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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. Leonard Matless

Josephine Ingalls Matless was born in Keokuk, but in early childhood moved with her parents to Ft. Madison, where she lived until her marriage returning then to Keokuk which is her home.  Her father father, Charles John Ingalls, was descended from Edmund Ingalls, who came to Lynn, Mass., from Lincolnshire, Eng., in 1629.  In early manhood Charles J. Ingalls was a professor of music in Boston where he was a director of choral societies and orchestras.  Her mother was Lovinna Saxe, granddaughter of Jacob Saxe, of Saxe-Cobury, a here of the Revolutionary war.  Mrs. Matless received her early education in the schools of Ft. Madison.  She studied vocal and instrumental music in Chicago and dramatic art from one of the leading teachers of Boston.  For several years she taught school in Ft. Madison, at the same time keeping up her musical studies.  On Jany. 9, 1894, she was married to Leonard Matless, of Keokuk, secretary of the Huiskamp Bros. Co. manufacturers of shoes.  He is the son of Leonard and Matilda Gobel Matless, natives of England who came to Keokuk in 1853, and belongs to one of the oldest families in Keokuk.  They have two children, Leonard Ingalls Matless and Ruth Ingalls Matless.  Among Mrs. Matless' distinguished relatives are John J. Ingalls, the statesman and John G. Saxe the poet, lecturer and journalist, however, "Greatness is not an affair of station or birth or ability;  its secret is service for the common good.  The inventors, the statesmen, the thinkers, the discoverers, the writers whose names are among the immortals made their talents count for humanity's good."  She fills a peculiar niche in Keokuk having a specially helpful influence in the club, social and religious life of the young people.  For several years she was superintendent of the Girls' Missionary society of the First Westminster Presbyterian church, to which she belongs.  She is one of the assistant superintendents of the Bible school and has charge of all the special programs given during the year in the school.  She teaches a class of young girls and supervises the music of the school.  For several years she has been sponsor of the student's auxiliary of the Monday Music club and has planned their yearly programs.  When a committee was appointed by a mass meeting of citizens to plan for the establishment of supervised public playgrounds, Mrs. Matless was the only woman appointed on the committee, being the representative of the Civic League.  She is deeply interested in the welfare of the public schools and is secretary of the Parent Teachers' Association.  In 1913, when because of a ward feeling which had been aroused on the question of the erection of public school buildings in Keokuk, a school bond election failed to carry and it seemed impossible to secure public consent for the erection of much needed school buildings, Mrs. Matless with remarkable generalship secured the necessary petition signatures and organized and commanded the campaign that was conducted in support of the bond issue, which was successfully carried.  Mrs. Matless sang in the Presbyterian choir for many years, was president of the Woman's Home Missionary society and has contributed to missionary magazines.  She is a member of the board of directors of the Y. W. C. A., a member of the Civic League, Current Club, Country Club, and a director of the Monday Music club.  She has written a number of cantattas and plays which have been presented in Keokuk and elsewhere to audiences appreciative of their excellence but unconscious of their origin.  Among her most prized possessions is a Cremona violin made in 1690 by Andreas Amati, a violin which has been played by the great artists, in many capitals of Europe.  It is one of the few violins of that period in this country.  Another possession is s fine old English harp which is a family heirloom.



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