Stories from the Near East: Learning About Culture through Letter Writing

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Donald Luidens, Hope College

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For the greater part of human history, letter writing has been an important tool of communication between people separated by distance. Letters reveal important information about the culture and climate of the times and places they were written in. One such set of letters was that of Edwin and Ruth Luidens, missionaries writing from the Middle East home to their parents in the United States between 1944 and 1964. Over the course of the summer, these letters were organized and digitized by the author. As this project will demonstrate, a great deal was learned about Middle Eastern culture in the 1940s through the 1960s, and about the culture surrounding Missionary work and those who choose to make it their life’s work.

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