Open main menu

COLLINS, Mrs. Emily Parmely, woman suffragist, born in Bristol, Ontario county, N. Y., 11th August, 1814. She is of New England parents, who were early settlers of the "Genesee Country." EMILY PARMELY COLLINS.jpgEMILY PARMELY COLLINS. Before the end of her first decade she became an industrious reader, especially of history and poetry. A large part of her second decade was spent in teaching country schools. As an evidence of her success, she received a salary equal to that given to male teachers, something as unusual in those days as in these. She always advocated equal freedom and justice to all. Quite possibly an early bias was given to her mind in that direction, while sitting on her father's knee, listening to his stories of the Revolutionary War in which he participated. The efforts of Greece to throw off the Turkish yoke enlisted her sympathy, which expressed itself in a poem, giving evidence of remarkable depth of mind in one but twelve years of age. Naturally she became an Abolitionist, even before the general anti-slavery agitation. With public affairs and political questions she was always familiar. The full development of woman's capacities she believed to be of supreme importance to the well-being of humanity and, chiefly through the press, has ever advocated woman's educational, industrial and political rights. According to the "History of Woman Suffrage," she organized the first woman suffrage society and sent the first petition for suffrage to the legislature. That was in 1848 in her native town. During the Civil War she went with her two sons, one a surgeon, to the battle-fields of Virginia and did efficient service as a volunteer nurse. In 1869 she with her family removed to Louisiana, where she buried her second husband. In 1879, as a new State constitution was being framed, a paper from Mrs. Collins, giving her ideas of what a just constitution should be, was read to the delegates and elicited praise from the New Orleans press. For the last twelve years. she has resided in Hartford, Conn. In 1885 she, with Miss F. K. Burr, organized the Hartford Equal Rights Club, and she is its president. She wrote occasional stories, to illustrate some principle, for the "Pacific Rural" and other journals. Not ambitious to acquire a literary reputation, and shrinking from publicity, she seldom appended her name. For several years she wrote each week for the Hartford "Journal," under the pen-name " Justitia," a column or two in support of human rights, especially the rights of woman. She also urged the same before each legislature of Connecticut. As a solution of the liquor problem, some years since she advocated in the Hartford "Examiner" the exclusive manufacture and sale of liquor at cost by the government. She also urged a change from the present electoral system to that of proportional representation, and industrial cooperation in place of competition. Always abreast or in advance of the world's progressive thought, her pen is ever busy. Dignified and quiet, modest to a fault, she is justly noted among the intellectual inhabitants of Hartford.