Women in Medicine

Funded through an Educate and Automate Grant from the Illinois State Library,
a division of the Office of the Secretary of State

Introduction

by Arlis Dittmer, Blessing-Rieman College of NursingWomen in medicine include untrained nurses, religious sisters devoted to the healing arts, pioneers in the emerging nursing profession and female physicians who were trained in this country and abroad.

Women had always taken charge of the sick in the home. Their outside interests included religious and charity work, which at that time was the only way to assist those who were sick and unable to care for themselves. 19th century medicine, among the poor, was often charity work as the scientific advances necessitating hospital care were yet to come.

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The Civil War was a pivotal event in American society. One of its lesser known impacts was in enlarging women’s sphere of influence into the public sector. Women became important in the various philanthropic institutions of the day. 30% of Civil War deaths were from disease, with typhoid fever causing the most deaths. Such diseases and wounds were overwhelming the regular army’s ability to care for its men. It was only natural that they would turn to women for help. There were approximately 7,000 untrained, male, female, and religious order nurses in the Civil War.

After the war, there were large numbers of poor, disabled soldiers, displaced families, widows and orphans. These people often needed care and the number of hospitals in the United States went from 100 in 1861, to over 6,000 by 1911. Nursing care was the product of the hospital and therefore training nurses became a cheap way to care for the patients. Mary Wheeler devoted her life to improving both patient care and the education of nurses.

Throughout the 19th century, women had little economic or political power. They could marry and stay within the home or enter into a religious vocation, education or nursing. Women would seek a career if they had financial reversals, or had been left with no support by a husband or father. Few were of independent means such as Louisa Maertz or Melinda Germann. If they had to work, they entered into nursing rather than medicine. Physicians, who were attempting to turn medicine into a profession, didn’t want women. Physicians were interested in controlling status, income, market share, and later, education. Most medical schools, such as Quincy Medical College, were proprietary. Training of physicians didn’t really enter the universities until late in the 19th century. Physicians who wanted scholarly training went abroad. Strong, confident women had to overcome significant obstacles to work in nursing or practice medicine.

 

Mary C. Wheeler, Superintendent of Blessing Hospital Training School for Nurses, Quincy, Illinois, 1899-1910

bh000001 Mary Wheeler (1869-1944) graduated from Ripon College in 1890 and Illinois Training School for Nurses in 1893. She came to Blessing Hospital in 1899 to run the school and hospital. This is the earliest picture of her in the Blessing Hospital Archives and shows her as a graduate nurse.
bh000002 This signature is on the inside cover of the 1901 edition of Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is Not by Florence Nightingale. This book was one of the few nursing texts available at that time.
bh000006 Excerpt of the Board of Lady Managers of Blessing Hospital, Annual Report, May, 1903. “The Training School has reached a high standard of efficiency and has been reorganized to such an extent that Miss Wheeler has been asked to be on the board of directors of the State Association of Graduate Nurses.”
bh000007 This picture shows Miss Wheeler with the 1904 nursing class of Blessing Hospital Training School for Nurses. She had just returned from a leave of absence to take the graduate course in hospital economics taught by Nutting and offered by Teachers College, Columbia University. This prestigious course was by invitation only.
bh000005 Miss Wheeler with the 1905 nursing class of Blessing Hospital Training School for Nurses.During this time period Miss Wheeler spent time in Springfield lobbying the State Legislature to pass the Nurse Practice Act. The bill was first sent in 1903 but did not pass until 1907. Miss Wheeler was then appointed to the first Illinois State Board of Examiners of Registered Nurses. This board visited all of the nursing schools in Illinois to see if they met the standards necessary for their graduates to take the licensure examination.
bh000008 When this 1911 class picture was taken, Miss Wheeler had changed the curriculum of the training school and the criteria for entrance. The requirement for a diploma was now three years of training. Blessing was among the first 30 training schools in Illinois to be registered. All Blessing graduates were then eligible to sit for the exam and put RN behind their name. Earlier graduates were grandfathered into the profession.
bh000003 By the time of this photograph, published in the American Journal of Nursing, October, 1922, Miss Wheeler had been President of the National League for Nursing Education, Superintendent of Illinois Training School, and had written her own book, Nursing Technic. She had become a nursing leader of national stature.

Bibliography

  1. Board of Lady Managers of Blessing Hospital. (1898-1910). Minutes (minutes of monthly meetings). Quincy, IL: Blessing Hospital.
  2. Church, O. M. (1988). Mary Curtis Wheeler. In V. L. Bullough, O. M. Church, & A. P. Stein (Eds.).
  3. American Nursing: A biographical dictionary (Vol. 1, pp. 334-335). New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.
  4. Dunwiddie, A. M. (1937). A history of the Illinois State Nurses’ Association, 1901-1935. Chicago, IL: Illinois State Nurses’ Association.
  5. Obituaries. (1945, February). American Journal of Nursing, 45, 164.
  6. Schryver, G. F. (1930). A history of the Illinois Training School for Nurses: 1880-1929. Chicago, IL: The Board of Directors of the Illinois Training School for Nurses.

Contributing Library:

Blessing Health Professions Library, a service of Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing

Dr. Melinda Knapheide Germann

bh000015 This picture of Dr. Germann shows her standing outside with her doctor’s bag. She was born in Quincy on July 16, 1863 and died on July 15, 1952. She practiced medicine in Quincy for over 50 years, beginning with her graduation from Quincy College of Medicine in 1886. She presented a paper to the AMA Convention in 1907, one of the few Quincy physicians to do so. In addition to her busy medical career, she was the first women elected to the Board of Education and the first woman elected to the Board of Supervisors.
bh000016 This is a picture of Dr. Germann in summer dress. The photo is from a nursing class album, dated 1918. She joined the staff of Blessing Hospital in 1901, and taught Obstetrics to the nursing students from 1906 to 1936. Twice she traveled to Europe to take graduate courses in medicine. Shortly after graduation in 1886, she went to Zurich, Paris and Vienna. In 1913, she returned to Vienna for an additional 6 month course of study.
bh000017 This photo of Dr. Germann shows her children both of whom were practicing physicians at Blessing Hospital. Dr. Hildegarde Germann Sinnock and Dr. Aldo Germann. Dr. Hildegarde, graduated from Vassar and Johns Hopkins, and Dr. Aldo Germann, a surgeon, graduated from Northwestern. Dr. Germann had retired by the time of this photo.
bh000018 Dr. Germann wrote a short memoir in 1937, after she retired from over 50 years of practice. This first excerpt talks about her attending Medical School. ” … [I] entered the Quincy College of Medicine, which later became a department of Chaddock College. Our medical school here, although small was equipped with a good staff of physicians and surgeons. Our hospital advantages were perhaps somewhat limited. The dissecting material, however, was quite ample but no graves were robbed of their contents as the school was sometimes accused of. Our class not being so large, each received much individual attention. We numbered fourteen, eleven men and three women. Dr. J. W. Bitter and myself, members of the class are still active in the profession. After receiving my diploma from this school, I decided to further my studies in medicine and take a course abroad.”
bh000019 This part of the memoir relates a story of going to see patients in a sleigh. “When sleighing was good I made calls in a sleigh with Prince in the harness and sometimes the children would accompany me. One cold morning with a fine layer of snow, we started out. As you all know it takes more space to turn a sleigh then it does a buggy. I turned too short and our sleigh upset spilling out occupants, laprobe, medicine cases and all other paraphernalia. The sleigh righted itself and Prince went slowly on. He must have noticed that his load was lighter for he stopped and looked back to see if we were coming. We picked ourselves up along with our belongings and soon were on our way again.”

Bibliography

  1. Dr. Melinda Germann, 88, pioneer woman physician, dies after long illness. (1952, July 15). The Quincy Herald-Whig.
  2. Germann, M. K. (1937). The reminiscences of a pioneer woman physician. Unpublished manuscript, Blessing Hospital at Quincy, IL.
  3. Manning, M. (1942, date unknown). Portraits of Miami’s most interesting women: Dr. M. K. Germann [Talk of the tower]. Miami Herald.

Contributing Library:

Blessing Health Professions Library, a service of Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing

Dr. Justina Laurena Carter Ford (1871-1952)

Justina Laurena Carter was born in 1871 in Knoxville, a small town a few miles east of Galesburg, Illinois. She grew up in Galesburg. Her interest in the practice of medicine was apparently cultivated at a young age.

She graduated from Hering Medical College in Chicago in 1899. She first practiced in Normal, Alabama, but soon moved to Denver, Colorado. Throughout her career, Dr. Ford faced the obstacles of being both African American and a woman in a profession that much of society felt belonged to white males. “The Lady Doctor” persevered and served a needy segment of society – the disadvantaged and underprivileged of all races. She is claimed to have delivered over 7,000 babies.

Eventually, Dr. Ford was allowed to practice at Denver General Hospital and admitted to the Denver, the Colorado and the American Medical Societies. However, by 1950, she was still the only physician in Colorado to be both African American and female.

Ford’s former home is now the Black America West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver.

Bibliography

  1. Harris, Mark. (1996) (March 1950) “The Forty Years of Justina Ford.” Negro Digest v. 8, pp 43-45
  2. Smith, Jessie Carney, (1996) “Justina L. Ford” in Notable Black American Women. Vol. II. Smith, Jessie Carney, Ed. Gale Research Inc, New York., pp. 734-736.

Mary Jane Safford, 1834-1891

Mary Jane Safford was born in the state of Vermont in 1834. Her family moved to southern Illinois while she was a child. She earned teaching qualifications and began her career as a teacher near Cairo.

In 1861, the Civil War focused military attention on Cairo and the surrounding area. Cairo, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, was considered of strategic importance because the rivers were a primary means of transportation. The Cairo area became the site of several military hospitals serving wounded soldiers. Mary Jane, along with Mother Bickerdyke and others, nursed wounded soldiers at the hospitals.

Following the war, Mary Jane earned a medical degree and opened a practice in Chicago. Poor health forced her to retire about 1886.

Bibliography

  1. Witter, Evelyn and David R. Collins. 1976. Illinois Women: Born to Serve. Illinos Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Contributing Library:

John A. Logan College

Doctor Anna, Anna Pierce Hobbs Bigsby, 1808-1869

Doctor Anna is one of Southern Illinois’ legends – one of those real people whose stories have most likely been embelished but certainly have some basis in fact.

Anna Pierce was born about the year 1808 in the more settled country of the East. When she was sixteen she moved with her parents to Hardin County, in southern Illinois. Before long, Anna returned to Philadelphia, where she took courses to become a physician. At that time, subject areas taught to women were limited. In 1828, she returned to Hardin County where she was the only physician. Within a few years she married a neighbor named Mr. Hobbs

Anna was soon confronted by an epidemic called milk sickness. The illness killed animals and people, among them Anna’s mother and her sister-in-law Mary Hobbs. Many settlers in the Midwest were afflicted or killed by milk sickness, including Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Many residents in Anna’s community blamed milk sickness on potions scattered by witches. This explanation didn’t satisfy Anna, and determined to find the cause, she studied the disease and its characteristics. She determined that the illness was seasonal, beginning in summer and continuing until the first frost. It was more prominent in cattle than in other animals, suggesting the cause might be a plant eaten by the cattle.

The legend says that while following the cattle in search of the cause, she happened upon a Shawnee Indian woman who told her that white snakeroot plant caused milk sickness. Anna tested the hypothesis by feeding the plant to a calf, demonstrating its poisoness properties. She and others in the community then began a campaign to eradicate the plant from the area.

Although Anna was correct in her analysis, when she died in 1869, she had received no official recognition for her discovery of the cause of milk sickness. In fact, the medical community did not recognize the plant as the cause of the disease until well into the 20th Century.

Bibliography

  1. Allen, John W. 1968. It happened in southern Illinois. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University.
  2. Cichy, Kelly A., 1986. Women Meet the Challenge in Southern Illinois History. Carbondale, Ill. : Women’s History Week Steering Committee
  3. Hall, Elihu N. 1948. Ballads from the bluffs Elizabethtown, Ill.
  4. Snively, W. D., April 1967. Minnesota Medicine, V. 50, pp. 469-476.

Contributing Library:

John A. Logan College

Dr. Elizabeth Howard Miner (1867-1960), Macomb’s first woman physician

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Dr. Elizabeth Miner

 

ma000002Holmes Hospital, Macomb, Illinois

ma00053pPhelps Hospital, Macomb, Illinois
Elizabeth Miner was born in Iowa on Christmas Day, 1867. She earned a degree from Shenandoah Teachers College and taught school prior to her first marriage. When her husband died, Elizabeth married William C. Miner.

Four years later, in 1895, Mrs. Miner graduated from Denver Medical College in Denver, Colorado. She and husband William moved to Macomb, Illinois, where she became Macomb’s first woman physician-surgeon. William Miner operated a bookstore that carried textbooks and school-related items for the Western Illinois State Normal School (now Western Illinois University).

During her medical career in Macomb, Dr. Miner served in three of Macomb’s Hospitals: Phelps, Holmes, and St. Francis.

The Phelps Hospital was Macomb’s first hospital, built in 1900. Funds for the hospital were donated by Marietta Phelps and Dr. S. C. Stremmel, one of Elizabeth Miner’s colleagues. The hospital had fourteen rooms, with one ward for men and a separate ward for women. Each ward had five beds. The hospital also contained an operating room. In the 1920s, a third floor was added.

In 1906, Dr. Stremmel donated money to add eight private rooms and a larger operating room. Their were eight physicians on staff, including Dr. Stremmel (chief surgeon) and Dr. Miner (diseases of women). Patients paid $7 per week for a bed in the ward and between $10 and $18 per week for a private room.

Dr. Miner was a charter member and the first secretary of the McDonough County Medical Society organized in 1897. She served as a delegate to the Illinois Medical Society from 1918 to 1938.

In 1935, Dr. Miner was elected Vice President of the Illinois Medical Society, becoming the first woman to hold elected office in the state society. She was also elected president of the Illinois branch of the American Women’s Medical Association.

Dr. Miner was also active in other organizations, including the Macomb Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Delphian Society and the First Baptist Church. She was also a member of the Business and Professional Womens Club (founded in 1924, the Club’s first president was Caroline Grote)

Dr. Elizabeth Miner practiced medicine for 50 years. Her career continued into the late 1940s. She died at age 93 in Macomb.

Bibliography

  1. “Dr. Elizabeth Miner, 93, of Macomb, Dies”, Macomb Daily Journal, Macomb, IL. 1960.
  2. Hallwas, John E. (1990) Macomb: A Pictorial History, G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., St. Louis, MO.

Contributing Library:

Macomb Public Library, Macomb, Illinois

50th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Hospital 1866-1916

Notes:

St. Mary’s Hospital, Quincy, Illinois

Contributing Library:

Brenner Library, Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois

Nursing in the Civil War – Civil War Medicine

Notes:

This essay about Civil War medicine was possibly written by Fr. Landry Genosky.
[Typewritten, Paper size= 8.5 x 11 inches, standard bond paper]

Contributing Library:

Brenner Library, Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois

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Women in Education

Introduction

by Melissa Calhoun, Infobahn Outfitters, Inc.Provisions for education were part of Illinois government from statehood. The Federal Land Grant of 1818 had provisions for elementary and secondary schools: “section no. 16 of every township… shall be granted to the State, for the … use of schools” and “thirty-six sections … shall be reserved for the use of a seminary of learning… and vested in the legislature of the State…”. In 1825, the State Legislature passed an act providing for establishment of free schools, as well as the levying of taxes to provide funds for the schools.

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Female seminaries provided curriculums of serious study and were the first colleges for Illinois women. Jacksonville Female Academy, established by Frances Ellis, opened in 1830. Monticello Female Seminary was chartered in Alton in 1835. The founder Benjamin Godfrey, claimed that educating a man educated an individual, while educating a woman educated an entire family. By 1860, more than 20 female seminaries existed in Illinois. Many have been incorporated into today’s colleges and universities. Women gained more opportunities in higher education as all-male institutions began to admit female students. Illinois Wesleyan University admitted the first women students in its class of 1870.

Concern for education in the state grew between 1840 and 1860. In 1845, the Secretary of State was designated State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The first meetings of the Illinois Education Society were held in 1846. In 1857, the State Board of Education was formed. 3,000 schoolhouses were built between 1857 and 1858. Most of these were one room schools holding classes 7 months of the year.

Illinois State Normal School (now Illinois State University) was established in 1857 to train teachers, but was unable to meet the demand. Teachers were primarily men paid a relatively low wage and the state had a shortage of them.

The solution came primarily from the National Educational Society in the form of teachers from outside the state. Resistance came because they were young women. The Democrats objected to them for political reasons because the girls came from the Northeast. Stephen Douglas claimed that the teachers were abolitionists and would convert the children into “canting, freedom shrieking New England demagogues”. Economics and demand silenced much of the opposition. The women often accepted half the pay required to employ a man. As a result the teaching profession at the primary level moved from male-dominated to female-dominated.

By the late 19th century, many young women spent a year or two teaching school between their own schooling and their marriage. Many taught male pupils who were older than themselves. Women also began to have influence in the decision making process of education. Sarah Raymond was superintendent of District 87 in Bloomington by 1874. Georgina Trotter became the first member of the Bloomington Board of Education in 1875. Caroline Grote also spent her career in public education and became Dean of Women of the Western Normal School in 1908.

Bibliography

  1. Bogart, Ernest L. and John M. Mathews. (1920) Centennial History of Illinois: The Modern Commonwealth, 1893-1918 (vol. V). Illinois Centennial Commission., Springfield, IL.
  2. Bogart, Ernest L. and Charles M. Thompson. (1920) Centennial History of Illinois: The Industrial State, 1870-1893 (vol. IV). Illinois Centennial Commission., Springfield, IL.
  3. Carpenter, Charles S., editor (1953-1954) Education in Illinois in Illinois Blue Book, 1953-1954. State of Illinois, Springfield, IL.
  4. Cole, Arthur C. (1919) Centennial History of Illinois: The Era of the Civil War, 1848-1870 (vol. III). Illinois Centennial Commission., Springfield, IL.
  5. Pease, Theodore C. (1918) Centennial History of Illinois: The Frontier State, 1818-1848 (vol. II). Illinois Centennial Commission., Springfield, IL.

