Skip to main content

Full text of "Helen Kendrick Johnson (Mrs. Rossiter Johnson) the story of her varied activities"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 


SeUMhfu Ufcnry 




T^e Story of Her Varied Activities 

t ' 

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. 





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 


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- 
sionary life. 

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 
it not. 

For each walk a secretary was appointed, who 

At Twenty-o 


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 

bereavement — 

— "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 

At Twenty-eight. 

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- 
mortal songs." 

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 
kindly man. 

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 
the telling. 

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 
his books. 

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 
those friends. 

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 
Lincoln's birthday. 

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- 

/vX<^ A£^^^«i-<uv^ 

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 
of Browning. 

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 
^Raleigh Westgate.'" 

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 
other places. 

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 
before her. 

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 
except Fargo. 

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 

At Forfy-s. 

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 
present possess.*' 

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 
to women. 

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 
of Mildred. 


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 
be propitious. 

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 
rapid knitter. 

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, 
and sympathetic. 

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 
of Rochester. 


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. 


^ TCLCn«OMC 10100 Rivcfiaior 


ir:^ /9/c. 



•-^-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 



64 Bibliography 

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 
edition, 1018. 

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."