Bouey, Elizabeth Coles


Elizabeth Coles Bouey was an African American missionary in Liberia. Born in Monrovia, Liberia where her parents, John J. and Lucy A. Coles, were missionaries, Elizabeth Coles was brought back to Richmond, Virginia, as an infant. She graduated from Virginia Union University in Richmond (later earning a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York) and taught in the Richmond Public Schools. In 1920 she married Edward H. Bouey. Shortly thereafter, they went to Liberia as independent missionaries and worked at the Bendoo Industrial Mission for five years. Two of their three children were born in Liberia, and they adopted a boy of the Gola tribe. In their second term, Elizabeth Bouey served as supervisor of mission schools under the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention and built the Carrie Dyer Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. After returning to the United States in 1931, she resumed her teaching career. In 1940-1941 she founded and for 17 years served as the president of the National Association of Ministers’ Wives, now the International Association of Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows, Incorporated, which has chapters in forty-one states and twenty-two countries. She became ill at the national conference of the association in 1956 and died a few months later.

Ralph Reavis, Sr.


Priscilla Rasin Evans, From a Dream to Reality: The Story of the International Association of Ministers’ Wives and Ministers’ Widows, International (Interdenominational), vol. 1, 1941-1980 (n.d.). Bouey’s papers and unclassified documents are in the library at the association’s international headquarters, Richmond, Virginia.

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.