Anna Sarah Kugler
“Ourselves Your Servants for Jesus' Sake” was the motto Anna Kugler, M.D., lived by throughout her forty-seven years of service ministering to the spiritual and physical well-being of the people of southern India. In addition to being only the second woman missionary to be sent by the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America, she was its first medical missionary. It was not a road easily traveled for Dr. Kugler, but one she believed was her calling.
Anna Sarah Kugler was born in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, on April 19, 1856. She graduated from the Women's Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1879 and began an internship at the Norristown State Asylum in 1880. In 1882 she received a letter from the Reverend Adam D. Rowe, a General Synod missionary serving in India, in which he conveyed to her the urgent need for medical care for the indigenous women of the General Synod's Guntur, India, mission field. He encouraged her to come and provide that care.
Dr. Kugler sailed for India from Philadelphia on August 25, 1883. Even though she was disappointed the Church did not call her as a medical missionary, she agreed to go called as a teacher because she wanted to be in India at the beginning of medical work among its women. She believed she could eventually convince the Church the time had come to establish medical work in India.
Her medical work continued only as a secondary pursuit for her first year in India. Her primary responsibility was to the tasks to which she had been called, that of teaching and zenana work among the Muslim women in harems. Even so, in her first year in India Dr. Kugler treated 185 patients at their homes, and 276 at the Zenana Home where she lived. In 1884 she was put in charge of the Hindu Girl's School and served in that position until 1887 and again from 1894-1895. During this time period she was also in charge of the Girl's Boarding School.
In December 1885 Dr. Kugler was officially appointed a medical missionary. She began planning for a hospital and a dispensary, which opened for business in February 1893. Later that year, the cornerstone for the hospital was laid. However, it was not until 1895 that Dr. Kugler was released from her non-medical mission duties and able to devote herself full-time to medical work.
In addition to her duties at the dispensary and hospital, Dr. Kugler also worked for the opening of additional dispensaries in other villages in the Telugu country, and raised funds for a children's ward, maternity ward and operating room in the hospital, and medical work in Rentichintala, India. While on furlough, she spent time visiting Women's Missionary Societies' meetings and conventions, conducted postgraduate work, and devoted time to study of the Bible.
This collection includes diaries, notes taken by Dr. Kugler, correspondence, photographs, files relating to Dr. Kugler's work in the mission field, and a handwritten manuscript of Dr. Kugler's book, Guntur Mission Hospital. The collection is also available on microfilm.