EDITH L BUTCHER
Very little is known about Butcher’s background beyond the fact that she is the author of one of the first detailed accounts in the English language of the Coptic church, The Story of the Church of Egypt, Being an Outline of the History of the Egyptians Under Their Successive Masters from the Roman Conquest Until Now (2 vols., London, 1897). She also wrote Things Seen in Egypt (London, n.d.). She spent about twenty years researching her subject, not only from available sources of her day but also directly from all classes of the Coptic people.
As the wife of a Protestant missionary, she must have lived in an atmosphere of congeniality in order to feel comfortable choosing to pursue the task she brought to completion. Since her book was published in 1897, one must assume that she went to Egypt in the 1870s. “The aim which I have set myself in writing the following pages,” she says in her preface, “is a very humble one—to collect together in a readable fashion and in moderate compass all that the researches of scholars and historians have yet been able to discover about that remnant of the ancient Egyptian people popularly called the Copts, from the date of their first acceptance of Christianity until the present days.”
AZIZ S. ATIYA