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

April 21 - April 27

Women of the Week

Temperance reformer Mary A. Brayton Woodbridge, General Federation of Women's Literary Clubs leader Charlotte Emerson Brown, physician Ellen Lawson Dabbs and poet, novelist, and journalist Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald 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 numbers to the left of their images.

Mary A. Brayton Woodbridge (3).jpg

WOODBRIDGE, Mrs. Mary A. Brayton

April 21, 1830

temperance reformer

Nantucket, MA

p. 797

Mary A. Brayton Woodbridge, born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on April 21, 1830, was a temperance reformer.  She married Frederick Wells Woodbridge when she was seventeen years old, and the couple settled in Cleveland, Ohio.  Mary became a mother, and her family eventually lived in Ravenna, Ohio.

Rev. Aaron Merritt Hills, Frances E. Willard, and others wrote about Mary's life in Life and Labors of Mrs. Mary A. Woodbridge.  She was very active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and edited The Amendment Herald.  Mary's personal network included President James A. Garfield, Universalist minister and author Phebe A. Hanaford, astronomer Maria Mitchell, and educator Horace Mann.

She passed away on October 25, 1894.

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BROWN, Mrs. Charlotte Emerson

April 21, 1838

president of the General Federation of Women's Literary Clubs

Andover, MA

p. 125-126

Charlotte Emerson Brown, born in Andover, Massachusetts, on April 21, 1838, was an author, a businesswoman, a philanthropist, a suffragist, and a teacher.

As the leader of the General Federation of Women's Literary Clubs, Charlotte strove to expand its membership.  Her A Woman of the Century profile notes:

"Mrs. Brown is greatly interested in the woman's club movement and gladly devotes her whole time to work for its advancement.  She possesses unusual power of memory, mental concentration, energy and business ability, combined with such sweetness of disposition and deference for others as to make it easy for her to accomplish whatever she undertakes. She is enthusiastic and inspires others with her own magnetism. She combines the power of general plan with minute detail, and her motto is that what should be done at all should be done promptly and thoroughly" (125-126).

In addition, Charlotte was a member of the Woman's Board of Missions.

She passed away on February 4, 1895, and was buried in Newark, New Jersey.

Ellen Lawson Dabbs (3).jpg

DABBS, Mrs. Ellen Lawson

April 25, 1853


Mount Enterprise, TX

p. 224

Ellen Lawson Dabbs, M.D. knew from personal experience how important it was for women to get an education and have a profession, so she accepted leadership positions in various organizations, knowing that her voice would be heard on women's rights and other key issues well beyond Texas.

Some of those organizations were the Texas Woman's Press Association, the Industrial Union, and the Texas Equal Rights Association.

During her career, she also clerked for her husband, merchant Joseph Wilkes Dabbs, presented at conferences, and wrote for the National Economist.

Ellen found time for all of these activities while also being a wife and mother.  

Ethelwyn Wetherald Cropped 2.jpg

WETHERALD, Miss Agnes Ethelwyn

April 26, 1857

poet, novelist, and journalist

Rockwood, Ontario, CAN

p. 762

Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald, a Canadian poet, novelist, and journalist, was born in Rockwood, Ontario, on April 26, 1857.  A Quaker, she came to the United States to attend the Friends Boarding School in Union Springs, New York. A writer from an early age, Ethelwyn published in St. Nicholas when she was just seventeen. She returned to Canada and graduated from Pickering College in Ontario.  

In addition to using her own name, Wetherald was known as "Bel Thistlewaite."  Her publications included The House of the Trees & Other Poems and a collaboration with Graeme Mercer Adam, An Algonquin Maiden:  A Romance of the Early Days of Upper Canada.

She contributed to both Canadian and American periodicals, including Canadian Monthly, Wide Awake, and Youth's Companion.  Agnes and Elizabeth Cameron collaborated as publishers of Our Wives and Daughters, a Canadian periodical.

Agnes passed away on March 10, 1940, at the age of eighty-two, and was buried in Friends Brick Church Grounds in Pelham, Ontario.