Elijah Coleman Bridgman
1801-1861. First American missionary to China. Born in Belchertown, Massachusetts, on graduation from seminary in 1829 he was appointed to China by the American Board.* For a year he and David Abeel of the Seamen's Friend Society were supported by D.W.C. Olyphant, a China trader. Bridgman learned the Cantonese dialect and prepared a 730-page manual on it. In 1832 he began publishing in English the influential Chinese Repository, which for many years carried general information about China as well as about missionary work there. A faithful preacher of the Gospel, he was also a founder of the Morrison Educational Society and was a member of the North China branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and editor of its journal. After the first Opium War he started work in Shanghai, where he supervised production of the Bible and was pastor of a church.