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

March 31 - April 6

Women of the Week

Carrie M. Shoaff, Alice S. Deletombe, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Lucy Sargent Sawyer, Alice Williams Brotherton, and Louise Chandler Moulton, 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 number(s) to the left of their images.

Carrie M. Shoaff (2).jpg

SHOAFF, Mrs. Carrie M.

April 2, 1849

artist and inventor

Huntington, IN

p. 654-655

Artist and inventor Carrie M. Shoaff, whose maiden name was Griffin, was born in Huntington, Indiana, on April 2, 1849.    

By 1880, she and her husband Urias Shoaff were living in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  In 1884, she exhibited three of her paintings in Keil's bookstore in Fort Wayne.  The Fort Wayne Gazette of July 6, 1884 published an article about them, giving details about the paintings and praising Mrs. Shoaff's work as being "in every way worthy of notice."

On Thursday, January 10, 1895, The Fort Wayne Weekly Gazette published an article, "Eminent Women. The Part They Are Taking in the World's Affairs," about the A Woman of the Century book and focusing on Carrie M. Shoaff.  Speaking of Carrie, it noted: 

"Among the collection appears a finely executed photogravure and a biographical sketch of a well-known Fort Wayne artist and inventor, Mrs. Carrie M. Shoaff.  It tells in detail of the lady's success in the invention of a method of inventing imitation limoges ware and the demand that has everywhere been created for the product.  Our own people are well aware of the handsome offers that have been made the artist to remove to the east and establish a studio, yet her interest in her home where were the scenes of her disappointments and her final triumph have overbalanced all, and she continues her work here.  

Not only in this field has Mrs. Shoaff been successful, but as a writer the lady possesses much ability.  Many of the productions of her pen have delighted GAZETTE readers and all have reflected much credit upon her skill and ability.  Many articles are written over a nom-de-plume while others are unsighed.  All bear the unmistakable imprint of genius.  It is a pleasure to chronicle the success of such persons, because it is deserved, and the GAZETTE sincerely congratulates Mrs. Shoaff and trusts that the future may hae still greater achievements and victories in store for her."

A Woman of the Century noted that Mrs. Shoaff  had established an art school in Fort Wayne and was teaching  many women about limoges work.  She continued that work for several years, as Carrie is listed in the 1900 Federal Census as living on Columbia Avenue in Fort Wayne with her husband Urias and as being an Art Teacher.  

On April 20, 1917, the Fort Wayne News published Carrie's letter to the editor about the death of her friend S. B. McManus, a poet and "the leading spirit of the 'Bohemian Club.'"

She passed away in Fort Wayne on March 15, 1929, and was buried in Fort Wayne's Lindenwood Cemetery.

Alice S. Deletombe (2).jpg

DELETOMBE, Miss Alice S.

April 2, 1854


Gallipolis, OH

p. 238-239

Alice S. Deletombe, born in Gallipolis, Ohio, on April 2, 1854, was a poet. Humble by nature, young Alice did not publicize her work and often wrote under a pseudonym.

In 1891, The Magazine of Poetry published her image, some of her poems, and a biographical sketch of Alice by W. Farrand Fetch.  

Commenting on Alice's work, Fetch added:
"Miss Deletombe's poems are inspirations born of emotion more than reason, of heart not art, which well out of a warm, passionate, beauty-loving heart.  As such, they are true poems of the soul, and in spite of some metrical defects, are too good to be lost to the world."

Two years later, the same periodical published her poem "At His Gate."

It is quite likely that Fetch later wrote Alice's sketch for A Woman of the Century.  Alice also served as one of the many contributors to A Woman of the Century.

By 1903, she was writing for The Rosary, a periodical tied to her Catholic faith.

Alice passed away in Gallipolis on December 5, 1929. at age seventy-five.  She was buried in Mound Hill Cemetery in Gallipolis.

Harriet Prescott Spofford (2).jpg

SPOFFORD, Mrs. Harriet Prescott

April 3, 1835


Calais, ME

p. 673-674

Harriet Prescott Spofford, born on April 3, 1835, was an author, biographer, novelist, and poet.  A native of Calais, Maine, she attended Pinkerton Academy. Harriet became known in the literary world in 1859 when, as A Woman of the Century notes, "she published her Parisian story, 'In A Cellar,' in the 'Atlantic Monthly,' which at once brought her into notice" (674).  

In addition to Atlantic Monthly, she published in several periodicals, including Harper's Magazine, Independent, The North American Review, and Scribner's Magazine.  

Talented in a variety of fields, Harriet wrote several different types of books, including Art Decoration Applied to Furniture and The Marquis Of Carabas.  Her A Little Book of Friends was about ten of her friends.  Most of these women, including Louise Chandler Moulton, are in A Woman of the Century.

In addition to her literary activity, Harriet Prescott Spofford was a wife and mother who was very involved in the National Congress of Mothers.

Harriet passed away in Amesbury, Massachusetts on August 14, 1921, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Lucy Sargent Sawyer (2).jpg

SAWYER, Mrs. Lucy Sargent

April 3, 1840

missionary worker

Belfast, ME

p. 634

Lucy Sargent Sawyer, who was born in Belfast, Maine, on April 3, 1840, was a missionary worker, philanthropist, and reformer.

Devoted to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which her husband was a pastor, Lucy became involved in activities such as the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  As the couple moved around the country for his pastorates, Lucy participated in missionary and philanthropic causes in several cities.

Her A Woman of the Century profile notes: "In all reformatory and philanthropic movements she is greatly interested, and she is a generous and zealous patron of many of those organizations by which the christian womanhood of our day is elevating the lowly, enlightening the ignorant, comforting the poor and afflicted, and saving the lost" (634).

Lucy passed away in Slingerlands, New York, on November 11, 1907, and was buried in Pittsfield Cemetery, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Alice Brotherton (2).jpg

BROTHERTON, Mrs. Alice Williams

April 4, 1848


Cambridge, IN

p. 124-125

Alice Williams Brotherton was born in Cambridge, Indiana, on April 4, 1848.  Her A Woman of the Century profile notes the important roles that being raised in a home with books and a mother who encouraged writing played in setting Alice on the road to a writing career.  In addition to being a prolific writer, Alice also devoted much time to being a mother and wife.

One of her passions was her work with women's clubs.  In 1910, The Guthrie Daily Leader commented on Alice's club work and noted that  "Mrs. Brotherton is a successful writer and has made quite a reputation as a poet."  Alice's work was published in periodicals such as AldineAtlantic MonthlyCenturyIndependentMagazine of PoetryNew England MagazineScribner's Monthly, and St. Nicholas.

She passed away on February 9, 1930, and was buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery.

Louise Chandler Moulton (2).jpg

MOULTON, Mrs. Louise Chandler

April 5, 1835

poet and author

Pomfret, CT

p. 526-527

Author Louise Chandler Moulton was born on April 5, 1835.  A native of Pomfret, Connecticut, she left her hometown to attend Emma Willard's Troy Female Seminary.  Louise published her first works with Phillips, Sampson and Company and, as her friend Harriet Prescott Spofford noted in A Little Book of Friends, her publisher Moses Dresser Phillips said that the talented young author "was more fit to be President of the United States than any man he knew" (160).

During her career, Louise wrote several books and contributed to periodicals, including Atlantic MonthlyCentury MagazineGalaxyHarper's Monthly, IndependentScribner's Monthly, and Woman's Journal.  In addition to Spofford and Phillips, Louise's friends included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and Sarah Helen Whitman.

She passed away on August 10, 1908.