Part of the American
History & Genealogy Project
Women as Philanthropists
Amanda L. Aikens 1853 ~
Editor and philanthropist. Mrs. Aikens was born in
North Adams, Massachusetts, the 12th day of May, 1853. She
received her education at Maplewood Institute, Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. She married Andrew Jackson Aikens, and moved to
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1887 she began to edit the Woman's
World, a department in her husband's paper, the Evening
Wisconsin. During the Civil War she was one of the noted women
workers of our country, and it was through her public appeals
that the question of the national soldiers' homes was agitated.
She raised money in Wisconsin for the Johns Hopkins Medical
School in Baltimore, for the purpose of having women admitted on
equal terms with men. She took an active interest in all charity
and educational work in her state, and must be included among
the prominent women up-builders of our country. Mrs. Aikens died
in Milwaukee, the 20th of May, 1892.
Judith Walker Andrews
1826 ~ 1914
Philanthropist Mrs. Andrews was born in Fryeburg, Maine, April
26, 1826, and was educated at the academy in her home town. Her
brother. Dr. Clement A. Walker, was appointed in charge of the
hospital for the insane in Boston, and Mrs. Walker joined him
there to assist in the work in which she was deeply interested.
Her work in this line has been of great value. Since 1889, she
has been very much interested in the child-widows of India and
formed an association to carry out the plans of Pundita Ramabai.
Mrs. Andrews and her co-workers are carrying on the management
of a school at Puna, India.
Kate Waller Barrett
1858 ~ 1925
Born at Clifton, Stafford County, Virginia, January 24, 1858; is
the daughter of Withers and Ann Eliza Stribling Waller;
graduated in a course of nursing at the Florence Nightingale
Training School and the St Thomas Hospital of London; married
Rev. Robert South Barrett in 1876; has long been an active
worker in philanthropic work. Is the vice-president and general
superintendent of the National Florence Crittenton Mission, of
Washington, D. C, and now president of that institution; was a
delegate to the convention for the discussion of the care of
delinquent children in 1909, vice-president-at-large of the
National Council of Women, member of the Mothers' Congress,
League of Social Service, Daughters of the American Revolution,
National Geographical Society, and is to-day a public speaker
and one of the most prominent workers in the philanthropic work
of the United States.
Mrs. George Bliss
Is the daughter of Henry H. Casey and Anais Blanchet Casey. She
married Mr. George Bliss, a distinguished Catholic lawyer, who
was legal adviser of the late Archbishop Corrigan. He was
knighted by Pope Leo XIII. In 1897 Mr. Bliss died. Mrs. Bliss'
greatest work has been the establishment with other interested
persons of the Free Day School and Creche for French children,
located at 69 Washington Square, New York. This school is
entirely dependent on the voluntary contributions, receiving no
aid from the city treasury. She is vice-president of this
association, and is president of the Tabernacle Society, whose
headquarters is in the Convent of Perpetual Adoration, in
Washington, D. C.
Mildred A. Bonham 1840
Mrs. Bonham was born in Magnolia, Illinois, August 1840. In 1847
her parents removed to Oregon, and in 1858 she married Judge B.
F. Bonham, of Salem, Oregon. In 1885 Judge Bonham was made
consul-general to British India, and the family removed to
Calcutta. Her letters, under the pen name of "Mizpah," had wide
circulation in the Oregon and California papers. She did some
splendid work among the women of India, and succeeded in raising
$1,000 to found a scholarship for these women in one of the
schools of this country.
The philanthropy of Miss Chanler has been almost equal to that
of Miss Gould, and she has strewn with a lavish hand many
blessings upon the poor and needy. During the Cuban War she
volunteered as a nurse to the soldiers, serving faithfully in
that inhospitable climate. She has been very modest in the
manner in which she has disbursed many thousands of dollars for
the comfort and salvation of the indigent of New York City and
elsewhere. Her charity is broad and enters many avenues.
Harriet L. Cramer 1848
Was born in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, in 1848; is president
and publisher of the Evening Wisconsin, which was founded by her
husband, Hon. William E. Cramer, and of which he was editor
until his death. She is the donor of the granite columns in the
interior of the Church of Gesu, in Milwaukee, said to be the
only columns of this kind in the country, and were placed there
at a cost of $20,000. She, with her husband, gave forty acres of
ground in Milwaukee County, upon which the house and school of
the Good Shepherd are situated. To this institution Mr. Cramer
left a large sum of money at his death, and Mrs. Cramer has been
constantly adding to this. She is one of the most philanthropic,
generous women in the charitable world of America.
