"Chapter V: To the Board of Lady Managers." by Enid Yandell (1870-), Jean Loughborough, and Laura Hayes
(To which the flat owes its being.)
SEAL OF BOARD.
WHEN the World's Fair Bill was under discussion by the Fifty-first Congress, Mr. Wm. M. Springer, of Illinois, rose one bright morning with an amendment.
The general bill had provided for the formation of a Commission, and the amendment added that "said Commission is authorized and required to appoint a Board of Lady Managers, of such number and to perform such duties as may be prescribed by the Commission." When the bill was reported to the house for a final hearing, the amendment was not read. Mr. Springer called attention to the omission, and the chairman of the committee replied that it was unintentional–the amendment having been left out because the committee considered it of no importance whatever, but that if desired it could yet be restored to the bill, and this was consequently done.
Mr. Springer offered his amendment as a graceful tribute to the women of our country, and it was passed by Congress without a dissenting voice, and without one thought of the importance of the measure which was to give legal right, for the first time in the history of any nation, to the organization of a body of women to transact business for the Government. [Page 52]
The women themselves, who were appointed under this act in the various States, did not realize for one moment the responsibility and power thus given them, and when for the first time the Board of Lady Managers was convened in Chicago in November, 1890, there was much hesitation and a great lack of knowledge as to the object of its existence and the future possibilities which lay before it.
It was a representative body of women that gathered in the pretty hall at Kinsley's that bright, crisp, November morning. Some had had experience with parliamentary law in their charitable and club work at home, but the majority were totally untutored in business methods and came together with a feeling of hesitation that prevented them from giving utterance to their ideas. Some were business women, school teachers, farmers, lawyers and physicians, while one woman was most successful as a real estate dealer, and another had charge of a valuable plantation in Louisiana. Several owned or edited newspapers, but by far the greater number were the wives and mothers who had come, for the first time, to take part in public affairs. On every hand the question was asked, "What are we here for?" and no one seemed to answer. The Commissioners, when appealed to, were as much at sea as their appointees on the Board of Lady Managers, but all agreed that the first thing to do was to effect a permanent organization. In accordance with this, committees were formed, by-laws made, and Mrs. Potter Palmer, of Chicago, was elected President.
When the meeting adjourned, the ladies had become somewhat acquainted with each other and had voted upon several questions of importance, especially upon having no separate exhibit of women's work at the Exposition. It [Page 55]
was conceded by all that competitors would wish to receive awards upon the basis of merit and not of sex, and that in consequence the best exhibitors would not send their work unless for general competition. It was also agreed that it would be a good plan to ask the Directors of the World's Fair for a building in which a special exhibit could be [Page 56] shown that would demonstrate to the world the progress that women had made in the nineteenth century.
When the members left the city, all these undeveloped suggestions were left in the hands of the President, a young woman who had had no experience whatever in public affairs. It has been widely recorded how well she performed her task, and when the Board met for the second time, in September, '91, it was on an entirely different plane, and with the brightest prospects of future usefulness. The first circular sent out from the office of the Board asked the members to petition their legislatures to secure an appropriation for the World's Fair, and to request at the same time that the members of the Board of Lady Managers be recognized on the State Board. In many States this was done, giving these women an entirely unprecedented authority, and to their credit be it said, that in many instances the legislators acknowledged that their attention had first been brought to the World's Fair through the efforts of these women.
The Board asked the officers in charge of the Installation Department to place on the blanks they were sending out to manufacturers the innocent little question, "Do you employ any women in the manufacture of this article, and if so, what proportion of it is their work?" There have been many responses, and as every article manufactured in whole or in part by women is to bear some graceful device showing the fact, it will be readily seen that to those interested, the World's Fair will present the most remarkable display of women's work that has ever been made public, and the heretofore unrepresented factory woman will receive her due share of credit for the work she has done.
Congress in its original action had decided that the [Page 57] Board of Lady Managers might be allowed to have one or more members on the juries which were to award prizes for articles which had been in whole or in part manufactured by women. This gave a power to the Board which was entirely unprecedented, for no women have ever been allowed to serve as jurors in previous expositions.