Literary Societies at Monmouth College

text by Neil Dahlstrom, in collaboration with Dr. Stacy Cordery

Literary societies served an important function in the early educational and social existence of Monmouth College. The two male societies, the Philadelphian and the Eccritean, founded in 1856 and 1857, were soon rivaled by two female literary societies. The first, the Amateur des Belles Lettres (originally called the Philomatheon Society), was founded in October 1857. Its motto was “Droit et Avant”, translated as “Right and Onward.” The second, the Aletheorian, was founded in September 1862, with the motto “Aude Sapere”, or “Dare to be Wise.” These literary societies served to promote debate and public speaking at Monmouth College. In 1867, the Amateur des Belles Lettres (ABL) and the Aletheorian joined forces with the two male societies to sponsor a lecture course which ran until 1878. In 1869 they once again worked together to finance and produce a monthly newspaper, the Courier. Since Monmouth College lacked a library on campus until 1902, these organizations created their own. The books, donated by society members, were used for background research of debate topics. The library also contained copies of those books required for class use. Shakespeare, Milton, Gibbon and theological authors figured prominently.

Meetings usually followed the same procedure every week: Call to order, devotional service, literary exercises, criticism, miscellaneous business, initiation of new members, adjournment. The centerpiece of every meeting was the literary exercises and debates, which often focused on important events of the day such as the desirability of universal compulsory education, or giving women the right to vote.

On a lighter note, both female societies held an annual “spread,” of which the Monmouth College Ravelings from 1900 reported as:

an event to which every girl looks with real, genuine pleasure. A mystery, indeed, at which the boys can only guess, and wish for one evening, at least, that they were girls. …Formerly this feast was enjoyed by both societies, on the same evening, but this year the Aletheorians grew impatient and gave their spread on November 18. The program was good, and immediately after they adjourned to enjoy a royal good time. After the spread, the girls paid the yearly call to the boy’s societies.

The A.B.L. girls always have waited until the spring term, this year selecting February 3. All dates were canceled, all excuses withheld. The program was quickly passed over, then the chairs were moved back and fun? well, if noise and laughter are signs, fun was there. About 6 o’clock the music and singing cease, and anyone eavesdropping might have guessed that the spread was in progress. Before leaving, the girls visited the boys’ societies and interrupted their programs one more night. Every girl is willing to admit that the very best thing in the whole society is the “spread.”

As the above illustrates, another important aspect of these early literary societies was their function as a social outlet. They provided students with the opportunity to be a part of an organization which brought women of similar interests together and allowed them to interact both intellectually and convivially.

By 1928 the Amateur des Belles Lettres and the Aletheorian had disappeared from the Monmouth College campus. With the development of intercollegiate debate as a separate activity, as well as the legalization of local college fraternities and sororities in 1923, the programs and activities offered by these societies were superceded. Their importance to the early life of Monmouth College, however, could never be replaced.

Sources:

  1. Beth, Loren P. “Monmouth Literary Societies,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 43, XLIII (1950), 120-136.
  2. Davenport, F. Garvin. Monmouth College: The First Hundred Years 1853-1953. Cedar Rapids, IA:Torch Press, 1953.
  3. Monmouth College Ravelings, 1900.

 

Literary societies at Monmouth College promoted debate and public speaking. The Amateur des Belles Lettres (originally called the Philomatheon Society) and the Aletheorian were women’s societies. The two societies held annual contests. During some years, “Inter-Society Contests were held between the society at Monmouth College and a society at Knox College in Galesburg. The programs depicted below list the performers, judges, and the activities of the contests. [More information about these societies]

 

 

 

 

Caroline Grote, 1863-1941

Educator, Dean of Women at Western Illinois State Teacher’s College

wi000003Caroline Grote (left) & Anna H. McKee, Augusta, Illinois, June 5, 1894
wi000005Campus of Western Illinois University. Monroe Hall (renamed Grote Hall) is on the right. Sherman Hall, the first building on campus, is on the left
wi000001Monroe Hall, Western Illinois University
wi000002Monroe Hall, Western Illinois University
wi000004Caroline Grote
No woman was more important to the early development of Western Illinois University than Caroline Grote. A native of Illinois, she worked at every level of public education during her career, which spanned fifty-six years.

Caroline Grote was born in Perry (Pike County), Illinois in 1863, when Lincoln was president and the Civil War was being fought. During the next sixteen years, Grote completed primary and secondary school in Perry, graduating in 1879. At that time, it was not uncommon for school teachers to begin their teaching career having completed only a high school diploma, which is exactly what Grote did. After completing high school, Grote immediately started teaching school at Shady Dell School, near Perry. For a little more than the next decade, she continued to teach at several Pike County schools.

In the fall of 1889, Grote was hired as the superintendent of the Augusta (Hancock County) schools, where she remained until 1895. At that time, she left to teach mathematics and German at Vincennes High School in Indiana. A year later she returned to the position of high school principal in Pittsfield, Illinois. After holding that position for two years, she became the Superintendent of Schools for Pike County, the first female to serve as a county superintendent of schools in the state of Illinois.

All of these accomplishments were achieved by a woman who did not have any more education than a high school diploma. In 1911, she received a two-year diploma from Western Illinois State Normal School. She furthered her education by completing a Bachelor of Literature degree from Carthage College in 1913 and then a Master of Arts degree at the University of Chicago in 1927.

When Grote was Superintendent of Schools in Pike County, a man named Alfred Bayliss, State Superintendent of Schools, became acquainted with her. In 1906, when Bayliss was president of Western Illinois State Teachers College, he hired Carolyn Grote to be the ninth and tenth grade training school teacher. In addition to this assignment, Grote taught a variety of other classes, including English, history, mathematics, and education, during her early years at Western.

In 1907, at the beginning of her second year at Western, Grote was appointed Director of County School Training. Her duties included having charge of the special curriculum for those students who wanted to teach in rural schools. Miss Grote developed a one-year curriculum for students who had finished the tenth grade and a two-year curriculum for those who had only finished the eighth grade. Completion of either course of study allowed the student to receive a teaching certificate without having to pass an examination.

Grote’s interest in country school problems allowed her to complete a survey of rural schools in the Military Tract section of Illinois which documented the poor teaching and facilities in that sector of public education. In the report, she noted that many schools had “smoke begrimed walls and ceilings,” windows that “were seldom washed,” and outhouses that were “deplorable”. School libraries were often inadequate and not suited to the needs of the students.

Grote’s career took a new turn in 1908 when President Bayliss asked her to be Dean of Women, taking general charge of the women students. This meant living in Monroe Hall, the women’s dormitory and supervising the women students closely. An alumnus of Western remembers Miss Grote in this quote:

She watched over her girls like a mother hen. Her consuming desire was to keep us on the “straight and narrow”. Every week we had a conference, with warnings about the facts of life. We were instructed not to stroll in the ravine with a boy…One time we were advised not to read Sinclair Lewis’s new book, Main Street. “It will poison your minds”, she said. Naturally, we scrambled to find the book, and everyone who could, read it.

Grote did watch over her girls closely and reminded them often of what proper behavior was. She stressed to the girls that they should not go to campus events alone. “Girls, every modern girl should have a chaperone” Rules within the dormitory were also rigid. Grote reminded the girls to shut their blinds, as “we must look out for the peepers”. Men were allowed to visit, but no male dared stay in the dormitory lobby after ten o’clock, as this poem from the 1922 Western yearbook, The Sequel, relates:

Hickory dickory dock
Miss Grote looked at the clock;
The clock struck ten–
Out ran the men.
Hickory dickory dock.

Grote was the Dean of Women until 1935 when she retired. As the demands of this position grew, Grote found herself giving up more and more of her teacher training work. Later in her career, she made use of her deanship and associated work as head of the girl’s dormitory to study living conditions at Western Illinois State Teachers College, the topic of her doctoral dissertation. The title of her dissertation was “Housing and Living Conditions of Women Students in Western Illinois State Teacher’s College at Macomb.” She received her doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 1932 at the age of 69.

In the summer after she had finished her doctorate, Grote took a trip to Hawaii. This trip became the subject of her only book, A Summer in Hawaii (1937), which relates the tale of her travel experience and provides a historical and cultural description of the Hawaiian islands.

Caroline Grote retired from Western in 1935, after serving twenty-nine years at the institution and fifty-six years in the field of education. Western’s first woman’s dormitory, Monroe Hall, was appropriately renamed Grote Hall in her honor. On September 1, 1941, at the age of 78, Caroline Grote died.

 

Alumni from Ashland Community High School 1886-1919

Taken from the Ashland Community High School Hand Book, published by Board of Education, April 1925.

ALUMNI BY CLASSES
1886
Ella Turner
Bruce Green
Albert Settle
Elnora Mitchell
Blank Anderson
Hester Buckley
Henrietta Anderson

1887
Abbie Gates
Rudie Gates
Fred Spears
Alice Buckley
1888
Harry Babb
Alice Sinclair
Fred Wyatt
Delia
1889 (no class)
1890
Byron Gailey
Edna Middour
Mary Turner
Loretta Frazer
Lottie Spears
Alice Buckley
1891
Bessie Sutton
Anna Walker
Anna Britton
Sadie Anderson
1892
Nellie Whalen
1893
Uel Hamilton
Ida Corson
Darwin Gailey
Lloyd Hamilton
Bertie Shortt
1894
Eugene Gailey
Alta Horton
Arthur LaTouche
Beulah Ruggles
1895 (no class)
1896
Cora Britton
Rena Cox
David Crum
Travis Elmore
Fanny Hexter
Myrtle La Touche
Lela Redmon
Verne Sinclair
Marietta Spears
Seymour Spears
Lula Spencer
Ina Clark
1897
William O. Baumgartner
Euphemia Hamilton
Ada Glenn
1898
Will M. Goff
Geo L. Ratliff
Philip Nollsch
Raye D. Hexter
Rose Salzenstein
Alethia Edwards
1899
Watson W. Gailey
Harry Hexter
Wilbert H. Suydan
Nellie G. Britton
Nannie E. Smith
1900
Clarice Rearick
Hazel La Touche
Maude Sorrells
Nellie Beggs
George Beggs
Ernest Clark
Claire Huston
Henry Conner
1901
Eugene Clemons
Sherman Dorand
Sadie Duffy
Alma Graff
Eli Hexter
Ollie Hill
Helen Rearick
Hennie Salzenstein
Joseph Sinclair
Lawrence Sinclair
1902
Emma Bentley
Georgia Combs
Mabel Daniel
Nellie George
Rolla Goff
Willie Graff
Louise Hamilton
Lilienstein
Mary Larmon
Lizzie Nottingham
Garner
Richard Nottingham
Louise Spears
Maude Struble
1903
Essie Davis
John W. Graff
Clark Jones
Blanch E. Lohman
Lela E. Lohman
Nellie F. Nix
Mabel Pfund
Cordia Wilburn
1904
Cynthia Elmore
Pearl Buckley
Harry Lohman
Harry Harding
Ansel Hexter
Stella Eldredge
Frieda Lilienstein
Rowena Gailey
Grace Nix
1905
Harold D. Garner
Kathryn C. Graff
Nellie E. Duffy
Maude B. Bentley
Bernice R. Davis
Byron G. Graff
Jeannette H.
Nellie Maye Grogan
Helen Lee
Ethel H. Graham
1906
Harrison B. Corson
Carrie Crystal Harbur
Edwin Salzenstein
Clara Kandt
Alice Adeline Buckley
1907
W. Henry McKeown
Thomas Almarin Sinclair
1908
Elsie Spears
Katie Wright Goff
Oklahoma Lanham
Annette Pearn Rearick
William Ross Campbell
William Edmund Burns
Earl Ernest Zirkle
Henry Grover Suydan
1909
Edestina Beggs
Frances Boyd
Jessie Parsons
Rena Shackel
Addie Smith
Verdie Stout
Harry Struble
1910
Nona Bentley
Leta Burns
Marguerite Campbell
Sudbrinck Campbell
Walter Dyer
Myrtle Graff
Parthena Graff
Imla Hewitt
Ethel Jones
Enoch King
Mabel Newell
Ethel Shortridge
Giles Stowell
Julius Tiniam
1911
Grace V. Bain
Robert W. Bast
Helen R. Conover
Lula M. Garner
Helen Grist
Rae Grogan
J. Joseph Jenkins
Elma Jones
Helen Reichert
Joe Waser
Stuart Wyatt
1912
Gleana Byrkit
Eugene Caswell
Roy Massey
Louise Reiser
George Witty
1913
Eula Bailey
Glenna Bailey
Lutie Beggs
Dorhie Bradley
Pearl Caswell
Russel Davis
Mary Massey
Louise Savage
Harold Wright
Andrew Wyatt
Myrtle Wyatt
1914
Grace Bailey
Lora Bradley
Nellie Flinn
Ruth Jones
May Kendall
Frances Kennedy
Helen McCready
Bertha Newell
Horace Witty
1915
Greta Davis
Frank Fitzgerald
Pearl Fitzgerald
Mabel Hawkins
David Jones
Nellie Kennedy
Ethel Ringler
William Stribling
Martha Wyatt
1916
Mae Atteberry
Myrtle Carder
Rainey Caswell
Alfred Cosner
Frank Davey
William Kennedy
Edith Votsmier
1917
Bertha Bergen
Jesse Douglas
Nellie Duling
Francis Fish
Elmore Gailey
Calista Newell
1918
Marjorie Taylor
Billy Liter
Paul Duling
1919
Verdie Jones
Glenn Holmes
Raychel Gist
William Beadles

Contributing Library:

Ashland Public Library District, Ashland, Illinois

Early Education in Cass County

Some of the photos, etc. taken from An Illustrated Directory of Cass County Schools, by A. E. Hinners, County Superintendent, Copyrighted 1902.

Contributing Library:

Ashland Public Library District, Ashland, Illinois

Early Teachers in Ashland, Illinois 1890-1917

Contributing Library:

Ashland Public Library District, Ashland, Illinois

Early Women of Illinois Wesleyan University

Sources include: 1895 Wesleyana of Illinois Wesleyan University,
(also 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909 editions
An Historical Sketch of the Illinois Wesleyan University, Together with a Record of the Alumni, 1857-1895

Contributing Library:

Sheean Library, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois

Georgina Trotter, First Woman on the Bloomington Board of Education

Georgina Trotter, first woman on the Bloomington Board of Education, served on Withers Library Board (and raised funds for the library), was a successful businesswoman (with brother John Trotter) in the lumber, grain and coal business and had served in the Civil War as a nurse. With her friend, Sarah Raymond, she was considered a “power in the education affairs of Bloomington.”

 

Sarah Raymond

SARAH RAYMOND
An Early School Administrator

Sarah Raymond, an Illinois native, was born in LaSalle (now Kendall) County in 1842. She was 24 years old when she graduated from a four-year course at Illinois State Normal University in 1866 and took a job in a private school.

Two years later she joined the District 87 (Bloomington) faculty as a primary teacher at the “Old Barn” school and two years later was made principal. In her third year here she was appointed principal of what became Sheridan School and the following year was named principal to organize yet another new large school. In 1873 she was named assistant principal of the high school, which position involved continued teaching. And when the principal resigned the next year to return to his medical career, there was Miss Raymond ready to take full charge of the high school. She accepted the position at $1,000 a year, $600 less than her predecessor had received, simply because unwritten board of education policy discriminated against women.

Apparently, the Board had learned that when a special person was needed for a difficult assignment, there was always Miss Raymond upon whom to call. She never applied for a higher position during her career but was always “chosen” by her superiors. Four months after she was named principal of the high school, in August of 1874, she was summoned by the board and asked to accept the position of superintendent of the school system–at once. Her predecessor in that job had been caught with his hand in the till. Even then she was paid $1,400 a year, $600 less than the thief!

She was the first woman superintendent of Bloomington’s schools, and one of the few in the country. Although she rose to the top of her field in a male-dominated society, although she began the superintendent’s position with a staff of 53–all women, and although women were allowed to vote in a school election while she was still in office, Miss Raymond was brought down when two men who campaigned on a platform of ridding the educational system of female administrators won seats on the board.

Early in her administration Miss Raymond put together “A manual of instruction to teachers and graded course of study”, the first complete curriculum guide of the school district.

On August 1, 1892 she held her last meeting with the board of education, and distributed copies of her farewell address, “A Retrospect.” She presented a brief history of her years as superintendent, and spoke to the topics of teachers, curriculum, discipline, and the problem of unequal wages for men and women teachers.

Miss Raymond left Bloomington and moved to Boston, where she engaged in charity work and later married William Fitzwilliam. Raymond School in Bloomington was named for her–the first Bloomington school named for a person (previously, schools were given numbers).

Sarah Raymond Fitzwilliam died in 1918 in Chicago.

Photograph: MCHS collection
Pantagraph: I February 1918; 4 July 1976
Tompkins, Dortha C., “District Eighty Seven, Bloomington, Illinois” [1976] [Bloomington, IL]: McLean County Historical Society
[Raymond, Sarah] “Rules and regulations, manual of instruction to teachers and graded course of study of the Public Schools of Bloomington, Ill.” [Bloomington]: Bulletin Printing Co., 1883.

Contributing Library:

Stevenson – Ives Memorial Library, McLean County Historical Society, Bloomington, Illinois

Women’s Educational Association at Illinois Wesleyan University

The Woman’s Educational Association of Illinois Wesleyan University 1874-1881 (Images #000001-000048)

The Woman’s Educational Association of Illinois Wesleyan University was formed on June 3, 1874, by “several ladies” who met at the University. Prof. Jennie F. Willing, Professor of English Language and Literature, was elected Chairman of the meeting. The first annual meeting, which was held at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Bloomington on June 17, 1874, featured Prof. Willing and four other women who delivered “stirring speeches on the subject of higher education for women” to “a good audience of ladies and gentlemen”. Four months later, on October 22, the Association adopted a constitution that defined the goals of the Association: “to raise funds for the endowment of a professorship in the Ill. Wes. University always to be filled by a woman”, and “to establish a Christian Home in Bloomington for lady students of the University where board shall be furnished at the lowest available rates.” The Constitution stipulated that “any person” could become a member of the Association for a fee of ten dollars.