Helen Culver 1832 ~
Born at Little Valley, New York, March 23, 1832; was a school
teacher in her youth. In 1863 she was matron of the military
hospital at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In 1868 she entered into
partnership with her cousin, Charles J. Hull, in the real estate
business in Chicago, and dealt largely in properties of that
city and of the West. After his death she built and endowed the
four Hull biological laboratories for the University of Chicago;
was trustee of the Hull House Association from its organization
in 1895, and is one of the noted philanthropists of the United
Mrs. M. A. Hunter
Mrs. M. A. Hunter, widow of Commodore Hunter of the navy,
founded the first home for orphans in the state of Louisiana,
and perhaps in the South. In 1817 a vessel loaded with emigrants
arrived at New Orleans, who were father-less and motherless
owing to the loss of their parents by cholera during the voyage.
Mrs. Hunter was then a prominent social leader, but a most
charitable, sympathetic woman. She gathered these poor little
orphans into her own home until a place could be found for them.
A wealthy merchant and planter offered a temporary home and took
upon himself the work of erecting a suitable building as an
asylum for orphan children, but it was through the interest
aroused by Mrs. Hunter and her efforts in this work that the
institution exists today.
Electa Amanda Johnson
Mrs. Electa Amanda Johnson was born in Wayne County, New York,
in November, 1838. She was descended from a distinguished
Revolutionary family on her father's side, and an old
Knickerbocker family on her mother's side. In 1860 she married
A. H. Johnson, a lawyer of Prairie du Chien. She was one of the
founders of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls, and has
been selected by the governor of Wisconsin several times to
represent the state on the questions of charity and reform.
Elizabeth Dickson Jones
Born in Chicago October 6, 1862. Daughter of William Wallace and
Fidelia Hill Norton Dickson. In 1884 married Joseph H. Jones who
has since died. Active in musical work; secretary of the Iowa
Humane Society, and in 1904, James Callonan, former president,
left the Iowa Humane Society $70,000 conditioned upon her being
made secretary for life; was vice-president of the American
Irma Theoda Jones 1845
Mrs. Irma Theoda Jones was born March 11, 1845, in Victory, New
York. Mrs. Jones' maiden name was Andrews, and her family were
among the early pioneers of western New York, who later removed
to Rockford, Illinois. Her work is among women's clubs and the
temperance union; she is also a contributor to various
newspapers. In 1865 she married Nelson B. Jones, a prominent
citizen of Lansing, Michigan. In 1892 she became editor of the
Literary Club Department of the Mid-Continent, a monthly
magazine published in Twanging.
Mrs. Richard H. Keith
Is the founder of St. Anthony's Infant Home, Kansas City
Katherine Bardol Lautz
1842 ~ 1933
Was born in Rochester, New York, in 1842; is the daughter of
Joseph Bardol and Mary Reinagle Bardol. Her husband is J. Adam
Lautz, of Germany, at the head of the Lautz Soap Manufacturing
Company, of Buffalo. She has been president of the St.
Elizabeth's Hospital Association for many years; is director of
the Working Boys' Home, Women's Educational and Industrial
Union, St James' Mission and Angel Guardian Mission.
Mary L. Gilman
Was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father, William Lynch,
was a wealthy man of North End. In 1870 she married John E.
Gilman, a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic,
and at one time department commander of Massachusetts. Mrs.
Oilman is prominent in women's relief corps work and the Ladies'
Aid Association of the Soldiers' Home of Chelsea, and the home
for destitute Catholic children. She was for some time organist
of a church musical society.
Florence Magruder Gilmore
1881 ~ 1945
Was born February 13, 1881, in Columbus, Ohio. Her father was
James Gillespie, and her mother Florence Magruder Gilmore.
Through her father Mrs. Gilmore is connected with the prominent
families of Blaine, Ewing and Sherman, in this country, and,
through her mother, with some of the well-known families of
Scotland. She is engaged in doing settlement work under Catholic
organizations in St Louis; is a contributor to the America,
Extension, Bensinger's, Messenger of the Sacred Heart, Rosary
and Leader magazines.
