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HELEN KENDRICK JOHNSON
(Mas. ROSSITER JOHNSON)
T^e Story of Her Varied Activities
Bciidai tlie Sgaaty, the iweetaen. iLcd :2^' trQ4^eni#««
which ahould dklingnwh her eex fmcraUy, ffL<> is u.'tnd-
neliied by qualitiee peculiar to herfeif— b> htrt hiKh mrnrAl
powen* her enthiiuMiii of temperammt. he^ drcmti*
of pnrpoee, and her bnoyancgr of tpirX'-M^w. J^m^mm.
PUBLISHERS PRINTING COMP vs y
TWO HUNDRED COPIES PRINTED
No.- iT '■•
BiBTHFLACB OF Helen Kendbick Johnson, FfontUpieee
At the Age of Twenty-one (from a tintype) 12
At Twenly-^ight 18
At Thirty-two» with Fac-simile of Signature . 82
At Forty-seven 44
Childben — ^Laubence, Flobence, Evelyn / . . 48
Thalatta Cottage 54
Fac-simile of Pabt of a Lbtteb 62
HELEN KENDRICK JOHNSON
When Asahel Clark Kendrick was a student in
Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., where he was
graduated in 1881, he there made the acquaintance
of Anne Elizabeth, daughter of SewaU Hopkins,
M.D. In September, 1838, they were married and
went to the village of Hamilton, Madison County,
where he had been appointed Professor of Greek
in Madison University — ^now Colgate. Three of
Dr. Kendrick's four daughters were bom in Hamil-
ton; the second, Helen Louise, on January 4, 1844.
The house that the doctor owned, which was the
family home till 1850, was afterward owned and
occupied by the widow of Adoniram Judson, the
missionary. It is still standing and is occupied by
Dr. W. A. Bardeen.
In 1850 Dr. Kendrick accepted the professorship
of Greek in the newly established University of
Rochester and went thither with other members
of the Madison faculty. The next year Mrs.
Kendrick died when the fourth daughter was bom;
and for ten years Helen's life was divided brokenly
between Rochester and Clinton, where her mother's
sister took to her home three of the motherless girls.
Helen found reasonable enjoyment in such time
as she spent in Clinton; but she told me pathetic
stories of her sojourn in a Rochester boarding-house,
where two or three of the students exerted them-
6 Helen Kendrick Johnson
selves to entertain and cheer the lonely child. One
of these was Manton Marble, afterward the eminent
journalist, who sang for her. In Rochester she at-
tended Miss Doolittle's school, of local celebrity
in its day.
She visited her father's brothers in Georgia in
1860; and when the Civil War broke out, in the
spring of 1861, she returned to the North on the last
steamer that left Savannah. Delicate health kept
her at home for the better part of two years; but in
September, 1863, she entered as a student the
Oread Institute, at Worcester, Mass. — ^that pictur-
esque boarding-school founded by Eli Thayer, a
prolific inventor, originator of the Emigrant Aid
Society, which saved Kansas from being a slave
State. Studying there till June, 1864, Helen passed
one of the pleasantest years of her life and made
acquaintances whose friendship she cherished to the
last. Two of these were daughters of the founder.
There, too, she received the best part of her some-
what fragmentary scholastic training. A few years
ago the association of students of the Oread pub-
lished a history of the institution, with many inter-
esting reminiscences of the graduates. To that
book Mrs. Johnson contributed an article the
greater part of which is here reproduced :
Among all the figures that rise at the bidding of my
school-day memory, none stands before me with a more
gracious benediction than that of Dr. Robert E. Pattison,
Principal of the Oread Institute. His tall form, slightly
bent, but graceful and elegant in its movements, his dark
hair, fringed with silver, his delicate features and small.
The Story of Her Varied Activities 7
firm lips» his gray eyes lighted always with intelligence
and thought, but brimming with quiet mirthfulness that
was contagious — ^all these come vividly to mind. Dr.
Pattison was a friend to the young, because he better
understood how to put himself into their places than any
man whom I recall. There was a genial tenderness of
feeling that formed the background of a nature that was
also notable for its unaffected learning and piety. These
qualities made him a model teacher. He aroused interest,
and his childlike spirit made the youngest pupil in his
classes feel that her opinion would receive attention, and
would be accorded its full weight. In our study of mental
and moral philosophy the sessions were not so much
recitations as they were discussions which brought deep
things to light in the simplest and clearest manner. The
bearing upon daily and practical life seemed to be always
in Dr. Pattison's mind, and in his expositions there was
no suggestion of the abstruse or the unknowable. He
was especially happy with illustration and incident that
at once elucidated and fixed the meaning of the text.
Dr. Pattison was an old-time scholar, and classic
literature and poetic quotation came to his lips readily
when the occasion permitted. Education, in his concep-*
tion, was a broad and significant thing. The literary
element was especially encouraged in the Oread of that
day. This distinction might seem superfluous in refer-
ence to an educational institution, but it has a definite
meaning. There is an entire class of studies that were
unheard-of or unformulated then, which drive out a great
deal of the classic and the literary. Psychology and
sociology were untaught, even in college. Philosophy
seems a new science; while the modem sciences have
wrought a revolution in thought and in the methods of its
presentation. There is not time for all, nor human brain
enough to hold it, and so the old standard classic and
literary knowledge is pushed to one side to make room
for the newcomer. This may be necessary, and it would
be as idle as it would be ignorant to condemn the present;
8 Eden Kendrick Johnson
but there is great loss in this abandonment. Mind spoke
to mind more easily through the strictly literary studies.
Language, history, composition, recitation, class-reading,
all these brought teacher and pupil together in a more
natural intimacy than comes with the modem method of
lecture and note-taking. There is in school to-day but
little sauntering in the fields of thought. The automobile
method of education is more in fashion, where the strained
eye and tense action indicate that the flying traveler sees
nothing of the landscape except a blurred impression of
dancing trees and a whirling dust-doud. In the days of
which I am writing we journeyed not so much to get over
the ground as to understand and enjoy the world we passed
through, and the cultivated and Uterary taste of Dr.
Pattison and his family made them guides to be highly
prized. The school paper was made a feature of the
curriculum. Supplementary reading and research were
encouraged. The Bible was a valued text-book, and
Sunday was a welcome day. Dr. Pattison selected pupils
in turn to pf^>are brief studies in the Scripture for parlor
reading. I remember the great pleasure I found, for
instance, in writing a connected narrative of the resurrec-
tion of Christ, compiled from the gospel accounts. It
has fixed in my memory a natural succession of those
wondrous events. On Sabbath evenings we had social
reunions in the drawing-room. There was music always,
and we gathered in groups, sitting on footstools or evoD
on the floor to get dose together, and the whole tone of
the conversation was cheerful and spontaneous. It was
wholesome and sweet, and it sent us to our rooms in a
happy frame of mind.
One interesting inddent of stated Sabbaths comes to
memory. Dr. Pattison was invited by the authorities of
the institution to preach to such members of the Hospital
for the Insane as were able to attend divine service with
any benefit. His words and manner would have hdd the
attention of the simplest mind that would listen at all.
I, with others, went with him to form a little choir, and
The Story cf Her Varied Activities 9
it was a pathetic and pleasant task. Dim faces would
light, and hopeless ones smile, while some showed full
intelligence as to the themes presented.
Dr. Pattison had dear ideas of discipline, and novel
theories concerning it, some of which come to mind as I
write. For instance, my most intimate friend, Clara
Thayer (now Mrs. Perry), and I one day asked permission
to go down-town to do some errands. Dr. Pattison said,
" Anybody else going? ** " No, sir," we answered. " You'd
better invite Esther," said he, smiling. **I have ob-
served," he added, ''that three girls have a quieter journey
to town than two or four do. Two girls with their arms
linked form an electric connection, but a trio somehow
breaks the chain of mischief. Gret Esther, and be off."
Esther was " Essie " Davids, a beautiful girl, my roommate,
and a favorite with all during those good years at the
There was a delightful atmosphere of hominess in our
school life. Mrs. Pattison was an ideal house-mother,
'always cheery and cordial; and her parlor held a welcome
for all girls, especially the homesick. Dr. Pattison's
daughters. Miss Fannie and Miss Ettie, as we knew them
then, were among the noble women of the earth. They
were teachers and have left an indelible impression upon
th^ pupils. They presented a great contrast in ap-
pearance and in character, each having her own charm
and her devoted band of adherents. I was fortunate
enough to be taken as a roommate for one term by Miss
Fannie. She shared to the full her father's literary tastes.
We read many books together, and one incident of that
time suggests the spirit I have desired to portray. Miss
Fannie had given me Hale's ''Man Without a Country"
to read, and I had become so absorbed in it that I failed to
hear the bell for evening prayers. The quiet of the halls
somehow aroused me and I rushed downstairs only in time
to hear the closing hymn. Dr. Pattison followed me with
his eye as I slipped into my seat. After chapel I went to
him. To the rebuke in Ids eye I answered: "Oh, Dr.
10 Helen Kendrick Johnson
Pattison, have you read *The Man Without a Country'?**
"No, not yet,** he answered. "Then don't scold me till
you have,** said I. "So that was it,** he answered, smil-
ing, and I felt forgiven.
There was another resident of the building whose pres-
ence was a blessing to all within its walls. This was
Mrs. Binney, sister of Dr. Pattison, a returned missionary
from Burmah. All that I had ever conceived of the life
of one who had carried Christ's commission to distant
Umds was fulfilled in this saintly and fascinating woman.
Though she was a constant sufferer, her face never lost its
genial smile, nor her voice its melodious sweetness. It
was one of our great privileges to be able to carry her
the wild flowers we gathered, to tell our small ad-
ventures, and listen to the wonderful story of her mis-
From early youth Helen read much, and she
became especially familiar with a great deal of the
best poetry of our language; but in this she went
her own way, not caring much for any standard
curriculum. Her father, an accompUshed linguist,
desired that his daughters should be similarly ac-
complished; but Helen resisted all his efforts to
make her a Greek scholar. To such invitation she
would repeat a string of unconnected Greek words —
pais echomen trechomen stoa oikia — ask him what
more anybody could want, and turn away the
subject with a laugh, in which he could not help
When the Civil War was ended Helen again ''
visited her uncles in the South; and a few years
afterward she wrote for the paper that I edited,
"A Night in Atlanta," a weird story of an expe-
rience in that historic city. The narrative is too long
The Story cf Her Varied Activities 11
for insertion here; but the bit of fanciful descrip-
tion with which it opens may be quoted.
In the autumn of 1865 a September sun was sinking
over a war-riddled Southern city. As its mighty life-
tide ebbed away it crimsoned a scene which needed only
that deep coloring to bring back with startling vividness
a picture of the contest whose traces were still sternly
visible. It reddened anew the stately ruins of once proud
mansions, blackened chimneys that marked the desolation
of humbler homes, long red lines of breastworks that
wound like serpents, frowning forts and yawning bomb-
proofs. Finally, across a Uttle cluster of graves where lay
hearts that the bullet had pierced the blue to find, pomed
the last shafts of light as the great warrior sank to his rest.
