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

February 11 - February 17

Women of the Week

Author Lydia Maria Child, lawyer Myra Bradwell, poet Julia C. R. Dorr, actress Helen Dauvray, and educator Hannah Perkins Dodge 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.

Lydia Maria Child (2).jpg

CHILD, Mrs. Lydia Maria

February 11, 1802


Medford, MA

p. 173-174

Lydia Maria Child was born on February 11, 1802, in Medford, Massachusetts.  She gained early readers through her fiction, her biographies, and her periodical, Juvenile Miscellany.  She bravely risked her established reputation in support of the anti-slavery cause in 1833.  Lydia's An Appeal in favor of that class of Americans called Africans brought her intense, yet mixed, public attention.  The next year, she again toiled for the cause by editing The Oasis.
Throughout her life, Lydia continued both her reform work and her writing.  She authored several more books and contributed to periodicals such as Ladies' RepositoryLiving Age, and The United States Democratic Review.  "Harriet E. Hosmer. A Biographical Sketch," Lydia's contribution to the January 1861 volume of Ladies' Repository, focused on Hosmer, another woman in A Woman of the Century.

In addition to Hosmer, Child's large personal network included Rosa Miller Avery,  Dr. Martha H. Mowry, and John Greenleaf Whittier.

Lydia passed away in Wayland, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1880, and was buried in that town's North Cemetery.

Myra Bradwell (2).jpg


February 12, 1831

lawyer and editor

Manchester, VT

p. 115

Myra Bradwell, a native of Manchester, Vermont, who was born on February 12, 1831, was one the most well-known female lawyers of the nineteenth century.  As a pioneer in the field, she created and argued for important legal rights, including "the law giving married women their own earnings" (115).  

In addition to being a lawyer, Myra also edited the Chicago Legal News in the city where she spent most of her life.

A philanthropist, Bradwell supported the South Evanston Industrial School and worked for the Sanitary Commission.

She was a member of a number of organizations, including Illinois Bar Association, the American Woman Suffrage Association, the Illinois Press Association, and Soldiers' Home Board.

Myra passed away on Valentine’s Day in 1894.  She was buried in Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Julia C. R. Dorr.jpg

DORR, Mrs. Julia C. R.

February 13, 1825


Charleston, SC

p. 253

Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr was born on February 13, 1825, in Charleston, South Carolina.  She was the daughter of William Young Ripley and Zulma DeLacy Thomas. When Julia was a young girl, her father moved the family to his native Vermont, where he devoted himself to the Rutland marble quarries.  After William built the Rutland Opera House, Julia worked to develop women’s appreciation for the arts.

In 1847, Julia married Hon. Seneca M. Dorr, a lawyer and legislator from New York. They had five children. Seneca encouraged her writing, and he sent Julia's first published poem to “Union Magazine” without her knowledge. Her first published short story, “Isabel Leslie,” won her one hundred dollars in prize money. Julia's novel “Farmingdale” was published under her pseudonym, Caroline Thomas, again with assistance and support from her husband.  In addition to being a wife and mother, Julia was a prolific poet, an author, a wife, a mother, and an inspirational community member. 

After Seneca passed away in 1884, Julia devoted some of her time to another cause.  According to her “A Women of the Century” profile, "she became the leader of a band of women who founded the Rutland Free Library, the success of which has been so remarkable" (253). Surely, her works were in that library, as Julia’s poetry, stories, essays and letters won respect from her townspeople and famous male writers such as Longfellow, Emerson, Whittier, and Holmes. She rightfully earned her place in American literary history.  Julia was honored as Vermont’s “unofficial poet laureate,” and she was bestowed the honor of Doctor of Letters from Middlebury College in 1910. 

Julia Caroline Riley Dorr died on January 18, 1913, and was buried in Rutland's Evergreen Cemetery.

Helen Dauvray (2).jpg


February 14, 1859


San Francisco, CA

p. 229-230

Actress Helen Dauvray was born in San Francisco, California, on Valentine's Day in 1859.  She made her acting debut in the same city, just five years later. 

"Little Nell, the California Diamond," as she was known, had a very successful career in New York City. During her career, she worked with theatre giants such as actor Junius Brutus Booth, actress Matilda Heron, and playwright Bronson Howard. Helen married baseball player John Montgomery Ward in 1887, but the marriage was not a happy one and they divorced in 1893.  Despite the troubles in her personal life, Helen was flourishing in her professional life.  During the 1890s, she had her own theatre company.

She performed in Honolulu in 1895 and then headed to Australia to perform there.  On the way, Helen met and began her relationship with Admiral Albert Gustav Winterhalter.  After they married in 1896, she retired from the stage for several years.  Eventually, Helen began to act again. 

Helen passed away on December 3, 1923, and was buried next to her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.

Hannah P. Dodge.jpg

DODGE, Miss Hannah P.

February 16, 1821


Littleton, MA

p. 248

Hannah Perkins Dodge was born in North Littleton, Massachusetts, on February 16, 1821.  She dedicated her life to the education of young people, especially young women, and to philanthropic causes.  Hannah taught as a young woman and attended Lawrence Academy and Townsend Female Academy.  After graduating from the latter school, she became Townsend Female Academy's principal.  In addition, she taught in Norfolk, Virginia, for a few months.

Seven years after beginning her tenure at Townsend, Hannah moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, to teach at Oread Collegiate Institute, a school for young women that had been founded by Eli Thayer in 1848.  She served as Preceptress and later as Acting Principal, while also teaching Moral Philosophy and Mathematics.  One of her colleagues at Oread was Elizabeth Grout Arms, a friend who, like Hannah, had previously taught at Townsend Female Academy.  According to Rev. William Jacob Cloues, Hannah's advisors included Dr. Francis Wayland (Brown's President), Rev. Dr. Heman Lincoln Wayland (pastor of Worcester's Main St. Baptist Church), Dr. Edward Everett Hale (pastor of Worcester's Church of the Unity), and Hon. Isaac Davis (a lawyer and politician who served as Worcester's mayor).

In 1859, Hannah left Oread and spent a year traveling and studying in Europe.  Upon her return in 1861, she opened her own school, Codman Hill Young Ladies' School, in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  By 1868, Hannah's friend Elizabeth was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where her husband, Rev. Dr. Heman Lincoln Wayland, had become a professor at Kalamazoo College.  Since Hannah moved to Michigan in 1868 to become Lady Principal at Kalamazoo College, it appears likely that Rev. Wayland had mentioned Hannah's talents to the college's leaders.  Later, she returned to New England, serving in the same capacity at the co-ed New London Literary and Scientific Institution (later Colby Academy) in New London, New Hampshire.

While she officially retired in 1877, and returned to Littleton, Massachusetts, Hannah was not done giving back.  In addition to being a philanthropist, she served as the superintendent of schools in Littleton, as a trustee of the Reuben Hoar Library, and as the president of the local Woman's Christian Temperance Union.  

Hannah Perkins Dodge passed away in Littleton on January 11, 1896, and was buried in Westlawn Cemetery.