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The Scudder Association mission has grown over the years to include the goals of promoting a bond of kinship, furnishing support to specific medical hospitals and schools in India; supporting other charitable religious and educational activities, and researching and publishing our family history and genealogy.
The Association began in support of the missionary work of Reverend John Scudder, MD. (September 3, 1793 - January 13, 1855) who founded the first Western Medical Mission in Asia in Ceylon and later became the first American medical missionary and the first physician of any country to be commissioned as a missionary. In 1836 John Scudder and Reverend Myron Winslow started a mission at Madras expressly to publish the Christian bible in the Tamil language.
Scudder Association Beginnings
In 1912, on Washington's Birthday, a group of descendants of Thomas and John Scudder of Salem, Massachusetts, organized the Scudder Association. Their objective was “the belief that the bond of kinship would prove strong enough to weld us into a powerful society, membership in which should be an inspiration to generation after generation of American Scudders and their descendants, wherever they may be found, the world over.”
The Family Historians
Over the years, a dedicated group of family historians increased the knowledge about the Scudder descendants. These researchers include and are not limited to Ed Soper, Nita Baugh, Roberta Kloos, Georgia Whitson, Dorothy Vaughn Scudder, and Dick Scudder. They created an extensive Scudder genealogy.
This Scudder family association later joined with the Scudder Memorial Association, formed in 1911 "to erect, equip and maintain a hospital ... to honor and perpetuate the missionary work begun in 1819 by the Reverend John Scudder, MD, and carried on by his descendants.”
Scudder Association Grants
Isabelle Scudder Farrington (1888-1989) was responsible for the Scudder Association grants to education as a result of the sale of the Chevy Chase School for girls, the source of grant funding.
Theodore (Ted) Townsend Scudder was the founder of the investment firm known for the Scudder family of funds. Scudder Investments, was acquired by Deutsche Bank from Zurich Financial Services in December 2001. Ted, a past president of The Scudder Association, joined the two Scudder organizations and incorporated the current Scudder Association in 1938 in New York State, as a non-profit corporation.
Scudder Lineage from Kent, England
Our association includes persons who can trace their lineage to three Scudders who came from Kent, England in the 1600s.
- Thomas Scudder who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts by 1632
- John Scudder, cousin of Thomas, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1635
- Elizabeth Scudder, cousin of Thomas Scudder, who arrived prior to November 28, 1644, the date of her marriage to Samuel Lathrop in Barnstable, Massachusetts
The Scudders have a rich and honorable history. Colonel Nathaniel Scudder MD, of Monmouth County, New Jersey, was the only delegate to the Continental Congress to die in battle in the American Revolution. Reverend Dr. John Scudder, was one of the first American missionaries to India. He founded the Scudder memorial Hospital and Nursing School in Ranipet, Vellore, India. Reverend Dr. John and Harriet Scudder's eight children who survived to adulthood all returned to India as missionaries. In fact, they are buried in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, India at the Scudder Memorial Hospital.
The years of service as medical missionaries to the people of India and Asia by four generations of the family and 42 members who served in India total over a thousand years.
The most famous of Dr. John and Harriet Scudder's descendants was Dr. Ida S. Scudder, in the first graduating class of women physicians at Cornell Medical College 1899 and the founder of the Vellore Christian Medical Center in Vellore, India. Today this institution is one of the largest medical centers in India and provides vital health care to the people of Tamil Nadu. The Christian Medical College and Hospital is ranked among the top hospitals in India and is a recent recipient of a Bill and Melinda Gates grant for expanding their vaccinations program.
Dr. Ida S. Scudder’s nephew, Dr. John Scudder III, (1900-December 1976) was an assistant professor of clinical surgery at Columbia University and worked at the Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He was a blood transfusion specialist who developed the Plasma for Britain program during the early years of World War II. He recruited Dr. Charles Drew to help develop the organization and to get the plasma supply project operational. Their work was estimated to have helped save the lives of thousands of Allied troops. In the 1960s, when there was a conflict between the Red Cross and the for-profit American Association of Blood Banks, Dr. John Scudder III supported the Red Cross. He declared that blood donation should be a matter of civic responsibility, not profiteering and the Red Cross prevailed.
Vida Dutton Scudder was an outspoken socialist and a deeply spiritual Christian, a founder of the settlement house movement, and a gifted, innovative teacher at Wellesley.
Janet Scudder, born in the late 1800s, lived and worked in Paris and New York City. Known for her sculptures of children, her Frog Fountain resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a place of honor next to a sculpture by her teacher Frederick W. MacMonnies.
Descendants of Elizabeth Scudder, who married Judge Samuel Lathrop, include Ulysses S. Grant, Marjorie Meriwether Post, her daughter Dina Merrill (the actress), Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas E. Dewey, John Foster Dulles and Frederick Law Olmsted, codesigner of New York's Central Park. Please contact our historian if you have a question about genealogy. click here.