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Mary Louisa Duncan was born on September 23rd, 1832, in 
Greeneastle, Pennsylvania. She was the second child and eldest 
daughter of Joseph Duncan and Elizabeth Caldwell Smith. The 
family home was in Illinois, but Mr. Duncan was in Congress from 
1826 to 1834. When the epidemic of cholera broke out in Wash- 
ington in 1832 Mrs. Duncan sought refuge in Greeneastle, where 
some Scotch cousins lived. Shortly after the birth of their daugh- 
ter Mr. and Mrs. Duncan returned to Washington, D. C, their 
home for the next two years. 

Both heredity and environment had a marked influence on the 
life of Mary Duncan. She was descended on both sides from 
Scotch and Huguenot ancestors. 

Her father was the son of Major Joseph Duncan of Virginia, 
who in 1790 moved to Paris, Kentucky. The handsome s one 
house that he built still stands on the old square in Paris. Here 
his son Joseph was born in 1794. Major Duncan died in 1806, 
leaving a widow and six children. Joseph was the third son, but 
when he was twenty-one he was appointed guardian for his 
younger brothers. When the war of 18 12 broke out he enlisted 
as an ensign. He was a man of great physical strength and brav- 
ery, and these qualities were often severely tested during the war. 
One time he was the bearer of dispatches to the Army of the 
Northwest and was obliged to go through the trackless forests, 
where he had man}- narrow escapes, as the Indians were friendly 
to the English. He aided in the defense of Fort Stephenson, at 
Lower Sandusky, now Fremont, Ohio, in 18 13. Orders had pre- 
viously come from General Harrison to Major Croghan, the com- 
manding officer, to abandon the fort. A council of war was called, 


and Duncan, as the youngest officer, was first asked to express 
his opinion. He answered decidedly in favor of defending the fort, 
' ' the order to the contrary notwithstanding. ' ' The majority were 
of like mind, and the small band of one hundred and forty men 
held the fort against several thousand British and Indians. The 
officers were court-martialed for disobeying orders, but were 
acquitted; and in 1834, Congress presented Major Croghan with 
a medal, and Duncan and the other officers with gold-mounted 
swords. The defeat of the British at this period had an import- 
ant effect upon the war, preventing their occupancy of the south- 
ern shore of the lakes and reaching the supplies at Cleveland. 

A few years after the war, Joseph Duncan retired from the army 
and settled in Illinois. He was soon made Major-General of 
Militia, and later became a member of the State Senate. While 
serving in the legislature he introduced and secured the passage, 
in 1824, of the first law establishing free public schools in Illinois. 
He was elected to Congress in 1826 as the sole representative from 
Illinois and remained in the House of Representatives until his 
election as Governor of Illinois in 1834. He then returned to 
make Jacksonville his home, building a large house after the 
model of his Kentucky home and naming it "Kim Grove." He 
served as Governor for the next four years and advocated many 
progressive measures, some of them in advance of his times. 

The mother of Mary Duncan was Elizabeth Caldwell Smith, 
the youngest daughter of James R. Smith and Hannah Caldwell. 
Mr. Smith came to this country as a poor Scotch lad, and by his 
own exertions became a wealthy merchant in New York City. 
He married Hannah, the second daughter of the Rev. James Cald- 
well, who was one of the patriots of the Revolution. The Cald- 
wells were a Huguenot family who fled from religious persecution 
in France to Scotland, and thence came to Virginia. James Cald- 
well was a graduate of Princeton College and in 1761 was ordained 
a Presbyterian minister. He embraced the cause of liberty with 
intense earnestness, preaching to the troops from the baggage 
wagons, and sometimes with pistols on his pulpit, so strong ran 
party feeling in New Jersey. He became a marked man to the 
British. His wife, a daughter of John Ogden, was shot by a 
British soldier as the troops marched through Connecticut Farms, 
New Jersey. She was sitting by her window, surrounded by nine 


children and holding her baby in her arms. Shortly after this, 
Mr. Caldwell was shot by an American sentry who was supposed 
to be in the employ of the British. The nine orphan children 
were adopted by friends of the family, General Lafayette taking 
one of the boys back to France and educating him in his family. 

It is easy to realize the earnestness and strong religious views 
of children with such a heritage. Hannah (Mrs. Smith) was a 
woman of great force of character. She died when her daugh- 
ter, Elizabeth, was eighteen. The father having died some 
years previously, the home in New York was broken up and Eliz- 
abeth lived with her sister, Mrs. Matthew St. Clair Clark, in 
Washington, D. C. Mr. and Mrs. Clark were noted entertainers 
and in their home Miss Smith met all the most delightful society 
of Washington. It was at a dinner given by John Quincy Adams 
at the White House that Miss Smith met her future husband, 
Joseph Duncan. Henry Clay, who sat next her at dinner, spoke 
in the highest terms of young Duncan. They were married in 
1828 and immediately started for the West. Brought up in the 
luxurious homes of the East, Mrs. Duncan was impressed by the 
crudeness and hardships of life in the West, and has left some 
amusing accounts of her experiences. Later, when she came to 
live in Jacksonville, she became deeply attached to the people and 
the life in Illinois. She was a small, frail woman, with intense 
religious feeling and great refinement of manner and speech. 
Mrs. Putnam, in the last year of her life, spoke with feeling of 
all she owed her mother, of the unconscious influence of her 
simple, perfect manners and strong religious views upon the 
young, impulsive girl. 

The hospitalit}' of the Duncan home in Jacksonville was un- 
bounded. There were no hotels, so all the weary travellers and 
politicians were made welcome at "Elm Grove." Here, in 1837, 
came Daniel Webster and his wife, and a great barbecue was held 
in the grove near the house. 

Mr. Duncan was devoted to Mary, who was his eldest daughter, 
and made her his constant companion, teaching her to ride and 
taking her hunting with him. Every incident left an indelible 
impression upon the mind of his daughter, as the days of their 
companionship were few. Governor Duncan died suddenly on 
January 15, 1844, when his daughter Mary was but eleven years 


old. Later, she never wearied of telling to her children her fath- 
er's experiences of frontier life and impressing upon them his 
strong love of truth, sincerity, and courage, and his motto, of 
which her own life was a constant example, "True politeness is 
kindly feelings, kindly expressed. ' ' Through a correspondence of 
nearly fifty years with members of her family, no anniversary of 
his birth or death is forgotten, and the Christmas season always 
recalled the joyous carols the children used to sing in the old hall 
at ' ' Elm Grove ' ' and the rapturous opening of the stockings with 
original toys made by Governor Duncan. 

After Governor Duncan left politics, he engaged in many large 
business enterprises. Unfortunately, he signed the bond of a man 
who proved a defaulter. This happened just before his death. 
Had he lived he could have met his obligations easily, but, as it 
was, a large portion of his estate was sacrificed, immense tracts of 
valuable Illinois land selling for twelve and one-half cents an acre. 

Mrs. Duncan was left with seven children, but she courage- 
ously tried to meet every obligation. The family owned a large 
house and considerable land, which came from Mrs. Duncan's 
estate and could not be sold until the 3^oungest child was of age, 
but there was little ready money. During her girlhood Mary 
Duncan learned to do everything necessary in the economy of a 
large household. It was in the days when neighbors helped in 
all times of trouble. We read in one old letter, quite as a matter 
of course, of the girl of fourteen "sitting up" all night with a 
friend's child who was ill. Dater in life this training was most 
valuable and she was always a wonderful nurse. 

Jacksonville was an unique town. There was a delightful min- 
gling of the best New England settlers brought there by the 
founding of Illinois College, full of enthusiasm for a simple, intel- 
lectual life, and of a small colony of Kentuckians, with their cor- 
dial hospitality. It produced a society which has preserved its 
charm to this day. The fine elm-lined streets remind one of New 
England, but many of the houses have a distinctly Southern air. 

A warm personal friend of Governor Duncan was Colonel John 
J. Hardin, who was killed at the battle of Buena Vista in the 
Mexican War. Colonel Hardin, one of the foremost lawyers in 
Illinois, was able to save the trust fund belonging to Mrs. Dun- 
can's estate, and administered the property so that there should 


be money for the education of the children of his friend. The 
girlish friendship between the two daughters, Ellen Hardin and 
Mary Duncan, was continued through the many vicissitudes of 
their lives. It was at the home of this friend, who married a son 
of Chancellor Walworth of New York, that Mary Duncan met 
her future husband. Mrs. Walworth is still living in Saratoga 
Springs and last year spoke of their girlhood in Illinois. School 
books were a great luxury and one copy sufficed for several girls. 
There was intense earnestness in all they did. The uncertainties 
of life in those early days taught them to value every opportunity, 
and a deep religious feeling, shown in the old yellow letters that 
Mrs. Walworth still prizes, permeated the simple, health}- life of 
the girls. It was an outdoor life. The girls had their saddle- 
horses and rode nearly every day. Both of them, later in life, laid 
great stress on the benefit, physically and mentally, of this feature 
of their life. 

When Mary Duncan was thirteen she accompanied her mother 
in May, 1846, on a trip East. It was a serious undertaking in 
those days. They visited Mrs. Clark in Washington, who lived 
in a beautiful home on Lafayette Square, opposite the White 
House. The house is still standing, one of the stateliest of the 
old 'mansions. On the corner nearby lived " Dolly Madison," 
the widow of President Madison. Writing in 1892, from Wash- 
ington, Mrs. Putnam recalls incidents of her earl}' visit, dinners at 
the President's and at Daniel Webster's, and the ceremonious life 
at her aunt's; "Yet all this grandeur did not fill me with a desire 
for its long continuance, for I remember thinking silently that the 
freedom of my prairie home was much sweeter. But I was enrap- 
tured with Mrs. Madison,— lovely Mrs. Madison! It was a delight 
to us young people to pay our respects to her very often, when she 
received us in turbaned cap, with the dignity of a princess, and 
with the urbanity of a truly loyal American woman. We do not 
see such a type of womanhood now-a-days. Another pleasant 
memory of Washington, on a later visit, was watching the sculptor, 
Mills, who was making the equestrian statue of Jackson now in 
the park. I was also interested in the finely-trained horse that 
was his model, which I used to see put through its paces, in the 
Smithsonian grounds, as I walked across them to my uncle Josiah 

There is a characteristic letter of her's written during her. visit 
of 1846, to her youngest sister, describing a May ball she attended. 
It shows her keen observation and interest in people even at that 
early age. She writes: "I was introduced to about 9 boys and 
10 girls and I talked to 7 girls that I did not know from Adam." 
Then, with the naturalness which was always her great charm, she 
advises her sister to be good, adding, "I am very sorry I was not 
more obedient to Cousin when I was at home. I would have felt 
so much better now I am away." She always spoke of this visit 
as marking an epoch in her life. It aroused her ambition to 
study and prepare herself to take her place in the world that 
always interested her. She was ever a believer in travel as a 
means of broadening one's view of life. 

In 1847 came another trip to Washington. Mary Duncan 
describes the journey in a letter. "We went in the cars to 
Naples, which was entirely inundated. After spending a terribly 
long day there, we proceeded on board the 'Prairie State,' the 
finest boat on the Illinois, and arrived in St. Louis just in time 
to take the boat for Cincinnati. Every one was pleasant on 
board, and we had good company within ourselves. ... A severe 
attack of fever prostrated me on the second day of our leaving 
Cincinnati ; ' ' but she was better ' ' two days later when we arrived 
at Pittsburg and took the Brownsville boat. In the stage across 
the mountains there were many pleasing incidents that occurred 
that day; but I defer detailing them till I see you face to face. 
We arrived at Washington Saturday night as usual, but what was 
our disappointment at finding Aunt Anna Clark breaking up 
housekeeping and going to board. So of course our visit to her 
was knocked in the head. We are happily situated with Cousin" 
[wife of Col. Hamilton of Bladensburg, Maryland]. "There are 
more negroes collected here than I ever saw in my life." Then 
comes a characteristic touch: "I have promised 30 girls to write." 
She was always sociable! 

In 1850 Mary Duncan went with friends to New Orleans, 
where she remained some weeks for a very gay visit with some 
Caldwell cousins. 

Mary Duncan received her school education at Jacksonville 
Female Academy. The number of studies were few, but they 
were learned with a thoroughness rare now-a-days. She was for- 


tunate in having for a teacher Miss Eucretia Kimball, now Mrs. 
Kendall, who came from an Eastern home to instruct these minds 
of which "neither age nor poverty could blunt their intense 
desire for knowledge." Mrs. Kendall is still living, honored by 
her pupils to whom she brought not only love of the best litera- 
ture, which she read to them out of school hours, but a deep 
religious faith. Mrs. Putnam attributed much of the success of 
her life to the high aspirations inspired by the rare personality of 
her beloved teacher. Mrs. Kendall, in speaking of her former 
pupil, said it was given to but few teachers to see the beginning, 
the fulfillment, and the completion of such a full life. 

Marj' Duncan was graduated from the Jacksonville Female 
Academy in 1851 and in September visited, with her mother, in 
Chicago, having entertainments given for them by Mrs. New- 
berry, Mrs. Kinsie and Mrs. Blatchford. The winter was spent 
in nursing a beloved sister, Elizabeth, who, in spite of all that 
devotion could do, died in June, 1852. This loss was followed 
two months later by the death of Hannah, a younger sister. 
The family now consisted only of Mrs. Duncan and three child- 
ren, Mary, Julia, and Joseph. In April, 1853, they went East, 
visiting Washington, West Point, and Saratoga Springs. At the 
latter place Mary Duncan met Charles E. Putnam, and they 
became engaged. Mr. Putnam had expected to practice law in 
New York City; but as Mary Duncan had inherited her father's 
strong love for the great rolling prairies of Illinois, and belief in 
the future of this country, she persuaded Mr. Putnam to visit the 
West. He located in Davenport, Iowa, in the spring of 1854. 
They were married December 9, 1854, at "Elm Grove," Jackson- 
ville, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Putnam arrived at Rock Island on 
Saturday, January 9, 1855, too late to cross the river to Daven- 
port. They came over Sunday morning and attended church 
twice that day. It was characteristic of Mrs. Putnam that she 
presented her letter to the pastor and was admitted to the First 
Presbyterian Church the following Sunday. She never wasted 
any time in indecision. Mr. Putnam was a partner of Judge 
Mitchell, a prominent lawyer; but the times were hard and their 
income, for the first few years, of the smallest. The first winter 
the young couple boarded, and their home consisted of one room. 
Mrs. Putnam, though she had left a home filled with fine old 


mahogany furniture, writes most cheerfully: "You don't know 
what a beautiful table I have made me, covered with red calico. 
Charlie and I sit beside it each night and read and sew." This 
first winter they read Milton's life and works and Addison's 
works. Mr. Putnam was not fond of general society, but to the 
intimate friends who knew him in his own home, he was the most 
genial and delightful of companions. The custom of spending 
the evenings in reading aloud was continued throughout their 
married life of thirty-three years. As the family grew, the child- 
ren brought their work, drawing, models of ships, or whatever it 
might be, around the large tables, and worked, while Mr. Putnam 
read from the standard authors in one of the richest and most 
melodious of voices. 

