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

April 30 - May 6

Women of the Week

Abba Goold Woolson, an author from Windham, ME, Julia McNair Wright, an author from Oswego, NY, Lucia True Ames, an author, teacher, suffragist, and pacifist from Boscawen, NH, Elizabeth Cochrane, better known as "Nellie Bly," an author, journalist, and traveler from Cochrane Mills, PA, and Rev. Phebe Anne Hanaford, an author and Universalist minister from Nantucket, MA, had birthdays this 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.

Abba Louise Goold Woolson.jpg

WOOLSON, Mrs. Abba Louise Goold

April 30, 1838


Windham, ME

p. 801

Author Abba Louise Goold Woolson was born on her family compound in Windham, Maine, on April 30, 1838. She was the daughter of author and Maine historian William Goold. Her family had long-established roots in Maine and resided in Windham for several generations.

Abba received an education from the Portland public schools and attended the Girls' High School. She graduated from the Girls' High School as valedictorian in 1856. This year would prove to be exciting for Abba as it was also the year she married her high school principal, Professor Moses Woolson, and was first published in New York's Home Journal.

While living in Portland, Maine, Abba went on to start a successful and robust career as an author. She penned a series of popular poems for the Portland Transcript, a publication she contributed to for four years. Through the course of her writing career, she published dozens of essays, lectures, poems, and collections. In 1874, Abba edited and contributed to "Dress Reform," a series of lectures by women physicians of Boston on "Dress as It Effects the Health of Women." The lectures were originally delivered in the prior year as part of a dress-reform series sponsored by the New England Women’s Club. In this work, Abba amplified the voices of physicians speaking out against impractical dress.

Through her work as a teacher, she passed down her writing skills and wisdom. Abba was a teacher at the Mt. Auburn Girls' School and the Concord High School. Her talent as a poet led to several speaking engagements, including Portland's celebration of the Maine Centennial and the dedication of the Fowler Library in Concord, New Hampshire. Being one of New England's premier writers, it's no surprise that Abba served in many literary groups and societies. Her most notable commitments were serving as president of the Castilian Club and the Massachusetts Society for the University Education of Women.

Aside from her devotion to writing, teaching, and reform, Abba traveled extensively. Her travels included visiting the West Coast of the United States, Europe, and Morocco.

Abba passed away on February 6, 1921, at the age of 82.

Julia McNair Wright (2).jpg

WRIGHT, Mrs. Julia McNair

May 1, 1840


Oswego, NY

p. 804

Julia McNair Wright, an author, was born in Oswego, New York, on May 1, 1840.  Her A Woman of the Century profile notes: "She began her literary career at sixteen, by the publication of short stories" (804). Three years later, Julia contributed "The Life-Labor of Jean Garston" to the November 1859 edition of Ladies' Repository and also married Dr. William James Wright, a mathematician.

She wrote on topics that interested her, such as temperance and domestic life, and was extremely successful.  A Presbyterian, Julia penned several Anti-Catholic works, such as Secrets of the convent and confessional: an exhibition of the influence and workings of papacy upon society and republican institutions.  She also wrote nature books for children.  In 1895, Julia became the editor for the home department of The St. Louis Presbyterian.

Julia passed away in Fulton, Missouri, on September 2, 1903.  Her obituary in The Indianapolis Journal highlighted that Julia's "'Nature Readers' have been translated into several foreign languages and are in preparation as a textbook for the blind."


AMES, Miss Lucia True

May 5, 1856


Boscawen, NH

p. 23-24

Lucia True Ames, from Boscawen, New Hampshire, was born on May 5, 1856.  She was an author, teacher, suffragist, and pacifist who lived in Boston during her adult years.

Lucia's "The Home in the Tenement-House," published in The New England Magazine in 1893, her books, and her public lectures attest to her talent in finding a variety of ways for spreading the word about causes she believed in.  In addition, Lucia taught classes to adults on Ralph Waldo Emerson and other authors. 

She was a member of several organizations, including the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union, and the American Peace Society.

Lucia's personal network included Jane Addams, Anna Garlin Spencer, and Edwin Doak Mead, the editor of The New England Magazine who became her husband.

Elizabeth Cochrane.jpg

COCHRANE, Miss Elizabeth

May 5, 1867

author, journalist, and traveler

Cochrane Mills, PA

p. 186-187

Author, journalist, and traveler Elizabeth Cochrane, better known as "Nellie Bly," was born in Cochrane Mills, Pennsylvania, on May 5, 1867. She later lived in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New York, New York.

She began her career as a writer for The Pittsburgh Sunday Dispatch, later serving as society editor, and she also penned many articles for The New York World.  As Elizabeth worked on her articles, she traveled to Mexico and many other places.

Elizabeth's social network included  Elizabeth Bisland, George A. Madden, Joseph J. Pulitzer, and John A. Cockerill.

She passed away on January 27, 1922.

Phebe Anne Hanaford (2).jpg

HANAFORD, Rev. Phebe Anne

May 6, 1829

Universalist minister and author

Nantucket, MA

p. 355-356

Phebe Anne Hanaford, a Nantucket, Massachusetts, native who was born on May 6, 1829, contributed to A Woman of the Century after having written her own collective biography of women, Women of the Century (1877).

In addition to writing many books and editing two periodicals, Phebe was a well-known Universalist minister.  Rev. Hanaford was ordained in Hingham, Massachusetts, she served there and in several other communities, and she was chaplain for the Connecticut House and Senate.

Phebe also was a poet, an editor, a teacher, and a temperance reformer.  She was involved with the women's groups Sorosis and the Association for the Advancement of Women, as well as the Grand Templars.  Her personal network included Rev. Olympia Brown, Sophia Curtiss Hoffman, and three other women from Nantucket: Maria Mitchell,  Mary A. Brayton Woodbridge, and her relative Lucretia Mott.

April 30 - May 6