 18, 1918. The couple had 5 children; Elizabeth Anne, Margaret Louise, Ruth, James Wilson and Robert Easton. In 1922 she moved with her husband to Wusih China to start the Wusih Technical School in Wusih, Kiangsu, China. They returned to the United States and settled in Somerville, New Jersey in July, 1925. She died on January 8, 1971 in Plainfield New Jersey.

Katherine Jennings Abbey's Student Volunteer Movement Applications dated July 9, 1908 and May 16, 1910 (out-of-college) from the Archives of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, Yale Divinity School Library Special Collections.


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