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

January 14 - January 20

Women of the Week

Journalist and reformer Susan Frances Nelson Ferree, who was born on January 14, 1844, and author, novelist, and playwright Frances Courtenay Baylor, who was born on January 20, 1848, 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.

Susan Frances Nelson Ferree.jpg

FERREE, Mrs. Susan Frances

January 14, 1844

journalist and reformer

Mount Pleasant, IA

p. 287

Susan Frances Nelson Ferree was born in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, on January 14, 1844, and grew up in Keokuk, Iowa.  She married Jerome D. Ferree in 1860 and had several children. From the 1860s to the late 1870s, the family first lived in Keokuk, Iowa, and then moved to Ottumwa, Iowa.

Her A Woman of the Century profile notes:

"Mrs. Ferree is a great lover of poetry, of which she has written much, but she excels in journalism.  Some of her newspaper correspondence from Washington, D.C. is exceptionally fine.  She is an untiring worker for temperance and for the advancement of woman (sic).  She is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Woman's Relief Corps, the Iowa Woman's Suffrage Association, and the local Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and a communicant of St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Ottumwa" (287). 

In addition, Susan was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  She was one of the three Ottumwa, Iowa delegates to the DAR meeting in Washington, D.C. in 1901.

Susan and Jerome were living on Ingraham Street in Los Angeles, California, in 1910, but they moved to San Diego, California, the following year.  After she did not accompany him to Arizona, the couple divorced in 1913.

Susan passed away in Monterey, California, on September 30, 1919, and her ashes were buried in the family plot in Ottumwa.

Frances Courtenay Baylor (2).jpg

BAYLOR, Miss Frances Courtenay

January 20, 1848

author, novelist, and playwright

Fayetteville, AR

p. 66

Author, novelist, and playwright Frances Courtenay Baylor, who was born on January 20, 1848, hailed from Fayetteville, Arkansas.  During her lifetime, she also called San Antonio, Texas, England, and Winchester, Virginia, home. 

She wrote pieces such as "Small Courtesies" in Lippincott's Magazine.  In addition, readers would have found her work in The Atlantic Monthly, The Princeton Review, and The Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Her "In the Old Dominion" was written for The Atlantic Monthly during 1883, when Frances was living in Winchester, Virginia. 

Frances penned a play, "Petruchio Tamed," early in her career and found success with novels such as On Both Sides and Behind the Blue Ridge.

Her A Woman of the Century profile concludes: "Miss Baylor deservedly ranks high as an author of remarkable powers of observation, of judgment, of humorous comment, and of philosophic generalization"(66).

She married George Barnum in 1896, but quickly became a widow.  Frances passed away in Winchester, Virginia, on October 19, 1920.