On July 30, 1855, Mrs. Putnam writes of an event fraught with 
great consequences to Iowa: "The first locomotive that has ever 
puffed its steam into the State of Iowa has just passed by. You 
don't know what an excitement there was all along this street, 
and indeed all over Davenport, last week when the 'Antoine L,e 
Claire' made its first visit. The track is only laid down a little 
way — that is, five miles now, but not a mile then, — and it is truly 
an era in the town and state. You see, the engine is named for 
one of our citizens, and his likeness, cast in bronze, is on either 
side. This, with a visit from the Indians, has added new life and 
spirit and something to talk about the last three weeks." 

At this time Mr. and Mrs. Putnam were keeping house in a 
small house on Fifth street between Perry and Rock Island streets. 
On October 18, 1855, their eldest son was born at "Elm Grove" 
and named Joseph Duncan, after Mrs. Putnam's father. The 
next few years were devoted to the care of her rapidly increasing 

Mrs. Putnam's letters reflect her interest in public events. A 
letter written to her mother, January 27, i860, shows strong 
feeling: " You ask what I think of our country? Read Seward's 
speech in the Senate — 'them's my sentiments;' but still I do not 
fear war. God is a God of mercy as well as justice. Oh, if each 
one of us would pray as we ought — lead the lives we ought in all 
things — God would avert his judgments. Let us strive each to 
be as peaceable and forbearing with each other as we can. No 
wonder nations quarrel when families and countries don't agree. 


God have mercy on our country, have mercy, have mercy! He 
is our only help in this our sorest time of need!" 

When the war was inevitable, Mrs. Putnam worked with her 
usual enthusiasm to aid the soldiers. A letter written September 
26, 1861, says: "We have established a Soldiers' Aid Society 
today, and in my absence they appointed me secretary. I feel 
very incompetent to do my duty to such an office and attend to 
my little family, but Charlie insists on my taking it and promises 
to assist me all he can. . . I have almost knit a sock for the 
soldiers since Tuesday night, by just picking it up when riding, 
nursing the baby, or giving orders in the kitchen." On February 
3, 1862, is the first mention of any lecture entertainment Mrs. 
Putnam ever undertook. In the light of her successful work of 
later years, it is amusing to read of the door receipts of a lecture 
by Dr. Fisher, for the benefit of the Soldiers' Aid Society — cer- 
tainly a worthy cause — being but $18, while the expenses were 
$24. "But he was generous enough not to let the Soldiers' Aid 
Society lose that. I had to work very hard to get even this 
money out. . . I had to see to all things regarding the lecture 
myself and, depend upon it, I will never have anything to do with 
such an affair again." 

But when Mrs. Putnam's interest was once aroused it was im- 
possible for her not to go on. In February there is a report of a 
battle and "Mr. Powers has just been here and brought me $50 
from the gentlemen. They raised over $600 yesterday for the 
relief of our wounded. I've been out this morning, seeing what 
I could get. We will have an extra meeting tomorrow and next 
day, and work all we can. Mrs. Rogers, our treasurer, is sick; 
Mrs. Newcomb, our president, out of town; so all the responsi- 
bility falls on me." 

Mrs. Putnam's interest in the Academy of Sciences grew out 
of the love of her eldest son and was so interwoven with the cur- 
rents of her family life, that a true picture of her could not be 
drawn without emphasizing her life as a mother. Her work for 
the Academy was the outgrowth of a mother's love such as is 
rarely seen. She herself, in alluding to a proposed life of her 
father, says: "If you would write little home incidents, some 
home characteristics, they after all make up the greater part of a 
man's character and add much to the interest of a history." 


Her own letters give the most vivid picture of her life. Janu- 
ary 8, 1863, upon receiving the New York Observer, she writes: 
"I read every word of it and all that could interest the children. 
The red ants seem to take Duncan. Oh, mother! what a luxury 
to have boys old enough to appreciate what you read to them ! I 
have so much pleasure in watching the development of Duncan's 
mind. My whole days are spent in instructing, playing with, and 
keeping the children clean. I sew scarcely a stitch and fear my 
industry will flag; however, I never was so busy in my life — or 
more happy." Mrs. Putnam fitted up a school room in her house 
and for several years taught the older children each morning. 

The summer of 1863 was spent in Saratoga Springs. Mrs. 
Putnam had recently become interested in the works of Froebel 
and began giving the children object-lessons from nature. On 
January 11, 1864, she writes: ' ' Duncan astonished his father and 
me by his questions. I fear to have him learn to read, — still let 
him say his lessons to me daily. Indeed, I do little else but teach 
manners, morals, reading, spelling, geography, and Bible from 
morning till night. . . I feel rewarded, as I go around and seal 
the foreheads with a mother's sacred kiss, for all my toil and 
care, and would not exchange my lot for that of the most idle 
woman in the world. A young lady visiting here said I had the 
most delightful home in Davenport. I felt it was indeed the 

And again, on March 9, 1866: "There is not an hour I spend 
with my children, in their instruction and improvement, that I 
am not triply rewarded. ... I had 28 to dinner last Saturday. 
We had our bees robbed one night last week and the boxes 
broken up and the little helpless things scattered everywhere. I 
gathered them up next day and was badly stung for my pains. 
I suffered very much, but could I have saved my bees, I would 
not have cared. They are all dead." 

On February 27, 1864, L,ouis Agassiz lectured in Davenport. 
Mrs. Putnam writes of spending the morning in reading about 
glaciers. It was characteristic of her to the end of her life to pre- 
pare herself so as to appreciate and understand any new subject. 
She availed herself of all the opportunities that came to her. 
She, with her son Duncan, had the pleasure of meeting Agassiz 
later at Mr. Hirschl's. 


In May, 1863, the family moved to a beautiful country home, 
" Woodlawn," about two miles from the center of the town, on 
a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The place of eighteen 
acres was laid out by Mr. Mackenzie, an Englishman, in a com- 
bination of lawn and wild woods. Both Mr. and Mrs. Putnam 
became interested in horticulture, their enthusiasm being shown 
by the purchase of technical books as well as by the planting of an 
orchard, garden, and vineyard. Here was founded an ideal home. 

Mrs. Putnam led an active outdoor life superintending the gar- 
den and grounds, encouraging her sons to be interested in all the 
affairs of the place. She was their companion in all things. She 
learned to swim, with five of her sons. For some years Mr. and 
Mrs. Putnam attended a class in a gymnasium in town, often walk- 
ing the four miles there and back in the evening. This outdoor 
life was what gave her the strength to carry out her plans and 
accomplish her great work in life. 

On Thanksgiving Day, 1865, Mrs. Putnam writes: ' ' To one and 
all the dear ones at home I send greetings on this our first great 
Thanksgiving Day, the grandest day of thanks our country has 
ever known; freedom in the letter as well as in the spirit; uni- 
versal hope and renewed hope and renewed life to our land. 
Proud am I that I am American-born, proud to have six sons to 
claim this glorious country as their native land; while my heart 
swells with pride of land and country, my hands are busy about 
the ordinary affairs of life; and while my heart yearns over my 
children and their future, their present wants of bread and butter 
and clothing press heavily upon me, and I cannot spare the time 
even to jot down all my thoughts and aspirations for them." 

The years passed swiftly in the home life, and in attending to a 
large household, with many guests coming and going. The sur- 
plus of the large garden was sent to friends. Neighbors tell of 
how Mrs. Putnam would stop and distribute flowers and fruit to 
the children as she drove to town. There was no pleasure to her 
in having things unless shared with others. Even in the first year 
of their housekeeping, in 1855, Mrs. Putnam writes of supplying 
the whole neighborhood with fresh vegetables from their tiny 
garden; and again in September, 1872, she writes: "We have 
so many pears and grapes that I want every one to come and 
enjoy the place, the fruit, and every thing, while I have so 


much. I have entertained, I believe, one hundred people at least 
this summer, a few at a time." 

These years were probably the happiest of Mrs. Putnam's life. 
She writes in 1871: "I am sitting in my conservatory, sur- 
rounded by my beautiful flowers, God's special gifts. . . . Life 
seems so gay and beautiful." 

In 1872 came a terrible scourge of scarlet fever; eight children 
were ill at one time, and the eighth son, Hamilton, died. This 
was the first break in the family circle. 

The next winter, 1872-3, a printing press was purchased, and 
the older boys began printing a magazine, The Star of Woodlawn, 
and other papers. A finely equipped carpenter shop facilitated 
the making of canoes and sailing boats. Theatricals were given 
during the winter for several years, on a regularly equipped stage, 
with drop curtain and all the accessories. There were historical 
societies, where original papers were read every week, a stamp 
company, and a juvenile savings bank. Everything was done to 
encourage the children to develop plans and carry them out suc- 
cessfully. The parents believed also in recreation and provided 
a billiard table, riding horses, and all the outdoor sports. Mrs. 
Putnam writes, in July, 1873, urging her mother to visit her and 
"let a little of the full glow of happiness that so fills my heart 
and life to overflowing flow into yours, and feel the full influence 
of the buoyant young life that so fills this household." 

In the fall of 1873 the eldest son, Duncan, returned from an 
expedition to the Yellowstone under the command of Captain 
Jones. It had been thought that the outdoor life would strengthen 
him so that he could go to Harvard; but he returned with a severe 
cold, which, during the next winter, developed into tuberculosis. 
It was the beginning of a long battle for life, lasting eight years. 
Out of the shadow of this sorrow, Mrs. Putnam came a stronger 
but an older woman. The gay and joyous note of the letters has 
gone to return no more. 

The letters tell their own story, December 1, 1873: "The 
Doctor says Duncan is not able to study or go to college for 
years, if ever. We have talked the matter over deliberately, my 
husband and I. I feel that we must make every sacrifice to 
accomplish [his restoration to health]." 

January 1, 1874: "Tomorrow night the children will go 


through their play of William Tell. Mr. Putnam insists on mak- 
ing the home lively and pleasant for Duncan as long as he is with 
us. It will be absolutely necessary to send him away from home, 
and very soon. He had a hemorrhage in the street the day before 
yesterday, which alarmed us all very much." 

January 21, 1874: "I leave Duncan scarcely a moment night 
or day. His father sits with him sometimes while I do some 
errands. I don't know what to do with him. If he sits still he 
reads Huxley and Darwin and all the other brain-splitting books 
you ever heard of — says histories are almost as heavy and stupid 
as novels. He was actually relieved when we 'were through 
David Copperfield. I suppose while he lives he will work." 

January 30, 1874: "Duncan is anxious to go with Dr. Parry 
to Utah next summer, as it is on the desert and near the mount- 
ains, so he can catch all kinds of bugs. Oh, that God would 
spare his life that he may fulfill his great promise. . . I've been 
setting type to-day. George and I run races which can distrib- 
ute the fastest. I am learning lots about printing and becoming 
fascinated with the work." 

February 4, 1874, a letter to her mother: "Duncan has been 
very ill. I have had no heart to write. To-day he is back in his 
bug room which makes him and me more cheerful. This is the 
fourteenth hemorrhage in six days. I have not left Duncan a 
moment day or night; how long I can hold out I don't know. 
Pray for me and mine, dear mother. 

"Your loving child, Mary." 

February 15, 1874: "Yesterday I took Duncan to spend the 
day with Mr. Pratt; he afterwards went to the Horticultural 
Society, and they made him Secretary pro tern. I went up for 
him there. He was such a boy, writing the minutes of the meet- 
ings, surrounded by gray-headed men. He the only child in the 
midst and doing the hardest work. However, it interested him 
and I cannot see that it hurt him any." 

March 5: "... I have been setting type to-day, so has Dun- 
can. The boys have printed off my piece — I set every word of it 

On March 18, 1874, the eleventh child and tenth son was born. 
A few weeks afterwards, when Mrs. Putnam was driving with 
her son Duncan, the horse became frightened and ran. Mrs. 


Putnam was thrown out, striking the sciatic nerve. She was 
unable to move for weeks, and never fully recovered from this 
injury. In September of this year she joined her son in Colo- 
rado. A month was spent most delightfully in camping in a log 
cabin at Empire City. Five children were with her and five were 
left in Davenport. Two botanists, Dr. Engelmann and Dr. Parry, 
were collecting in the mountains. They, with their wives and 
Mr. and Mrs. Ballord of Davenport, made a pleasant party that 
gathered nightly around the fire of pine knots in the cabin. 

Mrs. Putnam returned home in September, leaving Duncan to 
spend the winter in Canon City. During this winter Mrs. Put- 
nam read all his lessons to her third son, John, whose eyes began 
to trouble him. It was through her eyes that he was enabled to 
graduate with honors from the High School. One wonders where 
she ever found the time to accomplish all she did. Her house- 
hold cares were always arranged so that there was time to be 
with the children, when out of school. She had the great gift of 
realizing what was the most important thing to be done. She 
wasted no time over the non-essentials. 

