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

November 19 - November 25

Women of the Week

Matilda B. Carse, a philanthropist, temperance worker, and financier, Abby Morton Diaz, an industrial reformer, Celeste M.A. Winslow, an author, and Sophia Curtiss Hoffman, a philanthropist, 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.

Matilda B. Carse (2).jpg

CARSE, Mrs. Matilda B.

November 19, 1835

philanthropist, temperance worker, and financier

Belfast, IRL

p. 155-156

Matilda B. Carse, a Belfast, Ireland native, was born on November 19, 1835.  She became involved with the temperance cause after the tragic death of her young son due to a drunken wagon driver.  For the rest of her life, this philanthropist toiled for temperance reform and supported many other causes.

As a very active member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Matilda, sometimes referred to as Tillie, worked closely with Frances Elizabeth Willard and Julia A. Ames.  One of her greatest achievements was gaining the funding for and ensuring the creation of the Temperance Temple in Chicago.  

Along with its founder Dr. George E. Shipman, Matilda raised money for the Chicago Foundlings Home, an organization devotied to aiding orphaned children.

Tillie passed away in Park Hill, New York, on June 3, 1917.  She was buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum.

Abby Morton Diaz (2).jpg

DIAZ, Abby Morton

November 22, 1821

industrial reformer

Plymouth, MA

p. 240-241

Abby Morton Diaz was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1821.  During the 1840s, Abby and some of her family members spent time at Brook Farm, the Uptopian community in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.  Recalling her friendship with Abby there, Ora Gannett Sedgwick later commented: "Among these I must not omit to mention Abby Morton (Mrs. Diaz), who became very dear to me, and whose peculiar combination of liveliness and dignity, together with her beautiful singing, made her a favorite with all the members, old and new" [Atlantic Monthly, 85 (509): 401]. 

Abby's career included being an industrial reformer, an Anti-Slavery advocate, a teacher, a housekeeper, a social worker, and an author.  She was writing fiction by her early forties and contributed to The ArenaThe Atlantic MonthlyHearth and HomeThe IndependentNew England Magazine, Our Young Folks, and Wide Awake.

Diaz's three 1864 pieces in The Atlantic Monthly were "The Schoolmaster's Story,"  "Some Account of the Early Life of an Old Bachelor," and "The Little Country-Girl."

A popular juvenile fiction writer, she often published with James R. Osgood and Company.  Her The William Henry Letters was published in 1872.  During the Christmas holiday of 1877, her The Jimmyjohns & Other Stories received high praise from The Independent: "The Jimmyjohns and Other Stories, by the charming juvenile writer, Mrs. A. M. Diaz, is one of the very best children's books of the year."  Some of her other works were: William Henry and His FriendsThe Cats' Arabian Nights, or King Grimalkum, and  Bybury to Beacon Street

While writing, she also continued lecturing on topics such as "Women's Work for the Millenium."

In 1889, Abby wrote a piece about her hometown, "A Plymouth Pilgrimage," for New England Magazine.  Ten years later, Diaz penned "Antislavery Times in Plymouth" for the same periodical.

Abby continued to write and publish into the new century.  Her The Flatiron and the Red Cloak; Old Times at X-Roads was published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Company in 1901.  She passed away in Belmont, Massachusetts on April 1, 1904 and was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Celeste M. A. Winslow.jpg

WINSLOW, Mrs. Celeste M. A.

November 22, 1837


Charlemont, MA

p. 791

Celeste M. A. Winslow was born in Charlemont, Massachusetts, on November 22, 1837.  

A prolific writer, Celeste penned articles for numerous periodicals.  Her poem "Perplexed" appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in  June 1876, while her poem "Ah, Dawn, Delay" graced the pages of the same magazine in October 1879. Another poem, "Change," was published in Scribner's Monthly in October 1881.  She also wrote for The Independent, penning "The Robin", which was reprinted in other periodicals, in 1886."

Sophia Curtiss Hoffman (3).jpg

HOFFMAN, Mrs. Sophia Curtiss

November 24, 1825


Sheffield, MA

p. 384-385

Philanthropist and women's rights advocate Sophia Curtiss Hoffman was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, on November 24, 1825.  Emma Curtiss Bascom, her younger sister, is also in A Woman of the Century.  Sophia married George Hoffman and moved to New York City.  The Hoffmans were parents to one boy and one girl.

A Universalist, Sophia was very involved with Chapin Home for the Aged, a cause of Rev. Edwin Hubbell Chapin.  Active in women's rights causes, she was a  founder of  Sorosis and an officer of the Association for the Advancement of Women.  She also belonged to the National Society of New England Women.

Sophia's personal network included prima donna Emma Abbott, whose career she gave financial support to, Charlotte Emerson BrownRev. Phebe Anne Hanaford, Julia Ward Howe, Mary Emilie Cobb, Nellie V. Mark, and Maud Howe Elliott.

When George suffered a financial downfall in 1872, and passed away soon after, Sophia's philanthropic activities diminished. By 1902, she was living at 453 West 144th Street in New York City.  Sophia passed away at her daughter's home in New Rochelle on September 12, 1905. She was buried in Claverack Dutch Reformed Churchyard in Claverack, New York.