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Iowa History

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"The Woman's cause is man's; they rise or sink
Together, dwarfed or God-like, bond or free."

     No description of Iowa can be complete without some mention of the progressive and liberal attitude of the State toward women. In no state has it been more freely conceded that human interests are not one but many, and that the work of the world, broad and varied, must fall not upon one sex, nor upon one class, but that each individual, in return for benefit received, is in honor bound to bear his or her share of the burden. Under the invigorating influence of this truth energies hitherto unrecognized have been expanded and women are found working in almost every department of human activity in business, education, literature, science, art, the professions, reforms, charity, missions, etc.

     In the "good old days" of our grandmothers there was more than enough work for women at home. But man invaded her "sphere," and with the invention of machinery one after another of her fireside employments was taken out of her hands. Her carding and dying, spinning and weaving have been absorbed by the factories; tallow dips are obsolete; the making of soap, one of the lost arts of the household; the hats and caps, and shoes which she made for herself and her children were long ago laughed to scorn; the making of men's clothing as of youth's and children's as well, has been taken out of her hands by the immense manufactories, which are also grasping after the making of all kinds of women's furnishing goods, even down to the infant's bib. All this work and much more is now done out of the home, and done better, more rapidly and more cheaply by machinery. So that now there are many more women than are required to do the remaining work of the domestic circle.

     It was inevitable that women would adapt themselves to the changed circumstances, and with too much self- respect to be a useless weight upon the industries of others, a burden upon some willing or unwilling male relative, would seek some outside occupation by which they might not only support themselves, but, also, if need be, provide for the necessities and comforts of those depending upon them.

     In the new life animating women everywhere and in every department of activity, Iowa women do not "look on afar off," but find in the legend of the Norse heaven which gives Thor's house five hundred floors, a germ of promise that there is a plane of activity for all; and they are persuaded that whatever is right for them to attempt is possible for them to accomplish, and that for them as for their brothers, "Whatever is coming, there is but one way to meet it: to go straight forward, to bear what has to be borne and to do what has to be done."

     The census of 1880, reveals the fact that over eighty thousand women are at work at various gainful occupations. Women have money invested in almost every kind of industry and business enterprise in the State, and inquiry reveals an unexpected number of women managing business enterprises of various kinds; among which may be mentioned millinery, wholesale and retail (one wholesale house alone, reporting 800 firms of women in Iowa on their books), groceries, general dry goods stores, drug stores, china stores, fancy goods, toys, stationery and books, straw works, hair works, photograph galleries, glove and hose factories, jewelry, wholesale and retail, hotels, confectionery and fruit stores, market gardening, etc. In the Street Railway Company of the State Capital, a woman, Mrs. Mary Turner, who is also a very considerable stockholder, is secretary and treasurer of the company, and in the same city a woman stockholder. Mrs. McMurray. is secretary of the Dey Mountain Mining and Drilling Company.

     In the pursuits popularly supposed to be monopolized by men, the census returns reveal women workers as follows: boiler makers, boot and shoe makers, makers of brick and tile, brooms and brushes, cutlery and edge tools, foundery and machine shop products, furniture, chairs, glass, dressed furs, lead-bar, pipe and shot, leather, marble and stone work, mattresses and spring beds, buggy tops, linseed oil, paint, saddlery and harness, Surgical appliances, windmills, window blinds and shades, agricultural implements, awnings and tents, looking glass and picture frames, iron, tin and copper ware, shingles and laths, washing machines and wringers, wooden ware, wire work, drugs and chemicals, mineral and soda waters.

     Women are also enumerated as millers, miners, pork-packers, shippers, stock-raisers, barbers, blacksmiths, weavers, commercial travelers, detectives, gold and silver workers, printers, lithographers, stereotypers, editors and publishers. Women are engaged also in the canning of fruits and vegetables, the roasting and grinding of coffee and spices, in the manufacture of artificial flowers and feathers, cigars and cigar boxes, fancy paper and wooden packing boxes, soap and candles, starch, paper, hats and caps, masquerade costumes, men's and women's furnishing goods. In agriculture women are named in considerable numbers as laborers, farmers and overseers, gardeners and nursery women, vine growers and florists. The raising of poultry, the keeping of bees and the raising of silk-worms furnish supplementary employment to many more.

