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Mrs. Samuel Johnston Wright

 

Mrs. Samuel Johnston Wright (Ione Hervey Wright) is descended, through her maternal grandmother, from a long line of Anglican clergymen, Lord Bishop Hervey of the Court of Henry VIII being the first, descendants of whom coming to America and Virginia in the early days of our country, became Presbyterian ministers.

Mrs. Wright, a woman of high ideals and one who works zealously for the cause not for self-aggrandizement, came to Paris, Texas, in 1883 from Leavenworth, Kansas, as the young bride of Captain S. J. Wright, a member of one of the most prominent and influential families of Lamar and Red River Counties, and by her gracious manner and charming personality won friends readily, while her great administrative ability was early recognized. She was elected president of the first Chautauqua Circle organized in Paris, and continued in office for four years till graduating from this Circle in 1894.

When the Ladies Auxiliary of the Young Women's Christian Association was founded Mrs. Wright was unanimously made president. She was a charter member of the Lotus Club and has been elected to the highest offices within the gift of this club. In 1903, she was the Lotus president and when the City Federation was formed was chosen president, and by her unfailingly good spirit and agreeable manner of impressing her views, soon made this organization effective for the good of her town. She is now an honorary member of the Twentieth Century Club and an active member of the Quill Club, where only original manuscripts are read and accepted. Not only had Mrs. Wright's home town recognized and appreciated her literary and executive ability, but she has been appointed by several of the state presidents on various important committees, as well as elected to different offices of the State Federation.

While a member of the Art Committee during Mrs. Pennybacker's presidency, she gave public art lectures at the different ward schools and aroused great interest in the pictures of the Traveling Art Gallery. As chairman of the Art Committee under Mrs. E. P. Turner she visited by invitation, the adjoining towns, giving lectures on art and creating a widespread interest in the pictures sent out by the Federation. Mrs. Wright gave great impetus to the work of the third district as its president during Mrs. Cone Johnson's administration, and originated in her district the Educational Loan Fund which has so materially aided ambitious young girls. She did effective work as first vice-president with Mrs. Dibrell as president Mrs. Wright's varied club experience makes her a strong and most accept-able state president, who keeps in close touch with all the work and advances all good movements. Her address, always dignified and imposing; is courteous; though reserved she is approachable; she is found always in sympathy with every phase of the work which tends to the education, elevation and greater happiness of all mankind.

The impetus given all branches of Federation endeavor during her administration has been evidenced by the large attendance at the district meetings, the excellent reports rendered and the number of new clubs applying for admittance. Mrs. Wright was the first state president to give special attention to the moral and physical welfare of children. In her open letter to club women announcing her candidacy she said:

'This is the century of the child, and thinking, active women are making this more true each succeeding year. What we club women have accomplished along educational lines needs no reviewing here; our work is fostering manual and industrial training in the public schools, and for the founding of free kindergartens throughout the state; our aid in the passage of the Juvenile Court Bill, and in the establishment of an Industrial Training School for Incorrigibles, all of these demonstrate our lines of action favoring the mental, manual and spiritual training of the child. Our fine record made in the cause of parks and school grounds proves our desire for the physical welfare of the child. But we do more. Therefore, club women of Texas, while my plan for the direction of our efforts during the next administration, would, of course, include the accomplishment of any work outlined by preceding administrations and as yet uncompleted, it would also include special endeavor as is the visible outgrowth of what has already been undertaken and which is essential to the highest ideals of our organization, to my mind this directs us to the spread of the gospel of moral and physical training for the child."

At the district meetings all her addresses were on the subject Present Purposes of the Texas Federation," varying it as the needs of each seemed to require, but always bringing out the thought that her administration stands not only for the perfect and symmetrical education of the child, which means development of brain, hand and heart, but also for social development through the social centre movement, which constitutes the one decidedly new Federation issue for 1909- 191 1. This movement proposes that the schoolhouse, especially in rural districts, be used as a social centre, becoming the club house, the library, the forum of the community, thus assembling together many of those otherwise isolated, or with no recreate horizon.

Mrs. Wright's administration will be remembered as the one which, through' its influence was successful in the passing of an adequate "Child Labor Law for Texas. Mrs. Wright declares, however, that child idleness is as great a menace to civilization as is Child Labor, and the Federation is now working toward an optional compulsory educational law, the same embodying the industrial feature, as under present conditions in Texas is the only solution of the question.

Her administration has endorsed the Willacy Bill introduced into the senate at the recent legislature, which requires that convicts' dependent families be provided for out of the proceeds of their labor.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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