Woman of the Century/Jennie Caldwell Nixon
NIXON, Mrs. Jennie Caldwell, educator, born in Shelbyville, Tenn., 3rd March, 1839. Descended on her mother's side from the English Northcotes and Loudons, she received from her father the vigorous blood of the Campbells and Caldwells of Scotland. Reared in ease and affluence on the fine old family estate, she exhibited at an early age a marked fondness for books. JENNIE CALDWELL NIXON. Her education was interrupted by her early marriage, which took place in New Orleans, but the following year, spent in foreign travel, did much to quicken her intellectual growth by developing her natural taste for art and cultivating that nigh poetic instinct, which is one of the leading characteristics of her mind. Recalled to America by the war, which swept away her inheritance, and widowed shortly afterward, she determined to adopt teaching as a profession. Though already possessed of an unusual degree of culture, she again went abroad, with her two little children, and courageously devoted herself to hard study for several years in France and Germany, in order to acquire a more thorough knowledge of general literature before attempting to teach her own. On her return she entered at once upon her chosen career, varying its arduous duties by lectures to literary club and by the use of her pen in purely literary work. In the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, held in New Orleans in 1884-85, she represented Louisiana in the department of woman's work, and in the following year she was appointed president of the same department in the North, Central and South American Exposition. When the Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for young women was founded, in New Orleans, in 1887, she was invited to the chair of English literature, a position which she continues to fill with great ability. Of late years she has contributed to leading periodicals many articles on the topics of the day, essays in lighter vein, fiction and verse. Of special note is her scholarly set of lecturer entitled "Immortal Lovers." which were delivered before the Woman's Club of New Orleans. Her style, though forcible and vivid, is at the same time singularly flexible and graceful. As a poet she shows that tender sympathy with Nature which is the poet's greatest charm. To her other gifts, she adds the homely grace of the good housewife. Strangers and residents in New Orleans will not soon forget "The Cabin," abandoned since the marriage of her children, that "little home innocent of bric-a-brac," described by Maud Howe in her "Atalanta in the South," where choicest spirits were wont to assemble and where the genius of hospitality brooded in the air. The frank, liberal, high-souled nature of the poet-teacher, strengthened by self-control and enriched by many and varied experiences, has made a lasting impression on the community in which she lives.