This information and many other details concerning the history of the Woman’s Educational Association are found in the Record of the Woman’s Educational Association, a 7″ x ” volume containing the handwritten minutes of the Association. The accompanying images reproduce the minutes of the Association from 1874 to 1881. Pages 9-11 record the minutes of the first meetings, and pages 12-15 contain the Constitution and By Laws. Page 28 reports various decisions concerning the opening of the home to be known as Ladies’ Hall at Major’ College and the election of Mrs. C. A. Hart as Superintendent of the Home for the compensation of $25 dollars per month plus the provision of “bedding, washbowl, pitcher, towels, [and] looking-glass.” Page 29 contains the resolution That we charge $2.25 per week for board in the Ladies’ Hall. That each boarder furnish fuel and lights for her room. Each Lady may be allowed to do her washing and ironing in the laundry. Each to work an hour a day under the direction of the Superintendent.

Pages 33-34 permit the admission of Mrs. Hart’s niece, daughter, and granddaughter to Ladies’ Hall, but page 35 resolves “That no gentlemen be admitted as boarders.” Various other pages document the dedication and tenacity of the members of the Association in supporting women students by maintaining Ladies’ Hall.

The Record of the Woman’s Educational Association, which covers 1874-1885, and an accompanying volume, the Record of Trustees’ Meetings of the Women’s Education Association, which covers 1874-1892, are preserved in the Archives of Illinois Wesleyan University.

The organization of the Woman’s Educational Association followed by several years the opening of Illinois Wesleyan University to women students. The trustees of the University voted 20 to 1 to admit women in 1870. Twenty-two women were admitted that year, including Kate B. Ross of Dover, who was admitted as a sophomore, Delia Henry of Bloomington and Rhoda M. Wiley of Lexington, who were admitted as freshmen, and nineteen women who were admitted to the preparatory department. Hannah J. Shur of El Paso graduated from the University in 1872, and two other women, Martha Benjamin and Kate B. Ross, graduated in 1874. The first two women faculty members were Jennie F. Willing, Professor of English Language and Literature, and Mary H. Kuhl, Instructor of German, both of whom appear in the faculty roster for 1874.

Minutes of the Educational Association:

Women in war

Introduction

by Melissa Calhoun, Infobahn Outfitters, Inc.Women in Illinois were affected by six wars during the first one hundred years of Illinois statehood:

  • Black Hawk War of 1832
  • Mormon War of 1846
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848
  • American Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Spanish-American War of 1898
  • World War I, 1917-1918

War of 1812. Although the war occurred prior to statehood, the war influenced settlement of 3.5 million acres in western Illinois. The land between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers became military bounty for veterans of the War of 1812.

Black Hawk War. The War placed the Sauk and Fox Indians against volunteer soldiers. The Illinois militia (including Capt. Abraham Lincoln) drove the Sauk and Fox from Illinois. The war was of short duration and affected primarily the Sauk and Fox and residents in the area of the conflict.

Mormon War. The War was the culmination of unrest between Mormons and non-Mormons in Hancock County. Many felt Mormon leader Joseph Smith had too much political and potentially military control. In 1844, Smith was assassinated while imprisoned at the jail in Carthage. His death had a significant effect the lives of his wife Emma Hale Smith and the other Mormon women. Subsequently, militia from Hancock County and surrounding counties drove thousands of Mormons from Nauvoo. The Mormons began the migratation across the Great Plains to Utah. Many Mormons perished during the journey west.

Civil War. Illinois’ 250,000 soldiers equaled 10 to 15% of the state’s population. Wounds and disease took their toll and many never returned. Virtually every woman’s husband, father, son, or boyfriend became a soldier. Illinois was an amalgum of northerners and southerners, and many families were divided by the issues. Sarah Withers of Bloomington was one example. Another is Mary Todd Lincoln. Her husband was President of the Union, while her brothers fought for the Confederacy.

The war left women to do the work of the men gone to war. Many regiments left home with a silk flag made by local women. Boxes and letters from home eased the dullness of a soldier’s life. The Ladies Union Aid Society and the Western Sanitary Commission supplied the troops with critical supplies of clothing and food. Many Illinois women nursed wounded and ill soldiers. Mother Bickerdyke of Galesburg, Aunt Lizzie of Peoria and Louisa Maertz of Quincy and many others served in the field hospitals. The only woman to earn a Congressional Medal of Honor was Dr. Mary E. Walker, who tended soldiers and served four months in a southern prison. Some traveled to visit wounded husbands. Mrs. Carter Van Vleck of Macomb reached Atlanta in time to see Colonel Van Vleck of the 78th Illinois Infantry for the last time and arrange for his body to be returned home. Many were not so fortunate.

Women were officially banned from serving as soldiers. That ban didn’t stop Jennie Hodgers. Disguised as a male named Albert Cashier, she served with the 95th Illinois Volunteers for 3 years. Cashier collected a pension until 1911 when medical examination following an accident revealed the secret identity. Albert/Jennie was not alone. Some estimates claim as many as 400 women served as soldiers and as many as 60 women were killed or wounded in battle during the Civil War.

World War I. Between 1900 and 1910, the Army and Navy each developed Nurse Corps, opening the way for women’s official service in the military. In 1917, U.S. women were admitted for the first time at full rank and military status into the Navy and Marines. Approximately 34,000 women served, primarily in clerical positions and as nurses. Women were unlikely to enter disguised as men due to the required physical examinations.

Bibliography

  1. Efflandt, Lloyd H. (1991) Lincoln and the Black Hawk War. Rock Island Arsenal Historical Society, Rock Island, Illinois.
  2. Hallwas, John E. (1990) Macomb: A Pictorial History. G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri.
  3. Hicken, Victor. (1991) Illinois in the Civil War University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois.
  4. Launius, Roger D. and John E. Hallwas, eds. (1996) Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisted: Nauvoo in Mormon History. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois.

Mother Bickerdyke, 1817-1901

MI000001

Mary Ann Ball was born in Knox County, Ohio in 1817. By 1861 after the outbreak of the Civil War, Mary Ann was Mrs. Bickerdyke and was living in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois. During that first summer of the War, Edward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher) visited Galesburg and spoke at the Congregational Church. The service included the reading of a letter written by a man from Galesburg telling of the poor conditions of the military camp at Cairo, Illinois, where several hundred of Galesburg’s men were stationed.

The congregation prepared to send supplies for the men at Cairo and suggested that Mary Ann Bickerdyke accompany them. Mrs. Bickerdyke was then 44 years old, a widow with two young sons. Mary Ann agreed to take the supplies to Cairo. She devoted the next four years to the cause. It is believed that she ministered to the needs of the wounded in no less than nineteen battles, bettering the lives of the soldiers who gave her the nickname “Mother Bickerdyke”. She gained the respect of Generals Grant and Sherman.

Following the war she returned to Galesburg. Later she traveled through Kansas and California. She was instrumental in obtaining pensions for veterans and for Civil War nurses. By 1901, she had returned to her childhood home in Knox County, Ohio, where died. She was buried in Galesburg. A monument in her honor stands on the lawn of the Courthouse of Knox County, Illinois. Upon the monument is a phrase which exemplifies Mother Bickerdyke’s importance in the Civil War: General Sherman’s quote claiming, “She outranks me.”

Bibliography

  1. Allen, John W. 1968. It happened in southern Illinois. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University.
  2. Baker, Nina Brown. 1952. Cyclone in Calico: The Story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke. Little, Brown, Boston, MA
  3. Cichy, Kelly A., 1986. Women Meet the Challenge in Southern Illinois History. Carbondale, Ill. : Women’s History Week Steering Committee

Below is a more complete article about Mary Ann Bickerdyke’s participation in the war.

MOTHER BYCKERDYKE

from Women of the War, their Heroism and Self-Sacrifice by Frank Moore (1867) S. S. Scranton & Co., Hartford, Conn.Among the many noble women whose names will be forever enshrined with those of the brave defenders of their country, that of Mrs. Byckerdyke, of Illinois, will be held in especial honor. From no merely romantic impulse, but acting from the dictates of her mature sense of duty, she entered the service of the country as a volunteer nurse for its soldiers early in the war, and continued her work of patriotic charity until the war closed. By all those who remain of the armies who conquered their way down the Mississippi, Mrs. Byckerdyke is affectionately and gratefully remembered, as one of the most constant, earnest, determined, and efficient laborers for their health and comfort in the hospital and in the field.

Mrs. Byckerdyke, who is a woman of middle age, commenced her labors for the soldiers in August, 1861, when — at her own solicitation, and because her judgement was confided in — she was sent from Galesburg, Illinois, to Cairo, to ascertain what was needed by the troops stationed there. After ascertaining the condition of affairs there and reporting, her Galesburg friends advised her to remain, which she did, exerting all her energies to remedy the many miseries attending the establishment of a large camp of soldiers, nearly all of whose officers were as ignorant of camp discipline as themselves. When the battle of Belmont sent a large number of the wounded to the Brigade Hospital at Mound City, she went there, and remained until the most of them were sent to their homes.

Returning herself to her home, she barely continued long enough to put her household in order for a more prolonged absence. She had enlisted for the war. At the bloody field of Donelson — where the sufferings of our wounded were most distressing, from the lack of medical attendance and the severity of the weather — she was untiring in her efforts for the poor fellows. She took a prominent part in shipping five boat-loads of wounded men, her kind and motherly care doing more than aught else to save the soldiers from neglect. Hardly through with this severe labor of love, she was in a few days called to Pittsburg Landing, to assist in the care of the immense numbers of wounded men for whom the provisions of the medical department were not half adequate. She stationed herself at Savannah, ten miles below Pittsburg Landing, where the most of our wounded were brought. An incident of her experience while there will illustrate her character better than anything we can say. It was told us by an officer who was at Savannah at the time.

Governor Harvey, of Wisconsin, had been visiting the field of battle, and the hospitals there and at Savannah, to learn what was the condition and what were the wants of the soldiers from his state. He had a small but excellent staff of volunteer surgeons, and ten tons of the best sanitary supplies. He saw every sick and wounded Wisconsin soldier individually, and gave to all the medical attendance and sanitary supplies they needed. Our informant could not restrain the tears as he recalled the kind acts, the cordial and sympathetic greetings of this noble-hearted governor, whose life was so suddenly ended in its prime by a distressing casualty. After his work was through, Governor Harvey met our friend at the Savannah levee, perfectly satisfied that he had done all in his power and happy that he had been permitted to do so much good. He had still five tons of sanitary stores left, and had been in great doubt as to what to do with them. He distrusted the surgeons in charge at Savannah, and finally concluded to turn over the stores to Mrs. Byckerdyke. He had known nothing of her antecedents, and had only seen her while in Savannah. Still, as he told our friend, he observed how efficient she was, with how much business-like regularity she was performing her work, and that honesty, decision, and judgment seemed written on her plain but good-looking face. He would trust her, and no one else.

After the governor’s death, Mrs. Byckerdyke began to suspect that her supplies were diverted to the private uses of a certain surgeon’s mess. She resolved to stop that, and did, in a very summary manner. Going into the tent of this surgeon just before dinner, she discovered on the table a great variety of the jellies, wines, and other comforts belonging to her stores. She at once made a clean sweep of these articles, went straight down to the levee, took a boat to Pittsburg Landing, saw General Grant, and within twenty-four hours had the guilty surgeon under arrest. The surgeons had little disposition to interfere with her or her stores after this example, and the sick and wounded men rejoiced to find that their faithful friend had won so complete a victory.

Occupied all the time of the Corinth campaign with the wounded in the rear of General Halleck’s army, she was put in charge of the Main Hospitals at Corinth, when our force entered that place. While there her indomitable force and determination to serve the soldiers had another trial and another victory. Learning that a brigade was to march through the hospital grounds, and knowing that the soldiers would be nearly exhausted from their long march under a burning sun, she got out her barrels of water which had been brought for the men in hospital, had a corps of her assistants ready with pails and dippers, and gave the soldiers water as they passed through. When the commanding officer came up, Mrs. Byckerdyke asked that the men be halted; but he refused, and, going ahead, ordered his men to march along. At the same time a voice in the rear — that of Mrs. Byckerdyke — was heard giving the reverse order. “Halt!” in very clear tones. The woman’s order was obeyed, and the “Tin Cup Brigade” worked energetically for a few minutes, rejoicing in the triumph of their commander.

At the siege of Vicksburg Mrs. Byckerdyke undertook the difficult task of correcting abuses in the use of distribution of sanitary supplies. The lasting gratitude of the sick and wounded, and the approval of the higher officers in command, attest the fidelity and efficiency with which she executed this trust. She was not at all times a welcome guest to the agents and officers having in charge sanitary supplies. One of these latter applied to headquarters to have a woman removed from his hospital, on the complaint of improper influence. “Who is she?” inquired the general. “A Mrs. Byckerdyke,” replied the major. “O, well,” said the general, “she ranks me; you must apply to President Lincoln.”

After the battles of Mission Ridge and Lookout Mountain she remained in the field thirty days, till the last of the wounded were removed to northern hospitals, working with all her remarkable energy, and with her untiring determination, that the soldiers should be well cared for. On the Atlantic campaign she followed the army with a laundry, and had daily from fifteen hundred to two thousand pieces washed, besides the bandages and rags used in dressing wounds. In addition to this work, which was more than enough for one woman to perform, she superintended the cooking for the field hospitals, and, when the commissary stores failed, supplied the tables from those of the Christian and Sanitary Commisions. To meet emergencies, she has been known to take passage in an afternoon train, ride fifteen miles, get her supplies to the hospital, and have the bread baked and distributed to over a thousand patients the same day, and in proper season.

Perhaps a good idea of the nature and value of the labors of Mrs. Byckerdyke can best be given from an extract of a letter, written from Chattanooga by Mrs. Porter, – another noble laborer for the soldiers, – soon after the battle there. Mrs. Porter says, –

“I reached this place on New Year’s Eve, making the trip of the few miles from Bridgeport to Chattanooga in twenty-four hours. New Year’s morning was very cold. I went immediately to the field hospital, about two miles out of town, where I found Mrs. Byckerdyke hard at work, as usual, endeavoring to comfort the cold suffering sick and wounded. The work done on that day told most happily on the comfort of the poor wounded men.

“The wind came sweeping around Lookout Mountain, and uniting with currents from the valleys of Missionary Ridge, pressed in upon the hospital tents, overturning some, and making the inmates of all tremble with cold and anxious fear. The cold had been preceded by a great rain, which added to the general discomfort. Mrs. Byckerdyke went from tent to tent in the gale, carrying hot bricks and hot drinks, to warm and to cheer the poor fellows. ‘She is a power of good,’ said one soldier. ‘We fared might poor till she came here,’ said another. ‘God bless the Sanitary Commission,’ said a third, ‘for sending women among us!’ The soldiers fully appreciate ‘Mother Byckerdyke,’ — as they call here, – and her work.

“Mrs. Byckerdyke left Vicksburg at the request of General Sherman and other officers of his corps, as they wished to secure her services for the then approaching battle. The field hospital of the Fifteenth (Sherman’s) army corps was situated on the north bank of the Genesee River, on a slope at the base of Missionary Ridge, where, after the battle was over, seventeen hundred of our wounded and exhausted soldiers were brought. Mrs. Byckerdyke reached there before the din and smoke of battle were well over, and before all were brought from the field of blood and carnage. There she remained the only female attendant for four weeks. Never has she rendered more valuable service. Dr. Newberry arrived in Chattanooga with sanitary goods, which Mrs. Byckerdyke had the pleasure of using, as she says, ‘just when and where needed;’ and never were sanitary goods more deeply felt to be good goods. ‘What could we do without them?’ is a question I often hear raised, and answered with a hearty ‘God bless the Sanitary Commission,’ which is now everywhere acknowledged as ‘a great power for good.’

“The field hospital was in a forest, about five miles from Chattanooga; wood was abundant, and the camp was warmed by immense burning ‘log heaps,’ which were the only fireplaces or cooking-stoves of the camp or hospitals. Men were detailed to fell the trees and pile the logs to heat the air, which was very wintry; and beside them Mrs. Byckerdyke made soup and toast, tea and coffee, and broiled mutton, without a gridiron, often blistering her fingers in the process. A house in due time was demolished to make bunks for the worst cases, and the brick from the chimney was converted into an oven, when Mrs. Byckerdyke made bread, yeast having been found in the Chicago boxes, and flour at a neighboring mill, which had furnished flour to secessionists through the war until now. Great multitudes were fed from these rude kitchens. Companies of hungry soldiers were refreshed before those open fireplaces and those ovens.”

We will merely add a few words in conclusion. Mrs. Byckerdyke not only performed a great work in the field, but several times visited the leading cities of the North-west, and by her judicious advice did much to direct aright the enthusiastic patriotism and noble charity of the ladies of that region. They needed no stimulus to effort. Distinguished from the outset of her efforts by her practical good sense, firmness in maintaining the rights of the soldiers, and an unceasing energy, she was soon known among all the western soldiers as one of their best and most faithful friends. In addition to the consciousness of having performed her whole duty, Mrs. Byckerdyke has another reward in the undying gratitude of the thousands of gallant fellows who have received or witnessed her motherly ministrations. May she live long to enjoy both of these rewards for her good deeds.

Auntie Lizzie Aiken from Peoria

 

A memorial book published in 1906 at the time of her death describes Aunt Lizzie Aiken’s war service: In 1861 Mrs. Aiken was fired with the spirit of her revolutionary sires and offered her services as nurse to Major Niglas, head surgeon of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and also known throughout the state as “Gov. Yates’ Legion.”

In November, 1861, the regiment was ordered to Shawneetown and Mrs. Aiken accompanied it. Here “Aunt Lizzie” won her sobriquet. As she passed from cot to cot ministering to the comfort of the suffering soldiers, one of the patients asked Major Niglas: “What shall we call this kind woman?” “You may call her Aunt Lizzie,” answered the surgeon. She was never known by any other name during the entire war.

