Woman of the Century/Agnes Nininger Kemp
KEMP, Mrs. Agnes Nininger, physician, born in Harrisburg, Pa., 4th November, 1823. She is a daughter of Anthony Nininger, who was a native of Alsatia, France. He came to America early in 1816. and, marrying Miss Catharine May, settled in Harrisburg, Pa., where, after a useful life, he died in 1868. He left two children, John and Agnes. The mother died when Agnes was nine years old. The child was born a linguist The French and German tongues seemed as natural to her as her own. While but a mere girl in years, she became the wife of Col. William Saunders, and a few years after, owing to a seeming failure of health, was ordered by In r physician to a celebrated water-cure in New York. During that absence from home Mrs. Kemp was brought into intimate association with Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison, Abby Kelly Foster and Ralph Waldo Emerson and others of like spirit. AGNES NININGER KEMP. Their recognition of the inherent possibilities for great good in Mrs. Kemp was immediate. At a time when to be recognized as an anti-slavery man or woman was to subject one's self to persecution and often to physical danger, and when to declare one's self in sympathy with equal political and civil rights for women was to become socially ostracised, it required no small amount of moral courage in the young matron, upon her return home, to prove her faith by her works. She was equal to the demand. She invited successively to Harrisburg those sturdy pioneers and helped them to sow the seed of patriotism in the conservative capital of Pennsylvania. After a few years, being widowed, she went to Philadelphia, entered the Woman's Medical College, ana was graduated in 1879, being the first woman in Dauphin county to begin there the practice of medicine and the first one to be received into the medical society of that county. Her second marriage, to Joseph Kemp, of Hollidaysburg, Pa., occurred in 1860. Their family consisted of three children, two girls and a boy. Questions which, a quarter of a century ago, were rarely discussed in polite society, such as the formation of Magdalen asylums, crusades against intemperance and unholy living, the divine rights of childhood, the kindergarten system and the need of social purity for a higher development of the race, were, with Mrs. Kemp, the themes of constant conversation and agitation. She became an educator of popular sentiment in the right direction, and when the Woman's Christian Temperance Union became a national organization, she was active in establishing a local union in Harrisburg. The death in infancy of her two children, and a few years later of her husband, left her with tier oldest daughter, Marie. Having given to that daughter every opportunity for an American education which Swarthmore College could afford, the two went to Europe and studied during one winter in the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and two winters in Paris, in the Sorbonne and College de France. During these recent years abroad Madame Kemp and daughter enjoyed every facility for educational advancement, and there, as in America, the voice of Agnes Kemp was heard upon the platform, and her pen was kept busy, promulgating the truths of temperance, chastity, equality and fraternity. Today the daughter is professor of German in her alma mater. Although Dr. Kemp has rounded her three-score-and-eight, she is yet in her prime.