Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label HELSTEN Caroline Matilda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HELSTEN Caroline Matilda. Show all posts

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Life Re-Routed thanks to the 1918 Pandemic

Marion Evans before her marriage, 1912 in Gaylordsville Connecticut

Marion Evans was born in Sherman Connecticut 11 February 1886, the 2nd daughter of Charles Harold Evans and Caroline Matilda Helsten.  Her father Charles and her uncle Edward had built houses next door to each other, at the foot of Evans Hill Rd. where their parents, Charles Evans and Hannah Elizabeth Radford lived on the top.  On the other side of that same hill in Gaylordsville, lived Marion's maternal grandparents, Eric Adolf Helstein and Mary Hearty.

Charles and Edward had a busy house construction business in Sherman and Gaylordsville.  In 1888, they decided to move their families and their business north to Great Barrington, Massachusetts where there was a building boom going on.  Charles and Edward Evans opened the Barrington Building Co. which ended up building not only houses but also a high school their daughters attended and other large buildings around the community over the years.

Neither Charles, nor his wife Caroline had any college education.  They might have attended high school but I don't know.  It is clear that education was important to them: Caroline was involved with the Current Events Club and Charles with the Sons of the American Revolution in Great Barrington.  Charles' mother, Hannah Elizabeth Radford Evans, amazingly had one year of college back in 1844-1845.  Caroline's immigrant parents -- Eric Adolf Helsten and Mary Hearty-- came in the mid-1840s and did encourage at least one of their 4 children (Sarah) to have education beyond high school.

Both Marion (1904) and her older sister, Clarice (1902), graduated from Searles High School.  Clarice taught in local schools before going on and getting degrees and eventually teaching at Jersey City State Teachers College in New Jersey starting in 1937.

As young unmarried women in the early 1900s, they needed to have jobs.  One might live at home, but unless you had wealthy parents, you needed to support yourself.   Both Marion and Clarice were in school at the same time, each graduating in 1908 -- Marion from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York with a degree in Domestic Science; Clarice from Connecticut's State Normal Training School in Danbury with a teaching certificate-- each with a two-year degree.

Marion's first job out of college was teaching high school domestic science in Saginaw Michigan.  Then she came back east and took courses at Columbia Teachers College for 2 years.    Her skills caught the attention of the philanthropist Helen Gould (daughter of Jay Gould) who hired her teach nutritional cooking classes for women in Roxbury New York during the summer of 1912.  She worked for Helen Gould all year, helping with setting up a new organization's chapter, the Campfire Girls, in Irvington New York and typing a book of sermons for a minister there.  When not working, she would be back home in Gaylordsville Connecticut.  Her parents were now living in her Helsten-grandparents' former home just over the Housatonic River from Robert Edward Dakin who was back at his parents' home working on the Bulls Bridge Power Plant addition.
Wedding of Marion Evans and Robert Edward Dakin, 1913

Marion and Robert Married on 13 September 1913 in Gaylordsville.  Rob was and engineer working projects around the state.  So, they would set up house-keeping and when the job required that they move, they did.  So they had three children born in three different towns. Robert Edward Jr was born in Danbury on 15 May 1915, dying the next day.  Theodore Robert was born in New Haven on 11 November 1916.  Edward Evans was born in Derby on 28 January 1918.  In August 1918 the family had moved again, this time back to Danbury so Rob could work on the dam at Stevenson over the Housatonic River.

Marion's busy daily life with children and running the household was abruptly disrupted by the flu pandemic that was sweeping all over the world.  On Saturday 30 November, Rob got sick.  Marion had two young children -- a two year old and a 10 month old along with a sick husband.  She sends her older child to stay with Aunt Mary in Gaylordsville and her mother Carrie Helsten Evans comes down to help.  By Wednesday 4 December, her son Edward was sick, as was her mother Carrie.  On Tuesday 10 December, her mother Carrie dies, the next day, her son Edward Evans died and on Thursday there was a double funeral.  The next Monday, her husband Rob died.  So, in 5 days, Marion lost her mother, son and husband to the flu -- she was now a 32 year old widow with a two year old son -- her life had dramatically changed.

She initially moved back to her father's home to decide what to do; he had lost his wife, son-in-law and grandson with all those deaths but they had no time to grieve.  Marion needed to go back to work, she had a son to raise.  What to do next?   In 1918 there wasn't social security for a widow raising a child.  Luckily she already had some education to build upon.  Probably not true for many other families who were devastated by the Influenza Pandemic.

Marion decided to go to the University of Chicago for courses in nutrition during the 1919 spring  term with her father going along as "baby tender" -- so Marion, son Ted and her father Charles traveled from Connecticut to Chicago and moved in with her sister Clarice who was teaching industrial arts at the Laboratory School there.
Marion at Pratt Institute

After a quarter at U of C, Marion was hired at her alma mater, Pratt Institute, to teach home economics.  Off they all go to Brooklyn New York -- Marion taught at Pratt for two years before being hired by Connecticut Agricultural College (now U Connecticut) as Connecticut's first Extension Nutritionist in February 1921.  She retired from U Conn in July 1946.  Her son Ted grew up on the Storrs campus with students who would trade child care for room & board. 

