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

Burnham, Ellen B.
Miss Mary Mortimer,   pp. 75-77 PDF (569.6 KB)


Page 76


the interior of the state. At the age of twelve years, she
was left an orphan. In spite of many obstacles, she
succeeded in acquiring a finished education and taught
successfully in eastern schools. The name of Miss Mary
Mortimer became known as an educator and in the year
1849 two members of the Ladies' Educational Associa-
tion, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe and Miss Catherine
Beecher, using their personal influence, prevailed upon
Miss Mortimer to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to as-
sist in the work of conducting a college, recently es-
tablished for the better and higher education of women,
and the spring of 1850 found her located in that city.
    The trials, disappointments and discouragements
which were encountered and nobly struggled against in
this undertaking could only be appreciated by her pupils
and associate teachers of those early days and by the
noble and far-seeing men and women residents of the
city, who gave to this little band of women both moral
and financial support.
    The ultimate success of those strenuous efforts may
be realized as one lookv back through the annuals of
the institution, which in its earliest infancy, bore the
name of Milwaukee Female Seminary, and which has
evolved step by step through various changes and under
various names until it has emerged as that splendid in-
stitution of learning of which all Wisconsin is justly
proud-Milwaukee Downer College.
     Miss Mortimer remained with the college, then lo-
 cated on Milwaukee Street until the spring of 1857. Later
 we read of her as head of a Seminary at Baraboo, Wis-
 consin, where she remained for several years. In 1866,
 as president, she again joined the forces of the Milwaukee
 institution and remained until the year 1874, when,
 through failing health, she severed her connection with
 the college and was succeeded by Prof. Farrar, of Vassar.
     Through the sunset of her life, in her quiet surburban
 home, Miss Mortimer was still busy. She commenced a
 post graduate course in instruction for women and in
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