#9 – a biography

100 in 2016

Borden of YaleBorden of Yale by Mrs. Howard Taylor

By all measures, William Whiting Borden was successful. he was the son of wealth, born as the heir to the Borden Cheese company (you know the one with Elise the Cow on the package). His wealth and privilege afforded him many opportunities not realized by other classes. However, these privileges were not lost or wasted on William. When he was 16 he went on a trip around the world. During this trip, he realized the dire need for the gospel in many places. It was his travels that cemented his calling to take the message of Jesus Christ to the world. He had a goal in mind, but he did not sit around and twiddle his thumbs in the meantime.

While attending Yale University, he helped start Bible studies on campus that were attended by many of the students. He also helped to begin the Yale Hope Mission in New Haven. William Borden was a man with a purpose. He went to seminary at Princeton, and then went to Egypt to study Arabic so that he would be able to minister to the Kansu people in China. While in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of twenty-six.

Many people would look at Borden’s life and think that it was a waste. They would say that he never fully lived up to his potential of reaching the Kansu people with the Gospel. However, William Borden was successful faithfulness. He loved God and he loved people. That was evident in the way he lived and ordered his life. In one of his journal entries from college, he wrote, “say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time.” This is the mark of a successful life.

This book is an excellent picture of a man of faith whose life, though short, was lived to the full. He made the most of his short twenty-six years on earth and accomplished more in those years than many will in a longer lifetime. Though he had earthly treasures, he considered them a lost for the sake of knowing Christ and making him known. Borden’s story is motivation for any follower of Christ. We never know how much time we have on this earth, so we have no time to waste twiddling our thumbs. May we make it our goal as William Borden did to “say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time.”


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