Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nadine's Diary, "Is Man an Angel?"

Thursday Nov. 22.  Went to breakfast.  In school.  Boys walked home with us from dinner.  Will and I went for a walk.  Fred came in.  Loffler & Simmons got called down by Fred because they would not go away from the window when Clara told them to.  Nannie & I went down town in the afternon.  I got some black lace and a pair of stockings*.  Came home.  Went to class.  Boys came home with us from supper.  All four of us went to hear Matilda Fletcher* lecture in the College chapel on is Man an angel.  Will gave us some chewing gum.  Had lots of fun.  Intended going down town for an oyster stew but it was raining so did not go.  They boys stayed till 5 oclock.  Ge that's awful but  never the less its true.  Did not go to bed at all.
A stocking advertisement from the 1890s
 *About Matilda Fletcher:  (1842-1909).  Suffragist, poet, and lecturer.  The fifth of fourteen children from abolitionist parents, who had fled what they called “the peculiar institution” of the South, Matilda was born in Winnebago County, Illinois, and raised on a farm in Durand. Like her seven brothers who served in the Civil War, Matilda imagined herself in the public sphere. After the death of her one and only child, Matilda joined the lecture circuit, a series of talks so powerful a man named a silver mine after her, another man claimed she had a forked tongue, and upon the death of her first husband, newspapers speculated who might be the lucky man to call Matilda his own. She spoke to support herself and her first husband until his death. He died of tuberculosis, a disease he contracted during his service to the Union. During her forty year career, she spoke on woman’s suffrage, temperance, and education and published several books, including An Address: Farmers’ Wives and Daughters (1873), Practical Ethics: For Schools and Families (1875), and The Trial and Imprisonment: of Geo W. Felts (1907). Given the nature of oration and the time period during which she spoke, much of her work has been lost. However, some of her poems and lectures have survived in historic newspapers, often as excerpts only. Eleven years after the death of her first husband, she remarried and became the stepmother to three children, all under the age of ten. She continued to speak on the issues that mattered to her until the day she died. (from Laura Madeline Wiseman, descendant of Matilda Fletcher)

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