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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Helen Adelaide Bonnell Billington inherited mental activity and refined gentility from parents of noted ancestry.  She received her early education in the schools of Wisconsin and Indiana and finished school in a seminary on the Mt. Holyoke plan.  She says the public library was her university.  She was a successful teacher as preceptress in the German-English Normal School at Galena, Ill., and as Dean of Women in Coe College.  On Dec. 22, 1873, she was married to T. E. Billington and lived in Marion.  In 1882 she accepted a secretaryship in the Department of Public Instruction in Des Moines, which position she held many years.  She has marked journalistic ability and has contributed articles to Chicago papers, Eastern magazines, conducted for two years "The Ladies' Social Circle" in the Burlington Hawkeye, has been on the editorial staff of the Des Moines Capital.  For the Register-Leader she wrote a series of sketches "Women Whom Iowa Delights to Honor," a portraiture of Iowa home life such as had never appeared in print before.  She has always been active in church and temperance work.  She held membership in the Social Science club of Chicago and was one of the five Iowa members of the Association for the Advancement of Women which met in Des Moines in 1886.  She was one of the founders of the Des Moines Woman's Club and is honored with a life membership.  She was president of the Iowa Press and Author's Club in 1907-'08, is a member of Abigail Adams chapter D. A. R.  She is a woman of unusual ability and she herself is a "Woman whom Iowa Delights to Honor."


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