     There is a constant increase in the number of saleswomen in stores and shops of all kinds, with a decided increase in the number of bookkeepers and cashiers. We have two women who are presidents of banks, Mrs. L. A. Weiser, of Decorah, and Mrs. L. B. Stevens, of Marion; three who are brokers of money and stocks, four who are clerks and book-keepers in banks. An increasing number of young women have found employment in short-hand and type-writing. The number attending schools of this kind have increased rapidly. In nineteen schools in the State from which I have been able to collect statistics, almost one-half the students are now young women. An increasing number of women are employed in verbatim and professional reporting, including the reporting of law suits, taking depositions, reporting speeches, conventions, lectures, etc. Ladies can qualify themselves for court-reporting, but the duties are not so agreeable as the work in an office. We have one woman, however, Mrs. Fannie Harrison, of Clarksville. Iowa, who is doing most excellent and satisfactory work in this direction. Fifteen ladies are empowered to act as notaries public, there are five county recorders and various clerks, deputies, etc. The post-office and the offices of enrolling and engrossing clerks for both the House and the Senate have been filled by women for a number of years. The State librarian, the librarian of the State University, of many colleges and of many, if not most of the city libraries are women. Some of the telegraph and most of the telephone operators are women. We have our share, too, of book agents, peddlers of lace and fancy notions, and during the next year another field of activity in this direction has been opened to women--that of insurance agents, in which new field their efforts are meeting with success, I am told. And lastly we have manicures, whose foothold in the list of our business enterprises ought certainly to gain us immunity from the further reproach of being "wild Westerners."

Recapitulation of all Workers                                   Men                       Women

Agriculture                                                                   302,171                   1,386

Professional and Personal Services                               103,933                   69,575

Trade and Transportation                                             50,212                     660

Manufacturing, Milling and Mining Industries                 61,409                      8,442

Total:                                                                           597,879                    80,065

     These figures, however, give only approximately the number actually engaged in productive labor. A large number of women working in conjunction with husband, father or other male relative are not reported as workers for wages.

     Again it must not be forgotten, in making any comparison in regard to the relative numbers of men and women engaged in various industries, that Iowa has 71,000 more men than women, while in many of the eastern manufacturing states, there is a large excess of women.

     But very few children, comparatively, are engaged in business occupations, the total number, by the census of 1880, being but 1643. Our population is largely rural, about 14 per cent only of the total population living in towns having 4,000 inhabitants or over. And our children are in school, the last report of the State Superintendent of Public instruction showing 70 per cent of children of school age in school.


     Our public school teachers have an average salary of about $30 per month, one-fifth less than the average salary of men, not so great a disparity as formerly and chiefly accounted for by the fact that most men are principals or superintendents, while the lower grades with a corresponding diminution of salary are filled chiefly by women. In many, if not most places, there is no difference in the salaries paid men and women for the same grade of work. The County Superintendents have $4 per day, the same as men. The lady court reporter has $6 per day for every day in attendance upon court, and six cents per folio for transcripts, the same as men. As short-hand secretaries ladies receive from $50 to $100 per month. There is practically no difference in the compensation to young men and women for a specified amount and quality of work. Men are often paid a few dollars per month more than ladies for the reason that they stand in readiness to perform certain kinds of work in emergencies for which a lady would not be called upon.

     Clerks, saleswomen and book-keepers suffer the usual disparity of wages. The fee-hills of medical societies have never made any distinction as to the sex of the practitioner.


     Among the public school teachers, if there is a difference, it is in favor of the women. As County Superintendents of schools, women are by the testimony of those teaching under them, generally more efficient in their work. They are acknowledged to be faithful as examiners and in their clerical work, but are said to be rather less exact in statistics and less quick in comprehension of legal matters than men. In convention work they have done equally well with men, the papers they have presented being sound and progressive. As shorthand secretaries ladies are usually preferred unless there are other duties which it is not supposed a lady would care to perform. It is said "they do better, that is cleaner, work than men, make neater transcriptions, etc., and are contented to remain in the same place longer and in this way become better acquainted with the duties of the place and render their employers more valuable services."

