Woman of the Century/Frances Augusta Conant
CONANT, Mrs. Frances Augusta, journalist and business woman, born in West Burlington, N. Y., 23rd December, 1842. Her parents were Curtis and Martha R. Hemingway. She was educated in the western part of the State and in Brooklyn, where she became the wife, in 1864, of Claudius W. Conant, of New York. In early girlhood she became a contributor to New York publications. Since 1982 Mrs. Conant has been a resident of Chicago, III. She usually passes the winters in traveling through the South. She was for several years a special correspondent of the "Living Church" and a contributor to the "Advance" and other religious publications of Chicago, as well as to some class journals, and, occasionally, short stories of hers appeared in leading New York and Philadelphia publications. During the New Orleans Exposition of 1884-'85 she was the only special woman correspondent in that city for a mechanical and scientific journal, ably representing the "Industrial World," of Chicago. She often writes as a collaborator with her husband, who is connected with the "American Field." and they frequently do editorial work interchangeably. Mrs. Conant is an earnest advocate of the cause of industrial education, and she was editor and business manager of the "Journal of Industrial Education" in the early days of its publication. Her reputation as a writer of short sketches of travel lea to an engagement as editor of the "American Traveler and Tourist." published in Chicago, which position she held for two years, until she became interested FRANCES AUGUSTA CONANT. in a commercial enterprise. Though rarely working in any associations, she has developed decided ability as a promoter and organizer. She was one of the founders of the Woman's National Press Association, formed in New Orleans, in 1885, for the purpose of fostering State auxiliaries like the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was the principal promoter of the Illinois Woman's Press Association, the first independent State organization for the purpose of affording practical assistance to women in literary pursuits. She was secretary of that association for the first two years, and received an honorary life membership in recognition of her services. Mrs. Conant is noted for being most generous in giving time and thought to all appeals for help. What been said by a longtime friend that if she had been half as zealous in forwarding her own interest as in advancing those of other people she would have made a great financial success in her career. Like all women in public work she has been the constant recipient of the most touching appeals from other women, usually those without technical training, for assistance to occupations by which they could earn their bread. She became oppressed by the problem: "What shall we do with this unskilled army?" When a plan for employing large numbers of these untrained applicants was presented to Mrs. Conant she withdrew from editorial work, in 1891, to engage in the promotion and organization of a corporation projected to give, eventually, remunerative employment to thousands of women in all parts of the country. She was secretary of the company during its first year and took an active part in the business management, then she resigned her trust to others, having made a record of phenomenal success. The year closed with the company well established.