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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 Emma Schwenker

The city in Iowa which may be called the pioneer in the way of higher schools is Mt. Pleasant, for it was there the first university was established and one among the first seminaries for young women in this state was established there in 1862.  In the days when co-educational schools were looked upon rather askance, this school was established by Prof. Bergen, a Presbyterian minister of unusual ability, and was called the Female Seminary.  It offered a classical course with music, painting, drawing and French additional.  For thirteen years, from the most cultured homes in Iowa, young women came to this school.  The first class was graduated in 1866, and in that class was Miss Emma Schwenker.  Through the intervening years she has made her home in Mt. Pleasant, spending her winters in California or Florida.  She is a gentle woman of the finest type, cultivated, and gracious, a woman of rare personality.  She is a member of the Episcopal church and faithful to all its interests.  She was one of the incorporators of the of the Ladies' Library Association organized in 1872, and incorporated in 1875, the second oldest club for women in the United States.  She is a member of the board of directors of the Public Library, and through her generosity many rare books have been placed on its shelves.  For many years she has been an active member of The Rambler's Club, a leading literary club.  She is generous and charitable to those less fortunate, seeking to hide from one hand the good deeds of the other.  She has a beautiful home and is a gracious hostess.  She is modest in the extreme, and is altogether unconscious of her own rare qualities, unless she sees them in the appreciative eyes of her friends.



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