In her job, she was writing extension bulletins on food preparation and also giving talks to local groups and large Expositions and State & County fairs all over the state of Connecticut.  

You already know she had taken many courses and many different schools.  She decided to take a leave of absence for a semester and enrolled as a student in the college where she was on the faculty and completed her bachelors degree in teacher training in home economics -- graduating from Connecticut Agricultural College on 9 June 1930.  

When her father Charles died in 1928 in Savannah Georgia on a train home from Florida to New York, one of the obituaries listed his three surviving children and Marion was listed as the wife of a professor at Connecticut Agricultural College!!  Her husband had died ten years earlier, SHE was on the faculty, he NEVER was!

Years after she died, in 1974, the university decided to honor the "pioneer women educators" with a plaque and garden outside Holcolm Hall.  Ion 22 October 1991, went to the dedication as did Wilma Keyes, the only survivor of the honorees.

"The women were faculty members of the  School of Home Economics who lived and taught in Holcomb Hall.  Built in  1922, Holcomb Hall replaced the first women's building, Grove Cottage,  which burned in 1919. 
Memorialized for their pioneering efforts to educate UConn women  are:  M. Estella Sprague, Marion Dakin, Gladys Hendrickson, Wilma Keyes,  Lillis Knappenberger, Marie Lundberg, Lisbeth Macdonald, Edith Mason,  Elizabeth Putnam, and Elsie Trabue.  All taught in what was then the  school of Home Economics and is now the School of Family Studies.  Keyes is the only one of the ten still living.  Her art and design courses led  to the establishment of the University's present department of Art in the School of Fine Arts. 
The Pioneer Women Educators Memorial is a gift of three UConn women... 
'These women were part of the progressive wave who were seeking to  carve out new opportunities and careers for educated women,... Home  Economics was one of the new areas and these pioneers  taught our generations of women to reach beyond the accepted roles of teacher, nurse and librarian.' 
"Martha Fowlkes, Dean of UConn's School of Family Studies, comments:  'Our School is proud and grateful beneficiary of the contributions of the  women educators in whose honor the garden is dedicated.  Through their  accomplishments in the field of Home Economics, these women represent  both the University's history of women's educational achievement and its  attention to the importance and dignity of families and the lives of  women, both inside and outside the home..."  

There was irony of the picture of Marion at the top of this page.  She is sitting in the wagon, the mode of transportation around Sherman and Gaylordsville.  Soon after the picture, she married and her husband was an engineer who needed to travel around the state.  So, by the time he died, he was driving a car.  After he died and she took the job as the first Extention Nutritionist in Connecticut, in 1921 she was driving around the state to make presentations.   By the time she died, she & Ted had not only taken a boat to England to visit her sister in 1929, and then before she died she had traveled by plane to Sweden and then Japan.  To top it all off, she even watched the landing of man on the moon in 1969. Could she have even imagined the changes in transportation in her lifetime when sitting in that family wagon.

More details on the life of Marion Evans Dakin (11 February 1886-4 July 1974) are included in my article that was published in TIARA Newsletter, 2 September 2015, vol. 32, no 3.   TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) had a focus issue on Researching the Lives of Women.

The link to this post is
©Erica Dakin  Voolich 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Clarice Evans & Anna Halberg, Life and Opportunities for Women Educators in the early 20th century

Clarice, as I remember her in my childhood a couple years before she died.

In my young-child-mind, my great Aunt Clarice was an older woman who I loved to play with on the two occasions when I visited my grandmother, Marion Evans Dakin, in Connecticut.  I have such fond memories of making a "play house" in the lilac bushes and painting at an easel she had set up in the backyard.  Clarice died tragically from a fall down the stairs on 7 July 1953.  Such a wonderful aunt.  

But, was she anything more than just a fun person, a great playmate for a chid to play with?
I've been researching Aunt Clarice.  She was born Clarice Theodora Evans on 21 April 1884 in Sherman, Connecticut, the oldest daughter of Charles Harold Evans and Caroline Matilda Helsten Evans. She wasn't even a month old, when her older brother died at 14 months.  She grew up with a younger sister, and a younger brother.  She graduated from Searles High School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1902.  

The career opportunities for a woman in the early 1900s were limited.  She taught in the 1st district one-room school in Sherman (and according to her sister Marion was paid $246.50/year as its first teacher).  She went to the State Normal Training School, graduating in 1908.  She went on to graduate from Columbia Teachers college with a BS in 1920 and a MA in 1926.  From what I've been able to find, she taught in a variety of schools in various states, both as a teacher and as a specialist in industrial arts and then in teachers colleges.  Documenting all she did in education surprised me, I only knew of her final job at Jersey City State Teachers College, (1934-1950) in New Jersey and I knew of her teaching at the University of Chicago Lab School for a couple of years starting in 1918.  I am still learning about her career -- filling in the gaps.  She was someone who believed in progressive educational ideas -- children learning by doing.