The shadows which fall so quickly from a Southern sky
had not quite completed their kindly work of hiding the
crimson stains when the moon came peering up. It
caught only the faintest glimpse of a bloody stage as the
last fold of Nature's great curtain was lowered and hid it
from her view. Few heirs apparent can forget that the
hand of a departing father must drop a scepter into their
own. She seemed to say: '"Oh, I see the rdle I must play
here. These people have had horrors until the more
gentle shining that is sufficient for other lands loses all its
eflfect. They want something startling." So saying, she
shifted a few clouds into fantastic shapes, and with weird
lights and shadows produced a ghostly masquerade. She
had looked upon this spot when her coming was a signal
for the busy hush that follows a day of carnage, and she
knew with certainty what scenes had been enacted there.
Now from every dim spot started up troops of impalpable
warriors, who with weapons as intangible as the shades
that wielded them pierced hearts that did not even shiver
at the shock. The sharp chirping of the cricket and the
repetitions of the katydid seemed the musketry of that
phantom host; and every sound in the pure air of that
autumn evening became a voice in the battle of nothings;
12 Helen Kendrick Johnson
while here and there a shell-torn tree held out its single
arm. Human hearts felt a thrill th^ did not stop to
question. It was a trying night for a guilty conscience, an
uneasy night for the timid, a night of revel for the imag*
inaticHi if one had an earnest mind and a strong heart.
In the spring of 1867 she returned to her father's
house in Rochester, and there I first met her. I had
studied four years at the University, under him,
but in that period I had not once entered the house
of a professor, because it seemed to me that they
had trials enough with us crude young men in the
class-rooms and ought not to be pursued into their
homes. Consequently, I never made the acquaint-
ance of Dr. Kendrick's family till I had been some
time out of coll^^. Perhaps in this I was inciden-
tally fortunate; for I was unpolished enough even
then, and must have been more unattractive when
I was a student.
A walking club was organized that spring,
which included some of the professors and their
families, with a score of their friends. Frequently,
on a pleasant afternoon, the company strolled away
into some suburb, or clambered about the high,
beautiful banks of the Genesee, or went down the
stream in row-boats. The exercises were not ex-
clusively ambulatory and remusian. The Club's
motto was Utile cum dvlce^ and it became custom-
ary to designate the men as *^ utiles" and the women
as ^^dulces" — which was one of the indications
that they all assumed youthfulness, if they had
For each walk a secretary was appointed, who
The Story of Her Varied Actmties 18
was expected to write a humorous account of it, to
be read when, on the next walk, we came to a
desirable stopping-place. These strolls offered ideal
opportunities for making or extending acquaintance
under the pleasantest circumstances, as the Grod-
dess of Liberty and the Groddess of Chaperones had
a nice sense of their respective boundaries, and
though they were in close touch they never en-
croached upon each other's domain. Sometimes
when we camped for an hour on the grassy banks
or within a grove, while freshly-written verses were
read, and original conundrums were propounded,
between witty coruscations of varying magnitude,
the effect was idyllic and Arcadian. Helen Ken-
drick, who had inherited her father's wit, which she
accompanied with a keen sense of humor that was
peculiarly original, was by no means the faintest
star in that Galaxy. William Hazlitt wrote that he
** could not see the wit of walking and talking at the
same time," and Louis Stevenson adopts his senti-
ment. But neither Hazlitt nor Stevenson had the
good fortune to belong to a club like ours.
I do not flatter myself that my talk added much
to the hilarity of those occasions; but, whatever the
bulk of its dulness may have been, it was happily
counterbalanced when I found an opportunity to say
the wisest and most important thing I ever have
said in my life.
The next summer Helen went to Utica, where
she lived in the home of the aunt who had cared for
her childhood, till she returned to Rochester in the
spring to make preparation for her marriage. In
14 Helen Kendrick Johnson
January, 1869, I had assumed the editorship of The
Statesman, at Concord, New Hampshire, and in
May I went to Rochester to be married. The
ceremony was performed by Dr. Kendrick, on
Thursday evening, the 20th, in his house in Chest-
nut Street, before a large company of relatives and
We left by the night train, and the next afternoon
were at Worcester Junction. Here a wait of two
hours for a train northward gave us leisure to walk
up the hill to the Oread, where Helen had been at
school five years before. There was something
romantic, almost weird, in the sylvan approach and
the castle-like stone structure, which looked as if it
had endured a siege, and had every appearance of
being deserted. To this day, that picture rolls back
upon my memory whenever I chance upon the line —
" Childe Roland to the dark tower came."
The building was not wholly deserted, however,
and Helen had the pleasure of finding one of her
schoolmates — ^I was about to write, among the
ruins. While they sat down on the stone steps and
exchanged reminiscences, I explored some parts of the
structure and strolled through the grounds, where
my head seemed to be in a historic atmosphere —
perhaps because I was in a dreaming mood.
In Concord we took possession of apartments
which I had furnished in a fine old house with a
broad white front, in Pleasant Street, midway
between Main Street and the height of land at
the west. Here we dwelt two years.
The Story of Her Varied Activities 15
There could be no bridal trip then, because the
Legislature was about to convene and my presence
in the o£5ce was necessary. But after the adjourn-
ment, in August, accompanied by two of my sisters,
we visited the White Mountains and were among
the first to ascend Mount Washington by the new
In the summer of 1870 Helen visited her relatives
in Utica and Rochester, returning with me, when I
went there to attend the University commencement,
by way of the Thousand Islands and the St. Law-
rence, my sister Eva accompanying us.
In the spring of 1871 we began our humble house-
keeping in Concord, first occupying a pretty dwelling,
a semi-detached house, that was in the midst of an
apple orchard at the head of a little court shaped
like a horseshoe. The next year we removed to a
house in Merrimack Street on the hill, whence we
had a view over a wide extent of country — ^farms,
fields, and bits of woodland, and at the farthest
reach that Shaker settlement to which Hawthorne
sends his Canterbury Pilgrims.
In our first year in Concord Helen began writing
for publication. To the paper that I edited she
contributed several stories and a series of Bible
studies. Her first contribution to a magazine was a
bit of literary genre, a child portrait mainly from
life, entitled "Pussy Wink; How Bright and How
Droll She Is." It appeared in Oliver Optic's "Our
Boys and Girls" and was widely copied. Also it
was closely imitated by another writer, under a
similar title. Under the general title "The Push
16 Helen Kendrick Johnaon
Family," Mrs. Johnson planned a aeries of short
stories for youngest readers, intended to teach them
some of the processes of Nature. She wrote but
one, which related the efforts and adventures (^
Acorn Push, who struggled with many difSculties
till he became a noble oak.
To compete for a prize she wrote a story entitled
"Boddy's Romance." It failed to take the prize,
but it was published in book form after our removal
to New York, and it met with immediate success.
The Indianapolis Sentinel said of it: "This is one c^
those rare juvenile books that possess an interest
for mature minds without losing their fascination for
diildren. The book lacks the appearance of effort,
uid that is the surest sign of a good writer's work.
The story is bright, witty, and interesting from the
first sentence. One of the most striking things about
it is its truth as a picture of American life." The
Liberal Christian said: "The description of the call
from Charhe Fierce is certainly one of the most
amusing things we have met with for a long time.
We confess to having laughed till we cried over
several of these adventures." The Albany Journal
said: "Perhaps it is not too much to say that it is
the freshest and most exhilarating story of the kind
since Miss Alcott's 'Little Women' and 'Little
Men ' marked aui era in juvenile Hterature." The
CkritHan Union said; "It is the best book of its
kind we have seen since 'Little Women' was pub-
lished; and altho Miss Alcott gave us more little
people to laugh over, no one of them was so extremely
yet unconsciously funny as tittle Florrie, the heroine
The^Story cf Her Varied Aetwiiies 17
of this romance/' The Boston Globe said: '^The
little girl who always asked questions, an honest,
sweet maiden, grows up with her mouth full of
interrogation-marks, so to speak, and is a very real
character indeed." The New Haven Journal said:
^^ There are many masterly touches of humor and
pathos in the story/* The Chicago Standard said:
*'It never was made, it just blossomed." The
book went through several editions, and was followed
by two companion volumes, the set of three being
entitled ''The Roddy Books."
Two children were bom to us in Concord. The
first, Laurence, did not complete his second year.
His loss, our first great grief, was made the subject
of a lyric that has been many times copied and
widely circulated, and we printed a booklet devoted
to his memory. Perhaps we erred in this, for there
are those who disapprove of all publication of
private griefs as being in questionable taste. But
this involves condemnation of Emerson, LongfeUow,
Lowell, Tennyson, besides Hervey, Moir, Pierpont,
Ifassey, and other minor poets. Greater minds
than ours have yielded to the inspiration of
— "not concealing .
The grief that must have way."
As Helen was too ill to go to Rochester for the
burial, I went alone. There I had the good fortune
to find' Johnson M. Mundy, the sculptor, who took
a cast of the little head and executed a bust.
Learning from her loss to sympathize as never
before with those who were similarly bereft, Mrs.
18 Helen Kendriek Johnson
Johnson compfled a volume to which she gave the
title *^ Tears for the Little Ones; a Collection of
Poems and Passages Inspired by the Loss of Chil-
dren/' In the Introduction she wrote: ^'In this
collection I have edited the poems with a free
hand, because the book is intended only to give
consolation to those who mourn the loss of children.
After my own heart had experienced this sorrow,
famiUar verses would come to mind; but mingled
with the real comfort in many of them were thoughts
and expressions which brought a fresh pang at each
remembrance. It was a sadly pleasant task to glean
from memory or from books such poems or parts of
poems, and such only, as parents in deep sorrow could
read with soothing and sweet effect. ... If we
dwell, in mistaken and morbid love, upon the
harrowing scenes that have to do with earth alone,
we loose the bond between us and our children in
heaven and are carried far out of sympathy with the
new life in which they are unfolding. Thus only can
they cease to be our own. Sorrowing is indeed our
precious right, but sorrowmg in hope is our sublime
privilege and our Christian duty.''
Soon after our removal to New York, where I
spent four years in association with George Bipley
and Charles A. Dana in the work of revising their
''American Cyclopaedia," Mrs. Johnson began her
largest literary task, which she had in hand for
seven years, spending most of her spare time on it.