On February 4, 1875, comes a record of the first effort to raise 
money for the Academy of Natural Sciences, the beginning of 
almost exactly twenty-eight years of work for the association. At 
the time Mrs. Putnam was forty-three years old, the mother of ten 
living children, and with the multiplied cares of a large family 
and a wide social circle, she would have been entitled to retire 
from active work. But the voice of her eldest son, an exile for 
his health, came to her, urging her to do something "to make 
the Academy popular." She writes to a friend, speaking of 
one subscription already received: "If all the patrons of the 
library were as liberal to the Academy, I will not have more to 
do to get my $500 than I can do with my hands thus tied with 
my sick children. Why should not the two institutions work 
side by side and be one in spirit as they are in fact, each strug- 
gling for the advancement of knowledge in our midst, each help- 
ing on to the investigation of truth, could they not be made a 
crown of. glory to our town?' ' A hope which is at last being 

On February 11, 1875, her youngest child, Berthoud, died. 
This loss was deeply felt by Mrs. Putnam. She writes of how 


empty her life seemed, the first time for twenty years that there 
was not a baby in the house, to be the first consideration. Those 
who knew Mrs. Putnam can see how naturally grew her interest 
in the Academy, which she would sometimes laughingl) T call her 
twelfth child. 

Mrs. Putnam was elected a member of the Davenport Academy 
of Sciences June 2, 1869, at the same time her son Duncan, a boy 
of thirteen, was elected. He had been interested in the Academy 
almost from its beginning and insisted that his mother must 
become a member at the same time. She was the first woman 
member. The Academy had been organized on December 14, 
1867, by four men. The meetings had been held in various offices 
until, in 1868, a "very liberal offer was received and accepted 
from the Young Men's Library Association to have the Academy 
deposit its cabinet and hold its meetings in the Library rooms, 
corner of Second and Brady streets." It may be noticed that the 
singular noun covers the extent of the museum. Here the "cab- 
inet" remained in a dark corner until the fall of 1872, when the 
meetings were held for some time in the law office of Putnam & 
Rogers. Mrs. Putnam never made any pretense to being a sci- 
entist herself, but she frequently accompanied Mr. Pratt and Dun- 
can on their Saturday excursions for shells and insects. 

In March, 1875, Mrs. Putnam, assisted by other ladies, furn- 
ished the bare Academy room with matting, shades, and cases. 
A letter of June 2, 1875, to Mrs. Parry, tells of further work : 
' ' Duncan and I attended together the Academy meeting the other 
evening. . . There was a large attendance, and Duncan seemed 
wonderfully pleased with the looks of things and the large 
donations sent in. . . I presented eleven ladies' names [for mem- 
bership] the other night; this will make twelve. The cases look 
so nice, and many other things are waiting to be arranged; Dun- 
can's collection fills one-half a case." Then, with a prophetic 
look to the future, she continues: " I wish we had a fire-proof 
building. . . I wish the Doctor could induce some of those rich 
societies East to send us $1,000 as a nest egg to secure some prop- 
erty here for that purpose; now while the enthusiasm is freshly 
awakened we must not let it die out until something is done. I 
like the plan of endowing the institution so as to secure some one 
to spend all of his time there, making exchanges, etc." 


On September 2, 1875, Mrs. Putnam writes: " Duncan thinks 
the Academy has at last done something in that it has sent Dr. 
Farquharson to Detroit. Well, I, too, have found anew interest 
in the Academy in that it has resolved itself into a Home Mis- 
sionary Society. There is an old man, Captain Hall, very much 
interested in the Academy, who goes up and down the river in 
his boat every day and he has a locker in there filled with Sunday 
School books for the little children all along the shore, and when 
the}' see him coming they run down to the shore with their stone 
axes and arrows and give them to Uncle Hall — so he brings in 
many things every few days to the Academy, and for these he 
has distributed 460 books to the children in the last three months. 
Now, my dear mother, where can you find a nobler work? All 
the parents of these children are going to visit the Academy thro' 
Fair week and we expect to interest them to bring in many 
more things," a hope which was realized, for on October 31st 
there is mention in a morning paper of a long list of donations to 
the Academy. For years afterwards Mrs. Putnam collected 
Bibles, old school books, illustrated papers, money, and groceries 
to give to Captain Hall. It is largely due to his efforts that the 
Academy has one of the finest collections of Mound-builders' 
relics and ancient pottery from the Mississippi Valley. 

The country was deeply interested in the Centennial celebra- 
tion, which was to occur in 1876. Women were urged to send 
samples of their handiwork to the " Woman's Pavilion " at Phil- 
adelphia. The enthusiasm of the women of Davenport was 
diverted into a new channel, which has had ever widening influ- 
ences and has been of inestimable benefit to the town. We read 
of the beginning of the Centennial Association in a letter from 
Mrs. Putnam to Mrs. C. C. Parry, written September 17th, 1875: 
" . . We had a most enthusiastic meeting yesterday of the ladies. 
I was so tired last night I could not sleep, what with shopping, 
making calls in the morning, arranging about my grapes, send- 
ing to Rock Island for the young ladies, having them to tea, 
going up immediately after to a lecture on the Mind ... I won- 
der I don't feel more tired today, but I don't. Our Academy 
rooms look lovely. Mrs. Silsbee, Mrs. Price, and Mrs. Clark sent 
flowers. ... It seems to have been well understood that the 
meeting was called in behalf of friends of the Academy and most 


noble was the response and enthusiasm. Mrs. Potter took the 
chair, and I made a speech about the necessities of the Academy, 
and its great work. I think it was a little 'stumpy,' but upon a 
vote being taken whether such an organization for the Centen- 
nial, having the Academy as its legitimate finale should be had, 
a most enthusiastic 'aye' was responded. . . . About 30 ladies 
were present." The effects of this meeting were far-reaching in 
the history of the Academy. The Ladies' Centennial Association 
published the first volume of Proceedings. 

We can realize the interest women were taking in the Aeademy 
when out of a list of eighty-three new members this year, we find 
forty-three were women, all personal friends of Mrs. Putnam, so 
it is not difficult to see how their interest originated. She was 
succeeding in " making the Academy popular." 

On November 26, 1875, J. Duncan Putnam introduced a res- 
olution at a meeting of the Academy to publish the Proceed- 
ings, giving the following reasons: "1. It will preserve much 
material that might otherwise be lost. 2. It will furnish greater 
incentive to our members to make original investigations. 3. It 
will increase the library by means of exchange with other socie- 
ties and publishers. 4. It will place us on a creditable footing 
with the other societies of the world." It was voted to publish 
them, and on December 20, 1875, the offer of the Indies' Centen- 
nial Association to print the Proceedings was accepted by the 
Board of Trustees. 

To raise the money necessary was a serious undertaking in 
those daj T s. We read in a letter of Mrs. Putnam to Mrs. Parry, 
December 29, 1875: "We want to have a grand entertainment 
the 22nd of February; hope to make $200 clear. I have been 
successful in raising, from the Academy gentlemen mostly, the 
sum of $183 for publishing fund. I promised $200. ... I have 
had some amusing experiences in studying human nature this 
winter and am more astonished than I can tell you at opposi- 
tion to this project from sources little expected. . . . The Acad- 
emy men are working right hard to get their Proceedings read)-. 
We want the book to be Centennial and worthy our city. . . . 
Nothing but the publication keeps him [Duncan] alive. He and 
Mr. Pratt visit the engravers, go after the drawings of axes, flints, 
arrowheads, etc. He gets up town to the Academy rooms every 


day, most always twice a day. There are more visitors there in 
one day now than there used to be in weeks." 

On January 8, 1876, Mrs. Putnam writes: "We had quite 
a meeting of our Centennial ladies who are to appoint committees 
for our next entertainment on Monday next. I get out of all 
these duties by raising $200 from the members and others. . . . 
The ladies voted $100 of their money and are going to raise 
money to the amount of $600, with my $200, and assume the pub- 
lication. We have a board consisting of Mrs. Magonegal, Mrs. 
McCullough, Mrs. v Sanders, and myself to look after the publica- 
tion; having already, (or rather Duncan and Mr. Pratt have) 
received offers from several engravers and publishers; and we can 
have about 25 pages of engravings and wood cuts for about $200. 
. . . I^et our Centennial issue be worthy the name." 

February 9, 1876: "We are having a lively time over commit- 
tee meetings, etc., . . . and lots of nice things are happening for 
the Academy every day." 

The Centennial Association planned an elaborate series of enter- 
tainments to raise the sum of $600. The first entertainment on 
February 22, 1876, was very successful; but in the early hours 
of the following morning the building in which it was held was 
destroyed by fire, occasioning losses of about $1000 to persons who 
had loaned articles for the entertainment. The association felt 
bound to repay these. The first pages of the Proceedings have 
been started, but the Academy, on February 25, passed a resolu- 
tion of thanks and sympathy and suggested the postponing of the 
publication. The women courageously refused. 

On March 10, 1876, Mrs. Putnam writes: "We undertook a 
great enterprise and have done wonderfully well indeed. I never 
heard of anything like it. We have raised at least $1500 in a lit- 
tle over two weeks; paid off our debt, and have on hand $365 for 
our book. I have devoted hours every day to the work and hope 
my labors are over." 

March 17: "I have been led into more public life than I think 
either agreeable or necessary of late and feel very happy to retire 
into private obscurity of home again. I attended the last meeting 
of our Centennial Society Wednesday, and audited all the accounts. 
In three weeks we have raised enough money to pay all debts 
incurred by the fire, $1000, and have $450 left in the bank for 


publishing our book. The citizens have expressed great sym- 
pathy and done a great deal for us. I shall devote myself to my 
garden this summer." She also writes at this time of reading 
his lessons to her son John, for three hours a day, and to the 
children two hours every evening. An old list, kept by one of 
the children, shows an astonishing array of books read to them 
by Mrs. Putnam: — histories, travels, Scott's novels; and four 
times did she read aloud to successive groups of children the una- 
bridged edition of Robinson Crusoe, not omitting the religious 

March 27, 1876, Mrs. Putnam writes to Mr. Parry: . . . "If 
you have received the late dailies you must be pretty well posted 
as to what all my outside life has been these last busy weeks, but 
they tell not half the story; how through discouragements we 
have come out victorious. Even fire could not quench our zeal, 
and never for a moment have I felt with some that we must post- 
pone our work of publishing. . . . They are thinking of form- 
ing classes in the Academy and letting those interested in special 
subjects meet together and report to the Academy. Duncan is 
urging this very much, and will take the chairmanship of the 
zoological department. . . . You never knew anything like the 
warmth and sympathy every one has expressed for our misfor- 
tunes." The Bric-a-Brac Club gave a loan entertainment which 
helped materially to pay the debt caused by the fire. 

In August of this year Baron Charles R. von der Osten Sacken, 
a distinguished Russian entomologist, visited " Woodlawn " to 
meet the young entomologist, Duncan. He has been an honored 
friend of the family ever since and has contributed a scientific 
paper to this Memorial volume. He was one of many who showed 
their appreciation of the remarkable work done by the invalid 
boy, self-taught, working out his ideas alone in this Western 
town, far from the influence and help of college or museum. His 
work was done with such thoroughness that to-day, after a lapse 
of twenty-five years, it is still the authority in the lines of work 
he took up. 

In September, 1876, Mrs. Putnam and her son took the first 
copy of the Proceedings to Philadelphia and placed it in the Pavil- 
ion at the Centennial as a sample of woman's work in a Western 
town. They then went to Washington, where Professor Henry, 

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, became so interested in 
the work of the Academy that he placed its name among the first 
on the list of foreign exchanges for scientific books. On October 
14 the Publishing Committee of the Ladies' Centennial Society 
reports "Vol. 1, published by them, as now complete and placed 
at the disposal of the Academy." Nine hundred and ninety copies 
were received; two hundred and fifty were distributed to sub- 
scribers and four hundred and fifty-six to the scientific societies. 
The volume received praise from all parts of the world from those 
interested in the progress of science. 

A rather detailed account has been given of the publication of 
the first volume, because it was a unique enterprise for women 
and also because it accounts for Mrs. Putnam's future interest in 
the publication, an interest that continued through her life, and 
by her endowment will go on in perpetuit)^. 

At the urgent solicitation of Mrs. Putnam, a few months later, 
on February 22, 1877, her old friend, Mrs. Patience Veile New- 
comb, gave a lot on Brady Street to the Academy of Sciences, 
' ' To show my appreciation of its worthy objects and because of 
the great regard I entertain for my young friend J. Duncan Put- 
nam, and my admiration of the noble work he is doing in its 
behalf." Plans to build were at once commenced. Mrs. Put- 
nam and Mrs. Sanders were elected on March 6, 1877, a commit- 
tee to procure subscriptions for a new building. The required 
amount was raised by Mrs. Putnam, Mrs. Sanders being unable 
to act. 

A "Kettle Drum" entertainment was given in July, 1877, at 
" Woodlawn " by Mr. and Mrs. Putnam for the benefit of the 
Academy. Between seven and eight hundred people were pres- 
ent. It was a perfect summer's night, and it was the most suc- 
cessful fete ever given for charity in Davenport. The amount 
realized, eight hundred dollars, was so encouraging that two days 
later the committee on building reported in favor of erecting "a 
plain and unpretentious edifice, sufficiently large for the present 
needs of the Academy but not so large as to leave it in debt." 

The corner-stone was laid on October 4, 1877, and on February 
22, 1878, a year from the gift of the lot, the new building was 
opened to the public. There were on exhibition an art collec- 
tion, copper implements from Wisconsin, eight microscopes, and 


a beautiful collection of butterflies. Though the admission fee 
was but twenty-five cents, the net proceeds were four hundred 
and fifty dollars. The Ferry Company, through the interest of 
Captain Robinson, a lifelong friend of the Academy, carried all 
ticket-holders free from Rock Island, which shows the universal 
interest felt in the starting of this little institution. 

In January, 1878, an Art Association was organized and held 
its meetings in the Academy building. The society existed for 
several years, holding a number of exhibitions. It was always 
an earnest desire of Mrs. Putnam's that the fine arts should have 
a place in the Academy's work, and that the Academy should be 
an institution for the broadest culture. 

