MARY LOUISA DUNCAN PUTNAM
WILLIAM CLEMENT PUTNAM
MARY LOUISA DUNCAN PUTNAM
WILLIAM CLEMENT PUTNAM
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LAWRENCE J. GUTTER
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MARY LOUISA DUNCAN PUTNAM
MARY LOUISA DUNCAN PUTNAM.
BY ELIZABETH DUNCAN PUTNAM.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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:
THE STORY OF TWO WOMEN.
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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-
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.
WILLIAM CLEMENT PUTNAM
WILLIAM CLEMENT PUTNAM
BY ELIZABETH DUNCAN PUTNAM
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
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
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
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
WILL OF MARY LOUISA DUNCAN PUTNAM
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
WILL OF WILLIAM CLEMENT PUTNAM
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