This was ''Our Familiar Songs and Those Who
Made Them," a quarto volume of 660 pages, which
presented 300 songs — ^English, Scottish, Irish, and
The Story cf Her Varied Activities 19
American — ^their words, their music, and their his-
tories, with brief biographical sketches of the
authors and composers. The key-note of the book is
struck in the first sentence of her preface: ''They
need no introduction; they come with the latch-
string assurance of old and valued friends, whose
separate welcomes have encouraged them to drop
in all together." Then she continues: ''They are
the songs we all have sung, or wished we could
sing; the songs our mothers crooned over our
cradles, and our fathers hunmied at their daily toil;
the songs our sisters sang when they were the prima
donnas of our juvenile world; the songs of our
sweethearts and our boon companions; the songs
that have swayed popular opinion, inspirited armies,
sustained revolutions, honored the king, made
presidents, and marked historical epochs. . . . For
much of the information that here appears in print
for the first time, I am indebted to the personal
kindness of friends and relatives of the authors,
retired music-publishers, and others, both here and
in England, in whose memories alone were to be
found any records of some of the writers of im-
Two of the best-knawn publishing-houses declined
the manuscript. Henry Holt & Co. accepted it and
published the book in September, 1881. It was an
inmiediate success; it never has been out of print;
and it is still selling under the copyright, which
was renewed in 1909.
When the Song-book was fairly launched, we
filled our home in West Tenth Street, one evening.
80 Helen Kendrick Johnean
with our friends, and William Courtney and his
American wife, Louise Gage Courtney, with Miss
Harriet Clapper as accompanist, rendered t¥B^nty
of the songs.
One of the firms that had declined the book paid
it a predatory compliment by publishing an imita-
tion spUt up into parts, in which appeared at inter-
vals, without permission or acknowledgment, pas-
sages of information that had been obtained originally
by Mrs. Johnson and published in her book. Dr.
Thomas Dunn English wrote for her the complete
history of his song ^'Ben Bolt,'' which became
doubly famous when Du Maurier used it in his novel
"Trilby.** A son of Charles Jefferys, music-pub-
lisher in London, gave her the curious history of his
father's songs "We Have Lived and Loved To-
gether" and "Jeannette and Jeannot." The search
for William R. Dempster, who set some of Tennyson's
songs to music and sang them to large audiences in
this country as well as in England, led us to the
office of his publisher in London, who said, "I only
know that I send the semi-annual copyright money
to this person" — ^and he gave us an address in
Camden Town. There we were ushered into the
studio of a woman who, brushes and palette in hand,
was at work before her easel. "Oh, yes," she said,
"Mr. Dempster lived many years in our family.
That room was his study, and his desk is undisturbed
as he left it. If you look out at this window, you
may see his grave." Then followed many interest-
ing incidents in the life of a gifted, modest, and
The Story of Her Varied Activities 21
An elderly and somewhat eccentric man who
kept a store in Broadway for the sale of new and
second-hand musical merchandise was a mine of
information concerning musical matters in our
country. Famous as is the song ^* Tippecanoe and
Tyler too/' a long search for it was fruitless until a
single copy, in sheet music, was discovered in this
store. The curious history of the song was furnished
by Judge Sherwood, of Zanesville, Ohio. Vi^enever
Mrs. Johnson asked about some song-writer, the
proprietor of the store was almost certain to say,
"No — didn't know him," and then give his atten-
tion again to his account-books. But she knew
better than to depart with that answer. She con-
tinued turning over the books and sheets on the
counter, till presently he would lay down his pen,
come forward, and say, "You inquired for .
Oh, yes, now I remember him well. He came in
here one day with that best-known song of his, which
he had just written, and sang it' to me and my
brother, for our judgment." Then followed gossipy
The Song-book was welcomed by many persons
of eminence and was generously treated by many
reviewers. The Rt. Rev. Frederick D. Huntington,
Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Central New York,
wrote: "^Our Familiar Songs' is a remarkable work.
Its great value is obvious at a glance; but I find that
an examination of its contents heightens at every
step the estimate of its comprehensiveness, its
accuracy, its painstaking, its permanent worth, and
its materials for the entertainment of every class.
22 Helen Kendrick Johnson
Letters, bibliography, genius, and patriotism are all
honored by it/' The Churchman said: ^^The
volume is one of rare value, and we know of nothing
in the way of books better fitted to make a home
bright and happy/' Fenelon B. Bice, of the Oberlin
Conservatory of Music, wrote: ^^I am surprised at
the extent, variety, and completeness of the work/'
Mrs. Farragut, widow of the Admiral, wrote: ^^I
have for a long time felt the need of just such a
book. ... If I do sometimes drop a tear on its
pages, I always dose the book with a smile of satis-
faction." Harry Thomas, manager of the Chicago
Quartette, wrote: "I never have seen any book that
has half the merit." Mrs. Sherman, wife of the
General, wrote: ^'It is indeed most interesting and
instructive. I wish that every famfly in the country
could have a copy; for a source of so much enjoyment
at one's own fireside is a treasure the value of which
can not be exaggerated. I expect to use it in the
future, as I have already done, as a choice present
to a friend when occasion offers." The Chicago
Interior said: ^^ These songs of love, heroism,
patriotism, and memory appeal to all hearts, not
less to those of the artists than to those of the
masses." The Bev. H. W. Spalding, D.D., of
Jersey City, wrote: **This work, judiciously ar-
ranged and admirably executed, is a sort of needed
missionary for toning the hard, practical, utili-
tarian life of to-day with the poetry and music of
the past." Mr. L. S. Straw, of Newburgh, wrote:
^^It has become the light of our fireside and the
charm of our home." The New York Sun said:
The Story of Her Varied Activities 2S
**This is a most attractive and interesting volume.
A very small number of the tunes are by Continental
composers; only a few of them are by Mozart or
some other European; in the main, they are of
British and Irish origin, with the addition of some
composed in the United States. The collection of
British and Irish songs is particularly valuable, for
it includes nearly all the beautiful old classics, with
many of which the present generation is familiar,
and many also that only appear in scraps in English
works down even to the day of Thackeray. An
exceedingly attractive feature of the collection is
the short histories that accompany the songs,
describing their origin and the circumstances that
caused their production, often with the addition of a
concise account of the author's life. Here we learn the
true foundation of ^Woodman, Spare That Tree,'- and
what were the people and accidents that prompted
*Rory O'More,' or * Sally in Our Alley.' The first
glance at the table of contents will convince any
one of the valtte of the book as a library of ballads,
and the heads under which they are classified show
that this one collection is adapted to people of all
moods and temperaments." The Buffalo Courier
declared: ^^Too much can not be easily said in'
praise of the discrimination and intelligence dis-
played in this collection." The London Saturday
Review said: ^^Mrs. Johnson's book errs on the side
of fulness, if at all; but her work has been adnur-
ably done, and we should be glad to see an edition
of the book prepared for English readers, who will
discover with some surprise the American origin of
24 Helen Kendrick Johnson
many songs as frequently heard on this side of the
Atlantic as on the other." The LUerary World
said: *^ We have turned the pages of this unique and
beautiful book with delight, and hummed the airs»
so many of which are familiar^ with the pleasure
mddent to a meetmg with old friends. ... All
those are here, and scores of others, that sing them-
selves over and over in one's heart from childhood
to old age."
In August, 1877, the Cyclopaedia being completed,
we sailed for Liverpool on the White Star liner
Germani4:. Our European tour was not very ex-
tensive in either time or distance, but we managed
to get much satisfaction from it. I might adopt a
popular formula and call it "From Edinburgh to
Pompeii." Of course in its main features it did not
differ much from the ordinary tours so often de-
scribed, and therefore any extended narrative here
is unnecessary. But a few of the minor episodes
were peculiar enough to cling to a place in our
memory, and perhaps interestmg enough to justify
In Chester we walked up the broad aisle of the
ancient St. John's Church, and among the tomb-
stones that formed the pavement we saw two, side
by side, that bore the names Johnson and Kendrick.
The small cathedral had not much of interest except
the flags that the Cheshire regiment carried at
Bunker Hill. Of course we made the circuit of the
walls, and when the curatress of the tower graciously
permitted us to look out at "the very window
through which His Majesty Charles the First wit-
The Story of Her Varied Activities 25
nessed the battle of Rowton Moor/' I had not the
heart to tell her that, as a matter of f act, he stood
on the roof.
A Uttle man m clerical garb, who carried a shop-
ping-bag, spied us across the street and came over to
tell us about a newly discovered Roman hypocaust.
He informed us that he was a vicar in a neighboring
city, but he liked to come to Chester to shop,
because of his interest in the antiquities. To see
the hypocaust, we had to pass through a wine-shop.
There was an elderly man enjoying a newly acquired
toy — an American contrivance for putting the
corks into wine-bottles. "Oh," he said, "it is so
much better than driving them in with a mallet."
We enjoyed a row up the pretty river Dee to the
grounds of the famous Eaton Hall. As the building
was undergoing some repairs or alterations, we were
not allowed to approach nearer than a designated
line, and therefore we felt a disappointment in not
seeing the ancestral footprint that had such a
fascination for Hav^ome.* In rowing back to the
city we saw a pretty Ducal bridal party coming out
of Ecdeston Church. And when we were crossing a
field we came upon a long row of farm-carts every
one of which bore the solemn inscription in large
letters, "His Grace the Duke of Westminster."
As His Grace owned everything for miles around,
we were not able to conjecture why it was neces-
sary to emblazon the carts with that legend.
Last of all in Chester, we saw the Bridge of Death,
* Here our memoiy was in error. The footprint is really at Smithell
Hall, near Bolton.
26 Helen Kendrick Johnson
which corresponds to the Venetian Bridge of Sighs;
and as we looked at the weird thing in the deepening
twilight, it occurred to me that Beilby Porteus, who
was Bishop of Chester, might have used it in his
mournful and once famous poem.
In Edinburgh some very beautiful windows were
on exhibition in James Ballantine's stained-glass
works; and we were perhaps the more interested
because he was a poet and Helen had included one
of his songs in her book.
York— of course. But no leisure for visiting
Haworth on the extreme western edge of the West
In Peterboro Helen had a glimpse of a fruiterer's
window and expressed a desire for "just one peach."
I stepped in and bought one — ^price, eighteen cents.
O prolific orchards and generous baskets of our
childhood, did we really appreciate you? But I
ought not to score one exorbitant peach against a
town that offered us the beauty of one of the finest
of all the nineteen cathedrals that we saw in our
journey. We climbed the narrow stairways and
from the roof looked over miles of charming country.
In Cambridge we were told that we could not be
admitted to the library of Trinity College unless
accompanied by some member of the Collie, and as
it was now vacation there was probably no member
present. Thereupon, summoning up what little
dramatic power I possess, I struck an attitude of
disgustful despair and muttered that it was ^^ pretty
hard for any one to be shut out from a thing that he
has come three thousand miles on purpose to see."
