Woman of the Century/Martha E. Sewall Curtis
CURTIS, Mrs. Martha E. Sewall, woman suffragist, born in Burlington, Mass., 18th May. 1858. She is descended from one of the oldest families of New England. Among her ancestors were Chief Justice Samuel Sewall, of witchcraft fame, and his sun, Rev. Joseph Sewall, minister of MARTHA K. SEWALL CURTIS. the Old South Church, Boston. On her grand mother's side she is descended from Henry Dunster, first president of Harvard College. She was graduated from Cambridge high school in 1874, the youngest of her class. She subsequently pursued the study of various literary branches and accomplishments. For several years she was a teacher, and at one time was on die school committee of her native town. She became the wife of Thomas S. Curtis, 3rd July. 1879. They had two children, both of whom died in infancy. Her husband died 27th December, 1888. He fully sympathized with his wife in her literary and reformatory work. After her marriage she took a full course in elocution at the New England Conservatory and was graduated in 1883. She afterward spent a year in the study of oratory to fit herself for public shaking. A firm believer in the equality of the sexes, she began when quite young to work for the enfranchisement of women. Her first appearance as a public lecturer was in the meetings of the National Woman Suffrage Association in Boston and elsewhere. In 1889 she was appointed State lecturer of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, and in that capacity addressed many public meetings in different parts of the State. She has also done much work for the reform by contributing articles to the newspapers. She edits a weekly woman's column in the Woburn "News," and she is president of the Woburn Equal Suffrage League. She has been active in urging women to vote for the school committee, the only form of suffrage granted to them in Massachusetts. She is a thorough believer in temperance, but holds that the best way to obtain good laws is to put the ballot into the hands of women as well as men. From her grandfather. Rev. Samuel Sewall, a famous antiquarian of the past generation, she has inherited a taste for historical research. She has recently written a history of her own town for the "History of Middlesex County."