Woman of the Century/Katherine Eleanor Conway
CONWAY, Miss Katherine Eleanor, journalist, born in Rochester. N. V., 6th September. 1853. She is the daughter of cultivated Celtic parents, who came to this country from the west of Ireland. Upon her mother's side are traditions of scholarship for many generations, several of her kindred having been prominent ecclesiastics in the Church of Rome The name is of remote Welsh origin, and there is a slight trace of English blood in their veins, but the family pride is all in their Irish blood, and the Conways are "good rebels, every one." KATHERINE ELEANOR CONWAY. The name Conway has been notable in teaching and journalism Kalherine's sister, Miss Mary Conway, is the head of the Collegio Americano, in Buenos Ayres, Argentine Republic. Several of the same name and mood have been prominently associated with journalism in New York, and her kinsman. Rev. John Conway, edits a journal in St. Paul, Minn. The father of Katherine Conway, a successful railroad contractor and bridge-builder, was also active in politics. From the age of four to fifteen years Katherine was in school The years from eleven to fifteen were spent in St. Mary's Academy, Buffalo, N. Y., where her inclination to literature was strengthened by a gifted English teacher At the age of fifteen, when her first poem appeared. Katherine was under the impression that ten dollars was the price usually paid to an editor for the honor of appearing in his columns in verse, and she supposed that, wishing to please her, some one of her family had been guilty of this blamable extravagance. Her busy mind was ever instinctively outreaching for wider fields of usefulness, and in her aspirations she was assisted by her sympathetic friend and adviser, Bishop McQuaid, of Rochester, N. Y. Her first work in journalism was done on the Rochester "Daily Union and Advertiser." She edited for five years the "West End Journal," a little religious monthly. She was assistant editor of the Buffalo "Catholic Union and Times" from 1880 to 1883. In that year Miss Conway was invited to visit Boston to recuperate her failing health. There she met for the first time the editor who had given her the earliest recognition for her poems by a check for their value. John Boyle O'Reilly. An opportune vacancy occurring upon the staff of the "Pilot," Mr. O'Reilly tendered it at the close of her visit to Miss Conway, who accepted and entered upon her new duties in the autumn of 1883. Besides a liberal salary, opportunities for outside literary work were often put in the young editor's way by her generous chief. Two years previous to that change, in 1881, Katherine Conway had gathered her vagrant poems into a volume, which was published with the appropriate title, "On the Sunrise Slope." Miss Conway's next venture through the hands of the publisher was in editing Mrs. Clara Erskine Clement Waters' collection, called "Christian Symbols and Stories of the Saints as Illustrated in Art" She has lately brought out a very successful little volume, "Watchwords from John Boyle O'Reilly," with an introductory chapter on O'Reilly as poet and literary writer. Miss Conway is a woman without a grievance. Her toil has been hard and long, but she has won recognition and made steady progress. Her influence is wide. She organized the first Catholic reading circle in Boston, of which she is still president For years the chosen chairman of the literary entertainments of the New England Woman's Press Association, which office she has resigned, she has made an admirable presiding officer on occasions when any notable literary visitors to Boston were gathered about the board, and has done much to advance the dignity and preserve the harmony of that organization. In the spring of 1891 Miss Conway was invited to give before the Woman's Council in Washington, D- C., her paper upon "The Literature of Moral Loveliness." She was the first and is thus far the only Catholic who has appeared before the Educational and Industrial Union of Boston to speak upon a religious theme. In addition to that, during that year she read before the Women's Press Club papers on "Some Obstacles to Women's Success in Journalism," "Personal Journalism," and "On Magnifying Mine Office, a neat satire." Besides all this, her poems have appeared in the Providence "Journal" and "Life," with thoughtful articles of literary trend in the Catholic and secular periodicals. Miss Conway has lately been honored by being chosen president of the press department of the Isabella Association, in connection with the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She is still on the " Pilot." associate editor, with James Jeffrey Roche, chief editor. Miss Conway s life has been a full and generous one. overflowing with thought and help for others.