1-20 of 29 results  for:

  • Social welfare and reform x
  • prose fiction x
  • Sex: Female x
Clear all

Article

Banning, Margaret Culkin (18 March 1891–04 January 1982), writer, was born in Buffalo, Minnesota, the daughter of William Edgar Culkin, a Duluth newspaper executive, and Hannah Alice Young. She attended Vassar College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated in 1912. Pursuing an interest in social work, she attended Russell Sage College on a fellowship in 1912–1913, then spent the following academic year at the Chicago School of Philanthropy, which awarded her a certificate in 1914 for completion of its program. That same year she married a Duluth lawyer, Archibald T. Banning, Jr. The couple, who were divorced in 1934, had four children, two of whom survived into adulthood....

Article

Bissell, Emily Perkins (31 May 1861–08 March 1948), volunteer social worker and author, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Champion Aristarcus Bissell, a lawyer and banker, and Josephine Wales. Her forebears settled in Connecticut where her father, a Yale graduate, was reared. Her maternal grandfather, John Wales, served as a U.S. senator from Delaware from 1849 to 1851. Bissell was educated in Wilmington and at Miss Charlier’s School in New York City....

Article

Blake, Lillie Devereux (12 August 1835–30 December 1913), author and feminist, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of George Pollok Devereux, a planter, and Sarah Elizabeth Johnson. Though she was christened Elizabeth Johnson, her father called her “Lilly,” and she adopted that name with altered spelling. The Devereux were prominent slaveholders, and Lillie spent her early years on her father’s cotton plantation. After George Devereux’s death in 1837, she moved with her mother and sister to Connecticut, joining her mother’s family there. She was raised in New Haven in an atmosphere of Episcopalian respectability and Whiggish political convictions. Her education at a girls’ school was supplemented by private tutoring based on courses in the Yale curriculum....

Article

Bonnin, Gertrude Simmons (22 February 1876–26 January 1938), author and activist, was born on the Yankton Sioux reservation in Dakota Territory, the daughter of Ellen Tate’lyohiwin Simmons. Bonnin’s father, about whom little is known other than that he was named Felker and was white, had left the family before Bonnin’s birth. Bonnin, who later became known as Zitkala-Sa or Red Bird, lived with her mother on the reservation until the age of eight, when she attended White’s Indiana Labor Institute, a boarding school for Native American children providing instruction in English and manual labor. These early experiences of indoctrination into European-American culture and the separation from her mother would inform Bonnin’s later writings and her commitment to Native American self-determination....

Image

Pearl Buck Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1932. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G412-T-6033-005-A-x ).

Article

Buck, Pearl S. (26 June 1892–06 March 1973), author and humanitarian, was born Pearl Sydenstricker in Hillsboro, West Virginia, the daughter of Absalom Sydenstricker and Caroline Stulting, missionaries who were on furlough from their Presbyterian missionary activities in China when Pearl, their first daughter, was born in the United States. Three months later the infant was taken to China when her parents returned to their duties. Educated by her mother at home and then by a Chinese tutor, Buck later attributed much of her knowledge to the influence of her Chinese amah who, together with Chinese playmates, gave her many insights into her exotic surroundings and developed imaginative outlets. Indeed Buck claimed that in her early years she was more fluent in Chinese than in English. She received additional training at a mission school and in 1909 was sent to board for a year at Miss Jewell’s School in Shanghai. Her parents insisted that she attend college in the United States, so in 1910 she enrolled in Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she won several academic honors and graduated four years later with a bachelor of arts degree. She received a teaching assistantship at Randolph-Macon, but upon learning that her mother was seriously ill she returned to China to care for her....

Article

Cannon, Cornelia James (17 November 1876–01 December 1969), novelist and birth control activist, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Henry Clay James and Frances Haynes. While her father practiced law and speculated in land, her mother helped out the family fortunes by painting; some of her watercolors are now at the Minnesota Historical Society. Cannon grew up in St. Paul and Newport. At Radcliffe College Cannon studied philosophy with ...

Article

Elliott, Sarah Barnwell (29 November 1848–30 August 1928), writer and women's rights advocate, writer and women’s rights advocate, was born in Savannah, Georgia, the daughter of the Right Reverend Stephen Elliott, Jr., first Episcopal bishop of Georgia, and Charlotte Bull Barnwell, his second wife. At the time of Elliott’s birth, her father was in charge of a school for young women. After the Civil War and her father’s death, Elliott moved with her mother and sisters to Sewanee, Tennessee, in the Cumberland mountains, where her brother was teaching at the newly opened University of the South, a school their father had helped to found. Elliott lived in Sewanee for much of the rest of her life, with the exception of her residence in New York from 1895 to 1902, years in which she pursued a full-time writing career. She never married. Her most advanced educational opportunity came in attending lectures at Johns Hopkins University in the summer of 1886....

