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William Harrison Anderson
1870 to 1950
Seventh-day Adventist
South Africa / Zimbabwe / Zambia / Botswana / Angola

William Harrison Anderson was a pioneering Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) missionary in Africa. A native of Indiana and a graduate of Battle Creek College in Michigan (1895), Anderson organized a Student Volunteer Movement-style foreign mission band at the college in the early 1890s and remained a lifelong popularizer of missions. After the SDA Church opened its first mission station (Solusi) among non-Christian people near Bulawayo in what is now Zimbabwe in 1894, Anderson and his bride, Nora Haysmer, were called to join the first group of American SDA missionaries going there. After several years at Solusi, the Andersons traveled north, crossing the Zambezi River, and in 1905, established an agricultural mission near Pemba, in present-day Zambia. This became the center of a satellite system of self-supporting schools. As the educational system in the country developed, many graduates of these schools became fulltime farmers and formed the core of a significant cohort of Adventist entrepreneurial farmers. Anderson subsequently worked in Botswana, where he was instrumental in opening a hospital and several mission stations, and in Angola, where he spent almost ten years evangelizing and establishing stations. The final decade of his service in Africa was spent as a field secretary-traveling, advising, inspiring, raising money, and opening new work. He did much to maintain the interest of the U.S. SDA Church in African missions by his letters, periodical articles, and public activities. He returned to the United States in 1945 after 50 years of service in Africa. He wrote On the Trail of Livingstone (1919) and many articles that appeared in denominational periodicals.

Russell L. Staples


Bibliography:

Harold E. Peters, "The Contributions of Education to the Development of Elites among the Plateau Tonga of Zambia: A Comparative Study of School-leavers from Two Mission Schools, 1930-1965" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1976); R.W. Schwarz, Light Bearers to the Remnant (1979) Arthur W. Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 4 (1962); "Anderson, William Harrison," "Solusi College," and "Zambia," in Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (2d rev. ed., 1996).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.