Woman of the Century/Helen M. Gougar

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GOUGAR, Mrs. Helen M., orator and woman suffragist, born in Litchfield, Mich., 18th July, 1843. From her earliest years Mrs. Gougar has been an intense and unflinching enthusiast for the right. Originality, energy, keenness of intellect, self-reliance and concentration of force enlivened by a ready wit and buoyant impulses have characterized her every purpose from girlhood to the present. Never to compromise a principle to present expediency is a resolution often upon her lips in answer to the suggestions of the more conservative; and the intriguing, the cowardly, or the weak, whether in the chair of state, divinity or discussion, have frequent opportunities to see themselves as she sees them, and to mend their methods, inspired by her pertinent words. At forty years of age her hair was prematurely whitened by a bitter and hard-fought attempt to weaken her power, in political circles, by defamation, but, the battle over and her enemies completely vanquished, she goes on unflinchingly and contests heroically for what she believes to be the right and patriotic course to a higher civilization. In this battle she decided forever the right of women to take an active part in political warfare without being compelled to endure defamation. As a speaker she is earnest, easy, dignified and at times impassionedly eloquent, HELEN M. COUGAR..jpgHELEN M. COUGAR. wholly without affectation or oratorical display. She speaks without manuscript or notes, rapidly and convincingly. Her special work in reforms is in legal and political lines, and constitutional law and statistics she quotes with marvelous familiarity, when speaking in public. She has been repeatedly called upon to address special committees in Congress, also the legislatures of Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, New York, Wisconsin and Kansas. She recognizes the historical fact that popular governments are overthrown by corrupt municipalities. She believes that the "home vote" is the only power that can control the proletariat mob of large cities, and this causes her to espouse woman suffrage on the platform and with a forcible pen. Mrs. Gougar is the author of the law granting municipal suffrage to the women of Kansas, and the adoption of the measure was largely due to her efforts. She proved the correctness of her theory by redeeming Leavenworth, the largest city in the State at that time, from slum rule by the votes of women. The success which has attended that law, in the interest of political honor and the exaltation of public service, is well known. As a writer she is concise, direct and fluent. She was for many years a contributor to the "Inter-Ocean" and is still held in high esteem by the management of that Republican organ, notwithstanding her radical Prohibition party affiliation. As a business woman she is thorough, prompt and systematic; as a companion, cheerful, witty, voluble. In her domestic life she is happy and fortunate, the wife of a man of wealth, education and refinement, a successful lawyer, respected and beloved by all who know him, and whose affectionate sympathy, self-poise and financial independence have sustained her in the aggressive methods peculiar to her public work. Their home in Lafayette, Ind., is one of unusual elegance and comfort Although childless, both she and her husband are fond of children and young people, and they are seldom without a youthful guest in the house, the children of her five sisters, or other relatives or friends, and sometimes a waif of charity, who share the cheery hospitality of their elegant surroundings.