One treasure I found in my grandmother's desk were letters from Clarice when she traveled to England 1928-1930.  Clarice was not wealthy -- she wasn't traveling abroad for two years on a "grand tour of Europe" -- No, Clarice was traveling to work at a new school, Dartington Hall in Totnes, Devon, England who had offered her £300 plus transportation, and room & board to come for a year.  Dartington Hall was interested in her knowledge of a new area of education -- industrial arts.

Clarice used her letters to her sister (Marion Evans Dakin), her aunt (Mary Helsten Pomery) and her nephew (Theodore Robert Dakin) as her journal of her trip.   And, Marion dutifully saved most of them for Clarice.    She wrote about her joys and frustrations and observations of daily life.  

Clarice wrote about life at Dartington, schools she visited, classes she taught, museums & tourist sites she visited, plays she attended, books she read, artists & authors she met (Darlington was the "in place to be" for well known artists, authors, etc.)-- you name it, she wrote about it.  She frequently mentioned being cold in the English climate and wearing the same suit for most occasions (actually close to daily).  She would write and ask her sister Marion to check out various job opportunities for her upon return -- before extending her stay for a second year.

Clarice was a professional woman who corresponded with other women who she knew from various jobs and her time studying at Columbia Teachers College.    In her letter of 18 January 1929 to her sister Marion, she writes:
Had such a nice letter from Anna Halberg.  Her board which is a congressional committee have made her school into a Teachers College.  They told her that they had never heard of a woman head of T.C. so they planned to get a man and she could stay on as dean.  Since they haven’t the man she is to do all the work.  She is a little sore.

I can only imagine how "sore" Anna is to give up her job to a man, just because she is a woman and the job title has changed!  And, while they look for that man who can do ... well, Anna should do all the work!

I got to wondering if I could find Anna.  This must be a school in Washington D.C. -- where else could Anna be working where a Congressional Committee is the board for a school?  So I did a bit of searching online and found "Anna D. Halberg, 1927 -1931" is the principal of the Wilson Normal School and Wilson Teachers College in Washington D.C.   Looking at Wilson Normal School and Wilson Teachers College in Presidents of historically black colleges and universities 1837-2013, Robert W. Woodruff Library.
I found Anna D. Halberg and her predecessors were all female and "principals;" those who followed, were male and "presidents."

Humm, Anna is the head, doing all the work of the head, but the Congressmen have never heard of a woman as head of a teachers college, so they need to hire a man and 'she can stay on as a dean'.  

So, in the minds of male leaders, the women of the 1920s and 1930s could be teachers, principals or even teacher trainers in teacher colleges, but once the teacher training school became a "teacher college" and not just a "training school," the woman wasn't "qualified" to head the school.

Clarice at the art museum -- one of her favorite stops when visiting a city.

© Erica Dakin Voolich 2016

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eric HELSTEN, Mary HEARTY and his apprentice John CARLSON

Last February, I was checking to see if anything new could be found on my GGgrandparents Eric HELSTEN or his wife Mary HEARTY.  Eric came from Uppsala, Sweden in 1845.  Mary came from Dorsey, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland around the same time.  They were married in Patterson, NY 12 August 1849 and moved over the New York/Connecticut line to Gaylordsville, CT.  In 1842, Eric was apprenticed as a tanner in Sweden and so it was not surprising to discover that when he settled in Gaylordsville that he started a tannery in 1853.

I discovered someone else was searching for Eric and Mary.  I was pleased.  I am descended from their daughter Caroline Matilda HELSTEN who married Charles H EVANS. I don't know what happended to two of their four children, Mary Louisa HELSTEN and William HELSTEN.    Maybe one of their descendants was searching.

So I sent a message asking how she was related to Eric and Mary.

However, it was someone NOT descended from Eric and Mary.  It was Chris Finland who was searching her ancestor John CARLSON [Carl Johan Augustus CARLSSON].  John was an orphan who came from Sweden after his grandparents, who had been raising him, died.  John was apprenticed to Eric HELSTEN. Chis has a paper saying that John got a new suit of clothes and $100 for his 7 years of apprenticeship as a tanner and shoemaker.  Chris didn't know anything about John's early years but figured that maybe Eric was a distant relative or family friend who had taken him in -- how else might he have gotten here from Sweden?

John's mother was from just south of Uppsala and Eric came from Uppsala. Chris has been searching for years.  She has found relatives in Sweden, traveled there, and had been working on a family tree for Eric HELSTEN in hopes of finding a connection, anywhere.  No success.

This has led to our working together to see if we can find anything about  John CARLSON and to figure out his relationship to Eric HELSTEN.