Woman of the Century/Mary Wood Allen

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ALLEN, Mrs. Mary Wood, physician, author and lecturer, born in Delta, Ohio, 19th October, 1841. She is the daughter of George Wood, who emigrated from his English home when just of age, and in the wilds of southern Michigan met and married Miss Sarah Seely. The young couple settled where the village of Delta now stands, but at that time there were but two dwellings in the place. In one of these Mary was born, and there her childhood was passed. Even in those early days her future was shadowed forth, for she never played with dolls except to doctor them in severe illnesses. They often died under her treatment, and then she enjoyed having a funeral, in which she figured as chief mourner, preacher and sexton, as she had neither brother nor sister, and her playmates were few. At fourteen she had exhausted the resources of the village school. She manifested a love for study, especially of music, and before fifteen years of age had established herself in central Ohio as a music teacher with a class of twenty pupils. Her talent in music was a direct inheritance from her mother who had a remarkable voice. As a music teacher Mary earned money to begin her college course in Delaware, Ohio, where she proved an ardent student, putting four years work into three and, as a result breaking down in health. After graduation she taught music, French and German in a collegiate institute in Battle Ground, Ind., continuing there until her marriage to Chillon B. Allen, a graduate of the classical department of the Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, and of the Ann Arbor Law School. Her own delicate health led her into the investigation of many therapeutical measures, and after the death of her first child in infancy she, with her husband, began the study of medicine, first in her own country and then in Europe, where she spent three years, returning to graduate in medicine from Ann Arbor in 1875. In Newark, N. J., where she settled and practiced her profession, her first important literary work was done. This was the beginning of the "Man Wonderful and the House Beautiful" (New York, 1884), an allegorical physiology. The first ten chapters appeared in the "Christian Union," and received such a recognition that their expansion into a book was began, and she and her husband united in completing the volume. Allen has also been a contributor of both prose and poetry to many leading periodicals, her poem entitled "Motherhood" having won for itself immediate fame. It is, however, as a lecturer that Dr. Allen has won her brightest laurels. A paper upon heredity which she presented at the State convention of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Cortland, N. Y., was both eloquent and logical and aroused the interest of the whole convention, and as a result Dr. Allen was appointed national lecturer of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the departments of heredity and MARY WOOD ALLEN.jpgMARY WOOD ALLEN. hygiene. Since then she has received calls from various parts of the United States to lecture upon these and kindred topics. A demand soon arose for her instruction in teachers' institutes and normal colleges upon the subject of temperance physiology. Her presentation of the topic gave general satisfaction. At present Dr. Allen has her home in Toledo, Ohio, whence she goes forth into the lecture field. Glorious as has been her work for temperance, that which she has done, and is doing, for social purity is more beautiful. Upon this subject, so difficult to handle, she has spoken Sabbath evenings in many pulpits, and has received the unqualified praise of such noted clergymen as Dr. Heber Newton, Dr. Theodore Cuyler and Dr. Pentecost in the East, and Dr. McLean upon the Pacific coast. She manifests a peculiar fitness for giving wise counsel to girls, and has done acceptable work in this line in schools and colleges. During several winters, by invitation of Miss Grace Dodge, she has spoken to the Working Girl's Clubs of New York City. It is a scene of absorbing interest when, with rare tact and delicacy, she addresses large audiences of young men on the work of the White Cross. Her mission in the work of reform and philanthropy demands a peculiar talent which she possesses in an unusual degree; a scientific education which enables her to speak with authority; a winning presence; a musical voice which makes itself heard in the largest building with no apparent effort, and which by its sympathetic quality arrests attention and touches the heart, while her words appeal to the reason, and a gentle womanly manner which converts the most pronounced opposer of woman's public work. To those who hear her on the platform or in the foul pit, she is a living voice, alluring her hearers to lives of truth and purity, and to those who know her personally she is a sweet womanly presence, the embodiment of those graces which are the power in the home.