Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Women as Philanthropists


Amanda L. Aikens 1853 ~ 1892
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 ~ 1907
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.

Margaret Chanler
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 ~ 1922
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 States.

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 1838 ~
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 1862 ~
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 Humane Society.

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 Missouri.

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.

Sarah McGill
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.

Agnes McShane
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 Creighton University.

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.

Mary Richards
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 philanthropic work.

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.

Anne Spalding
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.

Georgia Trader
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.


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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