On August 4, 1878, there is mention of future work. "I have 
had the circular room in the basement finished; it does look so 
beautiful, and will give us room for all the curiosities we can col- 
lect. I have had the lathes, nails, and sand given to me, and I 
had enough money in the bank, left from the festival, to pay for 
the work; so now I have accomplished what I started out to do" 
(a statement true of her whole life). Mrs. Putnam often spoke 
of laborers volunteering to give a day's work to help build this 
institution, and took pride in the development of the Academy 
from such small beginnings. 

Mrs. Putnam was elected President of the Academy on January 
1, 1879. It was an honor she always deeply appreciated. Dr. 
Parry, in nominating Mrs. Putnam as President, said: "It is 
quite unnecessary to explain to any one here present that the 
actual success and present prosperity of the Academy has been 
coincident with the interest taken in it by women. It was a 
Women's Centennial Association that first inaugurated and suc- 
cessfully carried out the publication of the Proceedings, on which 
more than on any other one thing the scientific character and 
standing of the Academy abroad has been firmly established. 
The very ground beneath our feet is the spontaneous gift of a 
generous woman and this commodious building, which affords us 
a permanent home, from lowest foundation stone to highest roof- 
crest, if not the direct work of woman's hand, has been wrought 
out and completed under the inspiring influence of woman's 

The years were full of busy plans to raise money for the Acad- 


emy, of which we have no record, except the occasional mention 
in the Proceedings of the proceeds of a lecture or entertainment. 
An unfinished letter which survived the destruction of "Wood- 
lawn ' ' gives a picture of what work these entertainments entailed. 
It was written just after a concert given by Sherwood on May 
2 3» J 879: "From day to day I haunted the editorial chairs, 
buttonholed the local editors, made journeys to Rock Island and 
back again, had tickets printed at one office, placards at another, 
and the programmes at a third. These tickets I was very judi- 
cious with, giving some fifty to the editors, and about as many 
more to music teachers and those promising to interest their 
pupils. The placards I took to Rock Island, left them with a 
friend who saw four of them put in the street cars. (We sold 
four tickets in Rock Island) .... The other placards I took in 
my buggy and put in front of windows, and sent John to street car 
lines to have others put in cars. This was no small part of the 
work, for the next morning after leaving them they did not 
appear; so I had to see first one driver and then another about it. 
At last Sherwood was fully understood to be coming. You could 
not lift your eyes along the principal streets that 'Sherwood, the 
greatest pianist in America, Burtis Opera House, May 23,' did 
not meet )^our eye. These immense placards haunt my memory. 
Then the programmes: how to get them up was at first a mystery 
tome. . . . They were to be dainty and unique. . . . The 'opin- 
ions of the press,' which the agent sent me, had been placed in 
the hands of the local editor to make extracts from day by day, 
and which by the way he never used. Now, you must know our 
'City Local' is a hard man to find, as he sleeps all day and writes 
up his locals at night. After many delays the programmes came 
out, 1000 of them. My presence with the old blind pony on the 
street corner seemed to be the sign for the gathering of all the mus- 
ical men, and I would hardly have stopped before they would 
flock around the buggy and talk over the prospects, and one after 
another would start off to find some enthusiastic person who 
needed only to be told about Sherwood to bring in a dozen men." 
The letter lies unfinished. A few days later, May 27, came news 
of the death of the third son, John, at an Eastern college. 

In her annual address, read January 7, 1880, Mrs. Putnam 
regrets that she had not been able to do more work for the Acad- 

emy, on account of the great sorrow that had come to her; she 
speaks of the afternoon talks given by Mr. Pratt, Dr. Parry, and 
others, and adds that " the familiar lectures and classes have been 
established with a view to secure the interest and cooperation of 
the pupils of our city schools. If the results in this direction have 
not as yet proved all that could be desired, or reasonably expected, 
it is still a matter of congratulation that at least some earnest efforts 
have been made to place the Academy on its legitimate basis as 
an educational institution." In the spring Mrs. Putnam had 
arranged a botany class under the direction of Dr. Parry. 

Thus was inaugurated a movement which Mrs. Putnam and 
the other workers in the Academy had had in mind for years: the 
teaching of the school children natural history in the Academy. 
This work was carried on from time to time by Mr. Pratt. It is 
gratifying to know that twenty-three years later, just before her 
death, Mrs. Putnam had the deep happiness of seeing this move- 
ment regularly organized and the children coming by the hun- 
dreds, to the Academy to stud}' its collections and receive syste- 
matic scientific instruction. 

These were anxious years, watching over the failing health of 
her eldest son. Mrs. Putnam accompanied him on his short trips, 
one being to Des Moines in 1881, in the endeavor to have a state 
entomologist appointed for Iowa. What is now regarded as an 
economic necessity was then regarded as a most visionary extrav- 
agance. Of her visit to the legislature Mrs. Putnam writes: " It 
recalls the days when I heard Clay, Webster and Calhoun, in 
Washington; a little different, it is true, still the same feeling 
came over me." 

The publication of Vol. II of the Proceedings was the individ- 
ual enterprise of J. D. Putnam and was begun in February, 1877. 
One result of the publication was to bring in large numbers of 
scientific exchanges. Mrs. Putnam writes in August, 1878: 
" Our library has gotten a great start and is filling up very fast. 
We have put the books up in the Art room, and they set off the 
room beautifully." 

No sooner was Vol. II completed than Vol. Ill was started under 
great difficulties. The amateur printing press was moved from 
" Woodlawn " to the basement of the Academy; and here the 
typesetting and proof reading was done in the most economical 

manner, most of it by J. Duncan Putnam. Out of such sacrifices 
grew Vol. III. 

At page 128 of the volume the labors of J. Duncan Putnam 
ceased. He died on December 10, 1881. He was one of the 
sincerest seekers after the truth, gentle, modest of disposition, 
entirely forgetful of self in the enthusiasm of the aim in view. 
He had crowded into his brief span of twenty-six years the work 
and enthusiasm of a long life. To the mother who had watched 
over him for eight years, who had been his comrade in every 
enterprise, who had built up the Academy for the sake of bring- 
ing a bright look on the wan face of the invalid, to her his inter- 
est in the Academy descended as a sacred legacy. 

Naturally, Mrs. Putnam's work in the Academy went on. On 
January 27, 1882, she was appointed Chairman of the Publication 
Committee to succeed her son. From this time until her death 
her interest in the publication never lessened. The year was 
spent in arranging the papers of J. Duncan Putnam. With the 
assistance of Prof. Herbert Osborn his scientific work was com- 
pleted and published in Vol. Ill, which was appropriately made 
a memorial volume. 

On October 29, 1882, Mrs. Putnam writes to her sister, Mrs. 
Edward P. Kirby, Jacksonville, Illinois, "I sent you sheets of 
the Memorial Volume for my gift. It is more than gold to me, 
the perpetuating the memory of such a boy;" and a little later: 
"I am so happy in this glorious work of my beloved son. I 
wonder if any one ever did so honor and love a boy. God bless 
his precious memory ! ' ' 

In April, 1883, a special meeting was called, and an effort was 
made to raise the indebtedness of the Academy. Not only was this 
done, but over $1 ,000 was left as an endowment for the institution. 
The credit of this undertaking is due especially to Hon. George 
H. French, Major George P. McClelland and Mr. Nicholas 

Mrs. Putnam attended the meeting in Minneapolis of the Amer- 
ican Association for the Advancement of Science in August, 1883, 
renewing and forming friendships with Eastern scientists and 
interesting them in the Academy. Professor F. W. Putnam vis- 
ited Davenport from Minneapolis and gave a lecture for the ben- 
efit of the Academy. The visit of Professor W. H. Holmes at 


this time was followed by an offer to write a paper on the pottery 
contained in the Academy museum, the Smithsonian Institution 
to furnish the plates to illustrate the paper. This is the most 
valuable paper ever printed by the Academy on the pottery in its 
collections. The generous offer was gladly accepted, so Volume 
IV was started with the sum of only $72.37 on hand, and unpaid 
subscriptions amounting to $51. 

Entertainments helped to meet the expenses of the Academy. 
Courses of lectures were successfully given; the annual children's 
entertainments on the twenty-second of February were never by 
any chance omitted; an extensive exhibition of English water col- 
ors proved a great success both artistically and financially. All 
these undertakings and many others, of which space will not per- 
mit the mention, testify to constant, busy work on the part of Mrs. 
Putnam. There were hours of grief which were silently hidden 
from her immediate family, but which astray letter reveals. She 
laments writing a sad letter the day before, to her sister, "but 
how can I help it; now and then I feel I must cry out in agony, 
but to-day I determined to work, work again for the beloved Acad- 
emy, and so I get me to work." 

In 1885 a salary of $500 was voted for Mr. Pratt as Curator. 
He had given all his spare hours, from the beginning of the for- 
mation of the museum, to arranging the specimens, and had been 
a most faithful worker. All the work in the Academy previous 
to this time had been verily "a labor of love." As usual Mrs. 
Putnam raised the money, assisted in part by Mr. E. P. Eynch. 

June 9, 1885, Mrs. Putnam writes: "The Horticultural Soci- 
ety offered the Academy strawberries and cream for a festival. I 
have all the management and responsibility. I rather shrink 
from it, quite different from a few years ago when such a thing 
was fun; especially as I have all of the profits for my publication. 
Mr. Holmes' paper is done, and I have to pay out $100 right 
away and have not one cent." After the entertainment was over, 
on June 22, she writes: "I have given a most successful and brill- 
iant Academy festival — a decided success — a large crowd of people 
— superb music and strawberries (150 quarts were given me, all the 
cream, flowers, etc.). I took in $70; some necessary expenses took 
my profits down to $60. As I had to meet a bill of $144, it helped 
me that much and encouraged me to attempt another." 


The Davenport Chapters of the Agassiz Association were formed 
about this time. Mrs. Putnam was naturally much interested in 
their meetings at the Academy and often attended them, reading 
to them from " Walks Around My Garden" and other books. 
They frequently spent the day at " Woodlawn." Mrs. Putnam 
always wanted the children to come to the Academy. She writes: 
" The lot was given on the twenty-second of February; the build- 
ing dedicated on the next twenty-second; children entertained the 
next, and every year this has been our ' Saint's Day.' We expect 
500 children" [at the entertainment she was planning]. In the 
summer of 1886 the National Convention of the Agassiz Associ- 
ation had a most successful meeting in Davenport; over one hun- 
dred delegates were entertained. 

April 2, 1886, she writes: " Printers do go so slow [all of Vol. 
IV not finished]. Yet I have commenced another, Vol. V, and 
have eight pages printed; but a gentleman has given us such a 
splendid paper to be fully illustrated, and so many of our mem- 
bers subscribed at once, that I am not going to have the same 
trouble with Vol. V. It is just splendid, too, that our publica- 
tion goes straight on. As soon as one volume is done another 
begins, and once in three years we bring out our latest thought. 
Vol. IV is making for us a splendid record — so I think one thousand 
more books will come into our library this year. Two thousand 
came last year. We have to-day received a beautiful collection 
of shells and minerals. I attended a meeting for birds this after- 
noon. It is dreadful, the slaughter of the innocents. I visited 
seven ladies, all of whom promised to take them off their hats. 
Fifty ladies signed a paper for the same." Never afterwards 
would Mrs. Putnam wear aigrette or wing in her bonnet. 

There always was need for money, and on July 13, 1886, another 
lawn fete was given for the benefit of the Academy, at " Wood- 
lawn." Mrs. Putnam writes on June 14th: " It will be about 
nine years since my last " Kettledrum," and that is still remem- 
bered by everyone. Great changes have occurred in my home 
since then. . . . When I think of all I have lost in these nine 
years my heart shrinks from the effort , but it must be done. I must 
work to live; the Academy must have money, and who will give it 
to us? So I am bound to go through with it. This "Mid-Sum- 
mer's Night's F£te," as it was called, was successful in every way. 

Mrs. Putnam was most modest about her own abilities. On 
October 17, 1886, she writes: "I was much interested in your 
account of the robins. I am sorry I have not studied the habits 
of birds and animals as I would have done had I been a woman 
of leisure. But the fitting of these young lives to cope with the 
world, the impressing their natures with the love of truth, and 
forming their characters for noble aims, has been the engrossing 
work of my life, and the little I have done for the scientific world 
is to oil the wheels of this institution by getting money to carry 
out the scientific thought of my beloved son Duncan and his asso- 
ciates. His monument he builded himself. God grant it may 
grow more worthy of his noble life and as years roll on take the 
hold of the people his sacrifices entitle it to." 

It was felt that there should be some permanent basis to pay 
the salary of the curator, besides a yearly subscription and the 
dues of the members, so Mrs. Putnam reported to the Board of 
Trustees, on November 25, 1886, a plan to "raise an annual 
subscription of $400 a year — for five years — to provide for the sup- 
port of the Academy and obviate repeated appeals to the public." 
This plan received, according to the Proceedings, " the approba- 
tion of the Trustees," and Mrs. Putnam was appointed to raise 
the amount. 

The old subscription paper is still preserved, the worn edges tes- 
tif3'ing to the faithful service it did as it made its yearly rounds. 
The mute signatures tell little of the part the) T played in tiding 
the Academy over the most critical part of its history. Many of 
the early enthusiastic members had died; there was little interest 
felt in the institution by the majority of citizens. No one knows 
the number of times Mrs. Putnam was advised to close the doors 
and simply let it die. The subscription paper stands a monu- 
ment to her indomitable perseverance and courage. 