Image

Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106490).

Article

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins (03 July 1860–17 August 1935), feminist critic and author, was born Charlotte Anna Perkins in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Frederic Beecher Perkins, a man of letters and librarian, and Mary Ann Fitch Wescott. Her great-grandfather was theologian Lyman Beecher...

Article

Griffith Browne, Mattie (01 January 1825?–25 May 1906), antislavery writer and women's suffrage activist, was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the daughter of Thomas and Catherine Griffith. Her father was a tavern-keeper and farmer. Various estimates have been made of her correct birth year, but no exact date has been established. Mattie and her older sister, Catherine, were orphaned in childhood, losing first their mother and then their father in 1830....

Article

Irwin, Inez Leonore Haynes Gillmore (02 March 1873–25 September 1970), writer and feminist, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the daughter of Gideon Haynes, a prison warden and social reformer, and Emma Jane Hopkins, a Lowell Mills girl (factory mill worker) before her marriage. After two years in Brazil the family returned to Boston, where Irwin grew up, genteely poor, with thirteen brothers and sisters. “As I look back on my life,” she wrote in an article for the ...

Image

Helen Hunt Jackson. Albumen silver print, c. 1884, by Charles F. Conly. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Article

Jackson, Helen Hunt (14 October 1830–12 August 1885), writer and reformer, was born Helen Maria Fiske in Amherst, Massachusetts, the daughter of Nathan Welby Fiske, a professor of languages at Amherst College, and Deborah Vinal. Her mother, recognizing Helen’s inclination toward independent thought and behavior, described her as “quite inclined to question everything; the Bible she says does not feel as if it were true” (Banning, p. 11). Despite a sporadic education at a series of boarding schools, she was better educated than most women of her time, having exposure to mathematics, science, and philosophy as well as the usual “finishing school” subjects....

Article

Little, Sophia Louisa Robbins (1799–1893), writer and reformer, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the daughter of U.S. senator Asher Robbins, an attorney, and Mary Ellery. Educated locally, she married William Little, Jr., of Boston in 1824; they had three children. Her first publication was a poem, “Thanksgiving,” included in a Boston gift book, ...

Article

Lumpkin, Katharine Du Pre (22 December 1897–05 May 1988), reformer and author, was born in Macon, Georgia, the daughter of William Wallace Lumpkin, a railroad employee, and Annette Caroline Morris. Both parents were the offspring of planters who lost their fortunes in the Civil War. Annette Lumpkin had taught school briefly before she married, and her learning, Katharine wrote later in ...

Article

Martin, George Madden (03 May 1866–30 November 1946), novelist and social activist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Frank Madden, a bookseller, and Anne Louise McKenzie Madden. It has been said that she was christened Georgia May but later changed her first name to “George” for literary reasons. She herself explained in the postscript of her 29 March 1917 letter to ...

Article

Martineau, Harriet (12 June 1802–27 June 1876), author, was born in Norwich, England, the daughter of Thomas Martineau, a textile manufacturer, and Elizabeth Rankin. The family was Unitarian, republican, and laissez-fairist, and these traditions shaped both Harriet’s early thinking and her implicit belief in natural law and the rights of the individual. Although her education was inferior to that given her brothers, it was more rigorous than was customary for girls of the period. In adolescence she developed a hearing disorder that left her permanently hard of hearing, but, despite this disability and her inferior status as a woman in the nineteenth century, she made her living as a writer and earned an international reputation doing so....

Article

McCrackin, Josephine (25 November 1838–21 December 1920), writer and conservationist, was born in Westphalia, Prussia, the daughter of Georg Woempner (or Wompner), a former member of the Hanoverian army and a civil-service surveyor for Prussia, and Charlotte Hartman. The Woempner family emigrated to the United States in 1846 when Josephine was eight, settling in St. Louis. She was educated privately and in convent schools. Georg Woempner died in 1854, and about this time her older brother left for the California goldfields. Josephine, her younger sister, and her mother continued to live in St. Louis....

Article

Olsen, Tillie Lerner (14 January 1912–01 January 2007), writer and ardent feminist, was born Tillie Lerner in Omaha, Nebraska, to Samuel Lerner and Ida Goldberg Lerner, Jewish immigrants who fled Europe after participating in the failed Russian revolution of 1905. The second and most unconventional of six talented children, Tillie grew up in Omaha, where her father worked as a candymaker, paperhanger, and painter and was active in socialist politics. She expressed her own rebelliousness in a high school humor column, which earned her popularity and notoriety, and in quarrels with her senior English teacher, which apparently got her expelled....