Woman of the Century/Eliza Read Sunderland
SUNDERLAND, Mrs. Eliza Read, educator, born in Huntsville, Ill., 19th April, 1839. Her father was Amasa Read, a native of Worcester county, Mass., who removed to Illinois in 1838 as one of the earliest pioneer settlers in the central-western part of the State. Her mother, whose maiden name was Jane Henderson, was born in Ohio, of Scotch ancestry, and was a woman of remarkably vigorous mind and noble character. There were three children born into the home, who reached adult years, Eliza and two younger brothers. The father died when the children were very young, leaving the mother to face alone the hardships of pioneer life. ELIZA READ SUNDERLAND. Fully persuaded of the value of education, the mother made everything else yield to the attainment of that for her children. Until the age of ten Eliza attended the village school, a mile away. Then, for the purpose of obtaining greater educational advantages, the family removed first to St. Mary's and then to Abingdon, Ill. The daughter's years from sixteen to twenty-four were spent partly in study in Abingdon Seminary and partly in teaching school. At the age of twenty-four she entered Mount Holyoke Seminary, in Massachusetts, at that time the most advanced school for young women in the country, and was graduated from that institution in 1865. Her highest ambition was realized when, on graduation day, she was invited to return as a teacher, but circumstances at home prevented. Later she became a teacher in the high school in Aurora, Ill., where she was soon made principal, holding that important position for five years, until her marriage with Rev. J. T. Sunderland, a clergyman, in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1871. From 1872 to 1875 her home was in Northfield, Mass., for the next three years in Chicago, Ill., and since 1878 it has been in Ann Arbor, Mich. She is the mother of three children, a daughter of eighteen years, a son of seventeen, and a daughter of fifteen. Besides discharging with never-failing interest her duties as wife and mother. Mrs. Sunderland has always been very active in all that line of work which usually falls upon a minister's wife, and at the same time has carried steadily forward her literary studies, having taken nearly or quite every philosophical course offered in the University of Michigan, and many of the literary, historical and politico-economic courses. In 1889 she received from the university the degree of Ph. B., and in 1892 the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. She has held many positions of honor in the Unitarian denomination, being one of the best known of its women speakers in its national and local gatherings. She has been for a number of years an active worker in the National Association for the Advancement of Women. Though not an ordained minister, she often preaches. She has more calls to preach and lecture than she can possibly fill. Few speakers are so perfectly at home before an audience, or have so great power to hold the attention of all classes of hearers. No woman in Ann Arbor, where her home has been for many years, is more esteemed by all than is she. She is especially honored and beloved by the young women students of the university, who find in her a constant and ever-helpful friend.