     In schools of every kind, where prizes are offered for excellence, young women have always taken their full share. In the business colleges they have taken prizes for best penmanship, neatest ledgers and best composition until the newspapers have cried out: "What is the matter with the boys?"

     In the medical schools women have taken prizes in excess of their proportionate numbers for theses, clinical records and dissections.    

     In the inter-high school oratorical contests girls have always carried off the lion's share of the honors. In the collegiate oratorical contests prizes have in a number of instances been awarded to young women, in virtue of which they were entitled to represent their colleges in the State oratorical contests. On two different occasions in the State contest the first prize has been awarded to a young lady, in 1876; to Miss Evelyn M. Chapman, of Simpson Centenary college, and in 1881 to Miss Annie Brunson, of Upper Iowa University, entitling them to represent the State of Iowa in the Inter-state oratorical contests. On both these occasions Iowa's representative took high rank and reflected credit upon their alma mater and their State.

     In business circles we have yet to hear of one woman guilty of embezzlement or defalcation. As cashiers they are said to count more rapidly and accurately than men and have a superior ability to detect counterfeits. As book keepers they are more careful and painstaking in their work. In independent business enterprises women seldom "fail."


     Patents have been issued to Iowa women as follows: To Miss Flora Grace, of Web City, for a thermometer; to Miss Eugenie Kilnourne, of Cedar Rapids, egg beater, and griddle greaser; Mrs. I. T. Lamborn. attachment to door screen; Viola .J. Angier, of Spencer, album for photographs; Mrs. L. S. Avory, of Manson, an ironing board.


     The newly organized Labor Bureau of Iowa was memorialized by the A. A. W. to insert in their blank forms such queries as would show adequately the relations of women to labor. The justice of their request in a State where 80,000 women were engaged in gainful occupations was recognized, and it is a matter for congratulation that the returns from the new Bureau will be literally impartial between the sexes, and it will be possible to gain from them accurate and complete information as to the number of women engaged in each industry in the State; comparative wages in each; comparative wages as between men and women; what industries offer the best inducements to women seeking employment; whether or not women are entering new fields of labor, and if so, what; how the average attendance of women at their places of business compares with that of men, etc. The great practical value to working women of such tables kept through a series of years is self-evident.


     Education in Iowa has had a vigorous and natural growth. Coeducation everywhere prevails naturally and as a matter of course, there being but one female college in the State. With the exception of the Catholic and Episcopal schools, girls are admitted on equal terms with boys into all schools of all grades, from the kindergartens to the State University. Equal privileges are accorded women in all the medical schools—regular homeopathic and eclectic—in all the Law schools, in all the Business Colleges, in the Dental College and in the College of Pharmacy. The most noticeable advance of the past year has been made at the Agricultural College (a State institution with a large national endowment) in establishing in connection with the college a school of Domestic Science fully equipped and having at its head a woman as professor of Domestic economy. So far as is known, this is a step which no other State has taken.

     The first woman in America to be elected to a full professorship with all the honors and emoluments thereunto pertaining was Miss H. J. Cook, of Cornell College. Now one or more women are occupying positions on the faculty of twelve of our higher institutions of learning. The professorships so held are Greek (3), Mathematics (2), English Literature (5), Natural Sciences (2), Modern Languages (2), Domestic Economy (l). In three of these colleges the secretary of the faculty is a woman. Not being unaware of the shrug of the shoulders and the smile which any mention of Western universities and colleges is wont to excite in certain quarters, it may be added that Iowa is entirely willing to abide by a comparison of results, as shown by the census.

     Of the public school teachers of the State, two-thirds are women; of the superintendents and principals of graded schools, eighty-one are women—more than one in five; of the County superintendents eleven are women—one in nine; of teachers in normal institutes during the past year eighty-one were women—more than one third; of the principals of secondary institutions of learning thirty-seven are women—about one-third of the tutors and instructors in colleges and universities one-half are women; of the educational journals published in the State, one, The Iowa Normal Monthly, of Dubuque, has, until recently, had a woman, Mrs. J. W. Shoup, for associate editor and business manager; another, The Central School Journal, of Keokuk, has a woman, Miss L. G. Howell, for sole editor and proprietor. Houghton & Mifllin. the Boston publishing firm, in writing of the former, have taken occasion to express their "hearty appreciation of the intelligence and discrimination of her book notices," affirming that "they were superior to those of almost any other journal of the class in the country."