When the subject came up for consideration at a later time, the Commission agreed to this without the slightest hesitation, and so little conception did the members have of the extent of this work, that they offered at first to allow the juries to be composed entirely of women that were to judge of women's work.
When it was afterwards discovered that women are employed in nearly every branch of industry, this gracious permission was modified to allowing women members on the juries in proportion to the amount of women's work represented in the articles to be judged. Even this was an enormous concession, as the recently appointed Committee on Juries is just beginning to realize.
No one could question the fairness of allowing women as jurors in proportion to the amount of women's work represented in the article to be judged, and yet when one takes into consideration the fact that women have not heretofore been allowed this privilege, and also that it would be yielding up much power and political patronage to allow women the appointing of a number of jurors, it seems that the action of the Commission in this regard was not only fair and honorable, but noble and high-minded.
It is to be hoped that the Commission which has from the first treated the Board of Lady Managers with great courtesy and absolute fairness, will never by any future action change this ruling which has won it the praise and gratitude of every thinking woman in the nation. [Page 58]
In January, 1891, when the subject of a National appropriation for the year for the World's Fair was under discussion, and enemies of the bill were very anxious to have a small amount named, the President of the Board of Lady Managers and the Finance Committee went to Washington to see what might be done. When they arrived they found matters in the most unpromising state. The bill had in the Senate been cut down to $40,000, which was not enough for the running expenses of the Commission alone, and no allowance had been made for the wants of the Board of Lady Managers. The Finance Committee and the President had an interview with the Senate Committee to which this matter had been referred, which had a direct and acknowledged result of raising the amount from $40,000 to $95,500, of which sum $36,000 was named for the exclusive use of the Board of Lady Managers. This was a great triumph and occasioned much rejoicing among the members of the Board, who had felt that a failure to secure an appropriation would make them entirely dependent on the Commission, would certainly restrict their future usefulness, and might imperil their very existence. One of the principal arguments used in presenting the case to the Senators was the fact that the Directors of the World's Fair had graciously given to the Board the sum of two hundred thousand dollars with which to erect a building for the exclusive use of women, which should be known as the Woman's Building.
The Board of Lady Managers met for the second time in Apollo Hall, and it was no longer a gathering of strangers, trying to find a familiar face, or identify some well-known name with some strange personality. It was more like a meeting of friends, and there was laughter and general cheer, for the Board had had its trials as well as its victo- [Page 59] ries, which had bound more closely together the members from the various states. The ladies all knew each other, at least by correspondence, and many were the rejoicings at this meeting. The President's desk was a mass of lilies and roses and fragrant sweet peas, and the young President herself, in light gray gown, returned the many greetings with smiling face, while at her left presided the able secretary, Mrs. Cooke. Three or four pretty children acted as pages, while Mrs. Logan's niece–a charming young girl–was decidedly the favorite usher.
At the November meeting, the prominent members had been those whose reputation and experience gave them the right to be heard, and while their influence was no less strong at the second meeting, yet many new voices had gained confidence to speak, though one of the most eloquent and beloved–Mrs. Darby's of South Carolina–was missing.
Among the ladies present who had achieved national reputation were Mrs. Logan and Mrs. Hooker. Mrs. Logan was a tall, commanding-looking women, whose gray hair, brushed straight back from her intellectual forehead, gave her an air of distinction. She wore deep mourning, and when she spoke talked straight to the point, while her tact and diplomacy showed her knowledge and long association with politicians. Mrs. Hooker was another striking and interesting character, and her piquant remarks added much to the zest of the meeting. She was of medium height, with marked features, clear complexion, beautiful snowy curls and a peculiar, petulant toss of the head that is a characteristic of the Beecher family, I am told. Mrs. Barker, of South Dakota, with her strong face and clear logic won the most complete attention, while Mrs. Meredith, of Indiana, [Page 60] was convincing in debate; but Mrs. Eagle, of Arkansas, was the best parliamentarian on the Board, and brought the ladies to strict account if by any chance they spoke twice to the same subject.
