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A Woman of the Century:   A Crowdsourcing Project of the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

June 4 - June 10

Women of the Week

Catharine Waugh McCulloch, a lawyer from Ransomville, NY,  Martha H. Mowry, a physician from Providence, RI, Annie Fillmore Sheardown, a singer and musical educator from Franklin, CT, and Jennie Casseday, a philanthropist from Louisville KY, are this week's Women of the Week.  

  •  To learn about them by viewing their items, please click on their images.  

  • To read their biographical sketches in A Woman of the Century, please click on the highlighted page number(s) to the left of their images.

Catharine Waugh McCulloch.jpg

MCCULLOCH, Mrs. Catharine Waugh

June 4, 1862


Ransomville, NY

p. 485

Catharine Waugh McCulloch was born in Ransomville, New York, on June 4, 1862.  She graduated from Rockford Female Seminary, earning both a bachelor's degree and master's degree, and attended Union College of Law.

A temperance advocate from an early age, Catharine was a member of the Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union.  Also passionate about suffrage, she passed out a pro-suffrage speech to counter the anti-suffrage speech that her town's Presbyterian minister was giving.   

Catharine practiced law with Frank
 Hathorn McCulloch, a law school classmate whom she married on May 30, 1890, in Winnebago, Illinois.  Their firm was known as McCulloch & McCulloch.

Catharine spoke at many events in support of suffrage.  At the Cleveland convention in 1896, she and Julia Holmes Smith each presented an argument for the Democratic Party supporting suffrage.  

One milestone in Catharine's legal career was on February 21, 1898, when she was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court.

By 1900, Catharine was listed as a lawyer living at 2236 Orrington Avenue in Evanston with her husband and her children, Hugh and Hathorn. 

Catharine and Frank filed an argument and brief in Chicago in support of municipal suffrage for women in late May of 1906.  The next year, when Catharine was elected justice of the peace for Evanston, and the first female justice of the peace in the country, she changed the marriage contract to omit the wording that a woman must obey her husband.

The McCullochs took a four-month trip to Europe during the summer of 1908 and visited several countries.  By this time, their family had expanded to include two younger children, Catharine and Frank. 

Catharine spoke before the Society of Anthropology in 1909, making an argument that "woman was the originator of most of the good things in the world."  After praising women from Eve on, she asked her audience to vote on woman suffrage and got a positive result.

Catharine was the legal advisor for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, while also serving as an auditor, and later the Vice-President.  At the time of the 1912 Presidential campaign, Catharine insisted that the Republican Party would suffer the wrath of the suffragists if suffrage was not included in the platform. 

Later that year, she placed an ad in the Rock Island Argus that she would pay one dollar for every one hundred signatures collected in support of Illinois suffrage.  While she toiled mightily for suffrage, Catharine was quite vocal in her opposition to the "militant methods" of British suffrage leader Emmeline Pankhurst.  Her efforts were successful and Illinois women gained suffrage in 1913. 

Catharine was overjoyed when the Illinois Democratic state convention selected her as a 1916 delegate for Woodrow Wilson, commenting, "The Democratic party has, indeed, put itself out to honor womanhood."  She continued her efforts for suffrage for Illinois women in February of 1917, arguing for an amendment, against Grace Wilbur Trout, who believed that a convention alone would suffice.  Unfortunately for Catharine, the constitutional convention route was chosen by the time September came.  According to the Free-Trader Journal, Catharine wanted to unify women in the state, so she agreed to support the constitutional convention. Catharine continued to speak in Iowa and other states in support of suffrage.

Once the League of Women Voters was founded in 1919, Catharine was involved with this organization.  By 1922, she was the chair of the committee on uniform laws.  According to Washington D.C.'s Evening Star, this committee advocated for several issues related to marriage and motherhood.

A 1926 article by Lillian Campbell celebrated Catharine's forty years of having success in her law practice.  After mentioning some of her professional accomplishments, it notes, "She is the mother of four children, all university graduates, and two of her sons practice law with their father and mother."

Catharine continued being active in the Democratic Party, speaking at the conventions of the National Woman's Democratic Law Enforcement League in 1929 and 1931, and serving as its Second Vice President from 1929 until at least 1932.  She also served her country as a member of the Committee on Cultural Relations with Latin America.

During Catharine's long career, in addition to her work in the field of law and her suffrage work, she found time to advocate for temperance, to serve as legal advisor to the W.C.T.U., to write books and plays, and to participate in numerous organizations in the Chicago area. 