Of the efforts to raise this money Mrs. Putnam writes to her 
husband on December 10, 1886: . . . "Oh, that I could know 
some of the mysterious joys of a true scientist and a true artist, 
but I don't believe it was meant I should classify or arrange any- 
thing unless maybe a subscription paper; this I have done of late 
to my great satisfaction and have more than one-half of what I 
expected pledged for the coming year of the Academy. . . and 
then if they sign for five years they may some of them remember 


us in their wills — anything we give to for five years we love, you 
know; and if we tide our beloved son's Academy over these five 
years, as we have the last since he left us, I really think it will 
be taken care of, don't you?" And again on January 2, 1887, 
to her sister-in-law, Mrs. Mary P. Bull: ' ' $350 a year has been sub- 
scribed without much effort. I shall hope to get at least $400 
before another week, but I have been too busy sewing to attend 
much to other matters. ... I often wish I were rich. I would 
never see that boy's institution suffer for the want of so little; 
but it will be endowed some day; and his name will live as it ought 
to live when marble monuments have perished and monumental 
fortunes have crumbled away. The memory of my beloved Dun- 
can will live for ever in the hearts of all who knew and could 
appreciate his gentle, quiet, and scientific nature. It is five years 
since we laid him away, but oh! how his presence haunts my 
dreams, how often I think of him and long for the touch of that 
vanished hand." 

The last $50 of this subscription was raised by Major McClel- 
land for Mrs. Putnam, who was ill at home, but who writes on 
hearing that the entire sum was raised: "I never felt more 
happy than to-night for I feel sure now the Academy has a 

On the morning of June 3, 1887, the beautiful home of " Wood- 
lawn " was destroyed by fire. None of the family were at home. 
Mrs. Putnam was in Chicago. It was decided to camp out for 
the summer in the gardener's cottage on the hill. Both Mr. and 
Mrs. Putnam took up the readjustment of their household in the 
changed surroundings, with their usual quiet courage, Mrs. Put- 
nam making a cosy home with the few things saved from the 
fire. She lamented the loss of the drawings and writings of her 
son Duncan, and of Mr. Putnam's unpublished literary papers, 
the work of a lifetime, but she felt that as long as the family circle 
remained unbroken, there was a bright side to the disaster. This 
comfort was soon taken away, as six weeks later, on July 19, 1887, 
her husband, Charles E. Putnam, died after a short illness. 

Mr. Putnam was a man of strong personality. He had been 
a prominent lawyer, President of the Davenport Savings Bank 
for fourteen years and had written the Savings Bank Law which 
was adopted by the State of Iowa, and is still in force. He was 


President of the Gas Company, the Plow Company, and of numer- 
ous other organizations. He had infinite tact and a wonderfully 
quick mind that grasped the essentials of a subject at once and 
enabled him to carry on so man}- and varied lines of work. He 
had a strong love for literature and accumulated a large and well 
selected library. His leisure hours, for }^ears, were spent in liter- 
ary work. He followed his children's occupations with the same 
interest as his wife, and through his son Duncan became interested 
in science. He was President of the Davenport Academy of Sci- 
ences in 1885 and 1886, on its finance committee for years, and 
trustee for fourteen years. He was a man of broad sympathies, 
and every good work received support from him. Much of the 
work that Mrs. Putnam accomplished is due, no doubt, to the 
encouragement and sympathy she received at home. 

Their married life of thirty-three years had been so congenial 
and ideal that his death would have been a deep sorrow at any 
time, but especially so after the loss of their home and with the 
uncertainties of the future. After a few weeks the widow, left 
with six sons and one daughter, roused herself from her grief and 
writes to her sister: " The work of life must go on; these dear 
children must be helped to maturity. I have made up my mind 
to go to town each day and do my duty for my children." In 
the fall of this year the family moved to a house in town, where 
Mrs. Putnam lived the remainder of her life. 

The next winter she interested herself to see that the salary of 
Mr. Pratt, the faithful curator, was paid. 

Mrs. Putnam and her daughter sailed for Europe October 3, 
1889. On the morning she left Davenport, Dr. C. C. Parry, ever 
a staunch friend of the publication, brought the last sheets of the 
Proceedings, still wet with the printer's ink, to the train, where 
other members of the Academy gathered. It was the last time 
many of the old friends met. 

The trip abroad was prolonged beyond the original plan on 
account of Mrs. Putnam's poor health. She took an intense inter- 
est in everything abroad, especially the customs and life of the 
people. She had painted in her younger days, and always had 
an instinctive taste for the best in art. The galleries were a con- 
stant source of pleasure to her. She visited the museums, and 
was delighted when she found the Proceedings of the Academy 

in the libraries. She had a great gift of attracting people to her 
and everywhere made warm friends. She was the most delight- 
ful of travelling companions, and could relate her experiences in a 
lively, vivacious manner. She was rarely gifted as a conversa- 
tionalist. As a friend remarked, they would hear something 
interesting when Mrs. Putnam returned, not of the trivial dis- 
comforts of the journey. 

This was her longest trip away from home. From girlhood 
she had been a frequent traveller, enjoying the opportunity to see 
things and even more to meet people. But she never forgot the 
interests of home. Mrs. Putnam writes from Paris, in May, 1891, 
just before sailing for home: ' ' The more I see of this life abroad 
the more I am convinced the true life is at home and the greatest 
glory of a woman is to grace her own fireside." As soon as she 
arrived in New York she writes: " Home! oh, you never can 
know what that word means to one unless you have been away 
so long. All America seems home to me — now I have touched 
my native land, I am perfectly happy." 

She missed many old friends upon her return to Davenport. 
Dr. C. C. Parry, who had been closely associated with her son, 
Duncan, had died; Mr. Pratt had removed to Minneapolis, where 
he died two years later. Dr. Barris, one of the few of the old 
members left, had been appointed curator. 

Mrs. Putnam was just in time to start a new five years' sub- 
scription paper. On December 18, 1891, she writes to Mr. Pratt: 
"I have taken up the role of presenting the $400 list to my friends 
in behalf of the beloved Academy— shall I call it a success? In 
about three weeks I have $300 on the five years' subscription, 
from 1892 to 1896, and $60 on this year . . . but I shall have to 

wait a little while until I recover from a refusal from and 

a very few poor men like him! It will do me good to wait and con- 
sider, it was such easy sailing. People met me more than half way. 
I own up I went first to the old and tried friends of the Academy. 
. . . We owed the curator $300 when I came home; by January 
first I think we can almost pay last year's salary, but oh, we 
must get enough to keep him next year, and next, and next, for 
five years, and then the $120 for the Index — we must have that, 
you see . . . and then the binding and distributing! will we wait 
forever for the endowment! ... I wish I could do something in 


my small way to make the annual meeting a worthy meeting, 
worthy the spirit of the past. What an interest we used to feel, 
what palpitations of the heart lest all the reports should not be up 
to the standard. What a full life we are leading, and how little 
we know it." 

Four times did Mrs. Putnam secure this assured income to the 
Academy; the last time in 1902, the year of her death. This 
was for a larger amount, eight hundred dollars; and by this means 
the Academy was enabled to secure the whole time of a curator, 
and started on its new era of prosperity. Once when a friend had 
spoken to Mrs. Putnam about leaving something to the Academy, 
she wrote: "I wish he would just give it now and spend it him- 
self." She was ever eager to see immediate results. 

On November 23, 1892, there is a letter to " My dear friend 
Mr. Pratt: Do you remember the long ago — when the spirit 
of unrest drove me to make a commotion in the dear old Acad- 
emy building, and desks and cases were moved, and decorations 
were hung — a piano brought in, and flying feet did the work of 
busier brains, and all was commotion for one day or two and dis- 
order for a week or so afterwards, at least you and Duncan used 
to declare you could find nothing. . . . Well, I have been 
strongly reminded the last month of these dear old commotions 
and upsettings, yet with many differences. Then the object 
was always to make some money — now it is alone to spend it; 
then the movement and stir was witnessed by loving eyes who 
followed in sad disapproval, with a lurking smile of satisfaction 
at the known results; now no loving eye has followed — no help- 
ing hand has lifted itself — no laughing, warning voice has been 
uplifted that this must be the very last entertainment in the Acad- 
emy. Alas, the last gatherings there have been funerals, and the 
stillness of the grave has followed my lonely steps as I have plod- 
ded along. . . I have only touched on the outside of it all [in the 
cleaning]. I feel as though I had lived over twenty years in this 
month. . . I have put Prof. Starr's paper in the printer's hands 
Monday of this week — made the same bargain as for Vol. V; 
and while there is not a cent to begin paying the printer, I have 
faith that by the time the first form is printed the money will 
be forthcoming." 

This cleaning was preparatory to the celebration of the twenty- 


fifth anniversary of the founding of the Academy. The day 
before, on December 13, 1892, Mrs. Putnam writes, " I'm so sorry 
I undertook the Academy entertainment just now, but a twenty- 
fifth anniversary does not often occur. The weather is beastly, 
yet I have to go out in it for the last things. Think of us to-mor- 
row." That afternoon Mrs. Putnam was injured in a fall from a 
street car and was unable to go to the entertainment. A few days 
later she writes, " I love the Academy better to-day than when 
my dying boy almost breathed its name with 'Mother' from his 
parting breath — it was his legacy to me. When I thought I was 
killed the other day I was glad that the Academy had a new coat 
of paint on it. . . My back troubles me some. I think almost 
more than at first. Yet I go out every day and try to think I am 
not hurt." 

At this time Mrs. Walworth, one of the founders of the Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution, induced Mrs. Putnam to become 
the first State Regent of Iowa. 

In 1895 Mrs. Putnam was left a bequest by her sister-in-law, 
Mrs. Mary Putnam Bull of Tarrytown, New York, of the sum of 
ten thousand dollars, "as a memorial to my brother, Charles E. 
Putnam, and my nephew, J. Duncan Putnam." It was Mrs. 
Bull's idea to have part of it used in erecting a monument in the 
cemetery. Mrs. Putnam placed a large glacial boulder, found on 
the banks of the Mississippi, to mark the resting place of these 
two men of simple tastes. The inheritance tax of the State of 
New York was five hundred dollars and Mrs. Putnam gave the 
remainder, nine thousand five hundred dollars, to the Academy, 
establishing the Putnam Memorial Fund, the income to be used 
toward carrying on the publications of the Academy. No more 
fitting memorial could be found in view of the long and intimate 
association of father and son with the Academy. 

Previous to this time the publication had had a struggle for 
existence. The six volumes published prior to 1895 had cost 
over eight thousand dollars and this entire sum had been raised 
by three- and five-dollar subscriptions to the volumes, obtained 
by repeated solicitation by Mrs. Putnam. A very few, like Prof. 
Sheldon, gave generously. Sometimes the money came so unex- 
pectedly that Mrs. Putnam was wont to say "it sifted down from 
heaven." When publishing Vol. IV, she writes, "I find people 


now understand what publishing proceedings means and are 
interested at once and willing to help. I have met with great 
success, without begging in the least. The publication now 
stands on its own merits." 

Mrs. Putnam spent the summer of 1897 m Europe with two of 
her children, travelling leisurely from Norway to Italy. 

On December it, 1897, Mrs. Putnam writes of celebrating the 
thirtieth anniversary of the Academy on the 14th, " by a simple 
reception at Academy afternoon and evening. For days I have 
cleaned up things. I hope to close this year with every bill set- 
tled and all dues collected. The contract for the new [Presby- 
terian] church was let yesterday. They have offered the old 
building to me for the Academy for $5,000, — a great bargain, I 
think." Four years before, on September 10, 1893, there is men- 
tion in a letter of Mrs. Putnam's of the importance of the Acad- 
emy owning the property on the corner, when the Presbyterian 
Church removed to other quarters, as they would eventually do. 

She never lost sight of this project, and patiently and persist- 
ently worked till she persuaded the trustees to see it from her 
point of view. The Academy owned land on the north for future 
building purposes, and many thought the old church building 
would only be an incubus. A few far-sighted trustees real- 
ized it was a good investment at least. It has proved a most 
wise one. There is a hall for lectures and a high basement to 
contain part of the ever increasing museum. If the Academy 
had not bought it a large apartment building would have been 
erected, cutting off light and sunshine from the Museum. It 
preserves for the Academy one of the most commanding corners 
in Davenport. The Trustees of the church most generously 
placed a much lower price on the property than they could have 
obtained from other parties. On April 3, 1S98, Mrs. Putnam 
writes: "Mr. Cutter says the Jewish Synagogue came to ask 
the price and wanted to buy the church, but when they heard 
Mrs. Putnam wanted it for the Academy, they would not make 
an offer." The Trustees of the Academy bought the church 
property in 1899. 

On December 3, 1899, after the close of the last service held by 
the Presbyterian church in the building, Dr. Donaldson stepped 
from the pulpit and handed the ke}- to Mrs. Putnam, then the 


oldest living member of the church, who received it on behalf of 
the Academy. Upon taking the key she said: "No words of 
mine can adequately express my feelings in accepting the key of 
this old church, which so many hallowed associations have en- 
deared to me, or of the gratification I feel in knowing my interest 
in it is not entirely to cease, as this key will pass into the custody 
of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences, an institution 
which, next my family and my church, holds the dearest place in 
my heart." 

The purchase of the old church entailed an enormous amount 
of work. The first problem was how to pay for it. Mrs. Putnam 
was aided in raising the money by the Hon. C. A. Ficke. It was 
decided to connect the two buildings by a passage way, large 
enough to be used for museum purposes. Mr. E. S. Hammatt 
and Mr. A. F. Cutter superintended the construction, while 
that of cleaning and arranging the two buildings was done by 
Mrs. Putnam. Griswold College was disbanded at this time, and 
Bishop Morrison and the trustees of the college generously gave 
its valuable scientific collection and library to the Academy. 
With this added space, the Academy could exhibit the collection 
at once. The work of moving the collection was very great. 
Mr. C. E. Harrison attended to the transporting and sorting of 
the books, but for weeks Mrs. Putnam was busy superintending 
the transfer and arrangement of the collection. All this made 
the summer a busy one. Mrs. Putnam secured the services of a 
trained librarian, who began the arrangement and cataloguing 
of the library, disturbing the dust of years. It was realized as 
never before what a rare and valuable library the Academy pos- 
sessed. During all the years that the publication of the Academy 
proceedings had been going on, laboriously but perseveringly, the 
library had been steadily growing. Foreign societies had been 
sending their publications in exchange, thus proving the fore- 
sight of those members who inaugurated the printing of original 
scientific papers by the Academy. 