Ella Martin Henrotin
1851 ~ 1926
Bora in Portland, Maine, July, 1847; was the daughter of Edward
Byam and Sarah Ellen Norris Martin; was educated in Europe, and
in 1869 married Charles Henrotin, of Illinois; one of the
leading spirits of the women's depart-ment of the World's
Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; president of the
General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1894; was decorated by
the Sultan of Turkey in 1893, and also made an "officier de
l'Academie" by the French Republic in 1899, and decorated by
Leopold II, in 1904; one of the foremost women in public and
charitable work in Chicago.
Georgia Marquis Kevins
Miss Kevins, the superintendent of the Garfield Memorial
Hospital and president of the Graduate Nurses' Association,
District of Columbia, was born in Bangor, Maine. She was reared
in Massachusetts, and educated in public and private schools. In
1889, she entered the Johns Hopkins Training School for Nurses,
and was a member of the first class graduated from that school.
She served one year as the first head nurse appointed. Miss
Nevins became superintendent of nurses in the Garfield Memorial
Hospital School, Washington, D. C, in 1894. She was appointed
superintendent of the hospital in 1908. She is an active member
of the National and International Nursing Societies, of the Red
Cross Nursing Service, of the American Hospital Association, and
for years president of the Graduate Nurses Association of the
District of Columbia.
Mary Elizabeth Blanchard Lynde
Was born December 4, 1819, in Truxton, New York. Her father was
Azariel Blanchard, and her mother, Elizabeth Babcock. She was
the widow of the eminent lawyer, Hon. William P. Lynde. Governor
Lucius Fairchild appointed her a member of the Wisconsin Board
of Charities and Reforms when he was governor of that state. She
was active in the work for the advancement of women and a member
of this association and greatly interested in the Girls
Industrial School of Milwaukee.
Sarah Ann Mather
Was born March 20, 1820, in Chester, Massachusetts. She was the
wife of Rev. James Mather, and of Puritan ancestry. She was at
one time principal of the Ladies' Department and professor of
modem languages in Western University, Leoni, Michigan. After
the close of the war and before the United States troops were
withdrawn from the South, she went among the f reedmen as a
missionary and brought to bear all her powers upon this work,
sacrificing her health and investing all of her available means
in the work of establishing a normal and training school for the
colored youth in Camden, South Carolina. Her interest in this
work brought about the necessity of her becoming a public
speaker in order to arouse the interest of others. She organized
the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and through her efforts a model home and training school
was established in Camden, South Carolina, and the school is
sustained by this society. She is the author of several works,
among them "Young Life," "A Hidden Treasure"
and "Little Jack Fee,"
Margaret Bischell McFadden
Was born in St Louis, Missouri, but removed when a child to
Winona, Minnesota. Their father was an extensive ship builder of
St Louis. In 1890 she married M. J. McFadden, one of the
prominent business men of St Paul, Minnesota. She has been twice
elected president of the Guild of Catholic Women, one of the
leading and most powerful religious organizations in the
Northwest She is active in all charitable work, and especially
are her interests enlisted in the cause of young girls who are
brought before the Juvenile Court, many of whom she has been
able to save. Mrs. McFadden is greatly beloved and is considered
one of the prominent women of the Northwest.
Was born in New York City; is the daughter of James and Ellen
McGill She is a noted linguist, and has made quite a number of
translations from the French, Spanish, Italian and German.
During her residence in Mobile, Alabama, she was known on
account of her splendid charitable work as the "Mother of the
Orphans." She and her sister, Mary A. McGill, who is also an
author, and active in all charitable work, were instrumental,
with their brothers, in founding McGill Institute, in Mobile and
also the McGill Burse, in the American College in Rome, a fund
for the education of students for the priesthood, in the Mobile
diocese, and a fund for the building of churches. Associated
with them in this splendid charity was their brother, Felix
McGill. The McGill crypt, beneath the Chapel of the Visitation
Convent, is a work of art.
One of the founders of the Visiting Nurses' Association, a
charitable organization, which works among the poor sick of
Omaha. She is the wife of Felix J. McShane, a nephew of the
distinguished philanthropist. Count Creighton, the benefactor of
Katherine Kelly Meagher
Is president of the graduate chapter of the Visitation Convent
Alumnae Association, treasurer of the Catholic Guild of Women,
and prominently identified with the charitable and social clubs
of St Paul, Minnesota. She is the daughter of the late P. H.