There was Mrs. Russell Harrison, with her pretty face and sweet manners, and her charming friend, Mrs. Salisbury, of Utah, who is the favorite niece of Mr. James G. Blaine. There were also the wives of the Governors of Montana and Maine, Arkansas, Mississippi, and other States. There were a score of others, too, who made most interesting speeches. Mrs. Lucas, of Philadelphia; Mrs. Ashley, of Colorado; Mrs. Reed, of Maryland; Mrs. Lynde and Ginty, of Wisconsin; Mrs. Bagley, of Michigan; Miss Beck, of Florida; Miss Shakespeare, of Louisiana; Mrs. Houghton, of Washington; Mrs. Oglesby and Mrs. Shepard, of Illinois; Mrs. Starkweather, of Rhode Island; Mrs. Bradwell and Mrs. Mulligan, of Chicago; Mrs. Wilkins, of Washington; Mrs. Cantrill, of Kentucky; Mrs. Ryan, of Texas, Miss Busselle, of New Jersey; Mrs. Felton, of Georgia; Mrs. Trautman, of New York, and others, while Mrs. Payton, of Oregon, whose voice before had been unheard, convulsed the large audience many times with her witty remarks.
I have said nothing of the appearance of these women, but their faces were all bright and intelligent, while, for the lovers of society, there were many pretty women, from the graceful member from western Illinois, to the swell little member from New York, whose light-trained dress, with its high, black sleeves, was an object of general admiration to the rows of spectators who filled every available inch in the parlors behind the President's desk.
Many prominent and well-known gentlemen attended [Page 61]
these meetings, and among them on several occasions was seen the fine strong face of Prof. Swing, whom I heard several lady managers point out to each other as Mrs. Palmer's husband.
"THE SWELL MEMBER."
There could be nothing more attractive than the manner in which the President presided over the meeting. Her ease and grace, and the winning way in which she recognized each member who took the floor, were altogether charming, while her parliamentary knowledge was a complete surprise. The deliberations, while full of interest to all, were marked by a dignity and ease that were most impressive.
Before the second meeting of the full Board, a letter had been prepared, which was signed by the President of the Board of Lady Managers, and sent officially, through the courtesy of Mr. Blaine and the Department of State, to every country in the world. It asked that the government of the country addressed should appoint a commission of women to cooperate with the Board of Lady Managers in preparing an exhibit from their country that should show the finest and best work that women have done from the earliest known times to the present day. This request was sent not only in the hope of securing a fine exhibit of women's work from each foreign country, but with the special intention of obtaining recognition for women by their own government. This was particularly to be desired in the countries where women had not been recognized as fully as in the United States.
It is not necessary to give the details of the State correspondence, but it is enough to say that the result thus far has exceeded all expectations. In nearly every instance the sovereign of the country addressed has sent a courteous [Page 63] reply to the President of the Board of Lady Managers, and in many instances Commissions have already been formed and are in working order.
In England the Woman's Commission, which is doing splendid work, is under the immediate patronage of Queen Victoria, while the President is the Princess Christian, who is a member of the Royal family. In Germany, the Princess Friedrich Karl has given the formation of the sub-committees her personal attention. The Queen of Belgium has graciously consented to appoint a commission of women in [Page 64] her dominions; while in Russia, Sweden, Holland, Greece, Austria and France the commissions have either been formed or are in process of organization, and in all cases under the highest patronage. Letters have also been received from Japan and the Orient in regard to the subject, while such distant rulers as the Queen of Hawaii, the Governor-General of Cape Town, of Jamaica, and of Cuba and Hayti, in the West Indies, have expressed their willingness to appoint these Commissions. The women of Central and South America are also actively engaged in collecting their exhibits, and Madame Diaz, the honored wife of the President of Mexico, has written expressing her cordial approval and interest in the plans of the Board of Lady Managers.
The Woman's Building, which I have incidentally mentioned, was planned by a young girl, aged twenty-one, whose designs were successful in the competition offered by the Board of Lady Managers. Miss Hayden is of medium height, slender, with soft, dark hair, and a pleasant manner that is shy, without the least lack of confidence. She is a graduate of the Four Years' Course of the Boston Institute of Technology, where she was one of the most brilliant and earnest pupils. She is of Spanish parentage, and inherits the soft, dark eyes of the Latin race; though, perhaps, it is her long residence in Boston that has made her so quiet and reserved. She is always willing to talk of her work, but says that she has been obliged to devote so much time to study that she has been unable to acquire the arts that make society attractive. She won the highest praise from the architects with whom she was associated in making the working drawings of the Woman's Building. Mr. Burnham expressed himself as very much pleased with [Page 65] her and said that she had great adaptability, and could readily seize a new idea, while it was generally known about the Construction Department that no one could change, by any amount of persuasion, one of her plans when she was convinced of its beauty or originality. She was always quiet but generally carried her point.