The start made in cataloguing the library has been kept up by 
Miss Foote-Sheldon, so that now the large collection of books 
is available for use by scientific students. 

On the thirty-third anniversary of the founding of the Acad- 
emy, December 14, 1900, Science Hall, the new lecture room, was 


dedicated. President MacLean and Prof. C. C. Nutting of the 
State University of Iowa, came from Iowa City, and Prof. Fred- 
erick Starr, from the University of Chicago, gave a lecture. Let- 
ters from scientific friends all over the country were read, con- 
gratulating the Academy on the work achieved during its exist- 
ence of a third of a century. 

As one of the tributes, Prof. Nutting read the following poem: 


There was a woman on whose heart was pressed the heavy hand of Sorrow. 

Her heart was braised, her head was bowed, her life bereft of hope and light . 

This woman was not strong, and so she sat her down and cried : 

"Woe has come upon me, and my love lies dead, his work unfinished. 

No more is heard his name upon the lips of men. With him is Hope en- 

Henceforth my life shall be devoid of light, and o'er his grave I'll place 

A broken shaft to show the incompleteness of his life cut short of full fru- 
ition . ' ' 

And so it was. Her life was void. His name forgotten in the homes of men. 

Again there was a woman on whose heart was pressed the heavy hand of 

Her heart was sore, her head bowed low, her life bereft of light. 
But strong this woman was, and brave, and she stood up amid the stress 
Of this her dire calamity, and gazed undaunted on the face of Sorrow. 
" My love shall live ! " she said. " His work unfinished I take up. My life 

I give 
To see his hope fulfilled. His name shall still be spoken in the courts 
Of Wisdom, and a monument I'll raise to show fruition of his cherished 


And so it was. And wise men came to bring her aid. And lo ! Her life 

was full 
Of light and blessed with fruitful works. No broken shaft raised she 
Above his tomb. Instead she reared a monument enduring as is Truth 

And the wise men bring their tribute of their learning to this shrine. 
His name is honored still in Wisdom's court. His work complete. His 

hope fulfilled, 
And Sorrow, conquered, chastened, owns the sway of Love. 

Soon after Mrs. Putnam's return in May, 1901, from California, 
where she had spent several months for the benefit of her health. 


occurred the death of Dr. Barris, an early member, ex -President, 
and curator of the Academy. He had ever been a faithful friend 
to Mrs. Putnam, one who encouraged her by his hopeful conversa- 
tion and charming personality to go on with her work. The death 
of Dr. Barris left but two out of the group of the early active 
members: Dr. C. H. Preston, who has been a member of the Pub- 
lication Committee from its inception and who has ever taken a 
deep interest in the affairs of the Academy, and Mr. C. E. Har- 
rison, who has given generously of his time and energy to further 
its success, working with the same loyal interest during the years 
of discouragement as during those of prosperity. As the office of 
curator was now vacant, and as the five years' subscription paper 
expired at this time, some of the most prominent citizens again 
advocated the closing of the Academy. Instead, Mrs. Putnam 
arranged to have the present curator of the Academy, Mr. J. H. 
Paarmann, then a student at the University of Iowa, come to 
Davenport and remount, classify, and label the fine collection of 
birds in the museum. 

In August of this year Mrs. Putnam, accompanied by her 
daughter, attended the meeting of the American Association for 
the Advancement of Science, at Denver. Later, at Glenwood 
Springs, Colorado, she met with a serious carriage accident which 
nearly proved fatal, and from the effects of which she never en- 
tirely recovered. As she lay helpless, being unable to move for 
weeks after her return, her mind was full of plans for the "be- 
loved Academy." Among other things she arranged for a course 
of popular scientific lectures, which was successfully given after 
Christmas. This was the beginning of the courses which have 
since become an annual feature of the Academy's work. 

In the meantime, how to provide for and find a curator? No 
sooner was Mrs. Putnam able to move than with painful but un- 
flinching steps she visited the faithful patrons of the Academy 
and raised the sum of eight hundred dollars for five years, double 
the amount raised in previous years. In April, 1902, Mr. J. H. 
Paarmann was appointed Curator, upon which office he entered 
the following July. He began, in the fall, a series of talks to the 
school children, illustrated by specimens from the Academy's col- 
lections. This was a project in which Mrs. Putnam had always 
taken deep interest. 


After this work was started Mrs. Putnam and her daughter 
spent several months in California. A letter written to her 
brother, Mr. J. Duncan, from Del Monte, March 25, 1902, tells of 
her nervousness in driving (a natural sequence to her terrible 
accident a few months previously), and of her success in conquer- 
ing this feeling: "We took the seventeen-mile drive along the 
Pacific. I never enjoyed a drive more in my life and I think it 
was because I had entirely mastered myself and my fear of moun- 
tain drives. I thought it all over in the night and when the car- 
riage came round, with five seats beside the driver's, and the 
rest were all ready, I quietly put on my things and astonished 
them all by taking my seat in the exact position I sat in when 
the accident occurred last September. One place, where the road 
ascended a very steep place and turned on top and came down a 
very abrupt descent, I thought I would get out and wait; but I 
had started out to conquer, and so I sat still. I must say I drew 
a long breath when we reached the bottom, but I was master of 
myself and that is what I long to be above every other thing." 

The summer was spent at home, where Mrs. Putnam took up 
her work for the Academy with her old enthusiasm, taking great 
interest in the labors of Mr. Paarmann in his new office as Cura- 
tor. In August she arranged for a successful concert, given by 
the musicians of Davenport for the benefit of the Academy. 

Mrs. Putnam, accompanied by her daughter, attended the meet- 
ing of the Americanists in New York in October of this year. 
She enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones, listening 
to scientific papers; but, on looking back, one realizes that while 
the spirit was as eager to enjoy and impart, the body was growing 
weaker. The journey was continued to Boston, where she met 
many old friends, and revived memories of her visits there with 
her son Duncan. It was her last journey. 

Mrs. Putnam was elected a fellow of the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science, at the December meeting, 1902, 
in Washington. This unexpected honor greatly pleased her, 
though she felt herself undeserving it. But, as one of her scien- 
tific friends has said, "to whom could it have been more worthily 
given than to her who had striven so loyally for the advancement 
of science?" 

The Academy was in urgent need of a stereopticon, to use in 


the talks Mr. Paarmann gave to the school children; and on Jan- 
uary 3, 1903, Mrs. Putnam writes: "Every day I receive money 
(as the sparks fly out of the fire at me) for the stereopticon . I 
have written a short report for the annual meeting. We have 
$148 in the bank and not a bill to pay, left from last year." On 
February 14, through gifts of generous friends, she succeeded in 
paying $1,000 on a note against the Academy. It was a happy 
morning for her, as she realized the Academy was now on a better 
financial basis, besides beginning active educational work. 

An exhibition of Indian basketry, planned and managed by 
Mrs. Putnam, was opened at the Academy on the nineteenth of 
February. A much larger collection of baskets had been gath- 
ered than was expected, and the building was effectively decor- 
ated with mats, blankets, and examples of weaving. On the sec- 
ond day of the exhibition, Friday, February 20, 1903, Mrs. Putnam 
was the life of the company. Some one suggested having a loan 
exhibition of lace; and her quick mind seized the idea, and with 
her old-time enthusiasm, in bidding a friend goodby, she said, 
"You must come next month to our lace exhibit." 

Mrs. Putnam returned home at twilight and, sitting before the 
open fire, talked of the events of the afternoon, of the meeting 
with old friends; that it was the most beautiful exhibition ever 
given in Davenport; what a pleasure the day had been. She 
went to her room to rest. A Final Rest it was. Painlessly and 
silently she passed into the World Beyond — a world in which she 
firmly believed she was to meet her beloved family and the son 
for whose sake she labored so faithfully in the upbuilding of the 
Academy . 

With kindly thought of friends and with her last hours spent 
in the institution that had become an integral part of her life, the 
day was a beautiful closing to a full and unselfish life. 

A few days later Science Hall, the old Presbyterian church, 
which had been so intimately connected with Mrs. Putnam's life, 
was filled with family friends and citizens, gathered for the sim- 
ple but impressive funeral exercises. Rev. Dr. John B. Donald- 
son of the First Presbyterian Church, her pastor, and the Rt. Rev. 
T. N. Morrison, Bishop of Iowa, an old family friend, conducted 
the services. Mrs. Putnam was broad-minded in religion as in 
all the affairs of life, so it seemed fitting that the last services for 


her should be conducted by clergymen of different denominations, 
as had been the case with her husband and eldest son. 

Mrs. Putnam was survived by six sons — Charles Morgan, of 
Minneapolis; Henry St. Clair, a consulting electrical engineer in 
New York; William Clement, a lawyer in Davenport; George 
Rockwell, in charge of the United States Coast Survey work in 
the Philippine Islands; Edward Kirby, in the English Department 
in Deland Stanford Junior University, California; Benjamin 
Risley, a mining engineer in Butte, Montana, and by one daugh- 
ter, Elizabeth Duncan. 

Her children having already been provided for, Mrs. Putnam 
left her entire estate to establish a Putnam Memorial Fund for 
the benefit of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, subject to an 
annuity which was waived by her daughter, Elizabeth Duncan 
Putnam, and to certain other obligations which were assumed by 
her son, William Clement Putnam. By the terms of her will this 
fund, amounting in all to about twenty-four thousand dollars, is 
to be held in trust for the Academy by a board of three trustees 
and the income is to be used primarily for the publication of sci- 
entific papers. 

Emphasis has been placed upon Mrs. Putnam's connection with 
the Academj' of Sciences, of which she was President in 1S79 and 
again from 1900 until the time of her death, Treasurer from 1897 
to 1900, and Chairman of the Publication Committee from 1881 
to 1903. There is a remarkable human interest in Mrs. Putnam's 
work for the Acadenw, growing as it did out of her love for her 
oldest child. To quote the words of a friend: "We all remember 
vividly the noble and beautiful mother of that large family, who 
yet found time out of the devotion to her children and her abound- 
ing hospitality to magnetize a careless western community and 
inspire them to rear an institution devoted to pure science. She 
began the work for the sake of her son. Young as he was, Dun- 
can Putnam had done work of recognized value the world over; 
and he did the best of it conscious of his sentence of death, but 
working doggedly with his last strength. To comfort him his 
mother threw all her splendid vitality and energy into his plans." 

But absorbing and exacting as was this interest in the Acad- 
emy, it by no means measured the breadth of her sympathies 
and activity. Another friend writes of her : "Because she gave 

so much of herself to the Academy did not mean she had less to 
give to other things; on the other hand, her love for that institu- 
tion seemed to increase her endowment, to broaden and enrich her 
spirit, so that other things profited rather than lost thereby. Her 
great purpose did not cause her to lose her sense of values. In- 
deed, the charm of her personality was in its many-sidedness. 
Her love of the beautiful in nature and art, her keen interest in 
people, and her inspiring belief in them, — all of these things 
seemed to be stimulated rather than stifled by her great enthus- 

In this many-sided life the key-note was always the home. 
The first duty of every woman, Mrs. Putnam felt, was to her 
family. From the days when she was a boon companion to her 
"blue-eyed banditti," as she called her children, entering into all 
their sports, even to the setting of type, to the days when they 
had grown to manhood, each varied occupation and experience of 
theirs received her sympathy and enthusiastic interest. 

In her country home Mrs. Putnam delighted to have friends 
come and share the simple every-day life of the family. It was 
ever a joy to her to do kind actions. It required no special effort, 
because it was perfectly natural. 

Mrs. Putnam always found time to be interested in the aims 
and work of others. A chance remark of hers would leave an 
indelible impression. Many an incident has come to light show- 
ing the influence a word or two spoken by her had on the course 
of a young life. 

Sincere indeed was Mrs. Putnam's interest in those causes that 
touch the human heart. Instances of this have already been 
mentioned. She was always active in church work and, while 
seldom talking about religion, lived her Christianity in every- 
day life. She was for several years president of the Home Mis- 
sionary Society of the Presbytery. She was a charter member of 
the Ladies' Aid Society to educate young girls, of the Associated 
Charities of Davenport, and of other similar organizations. She 
was largely instrumental in bringing a police matron to Daven- 
port. When it was decided to close all the stores in the city at 
six o'clock in the evening so that the clerks would not be over- 
worked, it was Mrs. Putnam who persuaded the last obdurate 
owners to sign the agreement. It was this sincere and sympa- 


thetic interest in humanity, as well as her personal interest in all 
whom she knew, even though casually, that made her hosts of 
friends and endeared her to the people of her home city and to all 
who came to know her. A friend writes: "No one woman stood 
for all that she did in the community, the sympathizer with every 
good work, the originator of many, the presiding genius of the 
Academy, and, what made this vital and enduring, a rarely beau- 
tiful Christian character." 

Out of the crowded memories of the past comes a vision of a 
woman of medium height, clear blue eyes; a well-poised head, 
crowned with beautiful silver- white hair; an alert, light step; a 
vivacious manner and quick intellect that may have come from 
some far away Huguenot ancestor; a voice of unusually sweet 
and gentle modulation, the whole personalit}' lighted by a smile 
full of sympathy and enjoyment of life. 

Sorrow had written its history on her face, but it was illumined 
when she talked or listened to others. Although endowed with 
a rare social instinct and delighting in the contact with her fel- 
lows, she was a great lover of nature. Many a sunrise and sunset 
she watched in Europe, the dawn coming upon the Jungfrau, or 
the marvellous afterglow at sunset, — a symbol of the resurrec- 
tion, as she expressed it. Many of her letters from "Woodlawn" 
are dated "at sunrise." The quiet communing with nature and 
reading one of the beloved Psalms of David gave her the peace 
and strength to plan her work for the day, and with a refreshing 
sleep afterwards she arose bright and sunny as the morning itself. 
She was one of the most natural of women, perfectly unconscious 
of self. What people might think of her simply never occurred 
to her. What they thought of her children or of the Academy 
was another matter. 

