From "Travels from the Grandeurs of the West to Mysteries of the East", 1909.
Bradstreet Stinson Rairden can rightfully lay claim to being one of the more unusually named diplomats to represent America abroad at the turn of the 19th century. The son of a Maine ship captain, Rairden resettled in Batavia, Java (Dutch East Indies) in the mid-1880s and for several years worked in shipbuilding and as a merchant. Entering the diplomatic service in 1892, Rairden would serve over twenty years as U.S. Consul at Batavia, and was later transferred to consulates in Riviere de Loup and Curacao. The son of Bradstreet (1813-1887) and Mary Brown (Tarbox) Rairden (1830-1876), Bradstreet Stinson Rairden was born onboard a ship (commanded by his father) at New Orleans harbor on November 7, 1858.
After returning to his family's home city of Bath, Maine, Bradstreet S. Rairden attended the public schools of that city, and for one year studied at a school in Portishead, Great Britain. At an early age, he followed in his father's stead and took to the sea, for the first time at age sixteen. By 1881 he had become captain of his own ship, the bark Evie Reed, which he commanded for three years. In 1884, stricken by Java fever in Batavia, Java, Rairden left the seagoing life behind and established a home in Aujer, Java. In short order, he became a "ship chandler and commission merchant" in that area and, following his resettlement in Batavia, became connected with the New York Life Insurance Co. as its resident secretary.
In 1887 Bradstreet S. Rairden married in Batavia to Frances Elizabeth Collins (a British native), to who he was wed until her death in 1942. The couple would have five children, Francis Bradstreet (1888-1973), Percy Wallace (1889-1970), Mamie Lowell (born 1891), David Laurence (1893-1956) and Albert Stuart (1898-1964). Of these children, three of Rairden's four sons followed him into diplomatic service, with Frank, Percy, and David Rairden serving as U.S. Vice and Deputy Consul in Batavia between 1909 and 1916.
In August 1892 President Benjamin Harrison designated Bradstreet Rairden as U.S. Consul in Batavia, Java. He would serve in that capacity until stepping down in 1897, and during his first five years in that post continually reported on the particulars of the area, including the native population; its pearl fisheries and pearl supply; the weather; and the cultivation of its coffee, sugar and rice crops.
Bradstreet S. Rairden and family (date unknown).
After a year away from the diplomatic service Rairden was recalled to duty in October 1898, being named as Vice and Deputy Consul in Batavia by President McKinley. He would again serve as Consul beginning in 1900 and continued to serve in that role until being reassigned in 1917. Rairden's long service in Batavia saw that area become open to the import of automobiles, which he reported on in 1916. Noting that "2,386 automobiles " had been imported since 1914, Rairden also took note that over 2000 came from the United States, with the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Belgium also contributing to the overall number. Other particulars of his time in Batavia saw him reflect on the outbreak of cholera in June 1901 and a 1913 drought that damaged that area's coca and coffee crop. Rairden's time abroad saw him acknowledged as an "effective and popular" consul in the eyes of the American tourist, with the 1909 work Travels from the Grandeurs of the West to the Mysteries of the East taking particular note of his ability to give visiting cards to tourists who desired to see two of Batavia's popular social clubs, the "Harmonia" and "Concordia".
"To the American tourist and traveler, who wishes a visiting card to these clubs, should by all means call upon their representative, a Mr. B.S. Rairden, who has been a resident of Java for almost twenty years, and who has served his government faithfully during the greater part of his time in his present position, and in Mr. Rairden the consular service possesses a man really worth while, which is more than can be said of many others that you meet throughout the Consular service."After two decades of service in Java, Bradstreet Rairden was transferred to the U.S. Consulate at Riviere du Loup, Quebec, Canada in 1917. His tenure in Canada extended until 1920, during which time he reported favorably on the construction of a mammoth "$2,500,000 pulp and paper" mill in Gaspe County, Quebec. In 1920 Rairden began his final diplomatic assignment, that of U.S. Consul in Curacao, Lesser Antilles Islands. He retired from the foreign service in August 1924 and in 1925 he and his wife began residence in Los Angeles, Calfornia. The couple later removed to Santa Monica, and in April 1942 Rairden suffered the death of his wife of fifty-four years, Frances. He continued to reside in Santa Monica until his death at age 85 on September 11, 1944. Rairden was later cremated and his ashes returned to Maine for inurnment at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath.