Woman of the Century/Fanny Purdy Palmer
PALMER, Mrs. Fanny Purdy, author, born in New York, N. Y., 11th July, 1839. She is the only child of Henry and Mary Catherine Sharp Purdy, descended on her father's side from Capt. Purdy, of the British army, who was killed in the battle of White Plains, and a member of whose family was among the early settlers of Westchester county, N. Y. On the maternal side Mrs. Palmer comes of the Shams, a family of Scotch origin settled in Albany, N. Y., about 1750, and having descendants for four generations residing in New York City. FANNY PIRDY PALMER. Of a high intellectual order, her mind encompasses a wide field of literary and executive ability. With the advantage of a good early education, acquired in part in the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Buffalo, N. Y.. and later in Packer Institute, Brooklyn, N. Y., she has been trained to the development of faculties and characteristics that render her a marked type of the American woman of to-day, who combines literary tastes and social activities with a domestic sovereignty that is pronounced in its energy. Her literary bent was early indicated by contributions to the "Home Journal" over the pen-name of "Florio," and to "Putnam's Magazine" and "Peterson's Magazine." On 7th October, 1862, she became the wife of Dr. William H. Palmer, Surgeon of the Third New York Cavalry, and accompanied him to the seat of war, there continuing her literary work, during the four stirring years which ensued, by short stories and poems for Harper's periodicals and the "Galaxy," and letters to various newspapers from North Carolina and Virginia. In 1867 Dr. and Mrs. Palmer located in Providence, R. I., where they have since resided. During those years she has been continuously identified with all the prominent measures for the advancement of women and with many philanthropic and educational movements. From 1876 to 1884 she served as a member of the Providence school committee. For several years she was secretary of the Rhode Island Woman Suffrage Association. For the year 1891-92 she was president of the Woman's Educational and Industrial Union, and from 1884 to 1894 president of the Rhode Island Women's Club and a director of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. Mrs. Palmer's public work has been accompanied by habits of systematic private study and of professional literary employment involving regular work on one or two weekly newspapers. She is a moving spirit in various parlor clubs and reading circles, and her own reading, especially in philosophy and history, has given her mental discipline and a wide range of culture. She speaks readily and understands the duties of a presiding officer. She has taken special interest in popularizing the Study of American history, having herself prepared and given a series of "Familiar Talks on American History" as a branch of the educational work of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union. She is one of the managers of the Providence Free Kindergarten Association, and, being keenly alive to the importance of the higher education of women, is secretary of a society organized to secure for women the educational privileges of Brown University. By the recent action of Brown (June, 1892) all of its examinations and degrees have been opened to women. She is the author of a volume of entertaining short stories, "A Dead Level and Other Fpisodes*' (Buffalo. 1892). She is at present preparing a collection of her poems for the press. She has two children, a son and a daughter, the latter a student in Bryn Mawr College.