Catharine passed away in Evanston on April 20, 1945, and was buried three days later in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery.

Martha H. Mowry (3).jpg

MOWRY, Miss Martha H.

June 7, 1818


Providence, RI

p. 528

Physician, professor, and lecturer Martha H. Mowry hailed from Providence, Rhode Island.  Martha lost her mother when she was an infant, and she was devoted to her father throughout her life.  She attended a variety of schools, including the Green Street Select School, where she was taught by Margaret Fuller.  Martha took an interest in the areas of anatomy and physiology and began discussing medicine with several medical professionals and lecturing on various medical topics.  After working with a variety of physicians in Providence and Boston, and impressing physicians from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania with her competency, Martha received a medical degree from this new institution.  She was recruited to become Professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children there. When her father requested that she return to Providence, Martha agreed and gave up her teaching career.  For almost forty years, Martha had a very successful career as a Providence physician.

The History of Providence County, published in 1891 when Martha was in her early seventies, provided a lengthy biographical sketch of Martha which ended by noting: "She is still doing all the professional work it is well for one of her age to do, and is especially interested in educating mothers to a knowledge of the laws of life, physical, mental, and spiritual" (114).

In addition to her work as a physician, Dr. Mowry was a member of the Providence Physiological Society and the Association for the Advancement of Women.

In addition to Margaret Fuller, Martha's vast personal network included Edna Dow CheneyLydia Maria Child, Julia Ward Howe, and Lucretia Mott.

Dr. Mowry passed away on August 29, 1899 and was buried in the Mowry Lot in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Annie Fillmore Sheardown (2).jpg

SHEARDOWN, Mrs. Annie Fillmore

June 8, 1856

singer and musical educator

Franklin, CT

p. 650

Annie Fillmore Sheardown, daughter of John and Olma J. Burdick, was born in Franklin, Connecticut on June 8, 1856, and spent her youth living in Franklin and Norwich, Connecticut.  Passionate about music, she began lessons at a very early age.  By 1880, Annie was teaching music.  She was married to Thomas W. Sheardown for five years during the 1880s, but the couple separated.

Over the course of her life, Annie studied with several teachers, including C. R. Hayden, Emma Seiler, and George Sweet.  Inspired by Seiler's membership in the American Philosophical Society, Annie wrote to the Society's President on November 4, 1891, requesting information about becoming a member.

Annie's April 1892 essay in Werner's Voice Magazine, "The Philosophy of the Voice in Singing," presented several of her ideas about scientific voice study.  In addition, she contributed "The Voice of The Future " to Volume V (November 1893 - April 1894) of Music: A Monthly Magazine, Devoted to the Art, Science, Technic and Literature of Music.  In this essay, Annie advocated for her ideas about studying voice, noting, "There is no royal road to learning, but good intelligent study may accomplish wonders" (162).  She also praised her mentor, Emma Seiler.

By 1900, Annie was living with her father at 400 Franklin Street in Norwich, Connecticut and teaching music.  She passed away on December 6, 1904, and was buried in Norwich's Yantic Cemetery.

Jennie Casseday (3).jpg

CASSEDAY, Miss Jennie

June 9, 1840


Louisville, KY

p. 160-161

Jennie Casseday, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky on June 9, 1840, was injured as a young woman. As a result, she was bedridden for most of her life. Determined to brighten the lives of others in her situation, she created the Louisville Flower Mission.   

During the early years of the Flower Mission, Jennie was contacted by the Harper Brothers, successful New York publishers, to write about her Flower Mission for Harper's Young People.  Responding to the publishers, Jennie wrote: 

"The mission of flowers has in itsuch possibilities, such deep meanings, so much cheer and brightness for the sick, the aged, the poor, the shut-ins, and for the missionaries themselves, that I find my heart bounding with gladness at the new avenue you have opened for its enlargement"(Duncan, 22). 

Word spread about Jennie's mission, and Frances Willard asked Jennie to be the founder of the WCTU's National Flower Mission.  Her National and Annual Flower Mission Day, an event on her birthday which resulted in flowers in the cells of prisoners throughout the country, continued even after Jennie's death on February 8, 1893.

In addition, Jennie organized the Shut-In Band, a community of people who, like her, were invalids, and provided a way for them to communicate through the periodical Open Window

She also supported the Louisville Training School for Nurses and the Rest Cottage "for tired girls and women who have to support themselves" (161), and established a Louisville chapter of the Order of King's Daughters (Duncan, 43).