Kelly, and in 1907 married John B. Meagher.
Mary Virginia Merrick
Is the daughter of Richard T. Merrick, a prominent lawyer of
Washington, D. C, whose father, William Duhurst Merrick, was a
member of the Maryland state legislature, and United States
Senator from Maryland from 1838 to 1845. Miss Merrick was the
founder of the Christ Child Society of Washington. She began her
work by interesting her friends in the preparation of infants'
out-fits, to be given to the poor on Christmas Day, and in 1900
this little circle was formed into a society. Sewing classes,
children's libraries, Sunday school classes were gradually added
to the work of relief among the destitute children of Washington
.City. Articles of incorporation were taken out for the society,
and to-day there is a membership of over six hundred of the
prominent Catholic women of Washington, which includes many from
official and diplomatic circles and the army and navy. There are
to-day branches of this society in New York City, Omaha,
Worcester, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Ellicott City,
Maryland, and Davenport Iowa. Miss Merrick is the author of a
life of Christ (for children) and translator of Mme. de Segur's
life of Christ, also for children.
D. A. Miliken
Mrs. D. A. Miliken, of New Orleans, founded a memorial hospital
for white children at the cost of $150,000 in memory of her
husband, and left it handsomely endowed.
Willie Franklin Pruit
Born in Tennessee in 1865. Her parents' name was Franklin, and
they moved to Texas at the close of the Civil War. She is
prominent in the city of Fort Worth, Texas. Most of her poems
have been published under the pen name of "Aylmer Ney." In 1887
she married Drew Pruit, a lawyer of Fort Worth; has been engaged
in many public and charitable enterprises for civic betterment.
Vive-president of the Woman's Humane Association of Fort Worth
and through her efforts a number of handsome drinking fountains
were placed about the city for the benefit of man and beast.
Daughter of Henry L. and Cynthia Cowles Richards; was born in
Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1855; charter member and director of
the Winchester, Massachusetts, Visiting Nurses' Association, and
active in charitable matters of her home city.
Mrs. Thomas F. Ryan
Was the daughter of Captain Barry, who was the owner of a line
of vessels plying between Baltimore and the West Indies. She
married Thomas F. Ryan. She and her husband have been generous
contributors to many of the charitable institutions and
philanthropic work of the church, especially in Virginia. They
furnished the interior of the Sacred Heart Cathedral of
Richmond, which had been given to the city by her husband, at a
cost of $500^000; built the Sacred Heart Church, Washington
Ward, and Sacred Heart Cathedral School at Richmond; church and
convent at Falls Church, Virginia; contributed to churches at
Hot Springs and Harrisburg, Virginia, and Keyser, West Virginia;
the chapel at Suffern, New York, where their summer home is
located, and together gave Ryan Hall and a wing to Georgetown
University, Georgetown, D. C She was decorated with the Cross of
St Gregory and made a countess by Pope Pius X for her
Anna Eliza Seamans Nave
1848 ~ 1928
Well-known hospital worker in the Spanish-American War, and
author of religious writings; was born at Defiance, Ohio, June
4, 1848; was the daughter of William and Mary Seamans; her
husband, Orville J. Nave, was an army chaplain.
Myra E. Knox Semmes
Was the daughter of William Knox, a prominent banker and planter
of Montgomery, Alabama, and Annie O. Lewis Knox, whose family
was related to the Fairfaxes, Washingtons, and other families of
Virginia. Her husband was Thomas J. Semmes, a distinguished
jurist, prominent in the political affairs of Louisiana, and was
a member of the convention in 1861 which passed the articles of
secession in the state of Louisiana. Since her husband's death
Mrs. Semmes has devoted her life to charity and benevolence, and
has erected a magnificent chapel in the Jesuit Church, in New
Orleans, in memory of her husband.
Caroline Maria Severance
1820 ~ 1914
Philanthropist Mrs. Severance was the daughter of Orson and
Caroline M. Seamore. Was born in Canandaigua, New York, January
12, 1820. She was the valedictorian of her class in 1835, when
she graduated from the Female Seminary at Geneva, N. Y. In 1840
she married Theodoric C. Severance, a banker of Cleveland, where
she resided until 1855, then in Boston, and later in Los
Angeles, Cal. She was the founder and first president of the New
England Woman's College, of Boston, which antedated the
well-known Sorosis Club, of New York, by only a few weeks, and
Mrs. Severance is frequently called the mother of women's clubs
in the United States. She has always been an active worker in
woman's suffrage work, having lectured in various states. Has
written several memorials and appeals on this subject, which
have been read before the Woman's Congress. Has founded clubs in
Los Angeles and Santa Barbara; is trustee of the Unitarian
Library and president of the Los Angeles Free Kindergarten
Association, and is one of the most progressive women of the
present day in America. She is now spending the evening of her
life in Los Angeles, California.
