Woman of the Century/Antoinette Wakeman
WAKEMAN, Mrs. Antoinette Van Hoesen, journalist, was born in a beautiful valley in Cortland county, N. Y., bounded on either side- by high hemlock-capped hills. Her great-grandfather. Garret Van Hoesen, was a younger son of a prominent family who were the owners of a valuable landed estate in Holland. He, together with another younger brother, Francis, secured a grant of land on the Hudson river from King George III, including the present site of Hudson city. ANTOINETTE VAN HOESEN WAKEMAN. When Antoinette was little more than an infant, her father, who was an invalid, was advised by his physician to go to Minnesota. At that time the Sioux Indians, while no longer legally in possession of the lands of the State, still lingered there, and as a child she was familiar with them and also very fond of them. Her home was on the heights a short distance from the Mississippi river, and when there was no encampment of Indians in the vicinity, her dog and pony were her only companions. She had one brother, then in college. When she was ten years of age, she returned to her birthplace with her father. Her mother had died before she was a year old. She remained in the old home a year. It was during that time, alone in the shadow of the great hills where she first saw light, with the weird hemlocks waving, as it seemed to her then, up in the very sky, she first felt an overwhelming desire for expression, which suddenly became a determination to be a writer. That determination struck root deep in the very source of her being and continued to be an absorbing desire, although for years she put it aside and devoted herself to that which seemed to her to be her duty. Very shortly after that visit to her birthplace, she was sent to a boarding-school, first to the female college in Evanston, Ill., and later to Jennings' Institute in Aurora, Ill., then called Clark Seminary. She was graduated from the latter school with honors. In a few months, against her father's wish and without his knowledge, she was married. She was a child in years and a babe in experience. Her first-born came, and the instincts which motherhood awakens were her teachers. She became bread-winner as well as bread-maker, and for ten years worked as do those without hope. That was the best part of her education, the education of suffering. She learned that her boy, whom she had supported, and for whom she had endured all things, was not her own in the eyes of the law. She learned to know each link in the chain of bondage to which labor must submit, for she was galled by every one of them At last there came a time when, without effort on her own part, she was liberated from all obligation and left free to exercise the largest liberty of choice. About that time her brother, F. B. Van Hoesen, was in the Minnesota State Senate, and while in St. Paul with him she made the acquaintance of F. A. Carle, editor of the St. Paul "Pioneer- Press." He encouraged her to send letters of correspondence from Chicago to his paper. Later she corresponded for various papers throughout the country, in each case being paid for her work. From the very first she received pay for what she wrote and, with scarcely an exception, has had everything published that she has written. During the time she was engaged in general newspaper correspondence, she was also doing special writing for the Chicago "Times." For two years she edited and published the "Journal of Industrial Education," and also attended to its business conduct. Receiving what seemed to be a very flattering offer from a New York pattern company to go there and establish a fashion magazine, she went to New York and established the publication. The work and the situation proved most uncongenial, and she resigned and returned to Chicago. She then was employed on the regular staff of the "Evening Journal," and she also edited "American Housekeeping." When the Chicago "Evening Post" was established, she became one of the staff, and she is now art critic and a member of the editorial staff of that journal. She has been a regular contributor of the American Press Association and the Bok Syndicate. She has written for the "Chautauquan" and other kindred publications, and also for the New York "Sun." The first story she ever wrote was widely copied both in this country and abroad, as also was a series of articles called "Dickens the Teacher." A sonnet called "Nay," a poem entitled "The Angel's Prayer," and another "Decoration Day," which she wrote some years ago, still continue to be published. She is especially fond of newspaper work and, although she has had numerous offers from different publishing houses, she prefers the work which keeps her in touch with the current of every day events. She is a member of the Chicago Woman's Club and is one of the founders of the Press League, a national organization of active woman writers, and she is also its treasurer and representative-at-large. Her pen-name is "Antoinette Van Hoesen."