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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. Samuel Kirkwood Stevenson

"On Washington Heights in Iowa City, reached by a climb of steps and a walk up a path, stands an old home christened by the young women who frequent it 'The Wayside Inn.'  This is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Kirkwood Stevenson since their marriage in 1898, a home of beautiful and unusual hospitality.

"To this home, day after day, year after year, flock the university girls.

"Should one of the large circle of Wayside Inn frequenters desire a night's rest away from all interruptions, or should Mrs. Stevenson desire such a rest for one of her 'children,' the Blue Room is called into use.  Fresh and sweet in the memory of many a rested girl is the Blue Room, with its walls decorated with the pictures of girls who have been there before --- to rest."

Thus does Florence A. Armstrong, one of Mrs. Stevenson's "girls," describe her home at Iowa City.  In the atmosphere of that home you have the key to the unusual work done by her for young women.  She was for years a member of the State Committee of the Y. W. C. A., and through that work and the summer conference she came to be known and loved by the young women all through the middle west.  She has spoken in all the larger colleges of Iowa and in many colleges in neighboring states, and almost every city Y. W. C. A. has been blessed by her visits, for it always means that.  The great purpose she has in this work for young women is "to help them to fit the Bible into the plan of their daily lives."  For fifteen years she has been a Bible teacher and all her life a Bible student.  She is a polished speaker, every address is finished in a literary sense, and always bears in it a definite message which is never forgotten.  In the summer of 1900 she visited the missions of Bulgaria, Turkey and Palestine, and has delivered many illustrated lectures of the journey.  In all her addresses there is an evangelistic note which speaks of Christian life in a very personal way.  She lovingly gives credit to her English mother for the inspiration for the work she is doing, saying --- "To her I owe very very much of the inspiration, help and training for my present work.  She was a great student of the Book before me and her father before her."  For two years she carried on investigations for the university department of Political Economy and Sociology, acting as volunteer inspector in the state and speaking to many women's clubs on the need of a regularly appointed woman factory inspector.  Largely as a result of this work the Iowa legislature made provision for such an office.  During 1913, she made a scientific study of wage-earning women in small towns and presented the subject at the meeting of the Iowa Charities and Correction, bringing to them a practical working plan of bettering the conditions.  She has special addresses on the American Indian and his needs and on Social Settlement Work, having studied both these questions first hand.  Before she was married her name was Marcia Jacobs, born at Galena, Ill., March 25, 1875 her parents, Henry Hayes Jacobs and Elizabeth Stephens.  Was graduated from the State University of Iowa, 1898, B. A.  Married Aug. 3, 1898, to Samuel Kirkwood Stevenson, an attorney, who sympathizes in every line of work she does.  She is a Presbyterian.  She belongs to the Charles Dickens Fellowship, London.  Her mother's father befriended Charles Dickens, and when he came to America he made the long journey to Galena to see her mother.



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