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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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Mrs. La Verne W. Noyes

Ida T. Smith Noyes, the daughter of Dr. Joel W. Smith and Susan M. Wheat Smith, was born in Delaware county, N. Y., April 16, 1853, and died at her home, 1450 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Dec. 5, 1912.

Her ancestors on both sides had lived for many generations past in New England --- mostly in Connecticut.  Mrs. Noyes' grandparents on both sides moved from Connecticut to Delaware county, New York, where they were pioneer settlers.  When Mrs. Noyes was four years old, the family moved to Charles City, Iowa, at that time a hamlet, and this was the family home for more than fifty years.  She attended the public schools and later studied at the Iowa State College, graduating with honors with the class of 1874.

Mrs. Noyes was married at her father's home in 1877 to LaVerne W. Noyes, who had been a fellow student at the Iowa State College.  From that date her home was in Illinois, but her many Iowa friends kept up their interest in Mrs. Noyes and noted with pride and satisfaction the leading position she attained in her new home.  In her adopted state she found ample scope for the development of her unusual talents.  She had great artistic ability, and, for some years, devoted the larger part of her time to the study of painting at the Art Institute, later pursuing her studies in the leading studios of Paris.

For some years Mrs. Noyes was president of the North Side Art Club, a position she filled most acceptably.  She was also active in the Chicago Woman's Club, Woman's Athletic Club, and had, for some years, been prominent in the society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  In the work of this organization she took great interest and was particularly active in the efforts to enlighten our foreign born citizens regarding American history and government and to instill patriotism into the minds of their children.  After serving as State Regent successfully for two terms, she was elected Vice-president General of the National Society, a position to which she was re-elected a short time before her death.  In view of her great popularity, it was expected by many of her friends that, a little later, she would be made head of the National D. A. R. organization.

She was active in all good causes, and not only made a great many public addresses, but gave generously, both in money and personal effort, to help those in distress and to aid others in their charitable work.  Besides her artistic ability she had great facility in the writing of verses.  She was particularly successful in producing poems for social events --- often written on the spur of the moment.  Since her death a little volume has been printed containing many of these poems, and among her friends it is highly prized.

She loved travel.  Not only had she visited every part of her own country, but she had made countless trips abroad, one trip encircling the globe.  A pictorial record of her travels was obtained by means of her camera, and these thousands of beautiful photographs show how successful had been her artistic training.

The memory of Mrs. Noyes will be long cherished by her hosts of friends to whom she was devoted, and later generations will also learn of her good works through the generosity of her husband, who has, as a memorial to her, given to Chicago University a beautiful building to be used as a gymnasium and social center for the young women of the University.

In accepting the gift, President Judson of the Chicago University said:  "The gift of $300,000 to the University of Chicago by Mr. LaVerne W. Noyes, in memory of his wife, is an act unusual in its direct appropriateness.  The generous fund is to go to build the 'Ida Noyes Hall,' a gymnasium and social center for the women students.  The impress that Mrs. Noyes' life left upon the various branches of women's activities in Chicago is still fresh.  The memorial at the great university will preserve its memory in the years to come.  It was altogether fitting that the Board of Trustees declared in formal resolution its 'especial gratification that there is to be commemorated in the quadrangles of the university the name of a gracious and gifted woman whose rare qualities are well worthy of admiration and emulation by successive generations of our young women.'"



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