.^. i^^ /*t-^ r\ ,•-1
The Story cf Her Varied Activities 27
This had the proper effect. The sympathetic janitor
at once exerted himself and produced from some
dusty comer a modest man who, years before, had
won a fellowship and ever since had led there the
life of a — ^I ought not to write "bookworm** — for
we are all worms of one kind or another — Clover of
literature. He consented to earn the prescribed
shilling, and we found him a very inteUigent and
acceptable guide. My method of gaining entrance
served us equally well on two or three similar occa-
sions. The original manuscripts of Milton and other
great writers interested us, but the chief attraction
was Thorwaldsen's beautiful statue of Byron.
Yi^ether it faithfully portrays the poet or not, it is
a joy forever.
In London an excessively English Englishman,
in a book-store, talking with Mrs. Johnson about a
guide-book that she was buymg, unnecessarily lugged
in the information, with a deprecatory tone, "I
knew you were Americans as soon as you entered
the shop." "Oh, yes," said she, "we are Americans,
and of course we have been gazing about. In West-
minster Abbey we admired the beautiful monument
to Lord Comwallis, and we wondered why the
elaborate epitaph makes no mention of his surrender
to General Washington, at Yorktown.'*
One of the pleasantest acquaintances we made in
London was Mr. Jefferys (son of Charles Jefferys,
the song-writer), who kept a music-store in Bemers
Street, and gave Mrs. Johnson some very interesting
bits of information on the subject she was pursuing.
In that great dty we met but one person whom we
88 Helen Kendriek Johnson
knew; that was our old friend William S. Lee» a
Rochester boy» who was connected with a banking-
house and was interested in musical and dramatic
affairs. He was an enthusiastic first-nights, and
he invited us to the first night of a play by Henry J.
Byron. The piece was "" Guinea Gold/' and it was a
howling failure. The audience — or a part of them —
furnished the howling, and the manager acknowl-
edged the failure in a pathetic speech of mingled
protest and apology, delivered before the curtain.
Trips to Windsor, Oxford, and Stratford were
matters of course. A rainy day in Leamington was
spent pleasantly in reading Hawthorne's ^'Our Old
Home," which to us was the most interesting of
In a long day's passage up the Rhine, it seemed
as if we must have taken the trip before with either
Lord Byron or Tom Hood. We made travelling
acquaintance with a gentleman from Belfast, who
told us that during the American Civil War his
sympathies and his faith were with the men of the
North, while those of nearly all his friends were
with the Confederates. They so nagged him and
dared him to prove his faith by purchasing United
States bonds that he did so, while they put their
spare cash into Confederate bonds. Since that time,
for a dozen years, he never had lacked a smile for
But in going through the Black Forest we seemed
like pioneers, for we could not remember any de-
scription of it. At Allerheiligen, where we walked
out of the pretty inn and sauntered through the
The Story qf Her Varied AistUnJties 29
ruins of the old monastery, we were surprised to find,
on the rear wall, a placard that bore the naive
announcem^it, ^'Friends are warned that the
masonry may fall/' and we learned that a part of it
had once fallen and killed a man.
At the Falls of Schaffhausen we surprised a native
or two by our indifference to the cataract. They did
not know that we came from a State that contains
more and greater waterfalls than all Europe.
An all-day zigzag ride on Lake Zurich landed us
too late for the afternoon train, and thereby gave
us time to make the acquaintance, in the fading day-
light, of that out-of-the-way and seldom or never
heard-of place, Rapperschwyl, with its gray old
Hapsburg castle standing in solemn loneliness on the
hill, and the German grandmother who, with her cat
and her books, kept house in the watch-tower and
hung out the flags or lanterns at the proper times;
and the monument to a dead nation. This gave
us a defense, by way of reprisal, against questions
that are sometimes annoying. ^'You have been in
Europe. Did you see such or such a thing?"
The tone implying that, if not, we might as well not
have gone. ^^Oh no, our time was limited, and of
course we could not go everywhere. But when ycu
were there did you visit Rapperschwyl?" Not one
of them ever had heard of Rapperschwyl. '^Yi^en
you go again, do not fail to see Rapperschwyl." O,
Rapperschwyl, dear, sweet village, at once romantic
and useful in your obscurity, what a beautiful buffer
you make in certain conversations!
Over the Splflgen Pass our journey was wild and
so Helen Kendrick Johneon
wdrd enough to satisfy every expectation. But
we found no daisies. Probably Tennyson plucked
the only one that ever grew there.
Lake Como was quite as beautiful as it used to be
pictured on the drop-curtain when *^The Lady of
Lyons" was staged. And going ashore after dark,
in the town of Como, to walk to the hotel between
double lines of flambeaux, was almost as entertaining
as running to a fire in the days of hand-engines and
clanging bells. The science in which Como's Volta
was an early experimenter and discoverer had not
yet substituted arc lights.
In Florence we went, as a matter of course, to
the house of our countrywoman, Mrs. Chapman — ^21
Via Pandolfini — where most good Americans used
to sojourn. There we met, and were immediately
interested in, Professor Henry A. P. Torrey, of the
University of Vermont, and his learned sister.
They became our lifelong friends. We also met
there Mr. and Mrs. William Courtney, the ballad-
singers, who four years later sang at our house from
Helen's "Familiar Songs."
In Naples the manager of the hotel gave us — ^his
word for it — ^the room that Eugenie had recently
occupied. But we made no objection, and required
no apology. Even dethroned empresses — ^whether
enthroned by divine right or by coup d^ilai — ^must
be permitted to sleep somewhere. So we settled
down quietly to the enjoyment of a sunset over the
Bay of Naples, which really was most beautiful,
quite equal to some that we have seen in America.
In Pompeii a guide was assigned to us who was
The Story cf Her Varied Activiiies SI
said to speak English. listening to his English was
like reading a page of old black-letter that had been
blurred in the printing. He must have studied
'* English without a Master" and imitated Demos-
thenes on the seashore. However, we understood
him, and thus had both information and amusement.
It was a weird sight to look on at the opening of
another room; the workmen removing the ashes
and sifting them, while an officer with a rifle across
his knees sat watching them.
In Rome a simple drive on the Appian Way was
to us quite as impressive as our visits to the ancient
and mediaeval structures. The tomb of Cecilia
Metella was more interesting than the tomb of
Saint Peter. Pisa, Genoa, Turin, of course, and a
climb for a view of Monte Rosa. Then the Mont
Cenis timnel, and Lyons, and a Sunday in Fontaine-
bleau, with a stroll in the forest. Paris as usual.
All of Rouen that was not Ruskin was Joan of
Arc, and all that was not Joan of Arc was Ruskin —
except, perhaps, the wonderful Normandy cider.
We re-crossed the Atlantic in the old steamship
Republic^ passing through a terrific storm that
seemed powerful enough to send us to the bottom.
After the worst night, Helen asked the steward how
the vessel endured it, and his answer so comforted
and amused her that it became a family by-word —
"Oh,, she's a-standin' 'er good."
After a summer's sojourn with Mrs. Johnson's
sisters in Utica, we removed to Montclair, N. J.,
and occupied a little brown cottage on the edge of the
mountain, where the turnpike passes through Crane's
82 Helen Kendrick Johnson
Gap. Here we made more friends — chief among
them Mr. and Mrs. John W. Weidemeyer, who had
occupied the cottage before us. It was only neces-
sary to take Helen anywhere, to acquire new and
valued friends. Here little Evelyn came to us, on
The next July the exigencies of literary work took
us to Bard Avenue, Staten Island, where our nearest
neighbor was George William Curtis, and our dearest
friends were the family of Sydney Howard Gay.
Here we lost our little Evelyn, from some sudden
and mysterious ailment, on a Fourth of July.
The next move was to West Tenth Street, New
York, where we made the acquaintance and at-
tended the church of the Rev. Edward Judson.
Here we gave ^^ Familiar Songs" its send-off (already
recorded), and here Helen called in our choicest
friends to form, one winter a geography class, and
another winter a class in Shakespeare — class or dub,
as one chooses to call them. Those that I remember
as the most constant attendants were: Mr. and Mrs.
John Denison Champlin, Mr. Frank Huntington, the
Rev. Edward Judson, the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. J.
Ryland Kendrick, Mrs. Mary R. Norris (afterward
Mrs. Charles Borcherling), Dr. and Mrs. John F.
Russell, and Mr. and Mrs. John W. Weidemeyer.
At the close of the last meeting, when we had just
read ^"Macbeth," they presented us with a fine
impression of Macbeth's etching from John Heming
Mason's *' Harvest Moon." The picture now hangs
in the living-room of Thalatta Cottage.
There was bom little Mildred, who, being appar-
The Story of Her Varied Activities 88
ently well, suddenly passed away as mysteriously
as her sister Evelyn.
For the summer of 1888 we joined four families
of friends in cooperative housekeeping, taking a
large house and twenty acres of ground at Suffem,
N. Y. The experiment was an entertaining success.
The summer of 1884 we spent pleasantly in Mon-
mouth, Maine, keeping house in partnership with
our friends Mr. and Mrs. Lorettus S. Metcalf.
In returning to New York, we made a detour to pass
through New Hampshire and visit our former home
city. Concord. Apparently a dozen years had
changed it very little. At Newport we were hand-
somely entertained in the home of my friend and
former associate, Edward A. Jenks.
In that year Mrs. Johnson made and edited two
compilations. One was a thick volume, illustrated,
entitled *^ Poems and Songs for Young People." The
other was a dainty set of six small volumes entitled
**The Nutshell Series." They were made up of
crisp and epigrammatic sayings, gathered from a
wide field, and classified and indexed, with intro*
ductions. The several volumes bore the titles:
Philosophy, Wisdom, Sentiment, Proverbs, Wit
and Humor, and Epigram and Epitaph. Both of
these works had a gratifying reception. Afterward
the Nutshell Series was reissued in another form,
with the title ^^ Short Sayings of Famous Men."
The summer of 1885 we spent on Great Chebeague
Island, in Casco Bay, where we kept house in partner-
ship with Mrs. Mary H. Peabody in her cottage
on the shore.
S4 Hden Kendriek Johnson
In this out-of-the-way place we made the ac-
quaintance of an interestmg and admirable char-
acter, the Rev. John Collins, pastor of the only
church on the island, performing his humble duties
in a modest and kindly way.
* Mr. Collins asked our household to give an enter-
tainment in the church, for the benefit of the parson-
age, which was much in need of repairs; and of
course we consented. On the appointed evening,
at dusk, we took our books, musical instruments,
and manuscripts under our arms and walked a mile
and a half through the woods to the church. Helen
read one of her stories, and the rest of us made such
contributions to the gaiety of Chebeague as lay in
our several lines.
In announcing the entertainment. Pastor Collins
had urged attendance, and said : ** If you fill all these
seats, the fimd for the parsonage will be,*'
But his arithmetic was faulty; he should have men-
tioned a sum twice as large. Afterward a group of
the natives were overheard discussing the affair
and especially puzzling over the numerical error;
till one bright feUow said: "FU tell you how it is —
the troupe gits half."
