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

April 7 - April 13

Women of the Week

Emma Southwick Brinton, Katharine Johnson Jackson, Margaret Bloodgood Peeke, Mary Helen Peck Crane, Fanny Gipsy Lily Davenport, and Allie C. Willard, are this week's Women of the Week.   

  • To learn about them by viewing her 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.

Emma Brinton Southwick (2).jpg

BRINTON, Mrs. Emma Southwick

April 7, 1834

army nurse and traveler

Peabody, MA

p. 122

Army nurse Emma Southwick Brinton was born in Peabody, Massachusetts on April 7, 1834. During the Civil War, she served as a nurse in Washington, D.C.; Petersburg, Virginia; the Sea Islands; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Later, Emma became a writer and lecturer. The Washington Times of May 24, 1903, featured her "Hospital Heroines of the Civil War."

On April 13, 1912, she wrote a Letter to the Editor of The Washington Times, praising artist Francis Davis "Frank" Millet, an old friend and fellow member of the Society of Art who had perished on the Titanic.  In the article, Emma recalled her work with his father, Dr. A. C. Millet, during the Civil War and her many meetings in the United States and abroad with Frank D. Millet.

She was active in women's rights and religious education.  Emma served as the delegate to the International Council of Women at The Hague and the International Sunday School Convention in 1915.  According to The Evening Star, she lived at 1414 Fifteenth Street in Washington, D.C.

In August of 1917, during World War I, Emma spoke at The Church of the Covenant in Washington, D.C. about her work as a Civil War army nurse.

By April of 1921, when she gathered friends to celebrate her eighty-seventh birthday, Emma lived at 1318 Eleventh Street, Northwest in Washington,

Katherine Johnson Jackson.jpg

JACKSON, Mrs. Katharine Johnson

April 7, 1841


Sturbridge, MA

p. 414-415

Katharine Johnson Jackson, daughter of former Massachusetts senator and representative Hon. Emerson Johnson, was born in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, on April 7, 1841. Following periods of public school and home school instruction, she entered a prestigious school in Hopedale, Massachusetts, at age sixteen. Katharine subsequently completed her high school studies at a school in Hartford, Connecticut, where she later taught. To further her education, she studied stenography and was likely one of its first woman practitioners. 

In 1861, Katharine, also referred to as Kate, began her lifelong career at Our Home on the Hillside, as private secretary to Dr. James C. Jackson, director of the Jackson Sanatorium.  Established in 1858, the Jackson Sanatorium was founded on two basic principles: to restore sick people to health, and to teach the philosophy of health by right living. While employed at the sanatorium in Dansville, New York, she met and later married James H. Jackson, the son of Dr. James C. Jackson.  They had one child, James Arthur Jackson, who was born a few years after their 1864 marriage. During these years Katharine and James attended medical school. She attended The Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary where she graduated as valedictorian of her class. James completed his medical school at Bellevue. 

Following her graduation, Katharine worked as a physician and managing staff member at The Jackson Sanatorium where she helped to make the home a haven of rest for the sick and suffering. Dr. Kate Jackson was intensely devoted to helping people both physically and spiritually. While acutely aware and interested in contemporary women's issues, the rigorous nature of her professional life prevented her from being as active in social causes as she would have liked. Kate was noted to be a persuasive and informative speaker who educated the staff and patients of the sanatorium regarding health and other practical subjects. The physical and spiritual care Dr. Jackson gave to her patients, and the education she provided to enable patients to care for themselves, established her as an inspiration among nineteenth-century women.

Margaret Bloodgood Peeke (2).jpg

PEEKE, Mrs. Margaret Bloodgood

April 8, 1838


Saratoga Springs, NY

p. 564

Author Margaret Bloodgood Peeke was born near Saratoga Springs, New York, on April 8, 1838.  She married Rev. George H. Peeke and became the mother of six children.

Margaret wrote for several periodicals, including ArenaChicago AllianceDetroit Free PressHarper's Young People, and Metaphysical Magazineand published with the Arena Publishing Company.

She passed away in Pomona, Tennessee, on November 2, 1908, at the age of seventy-five.

MaryHelenPeckCrane (2).jpg

CRANE, Mrs. Mary Helen Peck

April 10, 1827

church and temperance worker

Wilkes Barre, PA

p. 213-214

Mary Helen Peck Crane, the daughter of Methodist Episcopal minister George Peck and Mary Myers Peck, was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on April 10, 1827.  

Her husband, Reverend Jonathan Towley Crane, was a Methodist Episcopal pastor and the president of Pennington Seminary.  Mary Helen was a church worker for the Methodist Episcopal Church, a temperance reformer, a journalist, and the mother of fourteen children. One of those children was the author Stephen Crane.  Jonathan passed away in 1880, and three years later Mary Helen purchased a home for her family in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Mary Helen wrote for several newspapers, including The New York Tribune and The New York World, and she was an active member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.  On January 20, 1888, The New York Tribune's article about a W.C.T.U. convention in New Jersey the previous day noted:

"Mrs. M. Helen Crane, State superintendent of press work, read a paper replete with valuable suggestions on newspaper work."

Mary Helen passed away in Paterson, New Jersey, on December 7, 1891, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Hillside, New Jersey.

Fanny Lily Gipsy Davenport (2).jpg

DAVENPORT, Fanny Lily Gipsy

April 10, 1850


London, ENG

p. 230

Fanny Lily Gipsy Davenport, born on April 10, 1850, hailed from London, England. She was a popular actress who had her own theatre company. Like Lotta Crabtree and many other actors and actresses, Fanny thrilled audiences throughout the country during her acting tours.

She passed away in South Duxbury, Massachusetts, on September 26, 1898, and was buried in Jamaica Plain's Forest Hills Cemetery and Crematory.

Allie C. Willard.jpg

WILLARD, Mrs. Allie C.

April 13, 1860

journalist and businesswoman

Nauvoo, IL

p. 775-776

Alice "Allie" C. Rosseter Willard was born on April 13, 1860, near Nauvoo, Illinois.  During her childhood, Allie's family moved to Grand City, Nebraska, then to Loup City, Nebraska.  An avid learner, she dedicated herself to her studies.  Interested in a career in business, Allie studied the field and became affiliated with a printing office. On August 30, 1880, she began her five-year career as the U.S. postmaster for Loup City.

Allie married Osmond Willard in 1881, after a long courtship, and became the mother of five children. Somehow, she also found time to work with Osmond on his newspaper, The Loup City Times, writing editorials and articles.   

After Osmond was assassinated by a rival publisher in May of 1887, due to his paper's opposition to a political ring, Allie became editor of The Loup City Times.  Since she had been working closely with Osmond and had gained a wide professional network by attending conventions with him, Allie was well prepared to succeed her husband.  She boosted her business acumen by attending business college and briefly served as a clerk in the Nebraska Senate.  Allie was a member of the Nebraska Press Association and became affiliated with the Western Newspaper Union in 1889.

In addition, Allie was active with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, advocated for other reforms, and participated in philanthropic work.

After meeting many people during her travels abroad, Allie became associated with The London Signal, owned by Lady Henry Somerset, in 1895.

By 1900, Allie was living in Washington, D.C. and working as a librarian. Ten years later, she was living in Chicago, Illinois, and working as a stenographer in the railroad industry.

Her "Our Own Lady" was published in 1931.  As Allie wrote in the introduction, it was a "little book of biography, history and poetry about (Mrs.) Bertha Baur, because she is our own lady." Bertha Elizabeth Duppler Baur was a successful businesswoman, political activist, and suffrage advocate who was living in Chicago at the time.

Allie passed away in Chicago on September 12, 1936.