Architect of the Women's Building.
The building that she has planned is two hundred by four hundred feet, and in the severe but elegant style of the Italian renaissance. It went up with marvelous rapidity, and was finished far in advance of any [Page 66] other structure on the grounds. The frame-work is covered with staff, a kind of composition, which hardens to almost the consistency of granite, and which readily receives any beautiful tint. It has been colored a rich old ivory, to harmonize with the prevailing tone of the surrounding structures. A series of open colonnades, supporting balconies, surrounds the building, and from the stone-carved balustrades depend trailing vines from baskets of flowers placed at short intervals. Above the second story, great stone caryatides support the roof garden.
The clay models for these figures were designed and molded by Miss Enid Yandell, of Louisville, Kentucky, who at the early age of twenty-two has much reputation as a sculptor. This roof garden is one of the most charming places imaginable, with its high, arching palms, and the various ferns and flora that have been contributed through members of the Board of Lady Managers all over the country. The pediment over the wide entrance and the beautiful groups on the cornices of the building are the work of Miss Alice Rideout, of San Francisco, who received the prize in the competition. She is a very attractive young girl, only nineteen years of age, with blonde hair and a sweet, open face.
Of the interior of the building I shall say but little, as it is too large a subject, but its high-arched, central hall, called the Gallery of Honor, with its beautiful works of art, all executed by women; its library, its model hospital and sanitary kitchen will all combine to make it a source of comfort to every woman visiting the Exposition, [Page 67] as it will undoubtedly be a pride and joy to the members of the Board that created it.
The scheme of color throughout the interior begins in the Gallery of Honor with an ivory white, and is carried out in cream and other tints, illustrating the radiation of light from a central point. The necessary touches of brightness are found in the panelled frieze which shows the names of seventy-five of the most famous women known to history and art, emblazoned in gold and encircling the entire hall, and also in the important decorations which occupy the tympani at either end.
One of these represents "The Primitive Woman," depicted as engaged in the various industries and pursuits of her time. The scene is out of doors, with a blue lake and its bordering trees for a background, and the exquisite coloring of the whole, as well as the breadth of the handling of the classic figures of the women and children, renders it one of the strongest and most remarkable compositions that has been presented to the world.
THE PRIMITIVE WOMAN.
Its author, Mrs. Mary Fairchild MacMonnies, is a charming young women as well as an artist of the highest rank. She is an American, but has spent many years in Europe in study. Her husband is the sculptor who designed the [Page 68] exquisite fountain that occupies the center of the quadrangle in front of the Administration Building at the Exposition.
Mrs. MacMonnies' decoration was exhibited in Paris before it was shipped to America, and aroused unbounded admiration. No less an authority than Cazin insisted that it was too bad that it could not be exhibited in the Salon, as he would answer for its success, while many equally agreeable remarks were made by the other artists who were present. Among these were Rafaelli, Alexander Harrison and others, but perhaps the opinion most highly prized by Mrs. MacMonnies was that of the great decorative painter, Puvis de Chavannes, who declared that he found it "charming" as well as "most original and characteristic."
The canvas at the opposite end of the Gallery of Honor was painted by Miss Mary Cassatt, who is also an American, but who has resided abroad for many years. Her work is of the highest order, and is so considered by the few artists and critics who are so fortunate as to be included in her circle of intimates, but as she has an intense dislike to exhibiting, the general public has not before had the pleasure of viewing the results of her masterly touch. Her decoration has not been displayed as yet, but the verdict of the few who have seen it is most flattering.
The subject, as well as the treatment, is as different as can be imagined from that of Mrs MacMonnies. Miss Cassatt has chosen "The Modern Woman," and has tried to represent the fashions of the day as accurately and as much in detail as possible.
