Woman of the Century/Mary Traffarn Whitney
WHITNEY, Mrs. Mary Traffarn, minister, born in Boonville. N. Y., 28th February, 1852. Her maiden name was Mary Louise Traffarn. Her father was a descendant of an old Huguenot family, and from that ancestry she inherited their love of truth and force of moral conviction. She received the rudiments of her education in the Whitestown Seminary, the Utica Academy, and the Clinton Industrial Institute, being graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1872. Her especial fondness was for the mathematical, scientific and logical branches of study. The next year she became the wife of Rev. Herbert Whitney and became an active assistant in his work, pursuing such lines of study as a busy life would permit, and teaching several terms with him in the old academy in Webster. N. Y. In 1881 she was graduated from the Chicago Kindergarten Training School, and taught that valuable system for two years.
MARY TRAFFARN WHITNEY. She had preached and lectured occasionally up to 1885, when she was asked to take charge of a church in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, which she did, finding in the ministry the real work of her life. At present she has charge of the First Unitarian Church in West Somerville. Mass. She is an ideal homemaker, rinding the highest uses for her learning in its devotion to the problem how to make the happiest and most helpful home for her husband and her four boys. The trend of her ministry is in the direction of the practical and spiritual, rather than the theoretic. As a lecturer on reform subjects she has won popularity, and in all philanthropic work and the great social problems of the day she takes a deep interest. Earnestly desirous of the advancement of women, she has felt that she might do most to promote that advancement by practically demonstrating in her own work that woman has a place in the ministry. In accord with this thought, her aim has been to do her best and most faithful work in whatever place was open to her. The motive of her ministry has been to add something to the helpful forces of the world. The secret of her success is hard work, making no account of difficulties. The methods and means of her progress may be described as a habit of learning from experience and from passing events, taking great lessons for life from humble sources.