Woman of the Century/Mary Bigelow Ingham
INGHAM, Mrs. Mary Bigelow, author and religious worker, born in Mansfield, Ohio, 10th March, 1832. Her parents, of Revolutionary ancestry, were from Vermont Her father, Rev. John Janes, was a pioneer clergyman in Ohio and Michigan, and her mother, Hannah Brown, was one of the founders of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, Mich. Having attended Norwalk Seminary and Baldwin Institute, Miss Janes, when eighteen years old. went to Cleveland, Ohio, as a teacher in the public schools, and soon became the head of primary instruction in that city. During a portion of the six years spent there she boarded and studied in the family of Madame Pierre Gollier, learning to speak the French language fluently. Appointed professor of French and belles-lettres in the Ohio Wesleyan College for young ladies, in Delaware, Ohio, she applied herself to the study of German, adding thereto Spanish and Italian, and received from her alma mater the honorary degree of M. L. A. On 22nd March, 1866, she became the wife of W. A. Ingham, and removed to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1870 she was chosen to inaugurate in northern Ohio the work of the Woman's Foreign MARY BIGELOW INGHAM. Missionary Society. She presided over and addressed the first public meeting ever held in the city of Cleveland conducted exclusively by religious women. Afterward she addressed large audiences in the various cities of Ohio, in Baltimore, Washington, Buffalo, New York, New Haven and Minneapolis, upon the needs of the women of foreign lands. In March, 1874, being in charge of the praying band of her own city, she led for six weeks a very successful temperance crusade and was among the most active of Cleveland women in establishing inns, reading-rooms and chapels. She became chairman of the Pearl street inn, which for seven years did a great work in the evangelization of the masses in the ninth, tenth and eleventh wards of Cleveland. She was one of the original committee in Chautauqua, N. Y., that projected in August, 1874, the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union. That organizing convention met in her city 18th, 19th and 20th November, 1874. Writing has always been a favorite pastime with Mrs. Ingham. At ten years of age her first article was published in the Norwalk "Reflector." While in Delaware, encouraged by Professor W. G. Williams, she wrote her first story, for which he gave her the subject, "Something to Come Home To," receiving for it fifteen dollars from the "Ladies' Repository." That was followed by other articles. For the Cleveland "Leader "she has written letters from both sides of the ocean that have inspired more than one young person to cultivate the "best gifts." Her letters from Florida in 1882 contained very accurate descriptions of natural scenery in the land of flowers. In 1880, at the request of the management of the "Leader," she began, in a series of articles covering three years' space, the "History of Woman's Work in Cleveland since 1830." She included, besides the founding of the four great churches and a review of the principal charities, sketches under the title of the "Women of Cleveland." Her pen-name was "Anne Hathaway." In 1884 she wrote the history of the pioneer Methodist Episcopal Churches of Cleveland. In 1890 Mrs. Ingham wrote her famous Flag Festival, the third edition being adapted to Discovery Day. She is one of the founders of the Western Reserve School of Design and a charter member of the order of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and also of the Cleveland Sorosis, modeled upon that of New York. All that helps woman to advance is to her a delight, and it is part of her life-work to forward culture either in home or public life.