     During the last session of legislature, a woman was appointed secretary of the senate school committee. Of the State board of examiners one is a woman. In an increasing number of places over the State women are serving efficiently and satisfactorily on boards of education. Six women are now serving as presidents of such boards, thirty-five as secretaries, while fifty are vested with the responsibilities of treasurer.

      That our educational institutions have not suffered by being so largely in the hands of women, in every grade from the lowest to the highest, would seem to be fairly indicated by the census returns, which show that while Iowa stands twelfth in size and tenth in population in the roll call of States, she is seventh in the value of school property, seventh in the outlay for school purposes, sixth in the number of pupils in school, fifth in the number of school houses, fifth in number of teachers; that in but one other State in the Union are there so few illiterate persons over ten years of age while in the comparative ability to read, Iowa stands first in the Union.


     All over the State literary, historical, and conversational clubs are increasing in numbers, in membership, and in amount of active methodical study accomplished, and are from year to year becoming more truly the centers for intellectual improvement. Most of them are well organized, many have published constitutions and by-laws, courses of study, programs, etc., and some have club-rooms fitly furnished and equipped with a still balance in the bank. Their animus is well represented in the closing paragraph of the published history of the Dubuque Ladies' Literary Association.

     "We have students of all ages, from girls in their teens to grandmothers whose gray hairs have not quenched their love of study, and there can be no better evidence of the official tendency of the Association than the leveling of the barriers often raised by artificial wants or worldly success. Here the seamstress, the teacher, the author, the housewife, the leader of fashion, the artist, stand on the common plane of fellow-studentship. So closely does our interest in everything pertaining to learning unite us, that there is room neither for shy self-isolation, false pride nor patronizing toleration."

     Taste so cultivated in matters of life and literature and art, makes itself felt not only in the individual and in the family, but exacts a higher standard of social intercourse, demands a better class of public entertainments, frees genius from clogs and besetting sins and projects itself into every department of literary activity. Iowa women from these literary centres are contributing to eastern papers and journals on art topics, on historical subjects, on political subjects, on religious subjects; are writing for agricultural papers, for educational journals, for medical journals; are speaking on art, science, missions, charity, temperance, equal rights, domestic and social science; are writing poems and stories, commentaries and dictionaries; are making translations; are publishing books; are owning and managing, editing and publishing educational journals, literary magazines, daily and weekly papers.


     If we accept the dictum of Morris, in his recent Oxford lecture, that "art includes not only painting, sculpture and architecture, but the shapes and colors of all household goods, nay, even the arrangement of the fields for tillage and pasture," in short that "art is the beauty of earth," we in Iowa may indulge a comfortable complacency over the display in the out-door art studies of our State.

     Within more conservative limits, we have a multitude of amateurs with varied and varying gifts, and a few professionals with a reputation not confined to the State. There are within the State thirty--seven women who have studied art abroad, and women in almost every town of consequence, who have studied in the various American art schools. There are a number of Decorative art clubs in the larger cities and a greater number of clubs for the study of art. Aestheticism as cultivated by the disciples of the "green and yellow melancholy" has never found much favor in this part of the West, out there is a growing taste for things good and beautiful in art. There is, however, little concerted action as we have no great art center or art schools. There are 144 women teaching art classes, sixteen teaching artistic embroidery and fancy work. The number of pupils receiving art instruction is given as l,754. These figures do not include convents or Catholic schools and are known to be very incomplete. The only woman in the West who makes pretensions to the plastic art is an Iowa woman who has been commissioned to make the busts for the new State Capitol at Des Moines. There are a number of women who do creditable china painting; several who do their own firing, etc., and find a market for their wares in New York.


