Edward L. Bliss

Edward L. Bliss was born on December 10,1865 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor's degree in Latin and Greek in1887 and received his Ph.D from Yale University in 1891, and in September 1892, he was sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to China.

Edward L.Bliss served in Shaowu, a city situated in the inland region of Fujian province. He initially established a clinic at the East Gate of Shaowu. In 1897, he secured a grant from the ABCFM to construct a new hospital opposite the East Gate Church. This hospital spanned over 5,000 square meters and featured a registration area, consultation room, operating theater, pharmacy, and patient wards. It marked the first western hospital in Shaowu.

From 1915 to 1921, the ABCFM also established a hospital on Gongde Street, near the North Gate of Shaowu. This hospital was overseen by Dr. Edward L. Bliss himself. It boasted five buildings, two general wards, 16 specialized wards, medical and surgical departments, and so on. At that time, its scale and equipment were considered the best in Shaowu.

In 1901, Dr. Edward L. Bliss encountered Minnie May Borate, a missionary who had arrived in Fuzhou from San Francisco in 1898. Edward fell in love with her at first sight. After learning for her for a year, Edward proposed to May, and they tied the knot on September 22, 1902, in Kuliang. Following their wedding, May accompanied Edward to Shaowu and took up a teaching position at the Han Mei Academy Girls’ School.

Dr. Edward L. Bliss traversed the hills and mountains of Shaowu during his rounds. In those tumultuous times, he embodies the essence of a peace corp, single-handedly providing medical services to the two million people in the region. He mastered the local dialect, rescued pregnant women dishes during childbirth, founded schools, established clinics, imported superior livestock breeds from the United Stated, set up dairy farms, and fought against the plague, pioneering immunization against rinderpest. The people of Shaowu revered him as "Mr. Bliss", a title that still resonates today.

Altering marrying and raising children in China, enduring the grief of losing distant relatives and friends, witnessing the horrors of war, and ultimately being compelled to leave China due to the prevailing circumstances, Edward L. Bliss peacefully passed away in his sleep on January 22, 1960, at the age of 94. However, until the end of his life, he still dreamed of returning to this land one day.

His last words were, "I love the Chinese people."

Outside Shaowu city, several stone arches stand sentinel on the hill. Edward L. Bliss traveled back and forth across these stone arches countless times over the span of forty years. His son, Edward L. Bliss Jr., was born in Kuliang and later pursued a career as a professional journalist at CBS. He compiled a book about his parents' life in Shaowu, titled Beyond the Stone Arches.

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