The winter of 1861 was severe, and accommodations for the soldiers inadequate, giving the nurses, two in number, plenty of work. The number of patients ranged from twenty to eighty every day, and the heroic women worked day and night each taking charge of the hospital for six-hour watches. In January, 1862, “Aunt Lizzie” wrote to a friend as follows:

“Quite a little incident took place yesterday; we, as nurses, were sworn into the United States service. Dr. Niglas tells me I have saved the lives of more than 400 men. I am afraid I hardly deserve the compliment. General Grant, General Sturgis and General Sherman paid us a visit. All join in saying that we excel all other hospitals in being attentive to our sick and in cleanliness. They suggested my going to Cairo. Dr. Niglas spurned the proposition, and I did too. I cannot tell you how well this work suits this restless heart of mine; my great desire to do something to benefit my fellow creatures is gratified in my present occupation.”

Would you know more of the experiences of Aunt Lizzie in the Army? Ask the patriots of 1861 and 1865. They will tell you in broken sentences as they lay upon their cots in the hospitals of Memphis or Paducah, of the tender care that saved their lives or of the pleading prayer that saved their souls. Aunt Lizzie has always been an honored guest and speaker at all of the G. A. R. encampments which she has attended.

Contributing Library:

Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinois

Mary Jane Safford, 1834-1891

Mary Jane Safford was born in the state of Vermont in 1834. Her family moved to southern Illinois while she was a child. She earned teaching qualifications and began her career as a teacher near Cairo.

In 1861, the Civil War focused military attention on Cairo and the surrounding area. Cairo, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, was considered of strategic importance because the rivers were a primary means of transportation. The Cairo area became the site of several military hospitals serving wounded soldiers. Mary Jane, along with Mother Bickerdyke and others, nursed wounded soldiers at the hospitals.

Following the war, Mary Jane earned a medical degree and opened a practice in Chicago. Poor health forced her to retire about 1886.

Bibliography

  1. Witter, Evelyn and David R. Collins. 1976. Illinois Women: Born to Serve. Illinos Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Contributing Library:

John A. Logan College

Nursing in the Civil War – Civil War Medicine

Notes:

This essay about Civil War medicine was possibly written by Fr. Landry Genosky.
[Typewritten, Paper size= 8.5 x 11 inches, standard bond paper]

Contributing Library:

Brenner Library, Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois

Essay on Sisters in the Civil War – Civil War Medicine

Notes:

This essay was possibly written by Fr. Landry Genosky. Believed to have been written during the Centennial Year of St. Mary’s Hospital, Quincy, Illinois, in 1966.
[Typewritten, Paper size= 8.5 x 11 inches, standard bond paper]

Contents:

Contributing Library:

Brenner Library, Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois

[Abraham] Lincoln and the Nuns – Civil War Medicine by Ann Tansey

Notes:

This essay was written by Ann Tansey.
[Typewritten, Paper size= 8.5 x 11 inches, standard bond paper]

Contents:

Contributing Library:

Brenner Library, Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois

Louisa Maertz

bh000009 Louisa Maertz, 1837-1918, was born in Quincy and lived most of her life in this city. She was considered to be of a “delicate constitution” and yet managed to work in the field hospitals of the Civil War and to travel extensively. She never married and devoted her life to writing and philanthropy. This picture was most likely taken in the early 1890’s. The original is in the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County. She is remembered mostly as a Civil War nurse and the author of “New Method for the Study of English Literature” published in 1879.
bh000011 This photo is of Blessing Hospital, as it originally looked after its 1875 opening. The picture was probably taken in the 1880’s. From 1878, the hospital was run by the Board of Lady Managers with the Board of Trustees (mostly male) making the decisions only about the larger financial picture and the grounds.
bh000013 Miss Maertz was secretary of the Blessing Hospital Board of Lady Managers from 1892-1897. This Board met monthly and at the meetings discussed the funding problems, the cases who requested admission to the hospital, the repairs and equipment needed and applicants for the nursing school. This particular excerpt reads, “Miss Davis made her report. She stated that a second girl was needed [to clean]. She reported two more applicants for the Training School. The meeting adjourned.”
bh000012 This picture of Blessing Hospital includes the addition of 1895. The Maertz Ward was in the lower west side of the new building.
bh000010 This picture of the Maertz Ward of Blessing Hospital was published in the Annual Report of 1898. The Maertz Ward was endowed by Miss Maertz in memory of her father, who died in 1890.
bh000014 This is an excerpt from Miss Maertz’s article, “Midland War Sketches”, published in the Midland Monthly, 3 (1), 1895. She was a published author and had also been written about in the book, Woman’s Work in the Civil War: a Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience by L.P. Brockett, published in 1868, and in Chicago Woman’s News, 3 (4), 1894. The article, “Sketch of Louisa Maertz,” by an Old Friend, is about her life, travels, work and writing. By comparing these accounts with her own in Midland Monthly, several facts can be established.Miss Maertz began nursing the wounded and sick just a few months after the war began in 1861 in the hospitals of Quincy and in her home. She was commissioned as an army nurse late in 1862 and went to Helena Arkansas. Brockett says, “…always cheerful and kind, preserving in the midst of a military camp such gentleness, strength and purity of character that all rudeness of speech ceased in her presence, and as she went from room to room she was received with silent benedictions, or an audible ‘God bless you, dear lady,’ from some poor sufferer’s heart.” She traveled with the sick and wounded to the North, went home for a brief recuperation and returned to Vicksburg. It is the diagram of the hospital tents which is shown here from her own article, “Midland War Sketches.” She was the only female nurse. All of the other nurses and cooks were convalescents themselves. Her duties included getting water from the creek, making poultices, preparing special diets. The area was quite hot and damp and malaria was present. Once again she took sick and went home. Three months later she was called “to New Orleans to aid in establishing the Soldier’s Home….” She worked there on into 1864 when she returned home to rest. Her last post was to care for discharged Andersonville prisoners. Miss Maertz was an untrained nurse who saw her work as a service to humanity.

Bibliography

  1. Brockett, L. P. (1868). Woman’s work in the Civil War: A record of heroism, patriotism and patience. Boston: Zeigler, McCurdy & Co.
  2. Kroeter, G. (1996). Quincy women: Ambition, beauty, courage & faith, 1838-1996. Quincy, IL: Author
  3. Maertz, L. (1895). Midland war sketches: IV. Midland Monthly, 3, 79-85.
  4. An Old Friend. (1894). Sketch of Louisa Maertz. Chicago Woman’s News, 3, 1-3.

Contributing Library:

Blessing Health Professions Library, a service of Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing

Photography by Candace McCormick Reed (1818-1900)

When her husband Warren died in April 1858, Candace McCormick Reed was thrown upon her own devices to support her two surviving sons and her elderly mother-in-law. In October of that year she advertised the opening of her Excelsior Picture Gallery at 103 Hampshire Street in Quincy, Illinois. She would be assisted by her sister, Miss Celina McCormick. In the same advertisement Mrs. Reed also offered her services at “plain sewing and stitching.”

Candace McCormick was born in Tennessee in 1818, the same year Illinois was admitted to the Union. Her parents moved to St. Louis the following year. In 1842 she married Warren Reed, a native of Ohio four years her junior. About six years later the Reeds moved to Quincy, Illinois, and opened a daguerreotype gallery on the southeast corner of the square. After her husband’s death Mrs. Reed sold his “stand” and opened her Excelsior Gallery. She continued to raise her children while she found time to assist in the organization of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, an aid society for Civil War soldiers and their families. She served as a nurse in the army hospitals in Nashville, Chattanooga and Vicksburg. After the war she returned to Quincy and continued to operate her gallery. Few studios enjoyed the longevity of Mrs. Reed’s business. She died in Quincy on April 7, 1900.

Her pictures featured here are from the collection of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, Quincy University, and a number of private collections loaned to the Society for this project. Street scenes, wedding portraits, baby photos, a civil war soldier – all give us a tantalizing view of what life was like for those who came before us. The images include the well known, such as Quincy founder and Illinois Governor John Wood, and the unidentified as in the carte de visite of a man in boxing tights, his hands in tight fists.

 

Woman in the Arts and Entertainment

Jennie Ward, Circus Performer

Jennie Ward, 1908 The Flying Wards, 1914

Jennie Ward

Text by Steve Gossard, Curator, ISU Circus Collection

In the last quarter of the 19th century, a few talented young men left Bloomington, Illinois to pursue careers peforming aerial acts in the circus ring. At the end of each circus season, they would return to their home town to practice. As artists, they developed their skills and perfected new tricks during these winter months. As businessmen, they sought new talent to expand their acts and offer more sensational performances. In time, Bloomington became the leading community for training performers for trapeze and other aerial acts. This fostered an environment of concern for skill and learning in the circus arts, and many young men and women tried their hands at these dynamic disciplines. Out of this environment of active pursuit came a talented young brother and sister act which would contribute much to establishing a standard for excellence in the profession.

Jennie Ward grew up on the poor side of town in Bloomington, Illinois. According to local legend, she and her brother, Eddie, had taught themselves to perform a daring two-person aerial act by slinging trapeze bars from the limbs of a thorn apple tree in their back yard. They ascended to the top of their profession while Jennie was still in her teens. From that time until her tragic death at the age of twenty-eight, Jennie was acknowledged to be one of the finest and most beautiful aerialists in the business.

Jennie, born December 8, 1889, was three years younger than her brother, Eddie. Their mother and father were divorced when the children were very young, and their mother made a meager living taking in washing. Eddie dropped out of school in the third grade to work as a butcher’s helper. Eddie and Jennie began their performance career in 1904 working parks and fairs.

Eddie and Jennie began performing for the great Ringling Brothers’ Circus in 1906. With the exception of the 1907 season, which they spent with the Van A mburgh Circus, Eddie and Jennie were with the Ringling show through 1912, performing a swinging ladders act as well as their double trapeze. A double trapeze consists of one trapeze hanging above another. From this the aerialists perform a series of contortions, flips, and drops and catches. The act was performed without a net or safety device of any kind. At the height of their career, the Wards’ double trapeze performance consisted of eight or more stunts, and took seven minutes. Two of their stunts, the foot-to-foot catch and the break-away trick, were said to be innovations of the Wards.

On August 19, 1911 the Billboard magazine reported an incident which occurred in Grand Island, Nebraska with the Ringling Brothers’ Circus:

Miss Jennie Ward, one of the Flying Wards, high trapeze artists with Ringling Bros.’ Show fell from the top of the tent with the afternoon performance last Thursday. Since the team worked without a net of any kind, she fell with a great force to the ground, and is said to be probably fatally injured internally.

Jennie had fallen flat against the ring curb (the wooden circle which makes up the circus ring) forty feet below so hard that her neck actually split a two-by-four in half. But the report of the seriousness of her injury was premature. Jennie did recover from the effects of the fall, which her brother, Eddie later said (May, Earl Chapin, Grab It, American Magazine, July 1928) had left her back bowed like a horseshoe. She treated herself with a grueling and painful form of physical therapy, pulling herself up every day on the tent ropes. “It was punishment of the toughest kind,” Eddie said. Within a year Jennie was working in their aerial act again.

In 1912 Eddie married Mayme Fay Harvey, a young woman with the Hines-Kimball troupe of acrobats; and Jennie married Alec Todd, an aerialist with the Herbert Brothers act. These four would make the nucleus of the original Flying Wards flying return act. In a flying return act, one trapeze artist (the flyer) stands on a narrow platform, and swings off on a trapeze bar (the flybar). He is caught by another aerialist (called the catcher) who swings by his hocks from another trapeze (the catchbar). The two complete their swing and the flyer is returned to the pedestal board by way of the flybar.

The Wards left the Ringling show in 1912. They toured Europe with their new act and returned to America, having recruited new people to the act for the 1913 season. In 1913, the Wards built a practice barn at Center Point, Iowa. The Center Point barn was hardly used, for in about 1915 Eddie built another barn on Emerson Street in Bloomington, Illinois. It was here that the Wards established their permanent winter quarters. From 1914 until 1918 the Wards contracted to provide their flying return act for the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. The winter of 1916-1917 they also toured Cuba. Early one morning in June of 1918, the circus train in which the troupe was riding was sitting on a siding at Ivanhoe, Indiana when an empty troop train rammed it from behind at full speed. Eddie, Mayme and Alec survived the wreck, but Jennie and another girl with the act were killed. Eddie had pulled Jennie out of the wreckage, but she was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Family members state that Jennie was pregnant at the time of her death. Other fatalities of the wreck, burned beyond recognition, were buried in a mass grave. Jennie was returned to Bloomington and buried at Park Hill Cemetery.

Eddie and Jennie Ward had begun an unparallelled tradition of aerial training in Bloomington, Illinois. In the early years, Jennie helped to establish a standard of excellence which carried over through future generations of trapeze artists. As time went on Eddie trained dozens of the finest aerialists in the country at the practice barn on Emerson Street. The reputation which Jennie and Eddie earned in double trapeze performance has never been surpassed.

Source reference:
Barkin, Herman & Assoc., public relations firm for the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co.; Mayme Ward-Elephant Couturiere; White Tops; May/Jun. 1965. Billboard magazine issues dating from 1906 through 1940s.
Daily Bulletin and Daily Pantagraph various issues running from 1905 to mid-1970s.
Various issues of the Bloomington/Normal city directories 1890s through 1930s.
Draper, J. D.; Mayme Ward; Bandwagon; Jan./Feb. 1973.
Interviews and correspondence with Mickey King, Daniel Draper, Evelyn Simpson, Arthur Concello, Walter Graybeal, Genevieve Ward Tharp, Millie Nugent, Wanda Ward, Harrold Wilson and Lorraine Valentine. May, Earl Chapin; Grab It!; American Magazine; July 1928.
Various ledgers, letters and contracts on file, Milner Library Special Collections, Illinois State University. Noble, Clyde V; The Man on the Flying Trapeze; White Tops; Sep./Oct. 1950.
Various letters and contracts on file in the archives of Fred D. Pfening, ed., pub. Bandwagon magazine. Reeder, Warren A.; No Performances Today; Hammond, Indiana; 1972.
Taber, Bob; The Famous Flying Wards, White Tops; Jan./Feb. 1965.

Contributing Library:

Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

Lena Doolin Mason (1864-?)

MI000004

Lena Doolin was born in 1864 in Quincy, Illinois. She attended High School in nearby Hannibal, Missouri, and later attended Professor Knott’s School in Chicago. In 1883, she married George Mason.

About 1887, Lena entered the ministry, being affiliated with the Colored Conference of the Methodist Church. She was a powerful evangelist, travelling throughout the United States, preaching to all white and later to racially mixed congregations..

Lena was also a poet and an artist. Her two surviving poems “The Negro and Education” and “A Negro In It” demonstrate her commitment to the civil rights for African Americans.

“A Negro In It” (reproduced below ) makes several references to important roles filled by African Americans in United States near the turn of the century. Mrs. Mason specifically points out the role African American soldiers played in the battle of San Juan Hill in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, and J. B. Parker’s role in the capture of the assassin of President William McKinley in September 1901.

A Negro In It

By Mrs. Lena MasonIn the last civil war,
The white folks, they began it,
But before it could close,
The Negro had to be in it.

At the battle of San Juan hill,
The rough-riders they began it;
But before victory could be won
The Negro had to be in it.

The Negro shot the Spaniard from the tree,
And never did regret it;
The rough-riders would have been dead to-day
Had the he Negro not been in it.

To Buffalo, McKinley went,
To welcome people in it;
The prayer was prayed, the speech made,
The Negro, he was in it.

September sixth, in Music Hall,
With thousands, thousands in it,
McKinley fell, from the assassin’s ball,
And the Negro, he got in it.

He knocked the murderer to the floor,
He struck his nose, the blood did flow;
He held him fast, all nearby saw,
When for the right, the Negro in it.

J. B. Parker is his name,
He from the state of Georgia came;
He worked in Buffalo, for his bread,
And there he saw McKinley dead.

They bought his clothes for souvenirs,
And may they ever tell it,
That when the President was shot
A brave Negro was in it.

He saved him from the third ball,
That would have taken life with it;
He held the foreigner fast and tight,
The Negro sure was in it.

McKinley now in heaven rests,
Where he will ne’er regret it;
And well he knows, hat in all his joys
There was a Negro in it.

White man, stop lynching and burning
This black race, trying to thin it,
For if you go to heaven or hell
You will find some Negroes in it.

Parker knocked the assassin down,
And to beat him, he began it;
In order to save the President’s life,
Yes, the Negro truly was in it.

You may try to shut the Negro out,
The courts, they have begun it;
But when we meet at the judgment bar
God will tell you the Negro is in it.

Pay them to swear a lie in court,
Both whites and blacks will do it;
Truth will shine, to the end of time,
And you will find the Negro in it.

Bibliography

  1. Culp, Daniel W. (1902, reprinted 1969). Twentieth Century Negro Literature, J. L. Nichols Co., Atlanta; Mnemosyne Publishing Co., Miami.
  2. LaPrade, Candis, (1992) “Lena Doolin Mason” in Notable Black American Women. Smith, Jessie Carney, Ed. Gale Research Inc, Detroit, Michigan., Pp. 734-736.

Julia Lowande, Circus Performer

Julia Lowande Shipp

Text by Steve Gossard, Curator, ISU Circus Collection

Ed Shipp described his wife’s early life traveling with circuses throughout Latin America for a Daily Pantagraph reporter December 15, 1898; “As a child she traveled across Cuba in a bull-cart sleeping in cowhide hammocks and being nearly devoured by fleas and mosquitoes. She has ridden on the back of a mule over the mountains of Venezuela from LaGuira to Caracas, a task far different from standing on the back of a galloping horse in the circus ring…” The Lowande family circus toured the Southern Hemisphere of America extensively in the 1860s and 1870s, and Julia Lowande’s career began at birth. She established a reputation for herself as a first-class equestrienne at an early age.

