Ladies’ Literature Class of Duluth

The Duluth Ladies’ Literature Class leaves few electronic traces outside the local collection at the Duluth Public Library.

The Duluth Herald of 1891 lists its events next to the Suffrage Club.

The Ladies’ Literature club will meet with Mrs. Chapin Tuesday afternoon. After a vacation of five weeks the club expects to take up its studies with ardor. This lesson makes a special study of “Classicism and Romanticism,” question, “What was the Artificial School?”; “Alexander Dumas, His Early Life as a Dramatist and as a Novelist”; “How Does He Compare With Victor Hugo?”; “How Did the Drama of France Compare with That of England?”; “How is Scribe Regarded Today?”; “Brief Outline of Lamartine’s Life as a Literary Man and Politician”; “With What Other Lyrist is Beranger so Often Compared?”

The Woman Suffrage circle met yesterday afternoon with a good attendance, a determined look and several ideas. The regular business of the circle was attended to, reports read, also a letter from the state president, Mrs. Julia B. Nelson, asking cooperation in preparing a petition to be sent to the legislature asking for municipal suffrage for women. The ladies defied to do this, also to circulate a petition asking immediate consideration of the request for the appointment of a police mat;on, and offering to give proof of such need. Mr. Maxson, the lecturer of last evening will be asked to give a lecture here on “Political Equality.”

Who were these women? And how did they find the oomph to typeset and print, like letterpress print, their booklets for this homebrewed curriculum?


The local history librarian at the DPL sent the following:

I found this via on our library subscription, which is available to anyone within the library (it’s about a $20/month subscription to join as a person to access at home).

Miss Elsie Holloway is listed as deceased in their 1939 roster. I was picturing this as a housewife club and wanted to know about this single woman. She is listed in the City Directory alternatively as a clerk, seamstress, etc.

And this, from the October 20 1897 Duluth Herald.


Tony D.

about 1 year ago

Great stuff, David—what would we do without UMD's Special Collections & Archives? From scanning the names, I can tell you that many of the women listed were the wives and daughters of high-powered Duluthians, including former mayor Charles d'Autremont, grocery wholesaler William R. Stone, architect Oliver Traphagen, leather-goods dealer Camille Poirer, early civic leader and newspaper man William Woodbridge (whose son Dwight co-edited a 1910 history of Duluth and St. Louis County), attorney Arthur H. Crassweller, mining tycoon A. M. Chisholm, banker Hamilton Peyton, Duluth Normal School (UMD predecessor) president Eugene Bohannon, and real estate magnate William Prindle. I highly doubt the women involved did any typesetting or printing of these; rather, they much more likely paid a local printer—they could certainly afford it! Thanks for this post!

David Beard

about 1 year ago

This is just a sliver of what Gina, the Duluth Public Library's local history person, has shared with me about this cool group.

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