     A deserved reputation in science is a matter of slow growth and our State being comparatively new, the conditions have not been favorable to the development of a taste purely intellectual, which appeals neither to the emotional nor sensational side of us. Nevertheless, many of our women are making collections in the various departments of Natural History, and a number are quietly pursuing different lines of scientific research, though they are not yet to any great extent formulating results for publication. There are seven women in the State, however, thought worthy of mention in Cassino's Directory of American Naturalists, their specialties being geology, paleontology, botany and entomology. In addition to these ladies, the teacher of natural science at the State Normal School is a young woman; in two of our colleges the professorship of natural science is held by a woman, and the professor of botany in the College of Pharmacy is a woman. About one-tenth of the meteorological observers for the Iowa Weather Service are women.

     A young lady of Davenport is doing most valuable original work in tracing the life history of the insects of the State, rearing and sketching the larvae in all stages. Her drawings, plain or colored, on a hood or grained auto-type paper for photo-engraving, are most accurate and life like. Until interrupted by ill-health she did work of this kind for eastern naturalists, who, desiring illustration for their text, sent larvae to be raised and sketched. Similar work is being done by a young lady of sixteen in Keokuk, who gives promise of a brilliant future in this line of original research. A young lady of Princeton has prepared the illustrations for a new work on zoology by one of the professors of the State University. The drawings were made from live and alcoholic specimens, dissections and shells. This is the first time a woman has been employed here in this capacity, and the verdict was that they had never before had so good work done in the University. This young lady has also illustrated botanical articles in the Popular Science Monthly. A lady of Muscatine, whose specialty is entomology has been for several years studying the insects injurious to vegetation in this section of the country, and has written a number of papers upon this subject, which have been read before the State Horticultural Society and printed in its reports. For three years past she has been entomological editor of the Iowa State Register.

     The Davenport Academy of Science, with a total regular membership of 206, has on its roll the names of fifty-nine women, more than one in four. The working membership is in about the same proportion. In the published proceedings, Vol. III, p. 13, credit is given to the women workers in the Academy in the following language, which occurred in the speech of Dr. Parry, the well-known botanist, nominating a woman for the presidency:

     "It is quite unnecessary to explain to any one here present that the actual success and present prosperity of the Academy has been co-incident with the interest taken in it by woman. It was a woman's Centennial Association that first inaugurated and successfully carried out the publication of the proceedings, on which more than any other one thing, the scientific character and standing of the Academy abroad has been firmly established. The very ground beneath our feet is the spontaneous gift of a generous woman, and this commodious building, which affords us a permanent home, from lowest foundation stone to highest roof crest, if not the direct work of woman's hand has been wrought out and completed under the inspiring influence of a woman's heart. It has been proposed and I doubt not will meet the spontaneous approval of all present to recognize this obligation in a very appropriate way as well as add a crowning glory to the institution by electing Mrs. Mary L. D. Putnam, President of the Academy for the ensuing year."

     Mrs. Putnam was unanimously elected. This occurred in 1879 and was the first, and so far as I am aware, the only instance on record of a woman being chosen president of an Academy of Science. From year to year the names of women appear in the list of officers of this Academy, and at present the recording secretary, who is ex-officio one of the Board of Trustees, the librarian and the chairman of the publication committee are women. The summer classes in practical botany sustained by this Academy are two-thirds women, and last winter a course of lectures on the Physiology and Hygiene of Womanhood, given under the auspices of the Academy by one of its members, a lady physician, was attended by from 100 to l25 ladies.


     Year by year an increasing respect for and confidence in the capabilities of the woman practitioner of medicine, is shown in the most matter-of-fact way—by the balance in her bank account. In 1880 seventy-three women physicians were enumerated and, to my knowledge, the number is now considerably greater. The medical profession of Iowa, as a body, is noted for its justice, courtesy and liberality towards women practitioners. The occasional hostility of earlier years, in certain localities, has almost entirely disappeared, and there is now no part of the State in which educated and capable women are not received by their brothers in the healing art, on terms of perfect professional equality. Not only are they freely admitted to all the medical societies—county, district and state—but in many cases are acceptably occupying official positions as secretaries, treasurers, or on the Board of Censors. Last year, one of the most able and influential societies in the State chose a woman (who had first served three terms as secretary) to preside over their deliberations, a thing before unheard of in the medical world. This year she was reelected without a dissenting voice, no other nomination being made. It is the rule rather than the exception for the lady members of the local societies to be among the delegates sent to the State Society, and this year two ladies were given credentials to represent the State Society in the American Medical Association, the highest body in the profession.