Ed Shipp met Julia Lowande through his half-brother, Harry Lamkin, who was an accomplished acrobat and juggler. Harry had married Julia’s half-sister, Clarinda, in the mid 1870s. Harry and Clarinda had returned to his home town of Petersburg, Illinois for the winter months a number of times in the 1870s, and in 1880 he built a training barn there. Harry taught Ed the art of trick horseback riding, and Ed became acquainted with the great Lowande family of horseback riders, many of whom settled in Petersburg to use Harry’s practice facilities. Petersburg soon became one of the most significant training centers for circus performers in the country.

In 1885, Lamkin entered into a partnership with Frank Gardner, a great horseback rider and leaper from Galesburg, Illinois, and another performer named James Donovan, in a circus which they took to Central and South America. His partnership with these two gentlemen lasted until Harry’s death at Colon, Panama in 1886. At this time, Ed Shipp became the proprietor of the winter quarters at Petersburg, and he began presenting circus performances in the barn, drawing an audience of local residents twice a week throughout the winter months. He and Julia Lowande were married in 1889. Ed quit horseback riding after taking a number of serious falls from the horse, and he assumed the job of equestrian director for the Ringling Brothers Corporation in 1895. He and Julia worked for many years with various Ringling owned circuses. They continued presenting their winter circus in Petersburg until 1907, when Ed formed a circus which he took to Central and South America and the West Indies. Ed and his partner, Roy Feltus, of Bloomington, Indiana, organized the most successful circus to tour the Latin American countries from the early 1900s into the 1930s.

Throughout her life Julia Lowande Shipp was known as one of the finest equestriennes in the business, and her career took her throughout the Western Hemisphere. In the 1870s she was a young star with her father’s circus in the Latin American countries. From the 1880s through the early 1900s she was the principal equestrienne with several of the great Ringling Brothers’ shows. Her family and professional ties helped to make Petersburg, Illinois one of the most important winter practice sites in North America, and from the 1900s into the 1930s she was the featured performer with Gran Circo Shipp and Feltus traveling the entire breadth of the South American continent.

Major sources:
Draper, John Daniel; The Lowande Family of Riders; Bandwagon; Jul.-Aug. 1996
Basso, Louise; The Story of the Ring Barn; unpublished, courtesy of the Menard County Historical Society
Various issues of the New York Clipper, Billboard and the Saulk County Democrat of Baraboo, Wisconsin. 1870s through 1940s
Special thanks to Helen Bourque, granddaughter of Alec G. Lowande, of Petersburg, Illinois

Contributing Library:

Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

Marie Litta, Bloomington Opera Singer


Marie Litta Photograph
Marie Litta Biography
Photocopy of Newspaper from Weekly Pantagraph
Drawing of Marie Litta Cemetery Monument

Biography of MARIE LITTA, OPERA SINGER

Her voice was “a beautiful gift of nature”, “fresh and pure”, with “unusual sweetness and evenness of tone”, “clear and true as a flute”. Who was this Westerner, this American, winning the hearts of Parisian opera- goers in 1878?

She was born Marie Eugenia Von Elsner in Bloomington, IL, on June 1 1856. Her father was a native of Germany, from a minor noble family, and her mother was the daughter of William Dimmitt, an early Illinois pioneer and one of the first settlers of Bloomington.

Both parents were musically talented, and Marie’s father began nurturing her vocal qualities at the age of 4. She sang before President Grant when 12 years old, and began her professional instruction at the Cleveland Conservatory of Music at the age of 16, in 1872.

In 1874 she left for London to continue her training, and debuted at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1876. She moved on to Paris for further training under the leading teachers of the day, and scored a triumphant debut as Lucia in “Lucia di Lammermoor”.

This 1878 debut was the occasion for Marie changing her name. Paris in 1878 had not forgotten France’s ignominious defeat in the Franco- Prussian War. It was suggested to Marie that the Parisian opera-going public would be more receptive if she had a less German-sounding name. She selected Litta, the surname of a prominent Italian family.

Marie returned to the U. S. and debuted in Chicago in “Lucia” on December 2, 1878. She was often compared to Jenny Lind because of her personality, amiability and willingness to give concerts for the poor. She was held in deep affection by concert goers. She continued her career with the Strakosch Opera Company, and with the Henry L. Slayton Co. of Chicago, and performed throughout the U. S. and in Canada. She was equally at home with operatic arias as well as old favorites.

Although plagued by seemingly minor ailments throughout her career, she was known for her hard work and determination. After what proved to be her final concert in Escanaba, MI on May 9, 1883, she asked to be returned to Bloomington, which she always considered her home. She died at her home on July 7, 1883 at age 27, possibly of cerebro-spinal meningitis. Bloomington had never seen a funeral with so many mourners. (An example of the cult of mourning at the time: scraps of fabric were cut from Marie’s gowns and distributed to “the faithful” as “relics” of Marie. The McLean County Historical Society has some of these fragments in its collection.)

Until the emergence of Adlai E. Stevenson II, Marie Litta was considered the only citizen of Bloomington who had ever won world-wide fame. An impressive monument was dedicated to her memory in Bloomington’s Evergreen City Cemetery on July 4, 1885, with formal dedication addresses by the Honorable David Davis and Mr. James Ewing. Bloomington still remembers Marie Litta: the Parks & Recreation Department dedicated a small park in her honor in 1991.

Bibliography

  1. Obituary: The Weekly Pantagraph, July 13, 1883 (bound volume; owned by MCHS)
  2. Marie Litta Collection, MCHS. Includes program from dedication of monument, concert program, news clippings, “Litta: an American Singer” by John M. Scott.
  3. “Biographical History of McLean County”, Bloomington: 1887. Owned by MCHS.
  4. Marie Litta Photograph collection. Owned by MCHS.

Contributing Library:

Stevenson – Ives Memorial Library, McLean County Historical Society, Bloomington, Illinois

Linda Jeal, Circus Performer

Linda Jeal, Barnum Circus, 1879

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Linda Jeal

The Queen of the Flaming Zone, as Linda Jeal was called at the height of her career in the 1880s, settled in Havana, Illinois late in her career. Born in England in 1852, Linda grew up in Australia, and emigrated to California in the late 1860s, where s he became apprenticed to her sister’s husband, circus owner, George Ryland. Over the years she appeared in some of the most prestigious circuses in the Western Hemisphere, Australia and Europe, including P. T. Barnum’s Circus, the Orrin Brothers’ Circus, The Great London Circus, Cooper & Bailey’s Great Allied Shows, the Barnum & London Circus, Gran Circo Pubillones, Circus Busch, the Carl Hagenbeck Circus, Gran Circo Estrella del Nordis, and Gran Circo Gardner. Linda is acknowledged to have been the mos t spectacular equestrienne of the 19th century, having performed the sensational feat of leaping on horseback through a flaming hoop in performance for several decades.

In 1930, Linda was quoted as stating that while she worked with the Barnum show “my costume was the subject of a controversy which would today be regarded as ridiculous.” She had cut her hair short and worn tights with a jockey costume, but this was don e from necessity. On one occasion when riding through the hoop of fire her pony, Salamander, stumbled, and her hair and costume caught on fire.

Linda was on familiar terms with the extensive circus colony of Petersburg, Illinois by the 1890s, when she moved to Havana. In 1885 she had been married for a brief period to Natalio Lowande, the half-brother of Julia Shipp. Julia’s husband, Ed, owned and maintained the training barn in Petersburg, Illinois, and in 1889 and 1891 Linda had toured South America with a circus owned by Frank Gardner, a former partner of Ed Shipp’s half-brother, Harry Lamkin. Linda had gained experience managing practice quarters in the late 1870s when she and her first husband, William O’Dale Stevens, had run the West End Academy in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Ed Shipp engaged Linda to manage a barn and boarding house for performers at Havana, some 15 or 20 miles from Petersburg. She moved there with her adopted daughter, Dallie Julien, whom she trained to be one of the finest equestriennes of the early 20th century. Linda supervised and trained performers at the winter quarters in Havana until about 1917, when she retired from circus performance. At the time of her death in 1941she was living with Dallie at her home in Springfield, Illinois.

Major sources:
Shettel, James W.; The Queen of the Flaming Zone; The Circus Scrapbook; Oct. 1930
Linda Jeal; The Detroit News; Jan. 29, 1933
Draper, John Daniel; Linda Jeal and Her Equestrian Kin; Bandwagon; May-Jun. 1987
Lano, David; A Wandering Showman, I; Michigan University Press, 1957
Various issues of the New York Clipper and Billboard magazines 1870s-1940s.

Contributing Library:

Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

Sarah Marshall Hayden, Illinois’ First Authoress

Sarah M. Hayden was recognized at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago as Illinois’ first woman authoress. Her first novel, Early Engagements, was written when she was sixteen years old, but not published until 1854.

Sarah was born in Shawneetown in southern Illinois in 1825, the year that Marquis de Lafayette visted her hometown. Sarah’s father was John Marshall, who served in the Illinois Territorial Legislature held in Kaskaskia in 1818. John Marshall also operated a store and made frequent trips to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for supplies.

Sarah accompanied her father on one of the trips and stayed to attend the Sewickley School, a female “seminary”. The school was to play an important role in her first novel.

In 1843, Sarah married John James Hayden. Her first novel and its sequel Florence were not published until 1854. The Haydens moved to Cincinnati. Sarah continued writing both poetry and prose and the works were published in magazines and newspapers. Some of her works appear under the pen name Mary Frazaer.

Bibliography

  1. Witter, Evelyn and David R. Collins. 1976. Illinois Women: Born to Serve. Illinos Federation of Women’s Clubs.
  2. Lawler, Lucille. 1985. Amazing Shawneetown. Ridgeway, Illinois.

Contributing Library:

John A. Logan College

Bessie Coleman (1896-1926)

Bessie Coleman was born in 1896 in Texas, the daughter of sharecroppers. About 1916, her family moved to Chicago. Her family came during the “Great Migration” of African Americans moving from the South to the North. The migration was primarily the result of economic opportunities in the industrial cities in the North. Those who moved North moved from a primarily rural, agricultural environment to an urban one.

Bessie interest in aviation was sparked during World War I. However, she was denied entry into flight schools in the U. S. because she was an African American and because she was a woman. Two of Chicago’s African American businessmen, Robert Abbott (editor of the Chicago Defender newspaper) and Jesse Binga (a banker and philanthropist), encouraged Bessie and financed her aviation schooling in France. In 1921, Bessie became the first American woman to earn an international pilot’s license.

During the 1920s, Bessie was a barnstormer, parachutist and stunt flyer. She earned international fame. She made appearances throughout the United States lecturing about opportunities in aviation for African Americans and fighting segregation laws.

Bessie died in 1926, at age of thirty, when she was thrown from her plane while performing aerial stunts in Florida. She is buried in Chicago’s Lincoln Cemetery.

Bibliography

  1. Rich, Doris L. (1993) Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
  2. Freydberg, Elizabeth A. H. (1994) Bessie Coleman: The Brownskin Lady Bird. Garland Publishing, New York

Emma Abbott, Peoria’s Most Famous Singer


Emma Abbott, Peoria’s Most Famous Singer

For a larger image of the pictures below, just click on the image.
Emma Abbott, Peoria’s Foster Daughter
Abbott as Violetta in Traviata
Emma Abbott in 1873, 74, 75
Abbott and Castle as Paul and Virginia
Emma Abbott Libretto and Parlor Pianist Mignon
Emma Abbott Libretto and Parlor Pianist Mikado

A. W. Oakford’s History of Peoria contains a lengthy biographical sketch of Emma Abbott. The following excerpts relate details of her life in Peoria.

Seth Abbott, a singing teacher and violinist, brought his family to Peoria from Chicago in 1853. He came to Peoria to direct the choir of the early First Baptist Church. He also taught singing to others in the community. A news item in a Peoria paper of May 2, 1853 read: “Seth Abbott, a successful teacher of music to juveniles, staged a floral concert at Court House square.”

The Abbott family at that time consisted of Seth Abbott, his wife, Almira Palmer Abbott, and three children; two sons and a small daughter. The latter, Emma Abbott, of whom this sketch concerns, was born in Chicago, December 9th, 1850. She was les s than three years of age when the family moved to Peoria.

During their residence of some sixteen years in Peoria the Abbotts moved several times. In the directory of 1859 their address was listed as “Adams St. river side, ninth door above Spring.” A very humble dwelling, now in lamentable condition, occup ies the spot and give mute evidence of the modest surroundings of Emma Abbott.

Seth Abbott, it is true, was not a well-to-do man when he brought his family to Peoria. His means were quite limited, and it was necessary for his family to live frugally. The story, too often told, of their impoverished days in Peoria was greatly exagg erated. To supplement his earnings as a singing teacher, Seth attempted to sell real estate, and later insurance, but with only small success. Business was not his forte. He loved music and it was his life. He taught his daughter Emma, as a child, to play the guitar, and under his early tutelage supplemented by more finished teachers in later years, she developed a beautiful soprano voice.

Her father often played his violin for dances and at other times, with members of his family, staged concerts of various kinds in the vicinity.

An early newspaper states that Emma made her stage debut in 1859, playing her guitar and singing before an audience of coal miners in a small school house at Edwards, Illinois. The little building was crowded, but windows and doors were left open so that many listening from the outside could hear her sweet voice as she sang heart stirring tunes of the day. No admission was charged, but appreciative miners took up a substantial collection. Little did they know that the young girl, then only nine ye ars of age, was destined to become one of America’s outstanding sopranos.

As a child Emma was kind-hearted but impulsive. She had a fervent love for music and seemed to know intuitively that singing was to be her life work. She had the utmost faith in herself, plus the will to succeed.

Emma’s father was quick to perceive certain qualities in his little daughter’s voice. He knew that with proper training that voice had great possibilities. On several occasions when he went to Chicago he took Emma with him. While there his persona l friend, the manager of Sherman Hotel, invited her to sing for his guests in the hotel parlor, and her singing never failed to give pleasure.

About 1862 Seth Abbott’s pupils rendered the cantata “Queen Esther” in Peoria. The composer, William B. Bradbury, noted for his sacred music, drilled the singers personally. Emma was the youngest in the cast. Upon hearing her voice, he said of he r, “She sings as a lark does because she can’t help it.” After the performance he requested that she sing selections of her own choice for him. She sang a few simple songs like “Old Folks at Home”, and then the soprano part of “Hear Me Norma”. Sadie E. Martin, a personal friend of Emma’s, and later her biographer, referred to this occasion and said, “Bradbury himself was silent through her singing and then said to her ‘My dear, fortune and fame are sure to be yours.’ ”

A little later, perhaps when Madam Parepa Rosa made an appearance n Peoria, she also heard Emma sing and assured her family that she had promise of becoming a great artiste.

One of the numerous concerts given by Seth Abbott and his family occurred about 1864 in a country school house at Farmdale, Illinois, between East Peoria and Washington. Emma, who appeared with her father and her brother George, was then only thirte en years of age. The accompanying photograph shows her as she then appeared. Her voice at that time was not strong but had a sweetness about it that appealed to her listeners. Her singing of popular tunes captivated those who heard her, old and young.

Having his confidence in Emma’s voice confirmed by the opinions of William Bradbury, Madam Rosa and others, Mr. Abbott arranged for her to enter a singing class conducted by a capable instructor in Chicago who went by the name of Mozart.

…..and so Emma left Peoria, but returned in later years, as Mr. Oakford goes on to report:

On March 21st, 1868, Frank Lumbard and his troup appeared at Rouse’s Hall in Peoria. Emma was one of the featured singers. It was one of those occasions, the memory of which was dear to those who were present.

The last Peoria directory, in which Seth Abbott’s name appears, was 1867-68. It is quite probably it was in the latter year that Mr. Abbott went with his daughter to New York. There Emma became a pupil of the famous Errani. Her father, Seth Abbott , through his saving and his confidence in her voice had made this possible.

…..several years later, Mr. Oakford recounts:

In 1880 The Abbott Opera Company appeared in Peoria at the historic Rouse’s Hall, where the First National Bank Building now stands. It was most unfortunate that the company at that particular time was confronted with some temporary financial proble m. Emma, for some reason, was unable to appear in person at one matinee, and one of her loyal stand-bys took her place and gave a marvelous performance.

At that time Col. W. T. Dowdall, publisher of the Peoria National Democrat and Evening Review, extended some particular courtesy, which Emma never failed to remember on subsequent visits to Peoria.

On September 7th, 1882, at the dedication of Peoria’s memorable Grand Opera House on Hamilton Street, Emma Abbott was the leading attraction. That historic theatre was destroyed by fire on December 14, 1909.

In Peoria a milling company popularized its flour by using the brand name, “Pride of Peoria”, in compliment to her.

On April 20th, 1884, Emma Abbott, sometime spoken of as “Peoria’s foster daughter”, made perhaps her initial appearance as an opera star, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. On that occasion, it was reported, she received bouquets represent ing ‘two tons’ of gorgeous flowers sent her by friends and admirers – a tribute to one who had risen from modest surroundings to a recognized place in the world of music.

