Woman of the Century/Lillie B. Chace Wyman
WYMAN, Mrs. Lillie B. Chace, author and philanthropist, born in Valley Falls, R. I., 10th December, 1847. She is the daughter of Samuel B. and Elizabeth R. Chace. Growing up in an anti-slavery but very retired village home, where the visits of anti-slavery speakers and the harboring of fugitive slaves were the chief occurrences of interest, her thoughts were early turned upon the moral duties of the members of society. She read old anti-slavery papers, listened to discussions and formed her social philosophy upon a fundamental belief that men are worth saving from misery and sin She was taught to be liberal and unorthodox in theology, and was left largely to find her own religious Ix-lief. She attended the school which Dr. Dio Lewis conducted in Lexington, Mass. She went to Europe in 1872, and spent more than a year there She got some notion of the significance of history when she was in Rome, and became interested in liberal Italian politics. She soon began to feel very strongly that the labor question and kindred social questions were the most pressing and important ones of her time, and that they should engage the attention of all conscientious persons. She remained in Valley Falls for five or six years after her return from Europe. Her family were cotton manufacturers, and she made some study, as her strength permitted, of the conditions of factory operatives. In 1877 she published in the "Atlantic Monthly" a short story, called "The Child of the State," which narrated the experiences of a child who was born in a factory operative family and early became an inmate of a reform school. It was studied very closely from life, both as regards existence in the factory village and in the reform school Its subject caused it to receive much attention. The school described was recognized, and the superintendent thereof, whom she had drawn from life, was also recognized. She continued to publish short stories at intervals, and a number were afterwards collected and published in a took called "Poverty Grass" (Boston, 1886). Since its appearance she has published no other book, but she has written a number of other stories and sketches. Her most serious work since then has been a series of studies of factory life, four of which appeared in the "Atlantic Monthly." two in the "Christian Union" and one in the "Chautauquan" Besides these, she has written out her own anti-slavery reminiscences in a paper entitled "From Generation to Generation." which was published in the "Atlantic Monthly." She has spent two winters in southern Georgia, where she and her husband have been instrumental in establishing a free library for the colored people in that State. They have also helped to start some work in industrial education among the negroes. She embodied the results of her studies of the condition of the Georgia negroes in two papers, which appeared in the "New England Magazine." She is a believer in woman suffrage, prohibition and total abstinence, and in Henry George's theories as to land tenure. She is interested In socialism and looks to a conciliation of the seemingly opposing ideas of socialism and individualism into a harmony which may bring about a better state and a happier social condition. She has no definite philosophy, but she is wholly opposed to materialistic ways of regarding things. In 1878 she became the wife of John C. Wyman, a Massachusetts man, born in 1823. He was a Garrisonian abolitionist before the war, entered the Union army as captain in a Massachusetts regiment, was made United States provost-marshal at Alexandria, and afterwards served for some time on General McCallum's Staff He is now executive agent for the Rhode Island commissioners of the World's Fair. They have one son, Arthur, born in 1879. Mrs. Wyman is very much interested in Russian affairs, and helped to organize the society of American Friends of Russian Freedom.