Woman of the Century/Alice D. Le Plongeon

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LE PLONGEON, Mrs. Alice D., archaeologist, born in London, Eng., 21st December, 1851. Her maiden name was Dixon. Her father was bom in London and was one of a large family. Medicine, the church, literature and art were the callings of the family, more particularly art. ALICE D. LE PLONGEON A woman of the century (page 468 crop).jpgALICE D. LE PLONGEON. Mrs. Le Plongeon's mother was Sophia Cook, of Byfleet, in the very Saxon county of Surrey, and in her girlhood was called the " Lily of Byfleet." Mrs. Le Plongeon did not receive the high-school education now granted to girls, but only the usual English schooling and smattering of accomplishments. Her father was a very fine reader, and he trained her in that art. As a girl she was gay-hearted, restless, ambitious and fond of music. At seventeen she wished to become a singer and actress, but her parents did not encourage that wish. When nineteen years old, she became acquainted with Dr. Le Plongeon, who had journeyed from San Francisco, Cal., to London for the purpose of studying ancient Mexican and other manuscripts preserved in the British Museum. In listening to his enthusiastic accounts of travels and discoveries in Peru she became imbued with a desire to visit unfamiliar places and seek for unknown things. After marriage she accompanied Dr. Le Plongeon to the wilds of Yucatan. Their work there is known all over the world. Eleven years were passed by them in the study of the grand ruins existing in that country. It is difficult to speak of Mrs. Le Plongeon apart from her learned husband, for, as she says, she is but his pupil in archaeology. She has toiled by his side and endured many hardships and dangers. The work among the ruins was laborious, not only in the matter of exploring and excavating, but in making hundreds of photographs, in surveying and making molds, by means of which the old palaces of Yucatan can be built in any part of the world. Their greatest achievement has been the discovery of an alphabet, by which the American hieroglyphics may be read, something which had before Deen considered quite impossible. She is the only woman who has devoted her time and means to ancient American history, and that should certainly be sufficient to Americanize her. Brooklyn, L. I., has been her place of residence since her return from Yucatan. She has written for several magazines and papers and has published a small volume, " Here and There in Yucatan "(New York, 1886), which has a good sale. A larger work. "Yucatan, Its Ancient Palaces and Modern Cities," is not yet in print. With the object of making ancient America known to modern Americans, she took to the lecture platform, and seldom fails to spouse the enthusiasm of her hearers. In recognition of her labors the Geographical Society of Paris asked for her portrait to place in its album of celebrated travelers. Hitherto she has always refused to give her biography for publication, saying that she considers her work only begun, for she hopes to do much more. Socially, Mrs. Le Plongeon is a favorite, and she takes a lively interest in all the questions of the day.