What is a Burro Party?

The Congregational missionaries James and Gertrude Eaton served the American Board for Commissioners of Foreign Missions in Mexico after 1882, when railroads connected Chihuahua with the U.S. Southwest. Holding culturally hybrid events like "burro birthday parties" and Christmas celebrations in Spanish, as well as leading lives marked by the influence of global Protestantism, left the Eatons in a precarious position with their Catholic neighbors.

James and Gertrude Eaton hosted a "burro party" for their daughter, Dorothy, at their home in Chihuahua City, Chihuahua. Source: Private Collection of Susan Martine.

My thanks to Mary Edgar of Gilbert, Arizona, and Susan Martine of Lakewood, Colorado, both granddaughters of the Eatons, for providing this and other documents and photographs relevant to the Eaton mission in Chihuahua.