The subject of the central and largest composition is [Page 69] young women plucking the fruits of knowledge and science, and this enabled placing of the figures out of doors and allowed of brilliancy of color. The occasion being one of rejoicing–a great national fête, the general effect has been made as bright and amusing as possible. All the seriousness has been reserved for the drawing and execution, and the ideal seems to have been one of those admirable old tapestries, brilliant yet soft.
THE MODERN WOMAN.
Writing of her decoration, Miss Cassatt says: "To us, the sweetness of childhood, the charm of womanhood [Page 70] should belong, and if I have not conveyed some sense of that charm–in one word, if I have not been absolutely feminine, then I have failed."
The side panels of this decoration contain two different compositions. One is of young girls pursuing fame, the other of the arts: music, dancing, etc., and all treated in the most modern way.
The whole is surrounded by a border–wide below and narrower above–bands of color–the lower cut into circles, containing naked babies tossing fruit.
No greater contrast could have been offered than is shown in these two beautiful decorations: one with its noble simplicity of treatment and its classic almost heroic figures; and the other with its finished details, flashing color, and fine sense of freedom and movement.
The main parlor on the east of the Woman's Building was decorated and furnished by the women of Cincinnati, under the direction of Miss Agnes Pitman, and is both exquisite and harmonious in tint. A frieze of conventionalized roses painted on canvas surrounds the room, and all the furnishings blend in the rosy colorings.
On either side of this are smaller parlors which have been furnished and decorated by the women of California, Kentucky and Connecticut. On the west of the gallery is the library, where are to be found the literary works of women of all countries and periods. This beautiful room was furnished and decorated by the women of New York. The ceiling is one of the most important and beautiful pieces of work done by any woman in recent times, and was executed by Mrs. Dora Wheeler Keith, the talented daughter of Mrs. Candace Wheeler, the color director of the Woman's Building, to whose artistic taste and experi- [Page 71] enced judgment are due so many of the fine color effects to be found in its interior.
GROUP ON WOMAN'S BUILDING.
The Assembly room at the north end of the gallery will be the scene of many interesting gatherings during the time of the Exposition. Here will be given, at stated hours every day, instructive talks by able and distinguished women, which will embrace domestic science, philanthropy, art, literature, and indeed every topic in which women generally are interested.
At the south end of the gallery is the Associations' room in which are located the headquarters of the strongest and most influential organizations. Here is represented the united efforts of women in education, philanthropy and sociology.
Upon the main floor, the south end is devoted to exhibits from foreign countries. Here are grouped curious and valuable displays from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the islands of the sea. At the north end is the English and also our own domestic exhibit, which covers the work of women in the schools and factories as well as in the applied arts. [Page 72]
The loan collection installed in the main gallery includes the priceless laces of Queen Margherita, which were offered the Board as a special mark of favor, never before having left Italy. Relics of Queen Isabella have also been given a prominent place in the Hall of Honor.
Many offers were made for the decoration of the Woman's Building, Mrs. Houghton, of Washington, being the pioneer in this direction, by the presentation of a beautiful pair of marble columns from the women of her State. Since then the various members have offered the products of their States and Territories in the form of carved light wood panels for the drawing-rooms, balustrades for the grand staircases, hammered brass, slabs of onyx and black marble, tapestries and hangings, granite steps, and last, but not least, the famous nail of copper, silver and gold from Montana, which is to complete the building, and [Page 73] to be driven by the President of the Board. Nebraska has volunteered to send the hammer to drive the nail; Idaho, the block into which it is to be driven, and Colorado, the jewel-case which is to contain it, and which is to be an exact copy in miniature of the mineral palace of Pueblo.
Fretwork reading-desks, rich windows of stained glass, Navajo blankets for portières, petrified wood panels, cactus-wood screens, and numberless other articles have been offered from various sources.
Florida has promised a standard for electricity, to be made of polished pink marble. It is to represent a palmetto tree, with the lights shining through the tufted leaves that crown the smooth trunk, and was designed by a young girl of eighteen years.