Was a descendant of the distinguished Spalding family of
Morganfield, Kentucky, from which two archbishops have been
made. Active in charitable work in Atlanta, Georgia, where her
husband. Dr. Robert Spalding, is well known.
Ruth Hinshaw Spray
Born in Mooresville, Indiana, February 16, 1848. The wife of
Samuel J. Spray, of Indianapolis. Prominent as a teacher in the
public schools and work for the protection of children and
animals; also of the child labor organizations and in the
international peace cause, Woman's Christian Temperance Union,
Retail Clerks' Association and other associations for public
welfare; is a resident of Salida, Colorado.
Sister M. Imelda Teresa
(Susie Teresa Forrest Swift, O. P.)
Was the daughter of George Henry and Pamelia Forrest Paine; was
born in 1862; a graduate of Vassar College. Her first
philanthropic work was with the Salvation Army. She trained the
officers for the organization at the International Training
Home, London; established a home for waif boys in London,
England, and suggested to General Booth the outline of his work,
"Darkest England's Social Scheme"; was the author of many
stories and poems written for Salvation Army publications. In
1896 she became a convert to Catholicism, and since has served
as assistant editor of the Catholic World Magazine and editor of
the Young Catholic. In 1897 she entered a religious order, and
was for a time directress of an orphanage in Havana, Cuba, and
directress of the Dominican College of Havana. Since October,
1904, she has served as novice mistress of the Dominican
congregation of St. Catherine di Ricci, of Albany, New York.
Another woman who is doing splendid work for the blind is Miss
Georgia Trader, of Avondale, Cincinnati, Ohio, who lost her
sight very early in life. The Misses Florence and Georgia
Trader, after finishing school, took up this work. They
succeeded in establishing classes for the blind in the public
schools of Cincinnati, and ultimately established a library with
nearly two thousand volumes, from which the books in raised type
are loaned to the blind all over the country, and as the
government takes books for the blind free through the mails
there is no knowing the good this work is doing. Miss Georgia
Trader's greatest work has been the establishing of a working
home for the blind girls, where she maintains thirteen destitute
girls, for whom she furnishes employment in weaving rugs and
other artistic work, which finds ready sale. They have purchased
the girl-hood home of Alice and Phoebe Carey, with twenty-six
acres of land, in the suburbs of Cincinnati, and through the
co-operation of the Misses Trader's friends they have now
established this home on a firm foundation, and will go on with
this splendid work.
Caroline Earle White
1833 ~ 1916
Was born in Philadelphia in 1833. Her father and mother were
active opponents of slavery, and he wrote the (new) Constitution
of Pennsylvania, and was a candidate for the Vice-Presidency in
18140 on the Anti-Slavery ticket Mrs. White has devoted nearly
her whole life to children and animals. She was one of the women
who ably assisted Henry Bergh in the establishment of the Humane
Society in New York, and was the founder of the Pennsylvania
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; also of the
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, of that
state; author of 'Love in the Tropics,' "A Modem Agrippa,"
"Letters from Spain and Norway," "An Ocean Mystery," and
contributor to Harper's Magazine and the Forum; member of the
Society of Colonial Dames.
Mrs. William Ziegler
The work done by Mrs. Ziegler for the blind deserves especial
mention, Mrs. William Ziegler, of New York, founded and
maintained, at an expense of twenty thousand dollars a year the
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind. When she established
this magazine she expressed the wish that it should never make
public the name of the donor, but it was found necessary, to
further its benefits, to allow her name to appear. This magazine
has a printing plant of double the capacity of any other
printing plant for the blind in the world. Five hundred thousand
pages a month are printed. Ten blind girls work in the office,
earning a dollar and a quarter a day, assembling the sheets for
the magazine, which they do as correctly as those who can see.
One of these girls is deaf and blind. The proof reader for the
magazine is a blind man, a graduate of Columbia College.
Source: The Part Taken by Women in
American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle
Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.