Woman of the Century/Mrs. E. H. Stevens

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

STEVENS, Mrs. E. H., librarian, was born in Louisiana. Her maiden name was Hebert, and her family was of distinguished French Huguenot blood. She was educated by private tutors and in the seminaries in New Orleans. Her education is thorough and extensive, and she is master of both French and Spanish, to which fact she owes her success in her present arduous position as librarian of the agricultural department, Washington, D. C., which she has held since 1877. MRS. E. H. STEVENS A woman of the century (page 695 crop).jpgMRS. E. H. STEVENS. She is the widow of a West Point officer who filled many prominent positions during his lifetime as a member of the Corps of Engineers. He traveled extensively and she always accompanied him, gaining wide knowledge of the world. He died abroad some years ago while building railroads. When he died, he left her in straitened circumstances, with two children dependent upon her for support. She applied for a government position in Washington. She says of her entrance in that field: "I came to Washington with only one letter of introduction in my pocket. That was to the Postmaster-General from the then district attorney of Baltimore, and a note from Mrs Gen. Grant. The Postmaster-General turned my case over to the then Commissioner of Patents. Gen. Leggett, who gave me a place in the drafting oftice, but. upon its being made known that I was a fluent French and Spanish scholar, I was often called upon to translate, and finally they placed me at a separate desk and kept me at that during the whole Grant regime, giving me only translating to do. Indeed. I may be said to have inaugurated the desk of 'Scientific Translations' in the Patent Office. When Mr. Hayes came in, Mr. Schurz, Secretary of the Interior, put in a requisition for a 'new translator.' My salary had been $1,000, but the desk becoming a permanency, the salary was rated at $1,600, and Schurz, without ceremony, put in one of his political friends, transferring me to another place as correspondent, at $1,200. My friends were indignant, since I had done the work of organizing that desk, and. acting on their advice, I resigned, but was immediately reappointed in the agricultural department. I was the assistant of Mr. Russell, the librarian. His health soon failing, I was promoted, on his retirement, to the office of librarian " Mrs. Stevens in time past wielded a ready and facile pen. She is a member of the Woman's National Press Association of Washington, and is interested in whatever will help woman onward professionally. Her success in her conspicuous position is pronounced.