As West Tenth Street had degenerated, we now
removed to East Sixteenth Street, where we abode
about fifteen years. And there Helen resumed
her literary class, or dub, in which we read much
For several years Mrs. Johnson was a member
of the board of managers of the Henry Street Settle-
ment. She was much interested in the poor children
The Story cf tier Varied Activities 86
who obtained a Uttle increment of happiness playing
in the back yard of the Settlement House, which
they called "The King's Garden." When she
became f amiUar with the work and management of
the settlements, she conceived a deep distrust of them
all. Some of them, at least, appeared to be used
largely as forums where very young men, half-
educated and wholly satisfied, exploited socialistic
theories, sometimes bordering on anarchism, to
auditors even less educated than themselves; and
she foresaw that they would become breeding-beds
of atheism and disloyalty.
She was disappointed in a club of women to
which she was elected, and remarked to me that she
thought she could organize one that would avoid
some of the usual undesirable happenings. I ad-
vised her to try. She drew up a model for a con-
stitution, and had twenty copies made. These
with a circular letter she addressed to a score of
friends whom she deemed most likely to be inter-
ested. The answers were prompt, and eighteen
accepted. They met at our home in East Sixteenth
Street (February, 1886), and organized. The club
was to meet monthly at midday, and therefore it
was named The Meridian. The meetings were to
be held in one of the best hotels, where luncheon
would be served for all who attended, each paying
for her own. Then a paper, previously announced,
would be read, and the subject discussed, of course
under simple parliamentary rules. Each year one
member was to act as secretary, sending out notice
of the meetings and collecting the dues (one dollar
S6 Helen Kendrick Johnson
annually, for stationery and postage). There were
no other officers. Each member was to preside at
(me meeting when her turn came alphabetically;
and each member was to present a paper for dis-
cussion when her turn came alphabetically. The
alphabet ruled everything. If any standing com-
mittee was desired, three members were named for
it in alphabetical order. Thus there could be no
aspiration to office, and no electioneering.
New members were admitted sparingly, as it was
not intended that the dub should ever be large, or
should include any who could not,, in turn, contribute
to the intellectual entertainment. But members
were permitted to bring guests to the meetings, and
sometimes these were as numerous as the members.
The Meridian was a success from the beginning,
and has been ever since, with a slow increase to a
membership of about forty, with never a cause of
jealousy or ill-feeling among them. Politics and
sectarian religion are excluded from the discussions
by an unwritten law. Some notable papers have
been produced therein.
The original members were: Mrs. Elizabeth
Akers Allen, Dr. Mercy N. Baker, Mrs. Frederick P.
Bellamy, Mrs. Charles Borcherling, Mrs. Robert
Carter, Mrs. John Denison Champhn, Mrs. John
K. CiUey, Mrs. Kate Upson Clark, Mrs. Churchill
H. Cutting, Mrs. John R. Fisher, Mrs. George H.
Fox, Mrs. Robert Gilchrist, Mrs. Almon Goodwin,
Mrs. Rossiter Johnson, Mrs. James P. Kimball,
Mrs. Lorettus S. Metcalf, Mrs. Mary H. Peabody,
Mrs. Erminnie A. Smith, and Mrs. May Riley Smith.
The Story of Her Varied Activities 87
In February, I9I69 the thirtieth anniversary of its
founding. The Meridian held a special meeting,
with Mrs. Johnson as its guest of honor. Of the
original members, five were present; eight were no
longer living; three were lying ill; and three had
resigned. Mrs. Johnson passed away eleven months
In 1887-88 we had summer board in the hamlet
of Oak Ridge, N. J., a pretty spot, happily retired
from the noise and bustle of the world. I could go
there for week-ends only, as I was making Appleton's
*' Cydopsedia of American Biography," and also
editing their *^ Annual Cydopsedia."
Mrs. Johnson's only novel, *' Raleigh Westgate,"
was pubUshed in 1889, and it met with a generous
reception from the critics. The hero was a descen-
dant of an old New England family, well educated,
and with the instincts of a gentleman, but was left
with a nominally large estate and was *' land-poor."
Compelled to do something for a living, he does
the only thing that he thinks he can do — ^becomes a
canvasser for a subscription-book. The heroine is a
schoolmistress, quite as romantic as the hero, but
less visionary and with more practical ability.
The Chicago Times said: **The descriptions of his
eiqperiences as a solicitor for a history of New
England are full of genuine humor, some of them
such as one would say could scarcely have been
written except by some one who had passed through
something very similar. Some of the characters,
too, are racily humorous, glowing with local color.
There is a reasonably ingenious plot, in which so
88 Helen Kendrick Johnson
many of our modem stories are entirely lacking.
There is much devemess of character-sketching,
and there is a fresh and easy way of putting things
that keeps the book from ever becoming tiresome."
The Eclectic Magazine said: "It sketches the every-
day characters and incidents which one meets in the
more remote New England with a lively and truthful
portraiture, and yet achieves what is so difficult in
such material, avoids all appearance of crudity and
vulgarity. We know of few cleverer humorous
touches than young Westgate^s attempts to wrestle
with the printed instructions of the subscription-
book house, wherein he is told how to approach his
victims in the most insidious manner." The Boston
Beacon said: "The charm of the story is in its abso-
lute imconventionality, the purity and vivacity of
its style, and its fresh and attractive humor." The
St. Louis Post-Dispatch said: "The studies of New
England character that are to be found in the story
are charming in their naturalness and oddity, and
they show an intimate knowledge of the life de-
scribed." The Boston Home Journal said: "The
character of the heroine is drawn with artistic
beauty, and that of the hero is conspicuous for its
power and originality, and the novel throughout
has the spice of the best ancient romance." The
New York Tribune said: "There is a good deal of
quaint philosophy in the book, which from begin-
ning to end is thoroughly fresh and original." The
Christian Inquirer said: "The literary style is pure,
the tone elevated, while there is an atmosphere of
quaint humor pervading the book, from the first to
The Story of Her Varied Activities 89
the last page» that is both refreshing and healthful/'
The Rochester Post-Express said: *'The greatest
charm of the book lies in the peculiar union of
characteristics in the shy recluse turned book-agent,
and the frank way in which one-half of him holds up
the other half for the reader's sympathetic amuse-
ment. The book has the tone and color, the soft
warmth and radiance, of a New England summer."
The Boston Journal said: *^One wonders why
authors have not before this depicted the adventures
of a book-agent. Helen Kendrick Johnson has
shown that they may be of varied humor, pathos,
and romance." The Cleveland Voice said: "Alto-
gether it is a clean, wholesome, and really entertain-
ing story." The Christian at Work said: "It ranks
among the best fiction of the day, and is full of
stirring incident and strong situations. The writer
proves herself a master hand." The Albany Sunday
Press said: "Its style is original, and the handling of
the details is such as to delight the lovers of fiction."
The National Baptist said : " It is a sweet, wholesome,
touching bit of reading. No story has fallen into our
hands that has given such unalloyed pleasure as
In 1889, when the "Cydopsedia of Biography" was
finished, we planned a tour for ourselves and our
daughter Florence; and as her health was delicate,
we considered it wiser to travel in our own country
than to cross the ocean. We set out early in April,
resolved to travel by daylight only. We went by
way of Bethlehem, Pa., Carlisle, Antietam, Grafton,
W. Va., Wheeling, Columbus, Indianapolis, St.
40 Helen Kendrick Johnson
Louis, Norton, Elan., to Denver, stopping at all these
places. Thus far, there had been some pleasant
bits of scenery, and some historic points. But
the longest ride was over the monotonous level
country between Coljambus and Indianapolis. There
our daughter remarked, with the humor inherited
from her mother: **I should think it would be well
if the company would have these car-windows glazed
with cheap glass full of wrinkles, so as to vary the
We spent a week in Denver, where we met some
old friends and made a few pleasant acquaintances,
and then went to Colorado Springs with its Garden
of the Gods and other attractions. The much-
talked-of Denver & Rio Grande Railroad then
carried us through the Royal Gorge to Salida, where
we had frontier accommodations for the night. The
next day we ascended the Marshall Pass, eleven
thousand feet above sea-level. There I had a re-
markable example of a common defect in our every-
day speech. When I asked a trainman why we
tarried so long at the summit, he answered, *^To
inspect the air." I did not know that we had any
scientists on board, and I had not seen any barometer
or other such instrument; hence I wondered what
was to be done about the atmosphere, when it
should be inspected. But I did some inspecting
myself, and thereby learned that he meant the air-
brakes were to be carefully examined, to make sure
they were in working order before we began the steep
descent. Gunnison, through the Black Cafion, by
Green River Jimction, and through the Castle Gate
The Story of Her Varied AdwUies 41
to Salt Lake City — ^all these are now familiar to the
tourist. We attended Sunday services in the
Tabernacle, and what we saw there explained the
persistence of Mormonism. We visited the new
Temple, then approaching completion, drove about
the city, and saw the pathetic home of an insane
man who was always expecting the return of his
long-lost wife, and constantly adding to the house,
inside and outside, things congruous or incongruous,
which he fancied would make it more attractive.
At the Temple we talked with a simple-minded
Scotchman who had crossed the desert with the
original company. ^^Brigham had told us," he said,
**that the appointed place for us to settle would be
where two streams flow down and unite in one.
And there they are!" Evidently, this was conclu-
sive proof of Brigham Yoimg's plenary inspiration.
It wa3 pathetic to hear the simple fellow describe
the hardships in crossing the plains, when the tires
dropped off from the shrunken wagon-wheels.
The ride across the desert was broken at Elko,
where we first saw Indians; and our next stop was
at Reno — ^not yet of unsavory fame. Then we
climbed the Sierras, rounded Cape Horn, and slid
down to Sacramento. We had been forty days
crossing the continent; and we had gained some con-
ception of the patient toil of the Forty-niners, who
had been three times as long in crossing the western
half with their ox-teams. In Sacramento we made
the acquaintance of Mr. J. A. Woodson, a veteran
journalist, and were handsomely entertained at
dinner in his home.
42 Helen Kendrick Johnson
San Francisco, like Brundusium, was the end of a
long journey. We saw all its show things, which
need not be enumerated, as everybody knows them,
and made excursions to Berkeley, Sausalito, and
To visit the Yosemite, we took an unusual route,
more advantageous than that commonly traveled.