Mrs. Putnam's early life, fatherless and with an invalid mother, 
had developed a naturally forceful character. A happy marriage 
brought out all the sweeter, unselfish qualities of her nature. 
She writes, early in her life, "God formed me with a heart so 
large that even a husband's and children's love does not fill it full 
to overflowing." She could always enter into the trials and sor- 
rows of others with an unusual sympathy. She was ever a friend 
to the poor, treating them with a rare equality. The accident of 
riches was nothing to her, — "A man 's a man for a' that." If 


people were dull and selfish, though they might have all the 
world's goods, they were perfectly uninteresting to her. Gossip 
and unkind remarks were never heard from Mrs. Putnam. She 
felt that there were so many interesting things in the world to talk 
about, why waste time in matters worse than trivial. She often 
quoted the saying "Blessed is the man or woman with a hobby," 
feeling that the interest in outside affairs broadened the home 
life and, when sorrows came, enabled a person to rise above them, 
in work for others. As a friend said, "She was a woman who 
was not afraid to live up to her convictions." This fearless, un- 
selfish character was what enabled her to go on with the work of 
the Academy, when a weaker woman would have been discour- 
aged at the difficulties and would have counted the cost and per- 
sonal sacrifice. 

With her earnest purpose and unselfish devotion, Mrs. Putnam 
was enabled in her well-rounded life of three score and ten years 
to crystalize her high ideals into permanent results. She was of 
a most hopeful, cheerful disposition, and while she remembered 
the past and while it influenced strongly her life, she lived in the 
present, planning for the future. 

Her children arise up and call her blessed. 
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works 
praise her in the gates. 

Davenport, Iowa, December 14, 1905. 






On the western banks of the Mississippi, on the bluffs over- 
looking the broad river, lies the town of Davenport, in Iowa. 
The scene is one of quiet beauty, with the river winding onward, 
peacefully and majestically, amid the encircling hills. Here was 
born on the twenty-sixth day of June, 1862, William Clement 
Putnam, the fifth son of Charles Edwin Putnam and Mary Louisa 
Duncan, his wife. 

Brief was his life as the years are told, but into his forty-three 
years he crowded the work and achievement of a long life. The 
same traits of foresight, courage, energy and perseverence that 
had sent his ancestors from their homes in Massachusetts and 
Virginia to develop new lands, kept him in his native city and 
enabled him to build up a fortune and leave it for the benefit of 
Davenport. Descended on his father's side from New England 
families, men and women who led industrious, simple lives, and 
on the mother's side from Scotch and Virginians, into whose 
lives had come much of interesting adventure and history, his 
own character shows a combination of the traits of both families. 

The incidents of Mr. Putnam's life were few. He lived and 
died in his native city. The first twent3^-five years were spent 
at Woodlawn, a beautiful country place overlooking the Missis- 
sippi, about two miles from the center of Davenport. The fam- 
ily life of father, mother, ten sons and one daughter has been 
graphically portrayed in the letters of his mother, who did much 
to encourage the children to follow their individual tastes. 

Especially strong and decided, even in childhood, were the 
characteristics of Mr. Putnam. It is interesting, in reading his 


early letters, to see indications of the traits of later years. The 
boy of nine writes to his father, ' ' Now, about the money ques- 
tion," and upon receiving the remittance, thanks him and adds, 
"I hope I shall not spend it foolishly." His early interest in 
politics is shown by a letter written a month later to his father, 
in which he begins, " Hurrah for Grant;" and upon hearing of 
his father's politics he writes, "I am sorry you like Horace 
Greeley so much." 

Surrounded by his father's large and well selected library and 
brought up in "a reading family," it was only natural that his 
latent love for books and knowledge should develop early in life. 
For many years, by rising early in the morning and retiring late 
at night, he accomplished an enormous amount of systematic 
reading of the standard authors. He had a retentive memory, 
especially for facts and information, and during these years of 
boyhood amassed a store of knowledge from which he drew at 
will in later life. 

His oldest brother, Duncan, was, at this time, collecting insects 
and carrying on his scientific work. He took great interest in 
the occupations of his younger brothers and it is no doubt largely 
through his influence and through the constant encouragement 
of his father and mother that Clement Putnam began his collec- 
tions and interest in outside affairs. An historical society was 
organized among the brothers at Woodlawn and papers were read 
at the meetings. Clement Putnam was the dominant and perse- 
vering member that carried the society through its existence. 

Very early he began to collect material for local history. This 
interest was developed by a visit to his mother's former home, 
Jacksonville, Illinois. He met many old friends of his grand- 
father, Governor Duncan, and gained from them an impetus to 
his interest in historical subjects. He planned at this time, when 
only eleven years old, to write a biography of his grandfather. 
Unfortunately he did not carry out his boyish plan, though he 
never lost sight of it. He constantly collected material and facts 
and looked forward to the time when he would have an oppor- 
tunity to write. When sixteen, he was interviewing old settlers 
and buying books about the Black Hawk War. His letters show 
his exact and intimate knowledge of where old books could be 
bought and of their relative value. 


When a copy of Wakefield's "History of the War Between the 
United States and the Sac and Fox Nations of Indians ' ' was 
loaned him, he writes on November 26th, 1878: "I was too 
much interested in the other book [Wakefield's History] to think 
about it [Cunningham's Lives] at first. I could scarcely believe 
my eyes when I saw what book it was, for I knew it was Wake- 
field's book instantly although the title page is gone. I have 
every other book of importance upon the Black Hawk War ex- 
cept this one and I never expected to have this one in my pos- 
session even for a short time, as it is one of the rarest western 
books ever published, besides being of great value in itself . . . 
It is to me the most precious relic of a bygone age . . . Before 
returning it I would first like to make some extracts from it con- 
cerning those things which are of the greatest interest to me, 
though I am afraid I would never know where to stop, so much 
am I interested in everything of which it treats." He copied the 
entire book. 

Again on January 13th, 1885, he writes: " I have always had 
a great passion for old papers and autographs and have already 
a large and valuable collection. As soon as my collection of 
grandfather's papers is complete I intend to arrange them and 
have them bound in volumes." 

With his love of collecting came a strong ambition to write. 
At the age of ten he had written a tragedy of five acts which was 
acted on an amateur stage at Woodlawn. This was followed by 
plans for various works in history, but unfortunately his busy 
life did not enable him to accomplish all he hoped. 

Mr. Putnam was educated at the public schools in Davenport 
and was graduated from the High School in 1880. When but 
eleven he had decided upon becoming a lawyer. He was ambi- 
tious to go first to college, but feeling that his father needed his 
help, he laid aside this dream and entered the law office of Put- 
nam and Rogers. This prompt and decisive response of the boy to 
what he felt was a call of duty was characteristic of the man. 
One wonders what the effect of a university education would 
have been upon his mind, so eager and enthusiastic for knowl- 
edge. He himself always regretted the loss. He spent two 
years in his father's law office before going to Iowa City to attend 
the law school of the State University of Iowa, from which he 


was graduated in 1883. He was chosen one of the orators of his 
class, his subject being, "The State." He assisted Chancellor 
McClain in preparing his ' ' Outlines of Criminal Law and Pro- 
cedure," published in 1883. He selected cases and "showed a 
rare judgment for a law student in his first year of study." Soon 
after his return his father took him into partnership, the firm 
name being Putnam and Putnam. The next few years were spent 
in close application to business and devotion to duty. 

On the third of June, 1887, the house at Woodlawn was destroyed 
by fire. All of Mr. Putnam's historical books, manuscripts and 
valuable collection of old letters relating to western history were 
burned. It was an irreparable loss. The death of his father, 
six weeks later, left the family in peculiarly sad and desolate cir- 
cumstances and added new responsibilities to his life. He assumed 
the care of managing the affairs of his mother and brothers and 
sister, becoming the virtual head of the family. Nobly did he 
perform this duty. He arranged the finances so that his younger 
brothers received a college or technical education, and sold the old 
homestead to such advantage that his mother was placed in com- 
fortable circumstances. In the autumn of this year the family 
moved into town. Mr. Putnam soon after bought the house in 
which they first lived and took great interest in improving the 
property and making it a family home. Into this house he gath- 
ered his constantly growing collection of books and works of art. 
He was an intense lover of home and enjoyed having his family 
with him, but unselfishly urged his mother and sister's taking 
an extensive European trip in 1889, and numerous other journeys. 

Charles E. Putnam had numerous business interests besides his 
law practice. Clement Putnam succeeded his father as president 
in many of these organizations. Often the young man of twenty- 
five, who looked much younger than his years, presided at a meet- 
ing of gray-haired men, contemporaries of his father. 

Charles E. Putnam had been agent for the property in Daven- 
port belonging to Charles Velie of Evansville, Indiana. This con- 
sisted of a half block of buildings forming the old L,eClaire, later 
the Newcomb, Block, in the center of the business district of 
Davenport. Clement Putnam assumed the management of it 
during his father's lifetime and later Mr. Velie, one of many of 
the loyal clients of his father, continued him in charge of his in- 


terests. Thus he became familiar with it and when the oppor- 
tunity offered, in 1895, to purchase the property, he realized its 
value and bought it. It is this property, with its large rental, 
that becomes the chief source of the income of his bequest to the 
Davenport Academy of Sciences. The improvement and care of 
these buildings gradually absorbed most of his time. From a 
financial standpoint it was most advantageous. Mr. Putnam 
had marked business ability, as is shown by his acquisition, in 
his short life, of a large fortune. His business interests, how- 
ever, prevented him from becoming the distinguished lawyer that 
the few briefs and opinions he wrote indicate he might have been 
with the ability he possessed. He had a clear mind and forceful 
power of expression, and enjoyed the discussion of legal ques- 
tions. Chancellor McClain, now Judge of the Supreme Court of 
Iowa, writes of him: "I regarded Mr. Putnam as having a mature 
and sound legal mind and urged him to undertake some legal 
writing, but he seemed too busy for it although it was in accord- 
ance with his tastes." 

Business affairs necessitated frequent visits to New York and 
gave him, incidentally, an opportunity to come into closer touch 
with the literary and artistic world. Unconsciously these visits 
broadened his outlook on life. He was now able to buy the 
rare and beautiful books he had always loved. Even when his 
income was small, the few books he bought were chosen with care 
and he was beginning to plan and develop in his mind the scope 
of his future library. He took infinite pains in the selection of 
any book or picture, and his perseverance was remarkable. For 
years he was on the lookout for Wakefield' s ' ' History of the 
War," and at last, in 1902, he was rewarded and became the pos- 
sessor of the little old yellow book that had aroused his enthus- 
iasm as a boy. 

He became interested in fine publications and illustrations and 
gradually collected a rare library on architecture, music and 
painting, besides general literature and history. Librarians have 
expressed interest in his library on account of its extent and 
range. Though guarding his books with zealous care, he was 
ever willing to loan them to any one studying a special subject, 
aiding them also by his own extensive knowledge. 

After buying a few etchings in 1898 in New York, he became 


interested in the subject and in time came to own a valuable col- 
lection of works by the best known etchers, besides almost every 
book on etching. He mastered the literature and technical crit- 
icism of the subject in the same thorough manner as he mastered 
everything he undertook. 

Mr. Putnam commenced early in life to buy paintings, chiefly 
small good examples of modern artists. He writes on June 9th, 
1891, " I want to add to my collection of paintings every year, 
laying the foundations for the Art Gallery I intend to have in 
my Castle in Spain when I build it." His art gallery was a 
dream unfulfilled for himself, but by the provisions of his will it 
will become a reality for the town he loved. 

Mr. Putnam always looked forward to a time of leisure in 
which he could do the writing he planned. His extensive knowl- 
edge of western history, with his accurate mode of thought and 
expression, makes it a matter of deep regret that the only histor- 
ical writing preserved is a short paper on ' ' Davenport and Vicin- 
ity in the War of 181 2," written in 1877, and read before the 
historical section of the Davenport Academy of Sciences. He 
wrote a memoir of his father, Charles E. Putnam, in 1898, pub- 
lished in Proceedings of the Academy, and three papers for the 
Contemporary Club, composed of the leading business and pro- 
fessional men of Davenport. The titles of the papers show the 
trend of his thought toward some of the questions of the day: 

1898. " Some Problems of Modern Democracy." 

1902. " Civic Beauty." 

1905. " International Arbitration and the Peace Movement." 
He possessed a clear, forceful style and a good command of the 
English language. 

As the years went on, his interest in public affairs steadily 
increased. No question came up affecting the public welfare of 
Davenport but he took a deep interest in it and went to consid- 
erable personal sacrifice to achieve the end in view if it was for 
the betterment of the city. Never did his faith waver in the 
future of Davenport. He had high ideals and believed in plan- 
ning and building for the future. The great fault, he felt, of the 
average citizen, was in letting franchises or laws pass unnoticed 
if they did not happen to affect his personal interest or pocket- 
book. It was only a very few who ever troubled themselves to 

protest or be on the lookout for the best interests of the city. He 
himself took a deep interest in municipal affairs, especially in the 
city's parks and public institutions. Referring to the park sys- 
tem of Boston, Mr. Putnam writes : "Every one of us should lay 
the lesson of that noble work to our hearts and do what we can 
to make the city of our home the better and the more beautiful 
for our having lived in it." 

There are copies of frequent letters written by Mr. Putnam to 
our United States senator about public affairs, especially protest- 
ing against the tariff on works of art. He felt that America 
needed all the art and beauty that could be imported to counter- 
act our commercial spirit. When urged to help in the endow- 
ment of an eastern institution, he replied that whatever he did 
for art would be done in his native town. Here he hoped there 
might be a gallery, small but with a few choice paintings. In 
1898 he was interested in selecting pictures and bas reliefs to 
decorate the two upper rooms in the grammar school attended by 
many members of the family. In 1905 he gave a full-sized frieze 
of Donatello's " Children" to the Public Library for the child- 
ren's room. He also loaned them his carefully selected collection 
of a hundred large Braun photographs of the most famous paint- 
ings by artists of all countries and ages, framed and labeled. 

