History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Mary A. Safford

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MARY AUGUSTA SAFFORD was born at Quincy, Illinois, December 23, 1851. At the age of eighteen she entered the State University at Iowa City. After several years of study and teaching she began to preach in Hamilton, Illinois, to which city her parents had removed in her childhood. Here Miss Safford organized a Unitarian Society in 1878. She preached in Hamilton a year and a half, after which she was invited by the Iowa Unitarian Association to be ordained in the State of Iowa. She received her ordination in the town of Humboldt where she remained five years, finally attracting the attention of those interested in the needs of larger towns. In the summer of 1885 Miss Safford accepted a call to the new parish of Sioux City, and entered upon her pastorate there in the fall of that year, completing the organization of the society and stimulating the growing society to build a commodious church. In Sioux City Miss Safford was one of the founders of the Humane Society. She also initiated the first church literary clubs of Sioux City, which were afterwards taken up by other churches until from the nucleus in Unity Church there extended throughout Sioux City an ever broadening circle of literary life. Miss Safford resigned her Sioux City pastorate in June, 1899, to accept a call to Des Moines. In addition to her work at Des Moines, Miss Safford is secretary of the Iowa Unitarian Association, traveling from place to place, organizing, advising and stimulating the churches. Her work has always been largely missionary. She has organized thriving churches in Cherokee, Washta, Perry and Ida Grove. For ten years she was president of the Iowa Unitarian Conference and under her plan of organization the conference developed a financial strength that had been deemed impossible. In addition to her position as State secretary and minister of the Des Moines church, Miss Safford is a director of the National Unitarian Association, a director of the Western Association, a director of the State Conference, and a member of the National Fellowship Committee. In addition to the literary, educational and humane work of her church, Miss Safford has always been an ardent woman suffragist.