First by rail, via Stockton, to the little village of
Oakdale. There we hired a carriage, with a driver,
A. Harris, who had cultivated a farm in the Yosemite
and was familiar with everything on the way. We
drove through Chinese Camp and up the mountain
to the tavern caUed Priest's— a primitive affair,
but comfortable for a night. Thence by a road
that led through one of the less extensive groves
of big trees, where we drove through the door that
was cut in the Dead Giant, and at night arrived
at Crocker's Station on the high Sierras, a well-kept
hotel with modern appointments. From Crocker's,
a drive of five miles next mommg brought us to the
edge of the Yosemite, and on the way we passed
some patches of snow with here and there a snow-
plant that had thrust itself up through the cold
A long, sloping road that ended near the base of
El Capitan took us into the valley, and we put up at
Barnard's, the less frequented of the two hotels.
Our windows looked out directly at the Yosemite
Fall, the highest of the cataracts, where the water
came down apparently in separate bolts instead of a
continuous sheet. We had the carriage to drive
about the valley; and I can still see Florence seated
The Story of Her. Varied Activities 48
a long time with her back against a boulder, gazing
at the beautiful Bridal Veil Fall, which was directly
The several trails are to be ascended on mule-
back; and for a beginning we chose the one at the
eastern end of the valley, which half-way up passes
the Vernal Fall and leads thence up to the foot of the
Nevada Fall. These are the largest of the cataracts,
as they are formed by Merced River. The mule
that Helen rode made a determined e£fort to shake
her off at a point where she might have been thrown
over a precipice down hundreds of feet. The
watchful guide saw the trouble, dismounted, and
walked by her side. His intelligent horse, consider-
ing himself promoted to the guideship, then caref uUy
led us the rest of the way.
No more climbing of trails for our party.
The return journey, from Crocker's, led through
Big Oak Flat, Priest's again, and Knight's Ferry.
Northward from Sacramento, our train followed
up the river with its many bits of cool, delicious
scenery, to the town of Redding in a desert-like
setting, to be left on the morrow as early as possible;
then for hours we skirted the base of Shasta, climbed
the moimtains by a curiously winding way, descended
into the Rogue River valley, and followed the
Willamette down to Portland. In that city we met
Thomas A. Jordan, whom I had not seen since we
were schoolboys together. He showed us what was
worth seeing in the town, and accompanied us on
an excursion up Columbia River, as far as The
Dalles. Though we were in Portland nearly a week.
44 Helen Kendrick Johnson
we had no view of Mount Hood, because of per-
sistent mist around it. This so disappointed Mr.
Jordan that he had the best local artist paint a
picture of Mount Hood, framed it, and sent it as a
present to Mrs. Johnson. It now hangs in Thalatta
The journey to Tacoma took us through a region
with forests, stumps, half-cleared fields, and all the
indications of newness. An application for pas-
sage to Alaska failed, as it would have to be made
weeks in advance. Seattle was just being re-built
after its disastrous fire, and half-bumed beams and
boards were floating about in the Sound. We
crossed to Vashon Island, where we saw Prof.
Charles R. Pomeroy and his wife in their pretty
cottage home. They had been my teachers at the
Rochester High School.
The sail up the Sound and over to Victoria, with
a view of the Olympic Moimtains and the oceanic
vista through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, was a
trip to remember.
We returned by way of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, through the Alpine scenery of the Rocky
Mountains, Fargo, St. Paul, Madison, Chicago,
Detroit, and Niagara Falls, to our former home in
Rochester. We saw old friends in all those cities
In the spring of 1890 we discovered Amagansett,
Long Island, and that summer we boarded there at
Mrs. Phoebe Hand's. Before we left, in the autumn,
we bought a piece of ground for a building-lot on the
bluff overlooking the ocean. The next summer also
The Story of Her Varied Actwities 45
we were there, and I put up a small building for my
study. To Mrs. Hand's came, that season, certain
people connected with the Navy — ^Rear-Admiral
Thomas S. Phelps, retired, with his wife and two
daughters (wives of naval officers), Lieut. Charles
A. Gove (whom we had known as a boy in Concord),
and others; all of whom were delightful associates.
When my study was finished, some of them came
down one evening and dedicated it with singing and
acting to a company that filled it to overflowing.
In 1892 we built Bluff Cottage, which was designed
mainly by Mrs. Johnson and Florence, and in the
summer of 1898 we occupied it.
Mrs. Johnson had contributed to the Ameri4)an
WomarCs Journal a notable essay on the work of
James Russell Lowell. That publication — which
must not be confounded with the WomarCs Journal^
issued in Boston — ^was founded and edited by Mary
Foot Seymour, in New York in 1889. She died in
1898, and a few months later Mrs. Johnson was
asked to assume the editorship.
In an interview by Edward Marshall, in the New
York Times^ she is reported as saying: ""Two
ladies came to my house and asked me to take
charge of a little magazine entitled the Aviierican
Woman* s Journal^ which had lost its editress by
death. Ever since I arrived at maturity I had been
interested in everything that pertained to women's
helping themselves; but at that stage I had no
knowledge of suffrage in any of its details. Soon
after that, the Constitutional Convention was held
at Albany, and various women b^an to flood the
46 Helen Kendrick Johnson
office with articles favoring votes for women, which
they wished to have me use with the idea of influenc-
ing the campaign. That gave me my first bird's-
eye view of the suffrage subject. My interest grew
out of the necessity for exercising proper editorial
judgment. Examining the matter which they sub-
mitted, with what I tried to make absolutely fair
editorial eyes — ^that is, with eyes which endeavored
to find the false and see the true — ^I discovered that
most of the pro-suffrage arguments were illogical
and unworthy. They remain so to this day. I
could not deny them space in the magazine, and did
not wish to; but, while printing them, I replied to
them with what seemed to me the real facts in the
matter. To publish such things without answering
them would do the publication and its readers an
injustice. By the time the Constitutional Conven-
tion adjourned I had become convinced that the
whole suffrage movement was unsound. I cannot
see the slightest possibility that through the ballot
woman can secure one right which she does not at
Among the contributors to the magazine while
Mrs. Johnson conducted it were: Senorita Catalina
de Alcala, Mercy N. Baker, M.D., Anne K. Benedict,
Mary T. Bissell, M.D., Elizabeth A. Blessington,
Maud Boardman, Lucy Hall-Brown, M.D., Mary B.
Bruce, Margaret Sullivan Burke, the Countess
Compton, Blandina Conant, Florence K. Cooper,
Bessie B. Croffut, Elizabeth B. Custer, Maiy
Stewart Cutting, Ellen W. Goodwin, Louise Sey-
mour Houghton, Florence Kellogg, Harriet Kings-
The Story of Her Varied Activities 47
land, Augusta Lamed, Ellen C. Leggett, M.D.,
Belva Lockwood, Mary E. Merrill, Aubertine Wood-
ward Moore, Florence Nightingale, Evangeline M.
O'Connor, Mary H. Peabody, Annie S. Peek,
Caroline A. Powell, Frances M. Scott, Gertrude M.
Sherman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Marie Hansen
(Mrs, Bayard) Taylor, Whitam K. Van Meter,
and Lucy A. Yendes,
Sefiorita Alcala wrote of '"Spanish Influence on
Native American Pottery," Mrs. Benedict on
"Housekeepers' Rights," Mrs. Burke, of the Chicago
Tribune^ on "Anna Royal, the First American Wo-
man Editor," the Countess Compton on "Woman's
Work in the Ragged Schools of England," Mrs.
Bruce on "City and Country Homes," Miss
Conant, an artist, contributed a series on "Woman
in Historic Art," Mrs. Cooper wrote on "Co-
education," Mrs. Custer on "Military Drill in
Public Schools," Mrs. Cutting contributed a story,
Mrs. Kingsland, a retired actress, wrote on "Con-
science and the Drama," Dr. Leggett on "Our
Duties to Our Daughters, " and the other physicians
on professional subjects; Mrs. Merrill on "Floral
Facts and Fancies." Miss Nightingale's three
articles, on "Nursing," prepared for the Columbian
Exposition, were published first in this magazine.
Mrs. O'Connor wrote on "Emerson as a Poet"
and "The Religion in Browning's Works" and
contributed original poems, Miss Peck described
the "Women of Modem Greece," Miss Powell, an
artist, wrote on "Methods of Magazine lUustra-
tion," Mrs. Stanton on "Our Proper Attitude
48 Helen Kendrici Johruon
toward Immigration," Mrs. Taylor, under the
title "My Two Homes," compared life in Giermany
and in the United States; Mr. Van Meter, an
attorney, contributed notes on law points of interest
Mrs. Johnson herself, in a series entitled "The
Personal Influence of the Modem Poets," discussed
Mrs. Browning, Bums, Holmes, Miss Ingelow,
Tennyson, and Whittier. She also contributed
"Ruby Forrest," "What Aib this Heart o'
Mine?" and other stories; reviewed books, wrote
on "Sex and Government," and various other
subjects, and carefully edited every page of every
Hie magazine had not " turned the comer,"
but was apparently nearing that point, and Mrs.
Johnson, who had faith in it, paid contributors
from her own pocket, llien appeared a capitalist
who had had some experience as a publisher. He
admired the magazine and offered to put money
into it, with the understanding tiiat he was to act as
business manager. This offer was accepted in good
f^th; but very soon he practically assumed the
whole conduct of the publication. He was a gentle-
man and a kindly man; but he did not know that
he was pitifully ignorant of the editorial art. No-
body could teach him anything, and he made wild
work of it. Mrs. Johnson, ther^ore, withdrew from
all connection with the magazine. Financially it was
a dead loss to her; but she had enjoyed the work for
nearly two years, and the experience was of some
advantage in her later literary tasks.
XoTE. — There in no Portrait
The Story of Her Varied Adivitiee 49
In editing the magazine, Mrs. Johnson came into
dose touch with several sincere woman suffragists.
This caused her to study the subject of suffrage, and
she began by going carefully through the three
ponderous volumes of the history written by Susan
B. Anthony and her associates. She also read the
arguments and testimonies of many other writers,
and pondered the subject in all its legal, moral, and
social aspects. The result was, that she became
convinced that woman suffrage was founded on
demonstrable and radical errors; that it was neither
due to women as a right, nor possible to them as an
effective function, nor necessary as an educative
force. She then wrote a book, of which the first
edition was published in 1897, bearing the title,
^' Woman and the Republic: A Survey of the
Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States,
and a Discussion of the Claims and Arguments of its
Foremost Advocates." The reception of this book
by the press throughout the country was remarkable.
Hie St. Louis Gldbe-DemocToi said: ^'One of the
great books of the year is 'Woman and the Re-
public,* by Mrs. Helen Kendrick Johnson. It
displays an astonishing amount of researdi and
consequent knowledge of the subject in hand, for,
from the inauguration of the woman-suffrage move-
ment to the present day, no important point in the
history of the topic is left untouched. The book is
remarkable for its conspicuous lack of any display of
personal feeling. From beginning to end, there is no
show of dislike for the advocates of woman suffrage.