     At the meeting of the State Society this year a number of ladies were in attendance, not on sufferance, but with all the rights and privileges of members, taking part in the proceedings, serving on committees, etc. "No members took more prominent part or received more courteous attention than they. The utmost harmony and good will prevailed throughout the sessions and that there has been no letting down of the high masculine standard to accommodate the mental or professional caliber of the ladies may be inferred from the remarks of one of the oldest members present, who said he had never before attended a meeting where so many able papers had been read." One of the leading dailies in the State, in commenting on the personnel of the Society, says: "It was a splendid gathering of men and women, which would do credit to any State in the Union." The president-elect in his address expressed gratification at the presence of so many ladies, and declared that they had "not only done credit to themselves as medical practitioners, but had reflected honor upon the Society."

     Last year the annual address before the Alumni Association of the Medical Department of the State University of Iowa was given by a woman, and this year the Alumni have elected a woman to the presidency of the Association.

     Although pharmacy is one of the vocations supposed to be scarcely yet opened to women, there were in Iowa, in 1882, no less than forty-three women enrolled as registered pharmacists, the law in this State providing rigid tests as to fitness. The State Pharmaceutical Society includes women in its membership who have taken an active part in its proceedings, serving on committees, taking part in debate. etc.

     There are in the State, according to the last census, 110 nurses, many of whom are graduates of the various schools for nurses, and twenty-six midwives; though it is believed that this latter figure falls far short of the actual number.

     The census gives us but one lady dentist, but there are now three in the State, one at Mt. Pleasant, one at Grinnell, and one at Council Bluffs. Almost all dentists have one or more lady assistants in their offices.


     Five ladies have graduated from the University Law School and two from the Des Moines Law School. But four, however, are now practicing within the State, one at Cedar Rapids and one at Iowa City are practicing in partnership with their respective husbands. These ladies confine themselves to office-work, preparing pleadings or papers, looking up cases, etc. Another at Delhi does similar work in connection with her father, and the fourth has for several years past, as an officer of the National W. C. T. U., devoted herself chiefly to the legal aspects of the temperance question, in which field of work her reputation is not confined to the State. The first woman ever admitted to practice in the U. S Courts was Mrs. Emma Haddock, of Iowa City.


     In Iowa, married women may own and dispose of property to the same extent and in the same manner as can the husband. The increase of her personal property belongs to her and is not subject to her husband's debt. She may hold the wages of her personal labor in her own right and maintain an action therefore in her own name. She may prosecute and defend all actions at law, or in equity for the preservation and protection of her rights and property as if unmarried. Contracts may be made by a wife, and liabilities incurred by the same, enforced by or against her to the same extent and in the same manner as if she were unmarried.

     A married woman may act as an executor independent of her husband.

     A widow has all household goods exempt from execution set apart to her; she has one-third of all personal property after debts are paid, and one-third of all unencumbered real estate in fee simple. If there are no children she receives one-half the estate. In case of her death, the husband has a similar share of her property.


     Friends or Quakers have here as everywhere been pioneers in giving freedom to women in ministerial work. Believing that the essential qualification for the work of the ministry is the immediate teaching and influence of the Holy Spirit, their practice has ever conformed to their doctrine, and if a sister felt moved by the Holy Spirit to minister unto them, no man said nay.      They also hold, however that as the gift is divine, the service is to be freely and faithfully performed without any view to reward from man, hence their ministry is not set apart from worldly avocations as are those of other denominations.

     Of these latter, the census mentions ten. These ladies are capable talented and successful workers. As pastors and preachers they will stand honest and fair comparison with any of the brethren. Some of them have been set over peculiarly trying parishes, and they have even here achieved a goodly degree of success. Where brethren have failed leaving the "desolation of destruction" they have been called to go and rebuild the "old waste places."

     The denominational affiliation of these ladies is Unitarian, Universalist and Christian.