Mr. Putnam was seldom away from Davenport. A boyhood 
journey to the Centennial, various business trips and one Euro- 
pean tour complete the record of his journeys. His life is an 
example of steady application to business and shows how, with 
few opportunities of travel, can come the love of the best in art, 
music and literature. His only trip abroad was in 1903 when 
for seven months he travelled, with his sister, through the prin- 
cipal cities and countries of Europe. In looking back one real- 
izes the reason of his intense enthusiasm and desire to see places 
of interest. For years he had worked perseveringly and read ex- 
tensively and now when his holiday came he enjoyed it with the 
zest of a boy. Europe was never visited by a more appreciative 
or intelligent visitor. His familiarity with history, his love of 
architecture, painting and sculpture, his interest in people, cus- 
toms, and the different institutions of the countries made the trip 
a memorable one. He considered this the beginning of many 
journeys. It was his only one. 


From his early interest in the Historical section, Mr. Putnam 
became more interested in the Davenport Academy of Sciences. 
The untiring work for this institution of his brother Duncan, de- 
votedly supported by his father and mother, all tended to influ- 
ence a man of such loyal character as his to take up the work as 
one by one they laid it down. There was a deep and peculiar 
attachment between Clement Putnam and his mother, and it was 
for her sake especially he did so much for the Davenport Acad- 
emy of Sciences. Even as a student at the law school he writes, 
urging that the affairs of the Academy be established on "a sound 
financial basis." After the death of his father he succeeded to 
his position of looking after the finances of the Academy, a posi- 
tion to which there were no rival claimants. When the treasury 
was empty Mr. Putnam, like his father, advanced the money to 
pay the bills, ever anxious that the credit of the Academy should 
stand unimpaired. 

During the years from 1876 to 1880 he took a keen interest in 
the Historical Section of the Academy. He felt that the study 
of local history and the collection in its archives of local his- 
torical material should be an important feature of the Academy 
work. In his report as secretary of the Historical Section, on 
January 7th, 1880, he speaks of the gift of the papers of Antoine 
L,eClaire, "many of them of the greatest value and importance 
in illustrating the early history of this region, and quite a num- 
ber of old French papers of great interest. It is out of such ma- 
terial as this that the historian weaves his interesting narrative, 
and the value of these old manuscript collections cannot be too 
deeply appreciated. There have been deposited, in the library of 
the Section, files of New York papers published during the late 
war, and twenty-two volumes of the Davenport Gazette from its 
commencement. Next in order to collections of manuscripts, 
newspaper files are of great utility as historical material. But by 
far the most important work of this past year was the series of 
meetings of the old settlers of this county, held during the spring 
and summer at the Academy. As a result of these meetings and 
of circulars sent among the pioneer settlers still living, a large num- 
ber of letters giving interesting narratives of early days have been 
sent to the president of the Section; others have been promised, 
and when the whole series has been completed it will form a store- 


house filled with information which must otherwise have been 

Mr. Putnam was Trustee of the Academy from 1887 to his 
death, and was on the finance committee for fifteen years. His 
last act was to dictate the report of the finance committee for the 
annual meeting, announcing that after strenuous efforts the 
Academy was free from debt, and adding, "this is probably the 
first time since the founding of the Academy, nearly forty years 
ago, that this could be said, so we feel that the Academy is to be 
congratulated on its splendid financial condition ; but people must 
remember that this is only a means of accomplishing still greater 
ends in the future, in developing the internal work of the Acad- 
emy, in providing new cases and apparatus and assisting in the 
important work of the Academy in the schools." This report 
was dictated with difficulty and pain. Loyal was he even on his 
deathbed to the trust he felt his mother had left to him. His 
bequest to the Davenport Academy of Sciences crowns his moth- 
er's life work for this institution. 

In the midst of enjoyment and activity in the present and plans 
for the future came his first and last illness. His strong will had 
kept him at work too long. There were only a few days of ill- 
ness, serious from the first, with a rally to dictate his reports 
and give directions to donate a large collection of old and rare 
Arizona baskets to the Academy. His death came on the morn- 
ing of January thirteenth, 1906. 

Mr. Putnam was a man of strong personality. He combined 
the thoroughness and faculty of taking infinite pains with the 
greatest persistence and pleasure in overcoming all obstacles. 
Once started upon a subject, his determination never let him rest 
until he had mastered it thoroughly. In many traits he reminded 
one strongly of his mother. He had a great desire to acquire in- 
formation from other people, and possessed the power of assimi- 
lation, so that anything once acquired was always useful. He 
had keen judgment and appreciation of literature, art and music. 
One might differ from him, but he was ever interesting. He was 
fearless in speech. He was generous and ready to aid in all good 
causes and help with counsel and personal interest in the affairs 
of any worthy person. He combined a great amount of senti- 
ment, which he tried to conceal, with the clear-headed views of a 


business man and lawyer. Those who knew him in his own 
home, surrounded by his books and pictures and talking with 
congenial friends, felt to the full the charm and power of Mr. 

His life, though unfinished, was more complete than many a 
a longer one. Wisely and clearly he laid his plans for the future. 
Devoted to his family, home and city, he left his fortune, sub- 
ject to annuities to his brothers and sister, and his collection of 
art, historical and scientific books, besides his paintings and 
sculpture, to trustees as an endowment for the Davenport Acad- 
emy of Sciences, for the benefit of "the citizens of this community 
wherein my father and mother so long lived and labored for the 
public weal." 



By the will of Mary L,ouisa Duncan Putnam her estate, subject 
to an annuity which was waived by her daughter, Elizabeth 
Duncan Putnam, and to certain other obligations which were 
assumed by her son, William Clement Putnam, is left to three 
trustees for the benefit of the Davenport Academy of Sciences. 
The trust, designated as the "Putnam Memorial Fund," is 
founded as a memorial to her husband, Charles Edwin Putnam, 
and her son Joseph Duncan Putnam. 

By the terms of the trust William Clement Putnam is named as 
legal trustee during his life, his successors to be chosen by her 
surviving children, approved by the court, and, after the death of 
all the children, directly by the judge of the court. With him 
are to be associated two other trustees : one, her daughter, Eliz- 
abeth Duncan Putnam, and after her decease, one person to be 
chosen by the members of the Publication Committee of the Dav- 
enport Academy of Sciences, and the other, a person to be chosen 
by the Board of Trustees of the Academy, both of the last trust- 
ees, when so chosen, to be for a period of three years. The 
trustees of the trust fund are to make an annual report to the 
trustees of the Academy. The trustees shall use the net income 
from this trust fund as follows : Not to exceed ten (10) per cent 
in any one year may be used for the "care and preservation of, 
and additions to, the collection of entomological specimens and 
books made by my said son, Joseph Duncan Putnam, and now in 
the building of the said Academy." The balance of the income 
shall be used ' ' for the publication and distribution of the papers 
and transactions of said Academy, which shall be of scientific, or 
ethnological, and (on special occasions if deemed desirable) of his- 
torical value and interest, and assist in the diffusion of knowl- 
edge, it being my desire generally that at least one paper in each 
volume published be upon some entomological subject." It is 
further provided that the trustees may use a portion of the 
income of the fund, not to exceed one-fourth in any one year, 


1 ' toward the payment of the salary of a curator of said Academy, 
if such use of a portion of said income in their opinion becomes 
necessary to properly maintain the work of said Academy. But 
I earnestly hope that the said Academy may in the near future 
receive a sufficiently large endowment from public-spirited citi- 
zens, or others, to enable it to properly carry on its great work 
aside from its publications, leaving the income from this trust 
fund to be used solely for the purpose for which the trust has 
been founded." 



In his will William Clement Putnam left his entire estate in 
trust for the benefit of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, nam- 
ing as trustees of the fund thus created his brothers, Henry St. 
Clair Putnam, George Rockwell Putnam, Edward Kirby Putnam, 
Benjamin Risley Putnam, and his sister, Elizabeth Duncan Put- 
nam. He provides first for the settlement of his estate and the 
preservation of his business and other property. 

The homestead, with the personal property contained therein, 
is given to his sister during her life. After her decease the home- 
stead is to revert to the estate, to be merged in the trust fund and 
the personal property is to be divided among relatives, "except- 
ing however that when such distribution of my personal effects 
is made, either upon written notice from my said sister to my 
said Executors and Trustees, or the survivors of them, during 
her lifetime, or in any event upon her decease, I give and be- 
queath all my art, historical and scientific books, together with 
all my oil and water color paintings, etchings, engravings, draw- 
ings, sculpture and other works of art, to the Davenport Acad- 
emy of Sciences of Davenport, Iowa, to be kept in a fire-proof art 
gallery in one of its buildings to be built as hereinafter provided, 
and I further direct that, after the completion of such fire-proof 
art gallery, my collection of English water colors shall be placed 
therein, as soon as possible, to prevent the risk of their destruc- 
tion by fire, even before title thereto may pass pursuant to the 
above provisions. The gift of the foregoing books and works of 
art to the said Davenport Academy of Sciences is made upon the 
express condition that none of said books, pictures and other 
works of art, shall ever be sold or disposed of by said Academy 
or its successors." 

Annuities are designated to be paid to his four brothers and 
sister in lieu of their compensation as executors and trustees, 
and provision is made for the rebuilding, with modern and fire-proof 
construct ion, of the buildings upon his business property. The fifth 
paragraph of the will then provides for the Academy as follows: 
' ' The balance remaining each year from the net income of all my 


estate as aforesaid, I direct my .said Executors and Trustees, or 
the survivors of them, to pay to the Trustees of the Putnam Me- 
morial Fund of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, of the City 
of Davenport, Iowa, said Trustee and Board of Trustees being the 
ones designated in the Last Will and Testament of my mother, 
Mary L. D. Putnam, now deceased, such payments of income to 
be made as often as my said Executors and Trustees, or their 
survivors, may think best, but at least annually, and all of said 
balance of the net income arising from my estate to be used for 
the benefit of the said Davenport Academy of Sciences, or its suc- 
cessors, or otherwise, upon the terms and under the conditions in 
the Seventh paragraph of this Will particularly set forth." 

The seventh paragraph of the will provides for the permanent 
maintenance of the trust fund and its use for the benefit of the 
Academy of Sciences : 

"Seventh. Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Will, and 
as a memorial to my beloved parents, Charles Edwin Putnam, 
and Mary L,ouisa Duncan Putnam, deceased, I give, devise, and 
bequeath all of my estate, real, personal, and mixed, and wher- 
ever situated, upon the decease of the last survivor of my broth- 
ers and sister hereinbefore named, to the Trustee, and Board of 
Trustees, of the Putnam Memorial Fund, and to his and their 
successor or successors in trust forever, as the same are desig- 
nated in the duly probated last will and testament of my mother, 
Mary L,. D. Putnam, deceased, and as the same may be from time 
to time hereafter appointed, elected, and qualified, as is in my 
mother's said will provided, said property and estate to be held in 
the same manner in all respects as is in my mother's said will 
directed, for the benefit of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, 
of Davenport, Iowa, or its successors, and the income therefrom 
arising, together with the residuary income from my estate prior 
to the decease of all my brothers and sister hereinbefore named 
as provided in the Fifth paragraph of this Will, to be used for 
the following purposes only, to-wit : First. In the payment of 
all taxes, insurance, repairs, improvements, and all other expenses 
and charges of whatever nature or description which may be 
from time to time required in the proper management and care 
of said trust estate, and in the proper maintenance in first-class 
condition of all property and assets belonging to said trust estate. 


Second. In the rebuilding of any of the buildings upon any of 
the real estate belonging to said trust fund whenever such rebuild- 
ing may become necessary in order to properly maintain or 
increase the value of such real estate. Third. In the erection 
of new buildings for, or additions to the present buildings of, the 
said Davenport Academy of Sciences, it being my earnest desire, 
however, that such building fund be allowed to accumulate until 
it reaches at least Fifty Thousand ($50,000.00) Dollars, and is in 
any event large enough to permit the erection of a thoroughly 
satisfactory, handsome, and fire-proof structure, which will be in 
the highest degree creditable and useful to the said Academy, 
and to the City and State in which it is located, and which shall 
contain, in addition to fire-proof museum rooms, a fire-proof art 
gallery for the proper exhibition and preservation of works of 
art which shall be of genuine value and merit only. Fourth. 
After providing as large as possible a sinking fund each year for 
the erection of said building or buildings of the said Davenport 
Academy of Sciences, or after providing for the payment of any 
additional obligations incurred in the erection of such build- 
ings, the remainder of said net income may be used each year, 
so far as necessary, for the general support and maintenance of 
the said Davenport Academy of Sciences, or its successor ; and 
after the erection of such building or buildings the whole of said 
income may be used if desired towards the care and maintenance 
of said building, museum, art gallery, and library, the support of 
the curator and other employees, the prosecution of the work of 
the Academy, the purchase of additions to its museum, library, 
and art gallery, and the publication of its proceedings, and of 
papers of scientific, or historical, value and interest, until it shall 
again become necessary to erect another new building for the 
said Davenport Academy of Sciences, when such portion as may 
be deemed advisable of the net income from said trust estate 
shall again be used towards the establishment of another build- 
ing sinking fund. In the event that the said Davenport Acad- 
emy of Sciences shall ever cease to exist, and shall have no 
successors in the City of Davenport, then and in that event I 
direct that the Trustees of the said Putnam Memorial Fund, to 
be chosen in such case by the court having probate jurisdiction 
in the City of Davenport, Iowa, as provided in the last will of 


Mary L,. D. Putnam, deceased, shall proceed to execute and carry 
out the purposes and intents of the trusts in this will provided, 
as hereinbefore expressed, as nearly as may be, and, if necessary, 
to found some other institution in the said City of Davenport 
which shall as effectually and usefully as possible accomplish 
such purposes and intents, or similar ones which shall be of ben- 
eficent use to the citizens of this community wherein my father 
and mother so long lived and labored for the public weal." 


Reprinted from Volume X, 

Proceedings of the Davenport Academy 

of Sciences.