A wrought-iron drinking fountain has been offered by Northern Michigan, and the women of Buena Vista, Colorado, have also volunteered to furnish one for the roof garden. The design for this fountain is very unique and represents a beautiful peak overlooking the smiling valley of Buena Vista. Down the slope of the hill a bear is seen approaching a spring where a flood of crystal water gushes forth into a pool and forms the basin of the fountain. The figures of this remarkable design are to be carved from solid red sandstone. The women of Denver have planned to place a beautiful pavilion in the Women's Building, which shall display women cutting, polishing and setting gems, and will give the public a glimpse of an entirely new industry.
The women of California were the first to ask to furnish an entire room in the Woman's Building, and their plans quickly assumed definite shape. The floor and ceiling of the large apartment is of laurel, inlaid with the various [Page 74] woods from California, while the walls are all solid redwood, relieved by occasional panels of canvas painted by the best women artists in the State. The subject for the mural decorations will be the cactus, which will be used in every possible way. Wreaths of this blossom, as delicate and varied as the orchid, are ground in the natural colors into the opalescent glass of the windows. All the hangings and draperies will be in the cactus colorings, the groundwork being the dull, gray green of the foliage which contrasts beautifully with the shaded tints of the blossoms. Great vases of this plant, in full bloom, are scattered throughout the room.
The collecting of so many objects required an enormous amount of correspondence, and in this connection the greatest credit should be given to Mrs. Cooke, the able [Page 75] Secretary of the Board of Lady Managers, who has displayed constant patience, tact, and executive ability.
The exhibit in the Woman's Building is not supposed to be of a general character, for it must not be forgotten that the work that women have done is scattered through all the buildings according to the classification, being entered in the various competitions with that of men. The exhibit in the Woman's Building is simply an object lesson of the very finest work done by the women of all countries, and designed to show the progress they have made since liberty and education have been granted them.
Lady Aberdeen has asked for space, and wishes to display the wax figures of a bride and all her maids clothed in exquisite Irish point lace. A complete household equipment of Irish linen will also be shown. Messrs. Marshall Field & Co. have already bought the bride's dress and will exhibit it after the Exposition has closed. Hayward's, the best known lace-house in London, has asked to show a historical collection of rare old laces, and the Princess Narischkine desires to send from Russia an exhibit of the laces and the silver embroidered costumes made by the peasants on her vast estate. But it is quite impossible to enumerate the many interesting objects that have been offered in various lines.
The Board of Lady Managers wished to emphasize particularly the progress of women in a business and professional way, and in this connection will show the finest work they have done in the various lines, such as illustrating, wood-engraving, painting, sculpture, wood-carving, designing for wall paper, carpets, fabrics, etc., as well as a complete showing of journalistic and literary work.
The Board also intends to make a fine archæological ex- [Page 76] hibit which will show woman as the inventor of the industrial arts and the first maker of the home. The officers in charge of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington have kindly volunteered to lend to the Woman's Building such objects as may be desired, and this valuable collection will be supplemented by others taken from museums and private collections both in this country and Europe. The recent discoveries in New Mexico and Arizona will be represented in this display, and considerable space will be given to the valuable collection recently made by Mrs. French-Sheldon, who followed Stanley's footsteps far into the interior of Africa. Mrs. French-Sheldon proposes to exhibit not only her curios, but the caravan in which she traveled. It may be remembered that she was the first woman to penetrate the interior of Africa, and that she always received the chiefs in a white silk ball gown with long train instead of rough traveling costume, and they bowed down to her like a queen and yielded up their choicest treasures; while the women and children, instead of running away in fright, came for miles to touch her hand.
Many applications have been received from prominent associations of women physicians and dentists, as well as numerous organizations of all kinds.
Although much has been said and written about woman's work for the Exposition and the newspapers have given a great deal of space to the Board of Lady Managers and its aims, very little is generally known about the Woman's Branch of the Congress Auxiliary.
Few have any conception of the magnitude of its plans or the work it has accomplished.
While the Board of Lady Managers is engaged in [Page 77] collecting and arranging for the display of an exhibit which shall show to the best advantage, the material resources and varied fields of labor of the women of all nations, to the auxiliary is confided the important task of calling together a series of congresses during 1893, which shall not only demonstrate what woman has done in the lines of mental and spiritual work, and in the sunny field of letters, but the public discussion of practical subjects by trained thinkers will uplift the masses and open the way to a better understanding of many facts needful to the housekeeper, the educator and the philanthropist.
