Mary Mills Patrick’s Constantinople Woman’s College was one of the most influential institutions of higher learning for women in the Middle East in the last decades of the Ottoman Empire. Patrick arrived in the 1870s to evangelize, but she gradually distanced herself from Christian proselytism in order to create a “cosmopolitan” college for all Ottoman women. Patrick was president of the Constantinople Woman’s College for 34 years, protecting the institution through the Balkan Wars, World War One, the British occupation of Constantinople, the demise of the Ottoman Empire, and the founding of the Turkish Republic. Just as the late Ottoman Empire underwent extraordinary changes, so did Patrick transform herself and the Constantinople College to meet the demands of a twentieth-century Muslim state, ultimately sacrificing her “cosmopolitan,” heterogeneous student body to an ethnically homogeneous one that reflected the newly racialized nationalism of the Turkish Republic.
Mary Mills Patrick’s Cosmopolitan Mission and the Constantinople Woman’s College explores Patrick’s career from the 1870s to the 1930s, tracking her personal religious struggle and her professional transformation from Protestant evangelist, to feminist educator, to advocate for Muslim women, to, finally, supporter of Turkish nationalism.
Carolyn McCue Goffman teaches English literature at DePaul University in Chicago.
Introduction: Mary Mills Patrick’s Cosmopolitan College
Chapter One: “Humanity in the Making”: Mary Mills Patrick in Erzurum, 1871–1875
Chapter Two: Patrick in the Golden City, 1875–1890
Chapter Three: Cosmopolitan Allies and Foes, 1890–1907
Chapter Four: Cosmopolitan Triumphs: Patrick and the Young Turks, 1908–1909
Chapter Five: Patrick’s Cosmopolitan Mission, 1908–1914
Chapter Six: A Cosmopolitan Crucible: The College in the First World War, 1914–1918
Chapter Seven: The End of Cosmopolitanism, 1918–1934
Conclusion: What She Left Unsaid: Mary Mills Patrick’s Unpublished Manuscripts
A fascinating and evocative account of the rise to prominence of Mary Mills Patrick as president of the American College for Girls in Istanbul during the twilight of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the Turkish Republic. Deftly negotiating the complex terrain of this period of global upheaval, Goffman tracks the remarkable story of Patrick and her dedication to the education of women and devotion to the College. Charting Patrick’s shifting allegiances, from American missionary work to feminist cosmopolitanism to Turkish nationalism, Goffman offers a compelling and intimate history of this tumultuous period that witnessed a cholera epidemic, the Armenian genocide, and the Great War and its aftermath.
Carolyn Goffman renders legible to a contemporary reader the complex religious, ethnic, and national politics of the late Ottoman period to produce a nuanced and accessible account of Mary Mills Patrick's transition from "missionary to feminist educator." Educating and socializing cadres of Ottoman women from diverse communities, Patrick's legacy shaped the cosmopolitanism of regional and international modernities and influenced feminist, anti-colonial, and nationalist agendas.
Missionaries in the Middle East have always been a controversial subject. This book by Carolyn Goffman makes a very important contribution to this sensitive topic. Through the life and work of Mary Mills Patrick, an American missionary who lived through the tumultuous last years of the Ottoman Empire and the first years of the Republic of Turkey, we are treated to an insider’s view of how an American feminist educator and intellectual survived and indeed thrived largely through her wit and intelligence.
Goffman paints a vivid picture that makes for fascinating reading proving that a scholarly book can indeed be a good read as well.
A sophisticated, engaging and beautifully crafted analysis of Mary Mills Patrick's career and the cause to which Patrick devoted her life. Goffman has captured the ever-changing political landscapes that Patrick inhabited and the events that shaped her and the college she cherished. In this fascinating story of a life lived between worlds, the author dissects her subject's writings to show how Patrick wove her own biography into the history of the college, producing conflicting historical narratives over time not only to protect the institution but also to safeguard her place in its history.