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Mary Matthews in Monastir: A Timeline

1863: Mary Louisa Matthews is born in Cleveland, Ohio

1880 to 1883: Mary attends Mount Holyoke Female Seminary; joins the Mount Holyoke Missionaries’ Association

1885 to 1888: Mary works as a teacher after her missionary application is initially rejected

Summer 1887: Mary’s missionary work application is accepted and she is assigned to Monastir in European Turkey (now known as Bitola in the present-day Republic of Macedonia)

September 1888: Mary arrives in Monastir to work at the American School for Girls, where she will stay until 1920 with only brief furloughs

1901: Mary’s fellow missionary Ellen Stone is captured and held for 172 days by Bulgarian and Albanian brigands

1903: Mary purchases a small Kodak camera and learns to develop her own film

1904-1905: Mary on furlough to United States

1908: Bloodless Turkish Revolution by the Young Turks; Mary takes charge of the American School for Girls

1912: First Balkan War; Serbian army takes Monastir after centuries of Turkish rule 

1913: Monastir remains in Serbia during Second Balkan War

1913-1915: Mary on furlough to United States; returns through U-boat-infested Atlantic during World War I

1915: Monastir changed hands twice over the course of World War I; the first event was the Bulgarian invasion of Monastir in November 1915.

1916: Serbian army aided by British and French sources takes Monastir back from Bulgarian forces; the Bulgarian/German/Austrian troops retreat to the mountains where they shelled Monastir for 22 months

1917-1918: United States declares war on Germany; American Girls School building becomes a haven for refugees; Mary becomes de facto Consul, managing money from men working in the United States to families in Monastir

1919: Mary is the last remaining American missionary in Monastir

1920: Mary returns to the United States


Mary Matthews in Monastir: A Timeline