Not only will the college graduate listen to learned papers discussing her favorite science from the newest and most approved standpoint, or the Christian worker be able to enlarge her sphere by hearing words of wisdom from the greatest disciples not only of her own, but of all known religions, but even the humblest housekeeper will be able to lighten her labors by learning how to economize both time and money so that her children may be better educated, have more home comforts, and best of all, more of their mother's society than is possible under older and slower methods.
The Congress Auxiliary which may well be termed the nation's host is already bringing people together from every part of the earth, and through its efforts representatives of various nations from the most distant shores will gather together in common sympathy in Chicago in 1893.
Mrs. Potter Palmer is the president of the Woman's branch, and her invaluable advice is a constant strength to the organization, but her time is so fully occupied with the duties of her office as president of the Board of Lady Managers that active management of [Page 78] of the Auxiliary devolves upon Mrs. Charles Henrotin, whose tireless efforts and wonderful devotion to duty have so quickened the zeal of her fellow-members that the great work undertaken has been pushed to an enthusiastic completion.
The Woman's Branch of the Congress Auxiliary will hold its sessions in the magnificent Art Palace on the Lake Front, in the central part of the city.
The plans of the Board of Lady Managers have so widened since the first meeting at Kinsley's and so many new vistas have opened, that it is impossible here to describe the work in detail or predict where it will end. The Dormitory Association has planned to establish a dormitory which will take care of industrial women at a maximum cost to the individual of forty cents each night. This work is under the immediate supervision of Mrs. Matilda B. Carse, who superintended the great W. C. T. U. Temple at Chicago, and who is a member of the Board. The secretary is Mrs Helen M. Barker, who has also undertaken the preparation of an encyclopædia of women's organizations which shall represent every branch of organized work in which women have engaged.
A delightful plan has been projected for a Children's Palace, which is to provide a safe place where children can be left while their mothers visit the various departments of the Exposition. The building, which is to be a dainty and beautiful blue and white structure, will contain everything which can conduce to the comfort and pleasure of childhood, including lecture-rooms and kindergartens for the older children, nurseries with sanitary food and trained attendants for the babies, and toys for all.
The flat roof, with its high stone balustrade, covered at a [Page 79]
height of fifteen feet, with a strong wire netting, will form an ideal play-ground. Within this charming enclosure, which will be bordered by vines and flowers, birds and butterflies
will flit among the children at will, the wire covering rendering cages unnecessary. An awning will protect from sun and rain.
MRS. CHARLES HENROTIN.
MRS. GEORGE L. DUNLAP.
[Page 81] In the Assembly Room, stereopticon lectures will be given to the older boys and girls about foreign countries, their languages, manners and customs, and important facts connected with their history. These talks will be given by kindergartners, who will then take the groups of children to see the exhibits from the countries about which they have just heard.
The Children's Building had no appropriation from the Exposition authorities and the Board of Lady Managers assumed the responsibility of raising the money necessary for the erection of the edifice. The various states voluntarily assumed the payment of a certain proportion of the sum needed. Too much cannot be said in praise of Mrs. George L. Dunlap, the Chairman of the Committee in charge of the Children's Building, for to her untiring efforts the success of the enterprise is principally due. She assumed this work as a labor of love, and from its inception has given to it her entire time. Through her enthusiasm the members of the Friday Club, an organization of young women of Chicago, became interested and organized a bazaar of all nations which was held at Mrs. Potter Palmer's home in November, 1892, and which resulted in the clearing of $35,000 for the Children's Home. The building is located between the Woman's Building and the Horticultural Building, and is one of the most charming objects that meets the eye of the visitor who enters from the north gate.
All these buildings will be monuments to the progress women have made during the nineteenth century, but I feel that the greatest object accomplished by the Board of Lady Managers will be the showing of the work done by the industrial women in this and all other countries. The [Page 82] object lesson it will teach to the nations of the world cannot soon be forgotten, and perhaps these long silent sisters will at last have an opportunity for the pay and the freedom that should be accorded them as equal laborers in the world's great workshop.
THE CHILDREN'S BUILDING.