The book might have been written by a lawyer.
so Helen Kendriek Johnaon
With the deliberation of conscious strength the
authoress takes up one statement after another
advanced in behalf of suffrage, dissects it, shows the
mistake or fallacy involved, and goes on as calmly
and with as little show of feeling as would be mani-
fested by any attorney explaining the points oi a
contested invention before the Supreme Court.
'Woman imd the Republic' will be long noteworthy
as a most complete and overwhelming refutation of
the arguments of the sufiFragists." The Hartford
Pott said: "Mrs. Johnson considers the whole
question broadly, from every point of view — ^his-
torically, legally, morally, and socially. She believes
thoroughly in opening many lines of trade and
employment to woman, and is in sympathy with all
that really makes for her progress in any way; but
she shows pointedly that the suffrage movement
has done little, indeed nothing, of positive assistance
along these lines." The Washington Tivies said:
"It is a dissertation full of social, political, and
moral scholarship, flanked on all sides by genuine
common sense and the logic of evidence. It is a
really valuable document." The New York Com-
merciai-Advertiaer said: "This book will hold the
reader's attention from beginning to end. It is a
fine example of painstaking analysis and searching
criticism." The Buffalo Enquirer said: "For logic,
cahnneas, and temperateness of tone, tor a broad
perspective based upon the facts of history, this
work is an intelligent and welcome addition to the
tit^ature upon the subject." The Boston Courier
said: "It is a marvelously clear and understandable
The Story of Her Varied Aelimtiss 51
text-book for such helpful and instructive uses as
any reader desiring an unbiased training upon this
particular subject may seek for. Evidently a strongs
serious brain has conceived its every chapter." The
Boston Home Journal called it: '^A book that
deserves a very careful and thoughtful readings
especially by the women of this country, because
it is carefully and thoughtfully written, and with a
power of argument that has rarely been surpassed."
The Brooklyn iSto?u2arcI-l7nton said: '" If the woman-
suflFrage movement is ever to be finally defeated,
it will be by women themselves, and by arguments
and considerations like those so ably stated in this
remarkable book." The Boston JETeroZt^ said : ''Mrs.
Johnson first shows the hollowness of the arguments
advanced by the suffragists, and then puts each
theme squarely in the position dictated by common
sense and sound reason. Democratic government,
the author says, is at an end when those who issue
decrees are not identical with those who can enforce
them. What is the real reason why laws compel
obedience? Because behind the law stands the
majority of the men, who alone are capable of
enforcing the law. A government can have no
stability if it issues decrees that it can not enforce.
The only way to avoid such decrees is to make sure
that behind every law and every policy adopted
stands a power so great that no power in the land
can overthrow it. The only such power possible
consists of a majority of the men. Therefore, the
only safe thing is to carry out the ascertained will
of a majority of the men."
6i Helen Kendrick] Johneon
Many more reviews of similar purport might be
quoted. Not an unfavorable one appeared.
Postscripts, mainly statistical, were added in the
second and third editions.
Subsequently Mrs. Johnson was an active member
of anti*suffrage organizations, and as their repre-
sentative she several times addressed legislative
conmiittees at Albany and at Washington. She
also wrote pamphlets and newspaper articles, and
to a limited e3rtent spoke before popular audiences.
In 1912 she founded the Guidon Club for study of
political questions and for active but dignified and
effective work against suffrage.
In 1899 Mrs. Johnson compiled the Supplement of
Quotations for the American edition of Smith's
"'Dictionary of Terms, Phrases, and Quotations";
and in 1900, for the series of ''The World's Great
Books," she edited the volume entitled "Great
Essays," selecting the contents and writing an intro*
ductory essay and biographical sketches. For another
series she edited the "Mythology and Folk-Lore
of the North American Indian."
The winter of 1908-4 Mrs. Johnson spent in
Amagansett, occupying the cottage ("Indian Wells,"
standing next to "Bluff") which our daughter
Florence had designed and built. She had bought
a piece of ground adjoining on the west, had de-
signed two cottages for it, and wished to build them
at once and have them ready for occupancy in the
spring. Down came the heaviest snows, with severe
cold, that had been known there for half a century.
But she was not daunted; the building went on.
The Story of Her Varied Activities SS
with her constant supervision, though the workmen
had to wear overcoats, mittens, and ear-flaps. We
had a beautiful, intelligent, and faithful collie
(Doro), a present to our daughter from her uncle,
Joseph O'Connor. Doro now stood by watchfully.
Even the master-builder could not enter the house
for instructions or consultation, without the dog's
immediately placing himself between his mistress
and the man, with his eye on the man. And at night
he lay just outside her chamber door. This was
especially gratifying from the fact that business
required me to go to New York periodically for a
day or two, and I knew Doro would be a valiant
protector in my absence. That dog never saw a
sheep in his life; but from some remote ancestor he
must have inherited an instinct for rounding up a
flock. The instant he heard the call to dinner, he
hurried us all to our seats at the table; then he
passed rapidly around three times in a circle that
just took in us and our chairs, all the time muttering
some canine words — ^perhaps an incantation, though
we neither fed on honey-dew nor drank the milk
of Paradise; after which (in sunmier) he lay down
in the empty fireplace, rested his head on his paws,
and gravely imitated the lion of Lucerne. Dear,
loving and lovable Doro! For seven years he was a
picturesque part of our daily life.
Helen found a great deal of pleasure in selecting
and arrangmg the fittings and furniture of the
cottages; and as long as she lived she carefully
superintended their preparation for sunmier tenants.
She had a sewing-machine, and made nearly all the
54 Bden Kendrick Joknton
curtaiiu herself. She planted the vines about
the cottages and attended to their cultivation
and tnuning with affectionate care. The cottage
last built, Thalatta, became our favorite stumner
Mrs. Johnson had long been familiar with the
Bible, had taught Sunday-school classes, and was a
close and critical auditor of sermons. She was also
interested in antiquities and pre-historic researches.
Some carefully minute, analytical studies in the Old
Testament resulted in her writing a book entitled
"The Aryan Ancestry of Christ," which contains
some surprising revelations. Of course this work
remains in manuscript, as no publishing • house
would undertake such a book unless it bore the
name of a Doctor of Divinity as its author. But
two Doctors of Divinity read it and discussed it
with deep interest, and one urged that every effort
be made to obtain its publication.
For a long time she contemplated producing
another book — in some sense a companion to her
"Woman and the RepubUc." With much research
and study, she wrote it in the last years of her life.
One day she remarked: "I must put this final
chapter into typewriting," and she crossed the
house to the machine and with some pain accom-
plished that task. She had collected a large number
of illustrations from widely different sources, and
she sat up in bed and arranged the pictures, noting
on each the number of the <^pter to which it
applied. She gave her book the title "Woman's
Place in Creation." I have sealed it up and laid it
Thalafta Cottage, at Amagunxelt, Long InUind.
Out Summer Home.
The Story of Her Varied Adwiiies 55
away for possible publication when the time shall
Her long and varied work was done. On Christmas
morning we gathered round her for the usual opening
of packages and examination of presents; and our
lifelong optimist was as cheerful as ever. She must
have known it was her final Christmas; but she
never could be otherwise than cheerful and kindly
and loving. She had a firm faith in a future life
and in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of mankind.
Her heart was affected by hardening of the arteries,
and a little before midnight of January S, 1917,
she passed away.
No one could be more sanely optimistic than that
sweet woman; and I never have known any one so
actively sympathetic with everything that had life.
When we lived in Concord she made an attempt to
decorate the Uving-room with ivy trained to run
round the frieze, as is occasionally done. After a
winter night she rose one morning to find it kiUed
by the bitter cold; and at once her arms were raised
in a tragic attitude and she exclaimed, ''Dead!
dead!" as if an untimely frost had taken a dear
friend. The vines around the cottages at Amagan-
sett were to her like sentient prot^g^.
When we lived in East Nineteenth Street our
janitor bought a dog for his brother, to be sent to
him two or three weeks later. But, though it was
mid-winter the animal must not enter the house,
because of the janitor's own dog, and a barrel was
turned down for it m the back yard. Every evening
Helen went down to the yard, gave the dog a supper.
M Helen Kendriok Johnson
and wrapped it in a warm blanket; and the grateful
fellow never would touch the food till he had kissed
her hand. '
When we lived in West Tenth Street she learned
that on the fourth floor of a neighboring house a
not very skilful woman had the care of two delicate
infants. Every day for about two months Helen
climbed the stairs to that apartment and prepared
the milk for the little ones. She succeeded in saving
one, but the other had been too long without proper
In her last few days she was still sitting up in a
great chair, a part of each day, and knitting for the
soldiers in France. She always had been a skilful and
Our church membership was with the Old First
Presbyterian, the pastor of which, the Rev. Howard
Duffield, D.D., had long been our very dear friend.
But when we moved up-town attendance there
became inconvenient, and we found an acceptable
place in the Scotch Presbyterian Church, and
another good friend in its pastor, the Rev. Robert
Watson, D.D. He conducted the simple funeral
service in our home, which was filled with our friends.
His sermon, the following Sunday, was from the text,
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are
the everlasting arms." Deuteronomy, xxxiii: 27.
In the course of it he said:
"The funeral service the other day was for Mrjs.
Rossiter Johnson, one of the most remarkable women
it has ever been my privilege to meet and call friend.
She said to me, a week before, * It is all right.' I
The Story of Her Varied Adwities 57
asked, 'What is all right?' She said, 'You know I
have lived by faith; but I wanted to know/ She
continued, 'He has made it known unto me, for I
was taken, in this sudden change, down to the very
edge of the Valley of the Shadow, and then brought
back again as if almost from the other shore. Now
I know that what I believed is all right. I know,
for I have been there, and I am not afraid. He will
keep that which I have conmiitted unto him.' From
this there is nothing more to be noted than that the
eternal God is more than ever her home; and he will
be, in the light of the eternal day, as he was in the
shadow of the night of death, as he is now, the home
of many. Do you wonder, then, that I said in that
service, 'Take off your garments of mourning, lay
them aside. Those are symbols of sadness. Put
on to-day the garments of praise and song, and
rejoice. This is not a defeat, it is a victory.' The
eternal God was and is her home."
Our daughter and I accompanied the body to
Rochester, where, in the home of my sisters, a
brief service was conducted by the Rev. J. W. A.
Stewart, D.D., of the Theological Seminary. Then
it was laid away in Mount Hope, beside the graves
of our three little ones — Laurence, Evelyn, and
On February 22, the Guidon Club, of which Mrs.
Johnson was the founder and the leading spirit, held
a memorial meeting for her in a parlor of the Hotel
Astor. Members of the Club, and other friends,
filled the room, and the president, Mrs. Marie
Collins Rooney, wife of Judge John Jerome Rooney,
58 Helen Kendrick Johnson
conducted the exercises. From. a published report
I make these extracts:
In opening the meeting, Mrs. Booney made an im-
pressive speech, in which she quoted a large part of the
last chapter of Proverbs, beginning at the tenth verse.