     In the number of women prisoners, Iowa stands thirty-third in the list of States, while the ratio of female prisoners to the female population is the smallest in the Union.

     In regard to the kinds and certainty of punishment, the law makes no distinction because of sex and in the enforcement of the law by the courts, there is no material difference in the average of sentences imposed, except that women are frequently punished for a certain class of offenses against order and good morals for which men equally guilty are not held amenable to the law. All women convicts are sent to the new penitentiary at Anamosa, where they are in charge of a matron. A separate prison for women is contemplated in the plan of this institution which is still in process of erection. At this penitentiary a woman discharges with perfect acceptability the duties of chaplain and teacher.

    The Reform Schools have a woman on the Board of Trustees, and the Reform School for Girls has been in charge of a woman until recently, failing health having compelled her resignation. The State Hospital for Insane at Independence has a woman on the Board of Trustees and also on the medical staff. One member of the Visiting Committee to inspect the State Hospitals for the Insane is a woman.

     Women in this State are glowingly efficient in the various benevolent and philanthropic enterprises of the day, as is evidenced by the good work of the Ladies' Christian Associations, Relief Corps, Aid Societies, etc., in almost every city. The thoughtless and indiscriminate doling out of alms is giving place to an intelligent and conscientious study of the causes of pauperism, crime and wretchedness with a view to reducing them to a minimum. In several places, sewing schools for neglected girls, managed entirely by ladies, are in successful operation. From year to year one or more ladies in conjunction with gentlemen (usually an equal number of each) have been delegated by the governor to represent Iowa in the National Conference of Charities. On two different occasions ladies so delegated have read papers before that body which attracted widespread attention, and on several occasions the report for the State has been made by one of the lady delegates.

     The Cook Home for Aged and Friendless Women at Davenport was built and is maintained in comfort by the legacy of a lady. Its Board of Trustees is composed of an equal number of ladies and gentlemen, the president of the Board and the attending physician being ladies. The same donor gave $10,000 toward the establishment of a Public Library and Free Reading Room in Davenport.

THE W. C. T. U.

     The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, an incorporated organization with a membership of 5,000 earnest, consecrated women cannot be overlooked in any statement purporting to sketch the work of women in this State. With dauntless courage these mothers of Iowa banded themselves together to wage a hand to hand contest with the powers of darkness for the peace, purity and protection of the home. Operating through 230 local Unions with their thirty-one different departments of organized work—evangelistic, educational, social hygienic, scientific, legal, etc., this society of women has been a force felt from the center to the circumference of one State, and cooperating with the Great central organization, whose membership stands shoulder to shoulder from Maine to Texas and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, they have made a record unparalleled by any other existing organization. In the National W. C. T. U. convention at St. Louis the Iowa members distinguished themselves by boldly taking a stand against casting the weight of the organization in favor of St. John and the prohibition party. With but two exceptions the Iowa delegation voted solid against the measure.

     One of the practical features of their organization in the State has been the establishment and maintenance of a state refuge for erring women known in honor of Mrs. Benedict, as the BENEDICT HOME. During the past year twenty-five women, with ages ranging from thirty-one to thirteen years, have sought this refuge; six have been restored to their friends, three have married, two have died, one had been transferred to an insane asylum, a wreck for life, and five only have gone back to a life of sin. The Board of Managers, representing five different churches, have worked together as a unit in this most unpromising of all faith work.


     The Iowa Equal Suffrage Society has adopted the motto of the State with the change of a single word, thus: "Our liberties we prize, our rights we will secure." An amendment to the constitution giving women the right of suffrage was passed by the 19th General Assembly and it remained for the 20th General Assembly to ratify that action before it could be submitted to popular vote. All honorable means were used to secure favorable action, but notwithstanding the Governor in his message favored its submission to the people, and notwithstanding the thousands of petitions, it was lost by a vote in the House of 50, to 44, the vote in the Senate standing nays 26, yeas 24. The first protest against equal suffrage ever presented to an Iowa legislature was presented this year, signed "many ladies." The Senate objected to receiving a document with no names attached, but finally it was referred to the library committee, of which the Senator presenting it was chairman. The advocates of the measure are defeated, but not dismayed, and with 150 editors in the State who have signified their willingness to give space for suffrage articles, they do not propose to give up the fight.


