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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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Miss Emily Calkins Stebbins

Emily Calkins Stebbins was born January 22, 1843, at Longmeadow, Mass., the eighth generation on American soil.  She received her education in the village school supplemented by a course in Peacham Academy, Vt.  She came to New Hampton, Iowa, July 13, 1861, and lived with her sister, Mrs. Powers.

When H. C. Baldwin, deputy county recorder and treasurer, enlisted with Co. C, 38th Iowa Infantry, Sept. 1, 1862, she took his place and was deputy until January, 1864.  In 1865 she entered the law and abstract office of the late J. H. Powers.  Feby. 2, 1866, she was commissioned notary public by Gov. Stone, the first woman in Iowa so commissioned, and so far as she can learn, the first in the United States.  She is yet notary, abstracter, insurance agent and pension attorney in the office on the ground where she has worked for forty-eight years.  She well remembers the looks of holy horror she encountered when she first began working in a public office among men, and remembers that some people would not be waited upon by her because they believed that a woman could not do business correctly.  She remembers, too, the flood of female suffrage literature that was then poured upon her.  She was for years an active worker in the W. C. T. U., and is a practical, not political, prohibitionist;  is a stand-patter in politics and an orthodox Congregationalist.  Inheriting from her father French and English blood, and from her mother, Scotch and Welsh, she has positive opinions and language in which to voice them.  Touching shoulders with the business world she is up-to-date, or as she says, "I am not a chestnut, and resemble one only in that the worst is on the outside."



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