Hurlburt, Charles E. (1860-1936)

A founder and general director of the African Inland Mission (AIM)

Born in Iowa and raised in Oberlin, Ohio, Hurlburt left a successful plumbing business to work with the YMCA, becoming state secretary of the Pennsylvania YMCA in 1889. With Peter Cameron Scott and others, Hurlburt helped to found AIM in May 1895. Named AIM general director in 1897, and confronted with the near collapse of the mission after the death of Scott in December 1896, he led his famly and new workers to Kenya in 1901. Beginning in 1909, Hurlburt extended the work of the mission to include areas in Tanzania and the Belgian Congo (Zaire), gaining permission to enter the latter through the intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt (who had consulted Hurlburt in 1908 regarding East African affairs). Hurlburt pioneered the concept of educationg missionary children on the field, founding the Rift Valley Academy boarding school in Kenya. He represented AIM at the World Missionary Conference, Edinburgh (1910), and at the Foreign Missions Convention at Washington (1925), there giving an address, “The Gospel among Primitive Peoples.” He had a major influence on the formation of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association in 1917. In 1925 differences of interpretation over the “faith” principle of missionary support figured in his forced resignation from AIM. From his home in California, Hurlburt founded the Unevangelized Africa Mission and continued for 11 more years to recruit missionaries for the Congo and French Equatorial Africa.

Robert T. Coote, “Hurlburt, Charles E.,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 312.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Bibliography

Primary


In the Oberlin College Archives, Oberlin, Ohio, USA, are fifteen typed and handwritten letters from Charles E. Hurlburt, enrolled at Oberlin College 1881-83, to his sister Elizabeth, while he served as director of the Africa Inland Mission, and in California. Includes a black and white photograph of Theodore Roosevelt and Charles Hurlburt, ca. 1900.

Horton, Thomas Corwin and Charles E. Hurlburt. The Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord; Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Names and Titles of the Lord Jesus Christ as Found in the Old and New Testament, One for Every Day in the Year. Los Angeles: Grant Publishing House, 1925.

Secondary

Anderson, Dick. We Felt Like Grasshoppers. Nottingham, England: Crossway Books, 1994.

Richardson, Kenneth. Garden of Miracles: A History of the Africa Inland Mission. London: Victory Press, 1968.

Frizen, Edwin L. Seventy-Five Years of IFMA, 1917-1992: The Nondenominational Missions Movement. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1992.


In the Oberlin College Archives, Oberlin, Ohio, USA, are fifteen typed and handwritten letters from Charles E. Hurlburt, enrolled at Oberlin College 1881-83, to his sister Elizabeth, while he served as director of the Africa Inland Mission, and in California. Includes a black and white photograph of Theodore Roosevelt and Charles Hurlburt, ca. 1900.