Contributing Library:

Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinois

Selected Timeline

1818-1918 – The First 100 Years

1818
1818
Act of Congress creates the state of Illinois
1820
1822
Christiana Holmes Tillson moves to Montgomery County, Illinois
1830
1832
Black Hawk War
Mother Sough arrives in Peoria
1835
Monticello Seminary, the first Illinois institution for higher education of women is founded at Godfrey
Kate Perry moves to Fulton County, Illinois
1836
Sophia M. Chase moves to Illinois
1837
Mahala Blounts Mills moves to Fulton County, Illinois
1840
1842
Emma Hale Smith forms the Female Relief Society in the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo
1844
Illinois women form first anti-slavery society
1845
Jacksonville Female Academy (established in 1830) receives a charter
1846
Mexican War
1847
Illinois Female College in Jacksonville is granted a charter
1850
1851
Illinois Central Railroad Company issued a charter
1853
First State Fair held in Springfield
1854
Sarah M. Hayden’s first novel is published
1857
Amateur des Belles Lettres Literary Society founded at Monmouth College
Illinois State Board of Education formed
Illinois State Normal School established
1860
1861
Abraham Lincoln inaugurated President of the United States
Civil War begins
1862
Jennie Hodger (A.K.A. Albert Cashier) enlists as a man in Company G, 95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and fights in 40 battles over the next 3 years.
1863
Mary Ann Ball “Mother” Bickerdyke is the sole women nursing wounded Union soldiers at the battle of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee
1865
Civil War ends
Abraham Lincoln assassinated
1869
National Woman Suffrage Association founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Myra Bradwell’s application to the Illinois Bar is refused; Bradwell v. Illinois was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Bradwell lost.
1870
1870
Illinois Wesleyan University admits first female students
1871
Great Chicago Fire
1874
Ten Illinois women are elected County Superintendents of Schools. This election followed an 1873 statute recognizing women’s eligibility to hold school office.
Sarah Raymond becomes superintendent of Bloomington school district
1877
Louisa McCall becomes Director of First National Bank of Canton, Illinois
1880
1881
Aurora is first city in the world to light streets with electricity
1882
Mahala Phelps becomes the first librarian of Macomb Public Library.
1886
Haymarket Riot at Chicago
1890
1890
Myra H. Bradwell is finally admitted to the Illinois bar.
1891
Ellen Annette Martin uses a loophole in the 1869 Lombard town charter to be the first woman to vote in the state of Illinois.
1893
Ida B. Wells-Barnett publishes A Red Record presenting detailed information about lynching in the American South.
1895
Elizabeth Miner graduates from Medical College
1898
Death of Frances E. Willard, eminent lecturer and social reformer; Willard was the first dean of women at Northwestern University
1898
Spanish-American War
1899
Amanda Berry Smith opens Illinois’ first orphanage for African American children in Harvey, Illinois.
1899
Justinia Carter Ford graduates from Hering Medical College, Chicago.
1900
1902
Annie Turnbo Malone moves Poro College to Chicago
1903
Mary Curtis Wheeler named to board of directors of the State Association of Graduate Nurses
1904
Harriet Vittum begins work at the Northwestern Settlement House
1908
Caroline Grote named Dean of Women, Western Illinois State Teachers College
1910
1913
Illinois Women’s Suffrage Act passes making Illinois the first state east of the Mississippi River to allow women the right to vote in Presidential elections.
1914
Josie Westfall’s election to City Judge is overturned by Illinois State Supreme Court
1917
World War I begins
1918
Influenza Epidemic

 

1919 – current – The Second 100 Years

1919
1919
U.S. House of Representatives & U. S. Senate pass the Nineteenth Amendment. The amendment would be ratified in 1920, giving women the right to vote.

Woman at work part 2

Photography by Candace McCormick Reed (1818-1900)

When her husband Warren died in April 1858, Candace McCormick Reed was thrown upon her own devices to support her two surviving sons and her elderly mother-in-law. In October of that year she advertised the opening of her Excelsior Picture Gallery at 103 Hampshire Street in Quincy, Illinois. She would be assisted by her sister, Miss Celina McCormick. In the same advertisement Mrs. Reed also offered her services at “plain sewing and stitching.”Candace McCormick was born in Tennessee in 1818, the same year Illinois was admitted to the Union. Her parents moved to St. Louis the following year. In 1842 she married Warren Reed, a native of Ohio four years her junior. About six years later the Reeds moved to Quincy, Illinois, and opened a daguerreotype gallery on the southeast corner of the square. After her husband’s death Mrs. Reed sold his “stand” and opened her Excelsior Gallery. She continued to raise her children while she found time to assist in the organization of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, an aid society for Civil War soldiers and their families. She served as a nurse in the army hospitals in Nashville, Chattanooga and Vicksburg. After the war she returned to Quincy and continued to operate her gallery. Few studios enjoyed the longevity of Mrs. Reed’s business. She died in Quincy on April 7, 1900.

Her pictures featured here are from the collection of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, Quincy University, and a number of private collections loaned to the Society for this project. Street scenes, wedding portraits, baby photos, a civil war soldier – all give us a tantalizing view of what life was like for those who came before us. The images include the well known, such as Quincy founder and Illinois Governor John Wood, and the unidentified as in the carte de visite of a man in boxing tights, his hands in tight fists.

Photographs

NE Corner of 6th and Hampshire – Mrs. Reed ca. 1870s
John Wood Octagonal House
Unidentified Train Wreck
John Wood
Reverse of John Wood picture bearing Mrs. Reed’s logo
Mother & Daughter Possibly Myrtis Salmon & mother
Infant class – Vermont Street Methodist Church – 1865
Reverse of Infant class – Vermont Street Methodist Church – 1865
Robert Tillson
Gerrie and Maurie Nations, Liberty, IL
Gerrie and Maurie Nations, Liberty, IL – reverse with Reed info
Stephen B. Munn – believed to be a Mrs. Reed photo
Raphael E. Letton
Reverse of Raphael E. Letton with Reed logo
Quincy Saengerfest Bldg, 1877
Selden G. Edrel and wife, 1862
Reverse of Selden G. Edrel and wife, 1862 with Reed logo
Willis Grimmer
Quincy College for Ladies – Gentlemen, 1867-1862
Reverse of Quincy College for Ladies – Gentlemen, 1867-1862 – List of teachers and term dates
Frederick A. Specht & Mary A. Specht, 1866
Reverse of Frederick A. Specht & Mary A. Specht, 1866 with Reed logo and Revenue Stamp
Mary A. Stauterman Specht
Frederick A. Specht
A. C. Greene, 1885
Reverse of A. C. Greene, 1885 with notes showing date of photo
Unidentified Woman
Reverse of Unidentified Woman with Reed logo
Unidentified Man & Woman
Unidentified Woman
Unidentified Man & Woman
Unidentified Man & Woman, 1866
Reverse of Unidentified Man & Woman, 1866 showing Reed logo and revenue stamps
Unidentified Woman
Reverse of Unidentified Woman with Reed logo
Unidentified Family – 9 members
Unidentified Two Women
Unidentified Man
Unidentified Woman
Unidentified Baby Girl
Unidentified Children – 2 girls
Unidentified Children – Boy and Girl
Unidentified Child
Unidentified Two Elderly Women
Unidentified Man with dog
Unidentified Man
Unidentified Man
Reverse of Unidentified Man with Reed logo
Unidentified Man
Reverse of Unidentified Man
Unidentified Young Woman – possibly confirmation or communion
Reverse of Unidentified Young Woman – possibly confirmation or communion with Reed logo
Unidentified Child
Reverse of Unidentified with Reed logo
Unidentified Child
Unidentified Baby
Reverse of Unidentified Baby
Unidentified Man
Reverse of Unidentified
Unidentified Woman
Reverse of Unidentified Woman with Reed logo
Unidentified Young Man
Reverse of Unidentified Man with Reed logo
Unidentified Young Lady
Unidentified Woman
Reverse of Unidentified Woman with Reed logo
Unidentified Man
Reverse of Unidentified Man with Reed logo
2 Young Men – Unidentified
Reverse of 2 Young Men – Unidentified with Reed logo
Unidentified Man
Reverse of Unidentified Man with Reed logo
Unidentified Young Boy
Reverse of Unidentified Young Boy with Reed logo
Older man, possibly Mr. W. B. Lawrence
Reverse of Older man, possibly Mr. W. B. Lawrence wit Reed logo
George Lewis
Reverse of George Lewis with Reed logo
Unknown Woman
Reverse of Unknown Woman
Unknown Woman
Reverese of Unknown Woman with Reed logo
Unknown Man
Reverse of Unknown Man
Unknown Young Man
Wedding Photo – Unknown Man & Woman
Reverse of Wedding Photo – Unknown Man & Woman
Unknown Child
Unknown Man in Boxing Clothes (Pugilist)
Unknown Woman possibly Leina Mewn
View of Maine St., Quincy , IL, looking east, ca. 1870
Reverse of View of Maine St., Quincy , IL, looking east, ca. 1870 with Reed logo
View of 4th & Hampshire, ca 1870 (Mrs. Reed’s studio located in 2nd bldg.)
Reverse of View of 4th & Hampshire, ca 1870 (Mrs. Reed’s studio located in 2nd bldg.) with Reed logo
Unidentified Man
(front and back of photo)
Unidentified Woman
(front and back of photo)
Man – Signature not Legible
(front and back of photo)
Unidentified Woman
(front and back of photo)
Lawton Klein and wife
(front and back of photo)
Mrs and Mrs. Hilgenbrink
Unidentified couple
Two young boys – Unidentified
Two young girls – Lol and Bert
Luella A. Blessing, age 2 years
Unidentified baby
Unidentified older man
Unidentified two girls

 

Bibliography

  1. The History of Adams County, Illinois. Chicago, Murray, Williamson and Phelps, 1879.
  2. Landrum, Carl. “Photo Recalls Quincy of 1848,” The Quincy Herald-Whig, September 26, 1965, p. 3C.
  3. —————–. “Photographers Were Here in 1840’s,” The Quincy Herald-Whig, July 7, 1968, p. 3C.
  4. Landrum, Carl. “Reed Photos Record Early Years,” The Quincy Herald- Whig, May 16, 1982, p. 4E.
  5. ——————. “Picture Recalls Days Before Development Changed City,” The Quincy Herald-Whig, June 2, 1985, p. 4E.
  6. ——————. “Reed Studio Recorded Scenes of Early Quincy,” The Quincy Herald-Whig, April 18, 1993, p. 3B.
  7. Murphhy, Lucy Eldersveld. “Her Own Boss: Business Women and Separate Spheres in the Midwest, 1850-1880. Illinois Historical Journal, Vol. 80 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 155-176.

Contributing Library:

Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, Quincy, Illinois

Cora Agnes Benneson (1851-1919)

Cora Agnes Benneson, lawyer and writer, was born in Quincy, Illinois on June 10, 1851 to Robert S. and Electa Ann Benneson. Cora was the youngest of four daughters, attended college and law school, became one of the first women to practice law in New England, and traveled around the world to study legal procedures in other countries. Photographs and primary documents are courtesy of Mrs. Caroline Sexauer, Quincy, great niece of Cora.

Cora Benneson
“Miss Benneson was an astute observer of the activities of women. She gave voice to the opinion that ‘the coming woman will not hesitate to do whatever she feels will benefit humanity, and she will develop her own faculties to the utmost because by so doing she can best serve’.”
Cora Benneson, age 18, Aug 1869
At the University of Michigan Law School, Cora was one of two women in a class of 175. She was admitted to the Michigan and Illinois bars in 1880. At an early age Cora displayed an unusual ability in getting at the core of an argument, according to Mary Esther Trueblood.
Sisters Cora & Lina Benneson
All four sisters were tutored by their mother, Electa Ann Parks Benneson, a former teacher. Cora was an eager student. Miss Trueblood states that “at twelve she was reading Latin at sight, had acquaintance with much of the best literature, and was industriously collecting and tabulating historical facts.”
[l to r] Alice Bull, Mary Marsh, Nellie Marsh, Cora Benneson
Graduating class from the Quincy Seminary or Miss Chapin’s Private School, as it was commonly known. The Quincy Seminary was in existence from 1867-1876.
Childhood home of Cora Benneson, 214 Jersey, Quincy, Illinois
The homestead of the Bennesons was a large mansion located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River at 214 Jersey Street. The home, situated above a series of terraces, commanded a magnificent view of fourteen miles of the river.
Quincy Academy Booklet, 1864-65
At age 15, Cora finished the course of study at the Quincy Academy, the equivalent of a good high school. The 5 x 7 inch original booklet contains a list of studies and text books as well as policies of the school.
Magazine Article by Cora Benneson. “The Semitic Museum of Harvard University.” The Unitarian August, 1891: 362-365.
Cora was a noted writer and wrote extensively on a variety of topics including education, politics, and the social sciences. She became a recognized authority on government and presented papers at various association meetings.
Reprint of 1904 article entitled “Representative Women of New England” by Miss Mary Esther Trueblood.
Miss Trueblood states that Cora “had scholarly instincts, rare literary taste, and constantly took up new studies.”
Letter from Cora to her family in Quincy, May 6, 1909.
Letter from Cora, May 12, 1912.
Pioneer Women of Quincy: Cora Benneson predicted modern woman would develop own faculties by Helen Warning

OBITUARY OF MISS CORA BENNESON
From: Quincy Daily Herald Newspaper, June 12, 1919.

BRILLIANT WOMAN DIES. . .

MISS CORA BENNESON WAS NATIVE OF QUINCY.

Member of Bar of Three States and Had Won Many Honors-Founder of Unity Club in This City.

Miss Cora Benneson, one of the women who has made the name of Quincy known abroad, and at one time one of the city’s best known residents, died at her home in Cambridge, Mass., last Sunday and was buried in Mt. Auburn cemetery. Word of her death came to her sister, Mrs. George Janes of this city. Miss Benneson was one of the few women attorneys in the country, and for many years had been practicing her profession in Boston. About a year ago she gave up her active practice of the law, and fitted herself as a teacher of civics under the auspices of the state board of education of Massachusetts, which has established a school in Boston for the Americanization of foreigners. Miss Benneson worked so hard to fit herself for this new work that she suffered a break down in health about six weeks ago, and her labors were the cause of her death. Her diploma, entitling her to the position which she sought, came just a day after she died.

WON MANY HONORS

Miss Benneson was born in Quincy, the daughter of Robert S. and Electa Ann Benneson. She was graduated from Miss Chapin’s School, and later attended the University of Michigan, where she received her L. L. B. degree in 1880, and her A. M. degree in 1883. She was admitted to the Michigan and Illinois bars in 1880 and to the Massachusetts bar in 1894.

In [1883], Miss Benneson left Quincy for a tour of the world, which lasted for two years. On her return she went to St. Paul [Minnesota], where she edited law reports for the West Publishing Company. She gave lectures on her trip around the world in 1885-86, and was appointed a special commissioner in Massachusetts in 1895, and subsequent years. She was awarded a fellowship in history at Bryn Mawr College in 1887. She was also an honorary member of the Illinois State Historical society, and sole trustee of the Edward Everett estate in Boston.

FOUNDER OF UNITY CLUB

Miss Benneson was a contributor to journals on topics of law, education, and political and social science, and throughout the east was recognized as one of the leading members of the bar. In Quincy she was prominent in the literary life of the city, and was one of the early members of Friends in Council and the founder of the original Unity Club of the Unitarian Church. Robert S. Benneson, her father, was one of the first mayors of Quincy and the family was a prominent one. The old family home was at 214 Jersey Street, and afterward on Broadway, between Fifth and Sixth, next door to the F. T. Hill home. The house was torn down to provide additional grounds for the present detention home.

Miss Benneson leaves two sisters, besides Mrs. Janes. They are Mrs. Anna McMahon, now at Atlantic City, N.J. and Mrs. Alice B. Farwell of Boston. Guido Janes, Mrs. Charles Seger and Mrs. Philip Schlagenhauf of this city, are nephew and nieces of Miss Benneson.

Bibliography:

  1. “Cora Agnes Benneson, 1851-1919.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society XII (1919): 307-309.
  2. Trueblood, Mary Esther. Cora Agnes Benneson Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Co., 1904.

Contributing Library:

Quincy Public Library, Quincy, Illinois

Women at work

By Iris Nelson, Quincy Public LibraryThe focus of this section on “Women at Work” will feature those women who boldly pioneered new working arenas, most of which had habitually been in the male domain. Women have always worked–but they did not have the opportunity to educate themselves, establish professional identities, and broaden the female experience to work outside the acceptable social norm. Evolving beyond the roles to which women had historically been relegated, those of the nineteenth century distinguished themselves as artisans and merchants in the business arena, as well as in the professions of education, law, and medicine.

Profound change occurred during the 1800’s–a new social order was born. Changes in the political, social, and cultural environment in the United States affected the prevailing ideologies. The American Revolution sounded a permanent prominence to the ideals of liberty and equality. Men and women were increasingly unwilling to tolerate the political and social injustices. This spark, combined with the advances of the Industrial Revolution that lessened the burdens of domesticity, slowly affected the cultural landscape.

Before the Civil War women’s groups were social in orientation; after the war women’s groups took on broader issues including the rights of women. Additionally, educational institutions slowly became co-educational. Land-grant colleges and women’s institutions were established to encourage women to earn college degrees and seek different avocations without threatening the contemporary role. Many women became schoolteachers. In 1870, the U. S. Census Bureau reported over 30,000 female proprietors in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. By 1880 growing numbers of Illinois businesswomen were active artisans working as milliners, dressmakers, bakers, and photographers. As merchants, such as grocers and dry goods shopkeepers, women pursued and successfully operated business establishments. Midwestern women in amazing numbers marketed their acquired domestic skills and were remarkably active in commercial ventures.

By the 1870’s, advanced professional degrees were attainable at some institutions of higher education. The 1880 Illinois Census indicates that there were 9 women lawyers and 155 women physicians. Slowly and in small numbers, women began to earn degrees in medicine and law as well as other professions.

In this section, we honor these women of unique distinction who sought worlds beyond the grasp of previous generations. Given opportunity and a choice of careers, women shed their previous societal confines and vigorously contributed to the workplace. The dynamics of the workplace was altered forever.

Murphy, Lucy Eldersveld. “Her Own Boss: Businesswomen and Separate Spheres in the Midwest, 1850-1880.” Illinois Historical Journal. 80 (1987): 155- 176.