The secretary read about a dozen letters from friends
who were unable to be present.
Hon. Elihu Boot wrote: "I knew Mrs. Johnson well in
her youth, and had much affection for her and her sisters.
Her father — ^long professor of Greek at the Rochester
University — ^was an intimate and affectionate friend of
my own parents. She was a very lovely and noble girl,
and I should be glad to join you in doing honor to her
Anna Katherine Green, the novelist, wrote: **My
friendship for Mrs. Johnson dates from my girlhood days,
and in all these yeais I have looked upon her as one who
stood among the highest in my affection and regard. Her
steps have carried her on into the light. If this to her is
gain, we can not but feel that she has left us at a time
when we can ill-afford to lose such a speaking spirit.
May the young emulate her virtues, if they can not hope
for her talent, and so perpetuate her influence not only
in the dub she founded but in the country for which she
worked and in which she so heartily believed."
Miss Mary L. Stebbins wrote: '^It is pleasant to me
to recall that I was present at the initial meeting of your
dub, of which Mrs. Johnson was the founder, and to
remember always her pride and joy in whatever success
was achieved by it. Mrs. Johnson will always be lovingly
remembered, for love was her dominating characteristic."
Alexander Black (author and artist) wrote: **I can-
not resist writing to tell you how beautiful an image of
Mrs. Johnson I find in my memory. Mrs. Black and I
always felt the spirit of a benediction in her gentle,
radiant, forceful presence. The world owes more to such
women than ever can be rightly acknowledged.'*
The Story of Her Varied ActwUies 59
Theron George Strong (son of 'the late Judge Theron
Strong, of Rochester) wrote: ^'Mrs. Johnson was a noble
and true-hearted woman, and nothing too good can be
said of her. I am glad the memorial meeting is to be held;
this tribute of respect is richly deserved."
Mrs. Livingston Schuyler wrote: "'A woman of great
abiUty and rare personality, whose place can not easily be
filled. I should like to have shown my admiration of this
great but gentle woman by being with you in person.''
Miss lillian E. Rogers (principal of a school in Phila-
delphia) wrote: ''It was a great pleasure to be in touch
with Mrs. Johnson, and one of the things I miss very
much in my new home is the Guidon Club. Mrs. Johnson
was one of those thoughtful, cultivated women who
have done so much to make the world a better place
for us all to live in, and it was an inspiration to meet
The presiding officer called upon Dr. Rossiter Johnson
to speak concerning Mrs. Johnson's literaiy work; and he
responded by remarking that he would take a hint from
the Bible. ''In the ninth chapter of the Acts of the
Apostles," he said, "we read that when Dorcas passed
away her friends held a memorial meeting, at which they
exhibited some of the garments that she had made — ^a
visual demonstration of her industry and beneficence."
He then placed on the table about haJf of the fifteen pub-
lished volumes that Mrs. Johnson wrote or edited. Taking
them up one at a time, he briefly related their history,
described their character and purpose, and read a few
short extracts frotn reviews of some of them.
He announced that Mrs. Johnson had spent much of
her last two years in writing a book entitled "Woknan's
Place in Creation," the manuscript of which was finished,
and in her last days she sat up in bed and selected and
arranged the illustrations for it. He also mentioned
that she was a profound student of the Bible, and left in
manuscript two extensive essays on BibUcal subjects.
60 Hden Kendrick Johnson
He dosed by saying: *'She had a lifelong, steadfast faith
in Christ and his religion, and she was not troubled by
any doubts as to the reality of a future life/*
Mrs. Boon^ called upon Hon. Charles F. MacLean
(former Justice of the Supreme Court), who had known
Mrs. Johnson in her girlhood, and again in recent years.
His address was a model of quiet oratory, forceful, graceful,
He was followed by Churchill H. Cutting (son of the
late Professor Sewall S. Cutting, of the University of
Rochester). Mr. Cutting's wife, Mary Button, of a once
well-known family in Rochester, was a lifelong intimate
friend of Mrs. Johnson's, and he spoke feelingly of thdr
early days together, quoting his wife as saying that
*' Nellie Kendrick was the one that taught her to appreci-
ate and love poetry."
The last speaker was Joseph A. Ely, formerly of Roches-
ter, who had been present at the wedding of Rossiter
Johnson and Helen Kendrick.
Attention was called to a pile of Mrs. Johnson's ** Woman
and the Republic" (third edition), and any one present
who did not already possess the book was invited to take a
copy as a souvenir. They were all taken.
Mrs. Johnson is survived by her husband (who
writes this memoir), by our daughter, Florence K.
Johnson, by two widowed sister»-Mrs. Liston
Cooper and Mrs. Wayland R. Benedict — ^and by a
brother. Prof. Ryland M. Kendrick, who has suc-
ceeded to his father's chair of Greek in the University
Could I but hope
That in the radiance of the world beyond^
Where all your virtues are revealed anew
Under intenser light and clearer sky,
I still might be admitted to your side,
Despite imperfect manhood and a Uf e
Of errors and of promise unfulfilled —
Then might I mourn the less my wildering loss,
And revel in a happiness to come,
And gladly go.
But when I think
Of the fresh beauty of your youthful face.
Which never lost its charm through care or pain.
In anxious nights or doubt-beclouded days.
Nor yielded to accumulating years.
Because illumined by a generous soul
For ever sympathetic with all good,
Each moment faithful to a holy trust —
I shrink from my wide contrast and am like
To lose all hope.
And yet I know.
When living thoughts hark back to silent years.
As all the record of my life with you
Rolls in upon the flood of memory —
The fragrance of that May day when we wed.
The new ambitions as we wrought together.
The tremulous watching for a dawn of Uf e.
The varied visions of unfolding powers,
The sudden dashing of the dearest hopes —
Our nights of vigil and our days of grief.
Farewell to youth and hail to genial age —
And through it all your dear abiding love,
62 Helen Kendriek Jchneon
Which smoothed my roughness* hallowed every thouj^t.
And made me thus your true companion still —
I know such love, outlasting life and time*
May yet convoy me to our happi^ home-—
Thank God, I know!
And with it all
One other wish — nay, hope — nay, certainty —
That when you meet me on the dim confine
Where life-that-was bids, '*Now take leave of all
But those fair memories that never fade,'*
While lif e-that-is rolls back the noisdess gate
Of that continuing city where you dwell —
You will not come alone. Those little hands
That long ago slipped softly out of ours
Will lay their dainty fingers in my palm.
And faces three repeat their mother's smile.
As age to buoyant youth returns, and youth
Aspires to age.
NO. 2 WEST 95TH STREET
r NEW YORK
^ TCLCn«OMC 10100 Rivcfiaior
•-^-Uti /^^i- ^^^^^^^- ^^
/^,./?. i^. ^A i^.
From a Letter io Professor Ryland M. Kendrick.
CoMTBmunoNB TO THB Statssman: "Bible Studies" (Bve articles),
1860; "A Night in Atlanta" (stoiy), 1869; "Grandmother's
Elopement" (sUwy), 1870; "My Lost Love" (stoiy)» 1870.
PuBfl¥ Wink: How Bbight and How Dboll Shx 1b (sketch),
Oliver 0pHe*9 Magamne, December, 1870.
Thm Roddt Books (three vols.): "Romance," New York, 1874;
"ReaKty," New York, 1875; "Ideal," New York, 1876.
Unto Babns (story) WideatoaJce, October, 1876.
Tbabs fob THB LiTTLB Onbs: A Collection of Poems and Passages
Inspired by the Loss of Children (edited), Boston, 1878.
OuB Famhiab Songs and Thosb Who Madb Thbic: Three Hmidred
Standard Songs of the English-Speaking Race (edited with his-
tories and sketches). New York, 1881.
PoBMB AND Songs fob Young Pboplb (edited). New York, 1884.
Thb Nutshbll Sebibs (six dainty vols., edited, with introductions):
New York, 1884; re-issued with the title "Short Sayings of Famous
Thb Mbandtg of Song: North American Review, May, 1884.
SoMB Famous Songs bt Wombn: DemareH*9 Maganne, 1886.
CoNTBiBunoNB TO Affleton's Annual Ctclopjedia, extended
and illustrated articles: "Benjamin Harrison," 1888; "John
Bright," 1889; "John Charles Frtoont," 1890; "James RusseU
Lowdl," 1891; "Robert Bulwer Lytton," 1891; "Christopher
Columbus," 1892; "Alfred Tennyson," 1892; "James Gillespie
Blaine," 1898; "Rutherford B. Hayes," 1898; "Francis Parkman,"
1898; "Oliver Wendx^ Hobnes," 1894; "Louis Kossuth," 1894;
Frederick Douglass," 1895; "Harriet Beecher Stowe," 1896;
'Jean Ingebw," 1897; "The Anti-Suffrage Movement," 1899.
Ralbigh Wbstgatb: or, EpmiiBNiDBs in Mainb: A Romance, New
Tbb Ambbigan Woman's Joubnal (edited). New York, 1894-96.
Comtbibutions to thb Ambbigan Woman's Joubnal: "Lowdl's
Place in American Letters," January, February, March, 1898;
"Records of the Ancient and Honorable Push Family," February,
1894; "What Ails This Heart o' Mine? " (stoiy), February and
Mafdi, 1804; "Ruby Forrest" (itory), September and October^
1804; "Cdia Thazt^/' October, 1804; "Penonal Influenoe of the
Modem Poeta — ^Tennyaon* Whittier, Ingelow» Biirna, Mn. Brown-
ing, Holmes/' from February, 1804, to February, 1805. May-
Day (essay). May, 1805: ''Woman Suffrage and Social Evolu-
tion," June, 1805; ''The Minstrel's Harp" (essay), January, 1806.
Affbndix of Quotationb, in American edition of "Smith's Dictionary
of Terms and Phrases" (collected and edited). New York, 1805.
Woman and ths Rbfubuc: A Survey of the Woman Sufeige Move-
ment in the United States and a Discussion of the Claims and
Arguments of its Foremost Advocates, New York, 1807; enlarged
Gbbat EflSATB (edited, with introductory essay and biographical
sketches). New York, 1000.
Horn Training ros Citiknnbhip (seven articles): The ExamwMr^
November and December, 1000.
BmoNiBCENCBS OF THN Obxad (contributed to its Histoiy), Worcester,
Mtthologt and Folk-Lobs of thb North Amkbigan Indian (edited).
New York, 1008.
Intebvikw (by Edward Marshall) on "Woman Suffrage" (with p<Hv
trait). New York Times, March 80, 1018.
Bendes the w<»k specified above, Mrs. Johnson published a con-
siderable number of pamphlets, leaflets, and journalistic communications.
She left in manuscript the following: "Social Settiements," "The
Aryan Ancestry of Christ," "Woman's Place in Creation."