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Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
([1924?] )

Harriet Dean Sterling,   pp. 175-177 PDF (588.7 KB)


Page 175


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-         HARRIET DEAN STERLING
      Contributed by the John Bell Chapter, D. A. R.
    Mrs. Harriet Dean Sterling came to Madison, Wis-
consin from Raynham, Massachusetts, in 1849, at which
time she was entertained at the historic Fairchild home,
then as now, far famed for its hospitality.
    Here she met Prof. John N. Sterling, "Father of the
University", whom she married in 1851.
    Mrs. Sterling was educated at South Bridgewater
Normal school and Wheaton Seminary, Norton, Massa-
chusetts, and taught for a few years at Bridgewater, and
Newark, N. J.
    Her life in Wisconsin was one of extreme devotion
to the interests of the University and its students.
    It was she, of whom one of the members of the class
of 1873, who was close to the family life of Prof. and
Mrs. Sterling, wrote at the time of her death: "My
thought in all my remembrance of Mrs. Sterling since
those dear University days, is the thought of an imper-
sonated Alma Mater, a fostering, cherishing genius of
the University as a whole and of its students, both men
and women, individually. She was a mother to the whole
great literary commonwealth. . . . The true secret
of that blessedly maternal sway which Mrs. Sterling ex-
ercised lay deep down in the kindly loving heart, where
the spirit of all motherhood had its fount.
    Mrs. Sterling was a woman of affairs. Her judgment
was excellent and her demeanor always self-controlled
calm. In her, there was a power behind the throne whose
and wise counsels often went through as an influence into
the meetings where only men assembled and the Univer-
sity is the richer by reason of those counsels today.
     Senator Wm. F. Vilas of the class of 1858 wrote of
her:
                          175


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