Cora Agnes Benneson (1851-1919)

Cora Agnes Benneson, lawyer and writer, was born in Quincy, Illinois on June 10, 1851 to Robert S. and Electa Ann Benneson. Cora was the youngest of four daughters, attended college and law school, became one of the first women to practice law in New England, and traveled around the world to study legal procedures in other countries. Photographs and primary documents are courtesy of Mrs. Caroline Sexauer, Quincy, great niece of Cora.

qp000003 Cora Benneson
“Miss Benneson was an astute observer of the activities of women. She gave voice to the opinion that ‘the coming woman will not hesitate to do whatever she feels will benefit humanity, and she will develop her own faculties to the utmost because by so doing she can best serve’.”
qp000004 Cora Benneson, age 18, Aug 1869
At the University of Michigan Law School, Cora was one of two women in a class of 175. She was admitted to the Michigan and Illinois bars in 1880. At an early age Cora displayed an unusual ability in getting at the core of an argument, according to Mary Esther Trueblood.
qp000005 Sisters Cora & Lina Benneson
All four sisters were tutored by their mother, Electa Ann Parks Benneson, a former teacher. Cora was an eager student. Miss Trueblood states that “at twelve she was reading Latin at sight, had acquaintance with much of the best literature, and was industriously collecting and tabulating historical facts.”
qp000006 [l to r] Alice Bull, Mary Marsh, Nellie Marsh, Cora Benneson
Graduating class from the Quincy Seminary or Miss Chapin’s Private School, as it was commonly known. The Quincy Seminary was in existence from 1867-1876.
QP000056 Childhood home of Cora Benneson, 214 Jersey, Quincy, Illinois
The homestead of the Bennesons was a large mansion located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River at 214 Jersey Street. The home, situated above a series of terraces, commanded a magnificent view of fourteen miles of the river.
QP000034QP000035QP000036QP000037QP000038QP000039QP000040QP000041 Quincy Academy Booklet, 1864-65
At age 15, Cora finished the course of study at the Quincy Academy, the equivalent of a good high school. The 5 x 7 inch original booklet contains a list of studies and text books as well as policies of the school. [Complete Booklet]
QP000048 Magazine Article by Cora Benneson. “The Semitic Museum of Harvard University.” The Unitarian August, 1891: 362-365.
Cora was a noted writer and wrote extensively on a variety of topics including education, politics, and the social sciences. She became a recognized authority on government and presented papers at various association meetings.
QP000015 Reprint of 1904 article entitled “Representative Women of New England” by Miss Mary Esther Trueblood. [Complete Article]
Miss Trueblood states that Cora “had scholarly instincts, rare literary taste, and constantly took up new studies.”
QP000042

Letter from Cora to her family in Quincy, June 6, 1909. [Complete letter]
QP000053

QP000054QP000055

Letter from Cora, May 12, 1912. [Complete letter]
Pioneer Women of Quincy: Cora Benneson predicted modern woman would develop own faculties by Helen Warning

Cora Agnes Benneson

Source: Quincy Herald Whig Newspaper, February 20, 1977

Series Title: Pioneer women of Quincy

[headline] Cora Benneson predicted modern woman would develop own faculties

By Helen Warning

Reprinted with permission from The Quincy Herald-Whig and from Helen Warning. Photographs are courtesy of Mrs. Caroline Sexauer, Quincy, great niece of Cora.

 

“The coming woman will not hesitate to do whatever she feels will benefit humanity, and she will develop her own faculties to the utmost because by so doing she can best serve.”

“She will have a home, of course. She will not marry, however, for the sake of a home, because she will be self-supporting. The home she will help to found will not be for the selfish gratification of two individuals but a center of light and harmony to all that come within the sphere of its radiance.”

“Many so called duties that drain the nerve force of the modern women, the coming woman will omit or delegate. One duty she will not delegate-the character moulding of her children. The woman of the future comes not to destroy, but to fulfill the law. She will not confine her influence to a limited circle. It will be felt in the nation’s housekeeping. Wherever she is needed, there she will be found.”

Such oration may be anticipated from today’s liberated woman but not from one who lived primarily in the 19th century and was of midwestern background. Yet that far sighted knowledge was espoused by Quincyan Cora Agnes Benneson, who was born here in 1851.

Cora Benneson’s youth fell at a period when women were becoming active forces in society, which explains her farsightedness. It was a period when colleges and universities were being opened to women as well as men. Girls were beginning to study, not because it was fashion, but because they were impelled by an awakening of consciousness.

Miss Benneson’s parents, prominent Quincyans who shared identical interests whether educational, religious or philanthropic, promoted her early inclination to philosophic studies. They entertained in their home many men of note, of whom Alcott and Emerson especially made a great impression on Miss Benneson.

Her father, Robert Smith Benneson, a native of Newark, Del., went to Philadelphia and thence to Quincy in 1837, where he became prominently identified with the business and municipal affairs of the city. He was organizer and director of various corporations, promoter of the original act levying taxes for school purposes in Illinois, president of the Quincy Board of Education for 14 years, and a long time, one of its members, alderman for two terms and mayor during the Civil War. During this crisis, he saved the credit of the city by giving his personal notes to meet its obligations.

The family represented the best traditions of New England through the mother, Electa Ann Park Benneson, a direct descendant of Richard Park, one of the first settlers of Cambridge, Mass. Called “Annie Park” as a young woman, Mrs. Benneson taught school a few years in Brighton, Mass. and while visiting in Quincy met Robert Benneson.

The Bennesons helped to establish the Unitarian Church and for many years, Mrs. Benneson was superintendent of the Sunday school. The keynote of her teaching was “Do right because it is right.”

Her activity was not confined to the home and church, however. “Any movement aiming at the good of the community found her a ready helper,” according to Mary Esther Trueblood in “Representative Women of New England.” She was interested in Woodland Home, an asylum for orphans and friendless, and united all the churches of Quincy in a fair for its benefit. During the Civil War, she devoted herself to soldier’s families and to the wounded in the hospitals.

“Her feelings found expression in deeds of kindness rather than words. She had scholarly instincts, rare literary taste and constantly took up new studies,” according to Miss Trueblood.

Cora Benneson, the youngest of four sisters, she inherited her father’s physique and her mother’s mental characteristics. A sturdy child, Miss Benneson was orderly, accurate, self-reliant, ambitious, and persevering according to Miss Trueblood.

Her mother, who tutored all her children, soon perceived that the wisest way to direct her was to answer her questions exactly and fully and to explain to her principles and the relation of things.

She and her sisters edited a magazine called, “The Experiment,” which was read aloud every week in the family circle and contained Cora’s first writings. At age eight, she wrote a satire on a fashionable woman’s call, “A Visit,” which won the prize her mother had offered that week. At nine, at her request, her father allowed her to help keep his books. When 12, she was reading Latin at sight and had an acquaintance with some of the best literature. She early displayed an unusual ability in getting at the pitch of the argument and in summing up a conversation in a few words of her own, a trait so necessary in her chosen profession of counselor-at-law and special commissioner.

As a youngster sitting in church with paper and pencil, she drew trees as she listened to the discourses. The trunk represented the text, or main thought, the branches the ideas leading from it. In her judgement, the merits of a sermon depended upon whether or not it could be “treed.”

In school, she really excelled other children her age. At age 15, she had finished the course at the Quincy Academy, the equivalent of a good high school, and at 18 years she was graduated from the Quincy Seminary. From then until she entered college, she had a full social life.

Benneson HomeThe Benneson home, located at 214 Jersey, was a large mansion situated above a series of terraces and surrounded by trees and shrubs. Its location provided a view of 14 miles of the Mississippi River. Miss Benneson, a good rower, knew every inlet and island of the Mississippi and as a child watched steamers going to and from St. Louis and St. Paul with untiring interest. The Mississippi, it is said, was her unconscious friend, helping her to think and act.

The home was later located on Broadway between Fifth and Sixth, next door to the F. T. Hill home. The house was torn down to provide additional grounds for the detention home that stood at the site until the building of the Lampe Hi-Rise a few years ago.

Miss Benneson’s ambition for a higher education led to her entrance at the University of Michigan in 1875, only five years after women students were first admitted. She completed the four year course in three and was graduated in 1878 with an A. B. degree. Her first public appearance at the university was a debate during her freshman year which she won. During her senior year, she was editor of “The Chronicle,” the leading college newspaper at the time. She was the first woman to fill the position.

Her application for admission to the Law School of Harvard University, signed by five Harvard alumni, was refused on the grounds that the equipment at the university was too limited to make suitable provision for receiving women.

She returned to the University of Michigan and was one of the two women in a class of 175 law students. Miss Benneson felt no prejudice from her male counterparts, was elected secretary of the class, was presiding officer in the debating society and judge of the Illinois Moot Court.

She received her L. L. B. degree in 1880 and her A. M. degree in 1883. After being admitted to the Michigan and Illinois bars in 1880, she took a two year, four month round-the-world trip.

Starting in San Francisco, she traveled westward, stopping in Hawaii, Japan, China, Burma, India, Arabia, Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and all the principal countries of Europe. She studied the costumes, manners, and laws of many of the nations she visited and a series of letters, which she wrote home, were copied by her father and are now in the collection of a great-niece, Mrs. William (Caroline) Sexauer. The contents reveal her findings.

“War seems imminent,” she wrote from Canton, China, Christmas night 1883, “and there has been one engagement. This creates in the Chinese a strong anti-foreign feeling, in which the mass of the people, make no distinction between English, French, and German. The Chinese word for foreigners is literally translated, White Devils. We therefore thought it best to telegraph Mr. Damon when we would leave Hong Kong, feeling sure that he would not let us come if it were unsafe.” The Chinese at the time were anti-French.

From the Pearl River, Dec. 27, 1883, she wrote, “While I feel that the position of the American woman is not yet exactly what it should be and what I hope it may sometime be, still in traveling in Oriental countries one realizes that in our own we have much to be very very thankful for.”

From Calcutta, Jan. 21, 1884, she wrote, “The Burmese are fond of high colors, especially in their turbans, and red is very becoming to their dark skins. The women wear nose rings and many ear rings. Also bangles on their wrists and ankles. They put their money into jewelry and carry it on their persons, instead of depositing it in banks. They are a slender, frail-looking people.”

In her mideast travels, Miss Benneson noted the places where she stopped with the passages where they are mentioned in the Bible.

Her April, 1884, letter from Jerusalem noted she entered Jerusalem on the evening of the Passover. “Many of the Jewish houses were brilliantly lighted. Our diligence stopped just outside the gate and we entered on foot. You see no carriages in Jerusalem. The streets are too narrow.” Miss Benneson found traveling in Palestine more expensive than elsewhere.

From Athens, Greece, May 20, 1884, she wrote she hoped to write a closer account of what she was seeing now that she had left the half-civilized races behind and entered Europe, where the distances were shorter and traveling facilities better.

Miss Benneson had the distinction of being one of the few that had visited the law courts of all the principal civilized countries as well as their chief governing assemblies.

Upon her return home, Miss Benneson lectured on her travels in Quincy, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities and her programs were well attended.

She edited for a time the “Law Reports” of the West Publishing Co. in St. Paul and during 1887-88 held a fellowship in history at Bryn Mawr College. Moving to Cambridge, Mass., she made that city her permanent residence and in 1894 was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. She was appointed special commissioner by Gov. Greenhalge in 1895, had the appointment renewed in 1905 and held the position until her death.

One of the first women to enter the practice of law in New England, Miss Benneson found no antagonism among her fellow lawyers and gradually acquired a large and successful practice.

A recognized authority on government, her 1898 paper, “Executive Discretion in the United States,” and her 1899 paper, “Federal Guarantees For Maintaining Republican Government in the States,” were both read before the American Association for Advancement of Science and resulted in her election as a fellow in the society in 1899. In 1900, she was elected secretary of the social and economics section of the association.

Another paper, “The Power of Our Courts to Interpret the Constitution,” read before the association, led to the announcement of a book dealing with the same general subject. Several other papers followed.

In June, 1899, she gave the Alumni Poem at the University of Michigan commencement and in 1903 read the Ode of her class at its anniversary meeting.

Miss Benneson was not indifferent to any human interest and was a keen observer of all the activities of women, according to Miss Trueblood. She was quick to deplore any tendency that would destroy womanliness in the highest sense. She was ready to aid any movement that would give women a fuller and richer life and them more efficient members of society. She believed that reforms cannot be forced upon society, but must come through a natural evolution and that one can do another no more serious injury than to deprive him of liberty of opinion and action.

An honorary member of the Illinois State Historical Society, she gave an address at the 1909 annual meeting of the association entitled, “The Quartermaster’s Department in Illinois 1861-62.” She was among the early members of the Friends in Council and was founder of the original Unity Club of the Unitarian Church, for many years a forum where the brightest men and women of the city discussed the leading topics of the day. She was a member of the Unitarian Church.

About a year before her death, which occurred in Boston on June 8, 1919, Miss Benneson gave up her active practice of law and prepared herself as a civics teacher under the auspices of the state board of education of Massachusetts, which had established a school in Boston for the Americanization of foreigners. According to her obituary, Miss Benneson worked so hard to prepare herself for this new work that she suffered a breakdown in health and her labors were the cause of her death. The diploma entitling her to the position which she sought arrived just a day after she died.

In addition to Mrs. Sexauer, Miss Benneson is survived by two great-nephews, Charles Seger of Quincy and Benneson James of Maryville, Tenn. And a great-niece, Mrs. Charles Higgins of Memphis, Tenn.

[More information about Cora Benneson.]

Contributing Library:

Quincy Public Library, Quincy, Illinois

OBITUARY OF MISS CORA BENNESON
From: Quincy Daily Herald Newspaper, June 12, 1919.

BRILLIANT WOMAN DIES. . .

MISS CORA BENNESON WAS NATIVE OF QUINCY.

Member of Bar of Three States and Had Won Many Honors-Founder of Unity Club in This City.

Miss Cora Benneson, one of the women who has made the name of Quincy known abroad, and at one time one of the city’s best known residents, died at her home in Cambridge, Mass., last Sunday and was buried in Mt. Auburn cemetery. Word of her death came to her sister, Mrs. George Janes of this city. Miss Benneson was one of the few women attorneys in the country, and for many years had been practicing her profession in Boston. About a year ago she gave up her active practice of the law, and fitted herself as a teacher of civics under the auspices of the state board of education of Massachusetts, which has established a school in Boston for the Americanization of foreigners. Miss Benneson worked so hard to fit herself for this new work that she suffered a break down in health about six weeks ago, and her labors were the cause of her death. Her diploma, entitling her to the position which she sought, came just a day after she died.

WON MANY HONORS

Miss Benneson was born in Quincy, the daughter of Robert S. and Electa Ann Benneson. She was graduated from Miss Chapin’s School, and later attended the University of Michigan, where she received her L. L. B. degree in 1880, and her A. M. degree in 1883. She was admitted to the Michigan and Illinois bars in 1880 and to the Massachusetts bar in 1894.

In [1883], Miss Benneson left Quincy for a tour of the world, which lasted for two years. On her return she went to St. Paul [Minnesota], where she edited law reports for the West Publishing Company. She gave lectures on her trip around the world in 1885-86, and was appointed a special commissioner in Massachusetts in 1895, and subsequent years. She was awarded a fellowship in history at Bryn Mawr College in 1887. She was also an honorary member of the Illinois State Historical society, and sole trustee of the Edward Everett estate in Boston.

FOUNDER OF UNITY CLUB

Miss Benneson was a contributor to journals on topics of law, education, and political and social science, and throughout the east was recognized as one of the leading members of the bar. In Quincy she was prominent in the literary life of the city, and was one of the early members of Friends in Council and the founder of the original Unity Club of the Unitarian Church. Robert S. Benneson, her father, was one of the first mayors of Quincy and the family was a prominent one. The old family home was at 214 Jersey Street, and afterward on Broadway, between Fifth and Sixth, next door to the F. T. Hill home. The house was torn down to provide additional grounds for the present detention home.

Miss Benneson leaves two sisters, besides Mrs. Janes. They are Mrs. Anna McMahon, now at Atlantic City, N.J. and Mrs. Alice B. Farwell of Boston. Guido Janes, Mrs. Charles Seger and Mrs. Philip Schlagenhauf of this city, are nephew and nieces of Miss Benneson.

Bibliography:

  1. “Cora Agnes Benneson, 1851-1919.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society XII (1919): 307-309.
  2. Trueblood, Mary Esther. Cora Agnes Benneson Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Co., 1904.

Contributing Library:

Quincy Public Library, Quincy, Illinois

Nellie Kedzie Project

Click on an image to see a larger image.

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Portrait of Nellie Sawyer Kedzie, 1901 polyscope photo

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An early foods laboratory, 1930s. Cooking was one of the subjects taught to the small number of female students at the Domestic Science department, created in 1897, the number gradually increasing over the next few years. Most parents were reluctant to send their daughters to an institute of higher education were it not for the homemaking skills offered.

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During the World Wars, students in the Home Economics Club becamse involved in fund-raising and leadership organizations. Women had a chance to leave the household and be exposed to female role models who had achieved success.

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In food laboratories, many types of stoves were used: coal, gas, kerosene, and electric attachments, among others. A large stove was placed at one side of the room, and smaller individual stoves near a worktable for each student or for pairs.

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A sewing classroom. Students were offered courses in Costume Design, Textiles and Laces, added in the early 1920s. Laundry was also taught, emphasizing the chemistry of hot and cold water, soaps, and removal of stains and oil.

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Besides cooking, students learned the chemistry of food, food principles and classification, as well as food marketing. One of the courses’ prerequisites was Physics and Botany. Students spent 4-6 years to complete their major’s requirements.

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The Home Economics department suffered most from the 1963 fire in Bradley Hall. Most of Lydia Bradley’s treasures that she had given to the Department were burned and lost. The Department was re-developed, new courses added to meet the requirements for the American Dietetic Association in 1967. Such courses included Nutrition, Diet and Disease, and Consumer Education.

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Dorothy Holmes, great grand-niece of Lydia Moss Bradley, weaving on the loom in the Home Economics department at the Bradley Polytechnic Institute, in 1937.

Nellie Sawyer Kedzie Jones

When Lydia Moss Bradley decided to found Bradley Polytechnic Institute as an institution for the education of both young men and young women, she became destined to cross the path of another influential woman: Nellie Sawyer Kedzie Jones. Whether Mrs. Bradley tried to pursue Mrs. Kedzie to come to Bradley or whether their association was a fortuitous accident, we don’t know. What we do know, is that Nellie Kedzie was a pioneer in the field of Domestic Economy, and that her few years at Bradley seem to have had a profound impact on both the institution as well as her own career. The following is a long excerpt from Dr. Nina Collins’ Book: An Industrious and Useful Life: The History of Home Economics at Bradley University. [United States]: n.p., 1994.

