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Woman of the Century/Emma Lee Benedict

BENEDICT, Miss Emma Lee, author and educator, born in Clifton Park, Saratoga county, N. Y., 16th November, 1857. The daughter of a quiet farmer, she early gained from the fields and woods a love for nature as well as the foundations of robust health and a good physique. Always fond of books, at the age of twelve years she had read nearly everything in her father's small but well-selected library. EMMA LEE BENEDICT.jpgEMMA LEE BENEDICT. At school she was able to keep pace with pupils much older than herself, besides finding time for extra studies. Her first introduction to science was through an old school-book of her mother's, entitled "Familiar Science," and another on natural philosophy, which she carried to school and begged her teacher to hear her recite from. At seventeen she began to teach, and the following year entered the State Normal College at Albany, from which she was graduated in 1879. After a few more years of successful teaching, she began to write for educational papers and was soon called to a position on the editorial stall of the New York "School Journal," where she remained for more than three years. A desire for more extended opportunities for study and a broader scope for literary work led her to resign that position and launch on the sea of miscellaneous literature. A very successful book by her, "Stories of Persons and Places in Europe" (New York, 1887), was published in the following year, besides stories, poems and miscellaneous articles which appeared in various standard publications. Miss Benedict was a member of the first class in pedagogy that entered the now thoroughly established pedagogical course in the University of the City of New York. Through contributions to the daily papers and interviews with leading educational people she was an active factor in bringing about the general educational awakening in New York City, in 1888, which resulted in the formation of a new society for the advancement of education. Just at that time she was sent for by Mrs. Mary H. Hunt, national and international superintendent of the department of scientific temperance instruction of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, to go to Washington and assist in the revision of temperance physiologies, which had then been submitted to Mrs. Hunt for that purpose by several of the leading publishers of temperance text-books. In Washington Miss Benedict spent a number of months in the United States Medical Library, occupied in investigating and compiling the testimony of leading medical writers concerning the nature and effects of alcohol upon the human body. The researches there begun have since been carried on in Boston and New York libraries and by correspondence with leading medical and chemical authorities. There is probably no other person more familiar than she with the whole subject of the nature and effects of alcohol upon the human system. At present Miss Benedict is with Mrs. Mary H. Hunt, in the home of the latter in Hyde Park, Mass., assisting in laying out courses of study for institute instructors and preparing manuals for the use of teachers on the subject of physiology and hygiene and the effects of narcotics. Miss Benedict is a pleasant, logical and forcible speaker and writer in her special line of educational and scientific topics, and is in frequent demand as an instructor at teachers' institutes.