Woman of the Century/Juliet H. Severance
SEVERANCE, Mrs. Juliet H., physician, born in the town of De Ruyter, N. Y., 1st July, 1833. Her father, Walter F. Worth, was a native of Nantucket, a (Quaker, and a cousin of Lucretia Mott. Her mother is still living (1891), at the age of ninety-two, in the full possession of her faculties. Juliet was sent to school in D; Ruyter at the age of thirteen years. She attended the seminary in that village during the winters, and her summers she spent in teaching, beginning her pedagogical labors at the age of fourteen years. She became interested in woman's rights, anti-slavery, temperance and religious subjects, and soon won fame as an orator in conventions. While attending the De Ruyter seminary she joined the Baptist Church. Her delicate health in girlhood led her to the study of hygienic methods of treatment, which resulted in making her strong and vigorous. She studied medicine for three years with a physician, and then went to New York, where she took the regular college course and graduated with the title of M. D. in 1858. She had kept up her interest in woman's rights and became an advocate of the abolition of the death penalty. Settling in De Witt, Iowa, she began to practice medicine, having to meet the assaults of the "regulars," who joined in a crusade against her. She soon won her way to success. She had, while in college, met a spiritualistic medium, whose tests of the return of spirits were so strong and convincing as to upset Her religious views. She began to read Liberal literature, beginning with Paine's "Age of Reason," which at once took her outside of the church. She studied Darwin, Huxley and other authors, and embraced the theory of evolution. She wrote and published a volume entitled "Evolution in Earth and Spirit Life," which has passed through several editions. JULIET H. SEVERANCE. In 1862 she moved to Whitewater, Wis., where she soon gained a large practice. In 1863 she began to lecture on social freedom, attracting attention by the courage of her views on marriage. In 1865, in a medical convention in Minneapolis, Minn., she, as chairman of the committee on resolutions, introduced a clause favoring magnetism as a therapeutical agent, which caused great excitement among the regulars. In 1868, in Sterling, Ill., Dr. Severance delivered a Fourth of July oration, said to be the best ever delivered by a woman, in which she advocated the adoption of a Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which was designed to enfranchise women. In 1869 she removed to Milwaukee, Wis., still continuing her practice with enlarged opportunities. In 1878 she attended a State convention of Spiritualists and was chosen president, an office which she held four yer.rs. Her address on " Industrial Problems," delivered then, was pronounced a revolutionary document Dr. Severance is a thorough parliamentarian, and has served as president of State associations of Spiritualists in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In 1880 she was elected first vice-president of the Liberal League in place of Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, who resigned. In that position she often relieved the president, the venerable Elizur Wright, from his arduous duties. She served as Master Workman of the Knights of Labor for three years, and Progressive Assembly was noted under her charge for its educational work. She has served three years as president of the Liberal Club, of Milwaukee. She has been prominent in political agitations, having served in three presidential nominating conventions of the Labor party. In the convention which formed the Union Labor party in 1888, in Cincinnati, Ohio, she introduced the woman-suffrage plank. All her public work has not kept her from being a model mother and housekeeper. Her family consists of three children by her first husband. Two of those, Lillian Stillman and F. W. Stillman, are on the stage and are well- known in theatrical circles. The third, B. D. Stillman, is a well-known musician. Dr. Severance is a radical of the radicals. In religion she is a Free Thinker of the Spiritualistic school. Politically, she believes in individualism against nationalism, and she is especially interested in the emancipation of woman from every form of serfdom, in church, State or home. In 1891 she removed to Chicago, Ill., where she now resides.