      The great fraternity of Free Masonry, whose doors have been closed against women for three thousand years, now in the nineteenth century, in organizing the modern degrees of the Chapter, Council, Commandery, and Scotch Rite have provided also an adjunct to their ancient and honorable organization for their wives, sisters and daughters: and the order of the Eastern Star with five degrees, first established in 1850. now extends into thirty-two states and territories with a membership of fifty thousand. The Most Worthy Grand Matron who stands at the head of this organization in the United States is an Iowa woman, who, previous to her election to this high office at San Francisco last year, had as Grand Matron of her own State, won for herself a national reputation as one of the foremost workers in the cause in the United States.

    There is in Iowa a Grand Chapter, forty subordinate lodges, and a membership of 1,500 or more active and earnest workers. The ode book for the use of the order was compiled and published by two of the Iowa sisters, and is now going through its third edition.


     THE DAUGHTERS OF REBECCA, who sustain a similar relation to the I. O. O. F., have over one hundred lodges with a total membership of about two thousand.

     THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN, an organization whose object is "to consider and present practical methods for securing to women higher intellectual, moral and physical conditions, with a view to the improvement of all domestic and social relations, though not yet very thoroughly organized in the West, has a growing membership in this State. Iowa is represented in the management of this organization by a vice-president from Davenport and a director from Dubuque.

     THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE INSANE AND THE PREVENTION OF INSANITY is a society whose title sufficiently indicates its character and scope. Its plan of organization contemplates a corresponding member in each state and territory of the United States and in each country in Europe and eventually in the world. Although its membership includes both men and women, the direction of the work in this State is entrusted to a woman.

     While enumerating the work of women in connection with the world's progress in the arts, the sciences, the industries, the professions, we cannot overlook the fact that much of woman's best work cannot be recounted, tabulated or set forth in columns of figures. Hundreds of women, in every avenue of life, some sheltered from the sterner struggle for bread, others themselves workers, are ''lending a hand" to the great needs of the world without publicity. Neither can we overlook the 310,896 women who are heads of families. No work can be more ceaseless, more taxing, more deserving of appreciation at the hands of the commonwealth than the training up of the future citizens into healthful, useful and moral men and women; and many are the women to echo the sentiment of a mother of ten boys, who, when interviewed in regard to her public efforts, replied, "I would rather be known as the mother of my boys."



     JOHN BROWN, of Cedar township, Johnson county, Iowa, died in the autumn, leaving a wife and three little children.

     Among the elect ladies and dead of 1884, was Mrs. McGOVERN, the venerable mother of our County Treasurer. She was a perfect dorcas, from the garments which she made and other useful articles.

     PHILO HAINES, near Iowa City, also died in the autumn, leaving a widow, two grown up sons, a daughter and grand children to mourn, and to inherit his large estate. An old settler and an honest neighbor has passed away.

     MRS. LYDIA NORTON ALLEN, the wife of the late Dr. Harry Allen, whose memorial in brief the ANNALS of last year contained, has followed him, not far divided in death's harvest home. So kindred and acquaintances fall by the sythe of the destroyer.

     HARVEY W. FYFFE departed suddenly. He was expected to attend the New Orleans World's Fair as an official from Iowa City, but he is gone. He took the census of the city, for the United States, in 1850, which enumerated one thousand and fifty inhabitants. Mr. Fyffe was always foremost in all undertakings that seemed to be for the general good and welfare of Iowa City and Johnson county.

     Among the dead of 1884 should be mentioned, Mr. E. C. LYON, who began his fortune here in Iowa City with eighty acres. Mr. Lyon gave grounds for the depot, and would not allow it to be changed to Clinton street, when alive. It is to be hoped that his heirs will allow at least a passenger station at the foot of Clinton street, for the great accommodation of the city and traveling public. It would be about half the distance only to the post-office and business part of town. Mr. Lyon had considerable property. He was a member of the Episcopal church, and was buried in a stone cenotaph under the surface, made of stone. A novel burial in Iowa City.

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