Mrs. Nellie Sawyer Kedzie came to the new Bradley Polytechnic Institute in 1897 to become an assistant professor, and head of the newly developing Domestic Economy Department. She had graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree from the Kansas Agricultural College. Mrs. Kedzie was listed as the third faculty member in order of priority in the board of Trustees records. Hoeflin in History of a College: from Woman’s Course to Home Economics to Human Ecology offers some insight into Nellie Kedzie:

A radical change occurred in 1882 when Mrs. Nellie S. Kedzie, a very young graduate of the college, who had earned a B.S. in 1876 and a M.S. in 1878 but had no special preparation for the work, was put in charge to succeed Mrs. Mary Cripps. Mrs. Kedzie was a young widow living with her parents in Topeka. She had married Robert R. Kedzie as the culmination of a courtship which began when Professor Kedzie had taught chemistry at the college during the absence of his brother, William K. Kedzie, who went on leave to Europe to study the types of chemistry laboratories. At Christmas time of 1881 Robert came from Mississippi Agricultural College, where he was professor of Chemistry, to marry Nellie Sawyer. They returned to Mississippi, where he died seven weeks later. Upset by his death, Nellie Kedzie then moved back to her parents’ home in Topeka. (p. 14)

How Mrs. Kedzie became a leader in the newly developing field of domestic science/home economics was a story told be Nellie Kedzie herself, on her 86th birthday, to the Kansas State Alumni Newsletter, the K-Stater, in an article of October 1954 entitled “Pioneering in Home Economics.”

President Fairchild of KSAC, who was calling on alumnae of the College, called on her in the summer of 1881. She invited him to eat supper with her with her family. At the end of the meal, the president said to her, “Do you think you can teach Kansas girls to make such biscuits as these we have been eating?” Her surprise answer to the surprise question was “I can try.” That fall she went to KSAC to try to help college girls to become efficient homemakers with less effort than many women were exerting.” (ibid, p. 14)

The socially acceptable overt agenda of teaching young women to become better homemakers in the setting of higher education was obviously operating here. Even the development of the curriculum would need “manly help,” which would of course, give more credibility to the project of educating young women in colleges. Nellie Kedzie (Jones) remembered:

“The Regents and the President helped me make a list of what knowledge might be valuable to girls. We believed that every girl ought to have some knowledge of hygiene to keep herself in the best of health. Also, that she should be thinking of what foods she will want to learn to cook and serve to a family and she should be able to make garments needed by herself and by anybody dependent upon her.” And according to Mrs. Kedzie Jones, that is the way that the program to teach hygiene, sewing, and cooking was decided. (ibid, p. 14)

Most scholars would place Kansas (state university) among the pioneers in the development of home economics. As a pioneer in the discipline, Mrs. Kedzie was faced not only with developing a curriculum and appropriate textbooks, but also with the development of a philosophy of this new discipline. Mrs. Kedzie, in speaking about this challenge, stated:

“The main goal was to elevate home standards and to lessen labor, the constant quest to discover an easier way” . . . . Until 1884 Mrs. Kedzie was the only woman on the faculty . . . . In 1887, Mrs. Kedzie was given the rank of professor, the first woman to hold that title at KSAC . . . . Handwritten notes dated October, 1889, of Mrs. Nellie Kedzie . . . . discussed how few women in history had assumed positions of leadership. She wrote that most were like her mother and grandmother who had been pioneers and had to struggle hard to keep their homes going . . . . Because of the personal work of Mrs. Kedzie the legislature appropriated $16,000 in 1897 to erect Domestic Science Hall . . . . In 1902, Domestic Science Hall was renamed Kedzie Hall in honor of Mrs. Nellie Sawyer Kedzie (Jones), former professor of Domestic Science and head of the department, in recognition of her early work in organizing the field of home economics. It is believed that this is the first home economics building in the nation and the world that was named for a woman . . . .” (ibid, p. 16)

Bradley was able to secure the services of Mrs. Nellie Kedzie because of disastrous events at Kansas State University.

In 1897, radical changes were made in courses and the administration at KSAC. All of the faculty were asked to resign. Later when some were given the opportunity to return, neither Mrs. Nellie Kedzie nor Mrs. Winchip [who was to come to Bradley in 1898] chose to remain . . . . For the next five years after Mrs. Kedzie left, the Department of Domestic Economy was in a most unsettled condition. (ibid, p. 16)

Mrs. Kedzie must have felt some vindication after the naming of the first building in domestic science in her honor. She receives another great honor when she returned to Kansas for a special event. In 1925 at the golden anniversary celebration of the beginning of home economics at Kansas State, Mrs. Kedzie (Jones), who was at that time the State Leader of Home Economics Extension in Wisconsin, became one of the first three women to ever receive an honorary degree from KSAC — a Doctor of Law. (ibid, p. 29)

Nellie Kedzie was obviously a very persuasive and socially adept woman. Not only was she able to persuade the Kansas legislature to build a building exclusively for domestic science at that university, but she demanded and expected the very best in equipment and curriculum at the newly developing Bradley Polytechnic Institute.

***************The early curriculum [at Bradley] was most surely shaped by Mrs. Kedzie, Mrs. Coburn and Mrs. Feuling, all of whom had had full administrative experience in land grant universities, with a founder’s perspective. Their experiences were important as part of the contributions they made in shaping early curricula. These three women were well-traveled and had an excellent sense of the overt, societal-accepted agenda; as the early curriculum clearly states, a young BPI domestic science student would surely become a skilled homemaker. On the other hand, as is apparent in early course descriptions, textbooks used and recruitment material for domestic science, the subversive agenda of teaching of teaching women science, technology and mathematics was very important to these early leaders.

***************Certainly Nellie Kedzie and the curriculum she had shaped at Kansas State before coming to Bradley had an important part to play in the shaping of the early curriculum. According to Virginia Railsback Gunn, in Educating Strong Womanly Women: Kansas Shapes the Western Home Economics Movement, 1860-1914, Kansas State adopted the “manual-training approach to education in 1873, offer[ing] all students a program emphasizing a balance between sciences, general culture subjects, and technical courses, called industrials. . . .designed to prepare both males and females for paid vocations”(p.iii). Mrs. Kedzie must have felt most comfortable with the philosophy of Bradley Polytechnic Institute and Mrs. Bradley’s reason for the founding of the institute.

***************Teaching young women to be skilled in housework was certainly acceptable to most of society, which believed that doing housework would keep women “in their place.” Nevertheless, the subversive agenda is working here. The study of chemistry, sanitation and geometry, as part of the discipline that supposedly offered only training in housework, allowed young women to become educated, with their families’ blessing, in a field that was acceptable by almost all of society.

***************Bradley has always taken seriously its obligation to serve the central Illinois community. Holding “open houses” was one of those services from the very beginning. The availability to the community of what was being taught to women at BPI shows that the curriculum was, at least subtly, making its way into the mainstream of society. Education was not corrupting young women at BPI, but was improving everyone’s life by providing better managed homes. That women were being educated was not as newsworthy. Evidence of the delight of the press and the community in visiting the Institute can be found in early newspaper reports. According to the Herald, June 17, 1899:

6,000 people visited Bradley Institute last night and acquainted themselves with the workings of Peoria’s young but famous educational institution. They saw four hundred students busied with their varied tasks; young men and women representing every state in the union, who have an aim in life and who are taking advantage of the rare chances there offered to prepare them for a successful strife in their various callings. . . .But of all attractive places, the cooking laboratory certainly took first place. The savory odors from the dishes being prepared permeated the hallways and pulled at visitors like a magnet. This is more properly known as the department of domestic economy and is under the supervision of Mrs. Kedzie. The young ladies who were giving exhibitions in cooking wore pretty white dresses and sweet smiles. They gave the visitors tastes of their cookery and the room was packed at all times. All were loath to leave and others were clamoring for admittance.

More information on Nellie Sawyer Kedzie Jones can be found in the Special Collections Center of the Bradley University Library, Peoria, Illinois.

Contributing Library:

Cullom-Davis Library, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois

Vivian Harsh (1890-1960)

Vivian Harsh was the Chicago Public Library’s first African American librarian. Under her direction, the Midwest’s largest collection relating to African American history was developed.

Vivian Harsh was a native of Chicago, born in 1890. At age 19, Harsh began working for the Chicago Public Library. By 1924, Harsh was the Library’s first black librarian. In 1932, the Library opened a new branch called the George Cleveland Hall Branch to serve the expanding south side black community. Vivian Harsh became the first head librarian of this new branch, and as such became the first African American woman to head a branch of the Chicago Public Library.

In her position as head of the new branch, Harsh gathered books, pamphlets and other documents about black history. Many African American writers, such as Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, donated books, manuscripts, and research to her rapidly growing collection. By Vivian’s death in 1960, the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature contained more than 70,000 volumes. The Collection, the largest of its kind in the Midwest, continues to be available to researchers today at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library on South Halsted in Chicago.

Bibliography

  1. http://www.chipublib.org/002branches/woodson/wnharsh.html

Annie Turnbo Malone (1869-1957)

Annie Turnbo Malone achieved great success as a business woman. She is also remembered as a generous philanthropist.

Annie Turnbo was born in 1869 in Metropolis, near the far southern tip of Illinois. As a young woman, Annie developed hair care products which she sold door-to-door through the African American community of Lovejoy (now called Brooklyn), Illinois. In 1902, Annie moved her business to St. Louis. The 1904 World’s Fair was held in St. Louis and Annie’s business grew. She trained agents nationwide and began marketing her products under the name “Poro”, a name which she copyrighted. One of Annie’s agents was Madame C. J. Walker. Walker, often shares with Annie Turnbo the title the United States’ first African American millionairess.

Annie built a factory and a beauty-training school in St. Louis that she named Poro College. The factory and the school employed and educated many African Americans. Later, Annie moved the factory to Chicago. By the 1920s, Annie Malone was a millionaire. She shared her wealth with many less fortunate than herself. For example, she served as the President and donated fund for the construction of the St. Louis Colored Orphan’s Home, now known as the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center. She also donated large sums of money to schools and colleges for African Americans and supported many students.

Bibliography

  1. Smith, Jessie Carney, Ed. (1992) “Annie Turnbo Malone” in Notable Black American Women. Gale Research Inc, Detroit, Michigan., Pp. 724-726.

Louisa McCall

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Portrait of Louisa McCall, from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Fulton County

pim00002Photo of First National Bank of Canton, Illinois

Louisa McCall has the unique distinction of being the first lady bank director in the United States. She assumed the position at the First National Bank of Canton in 1877 and was Vice-President of the same institution from 1899 until her death on January 11, 1907.

Mrs. McCall was born in London, England, October 26, 1824, to Charles Richard Basden Raymond and Margaret Priscilla Widenham Raymond. In December 1834 they set sail from London to arrive 10 weeks later in New Orleans. They came up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Peoria. Her parents were scholarly and cultured. They taught their children literature, mathematics, history, and music. In Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois by Newton Bateman, 1908, she is described as “systematic, orderly, thorough and even executive at an age when most children find greatest solace in the companionship of their dolls, and in addition to these solid traits she was a musician of merit, possessing an excellent voice.”

In Peoria County, Illinois, on June 10, 1845, she married James Harvey McCall. They had four daughters, Margaret Louisa, Grace Caroline, Josephine Elizabeth, and Agnes. James McCall had operated a saw mill and grist mill in Peoria. In 1862 they moved to Canton, Illinois, where James had purchased a distillery. Mr. McCall became one of the founders of the First National Bank, of which he was President for the remainder of his life.

During the fall of 1872 James McCall went to California and became interested in the mining business. He kept his family posted on his travels, business, and health. While all reports seemed positive, in 1873 Mrs. McCall received word James had died.

Louisa McCall continued her husband’s business affairs. According to the newspaper account of Louisa McCall’s death from the Canton Daily Register, Mrs. McCall was instrumental in following through with a lawsuit involving her husband’s estate. Mr. McCall had sued his old partner in California and won the case. Although $35,000 was to be paid to James, upon James McCall’s death, the partner instead brought in a “writ of error” suit. The suit was eventually settled in Louisa McCall’s favor. Because of her large holdings she was later elected as a director at the First National Bank in 1877.

Louisa McCall died on January 11, 1907, of ill health. She had suffered from pneumonia in 1905 and never quite recovered. In addition to her position at the bank, Mrs. McCall was president of the Canton Aid Society for 25 years and had also contributed to many local organizations. She was known for her generosity as well as her great executive ability and keen business acumen.

Bibliography:

Bateman, Newton. Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Fulton County. Chicago: Munsell Publishing, 1908.

Contributing Library:

Parlin-Ingersoll Library, Canton, Illinois

Mahala Phelps (1845-1932), librarian

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Miss Mahala Phelps

 

ma00044pMacomb Library
(Carnegie building) [top],
Miss Phelps [rt],
Edith Whitson Trail, member original library board [lt]

Mahala Phelps served the Macomb community as a librarian for almost fifty years. During her half-century in the Macomb library, she influenced the reading materials for the young people of the community and supported their education.

Miss Phelps was born in Macomb in 1845 and was a life-long resident of the city. She began her career as a teacher. In 1881, community members established a public library. At age 36, Miss Phelps became the librarian, a role which she would continue for the next half-century.

The first library opened in 1882 in a back room over a jewelry store on the south side of the Macomb square. The library owned a few hundred books and was open just 2 days each week. In 1883, the library moved to an upstairs room in City Hall.

The generosity of Andrew Carnegie made it possible for the library to construct its own building. The Carnegie building opened on South Lafayette in 1904. The Macomb City Library still (1998) occupies the building. (An addition to the north side expands the original building.) Prior to the move in 1904, Miss Phelps had devised a cataloging system for the books. When the library moved to the new building, Miss Margaret Dunbar, librarian of the Western State Teachers College (now Western Illinois University), assisted in migrating the cataloging system to a standard system.

Miss Phelps continued as librarian until about 1928. Even in retirement, she maintained an active interest in the institution. Miss Phelps took great care in choosing the books available on the library shelves. During the early days, she read each book and only those books she approved were made available in the library. She paid particular attention to young readers and assisted many school children with their projects. Her influence was felt over several generations of Macomb residents.

Bibliography

  1. “Miss Phelps Funeral on Wednesday: Gave Life time of Service at Macomb Public Library”, Macomb Daily Journal, Macomb, IL. Oct. 18, 1932.
  2. Crabb, Richard. “Macomb Library to Celebrate 48 Years of Service During the Coming Week”, Peoria Star, Peoria, IL. Apr. 6, 1930.
  3. Hallwas, John E. (1990) “Women at Work”, in Macomb: A Pictorial History, G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., St. Louis, MO.

Contributing Library:

Macomb Public Library, Macomb, Illinois

Aunt Josie Westfall (1873-1941)
McDonough County Orphanage & Macomb City Judge

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First Orphanage
415 N. Madison, Macomb, Illinois

 

ma00024pJosie & the children (ca. 1917)

In 1911, Macomb had no public facility for the care of orphaned children. Some children were housed at the County Poor Farm, but the place was really not suitable for children. Limited other private facilities were available in the community. When two orphans became the focus of the community’s concern, Josie Westfall took on the task of caring for them. Within her life time, Josie would become the protector of hundreds of the community’s orphans.

“Aunt Josie” Westfall was born in 1873 in Macomb, Illinois. She did not marry and worked as a dressmaker. Josie began her career as “mother” by taking just 2 children into her home in 1911. Before a single year had passed, she was providing a home for 19 children. The county board of supervisors agreed to supply $25 per month to assist Josie in the children’s care.

In 1913, an Orphanage Board was appointed. The County purchased a 12-room house at 415 N. Madison Street in Macomb. An addition was soon added to the home, as the number of children grew to 67. Although the funding was increased, money was always in short supply.

In 1914, Josie ran for the position of Macomb City Judge and planned to donate her salary to the orphanage. She was elected by a large margin. Josie received a total of 839 votes to defeat her closest opponent’s total of 577. Her opponent contested the race in McDonough County court on the grounds that the election was not legal. Although the Illinois Women’s Suffrage Act was passed in 1913, the suit claimed the Act did not authorize ladies to vote in that judicial election. Josie’s opponent had received 430 votes from men to Josie’s 409 votes. The County court found in favor of Josie and women’s right to vote, but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the decision. It would be 1920 before the 19th Amendment was passed. An interesting side note is that one of the lawyers representing Josie’s opponent was a woman.

Josie’s goal of serving the area children continued without the funds from a judicial position. She enlisted the assistance of area organizations. The community responded with clothing, food, medical services, and Christmas presents.

During the 1920s, the existing orphanage building became inadequate and funds were collected for a new building. The community responded with money, building materials, and furnishings. One of the more unusual donations came from the Stevens family, owners of the Stevens’ hotel in Chicago. They donated over 12 dozen new dishes. The children moved into the new building on East Jefferson Street in 1933.

During her career of thirty years as an orphanage matron, Josie provided guidance, food, shelter and care for over 500 children. She was not paid for her services, although she was provided with a place to live.

In 1940, an illness forced Josie to retire from her work. She died in June 1941 at the age of sixty-seven. The orphanage building was occupied by the Salvation Army and later sold as an apartment building.

Bibliography

  1. Macomb Heritage Days Souvenir Book. 1982.
  2. Hallwas, John E. (1990) “Women at Work”, in Macomb: A Pictorial History, G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., St. Louis, MO.
  3. Jani, Shanti (ca. 1985) “Aunt Josie” reprinted in Macomb Heritage Days Souvenir Book. 1985.
  4. Nichols, Katherine. She sheltered the children: Westfall opened her heart – and her doors – to those in need. Macomb Daily Journal pp. 1E, 4E, July 28, 1996.
  5. Scott, Judge Keith F. “McDonough Bar History Described”, Macomb Daily Journal, Macomb, IL. May 6, 1976.

Contributing Library:

Macomb Public Library, Macomb, Illinois

News; Blogging with Barbara, the Library Executive Director, and with Librarians