Woman of the Century/Kate Tannatt Woods
WOODS, Mrs. Kate Tannatt, author, editor and poet, born in Peekskill-on-the-Hudson, N. Y., 29th December, 1838. Her father, James S. Tannatt, was a descendant of an old Welsh nobleman, who came to the United States for the pleasures of hunting. The father of Kate was born in Boston, Mass., but left that city when very' young and went abroad. He afterwards became an editor in New York, and there was married to the brilliant woman who was the mother of Mrs. Woods. Both parents were intelligent and fond of literary life and books. The mother, Mary Gilmore, came of literary stock, being a descendant of Sir John Gilmore, the owner of Craigmiller KATE TANNATT WOODS. Castle, near Edinburgh, Scotland. In her childhood Kate was very delicate, but an excellent scholar. A rheumatic affection of the hip kept her for some years from joining girls of her age in active sports, and her books were her delight. Her taste was fostered by her parents, although novels, save Sir Walter Scott's, were strictly forbidden to her. Owing to poor health and an affection of the eyes, which was the result of incessant reading and study, the young and ambitious girl was compelled, after leaving her New York home, to continue her studies with private tutors. She had been a pupil in the Peekskill Seminary, where she made rapid progress. Upon the death of her father, his widow decided to move with her family to New England, where her sons could enjoy the advantage of public schools. For a time she made her home in New Hampshire with her eldest daughter, a half-sister of Kate, then the wife of a young physician. When the doctor removed to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the family went also. They remained but a short time, as Salem offered unusual advantages. Miss Tannatt was for a short time a teacher in the public schools, where nearly every pupil was as old as, or older than, herself. Her work was so well performed that a higher position was offered to her as a teacher. She declined the position to spend a year in New York, devoting herself to study and music. At the end of the year she became the wife of George H. Woods, a graduate of Brown University and the Harvard Law School. Mr. Woods was already settled in Minneapolis, Minn., where he took his young bride. Her first child was born in Minneapolis, and there she wrote some of her best poems and stories. After a time the physicians ordered her to the seaboard, as the climate of Minessota was too bracing for her. While visiting in New England, in the home of her husband's parents, the war broke out, and Mr. Woods raised a company for the First Minnesota Regiment and was sworn into service as first lieutenant. When the regiment was ordered to the front, Mrs. Woods joined him, taking her two babies with her, and ever after was the devoted nurse and friend of the soldiers. Her husband, who rose to high official position, was seriously injured while on duty, but he lived on for nineteen years, suffering constantly from his injuries. His death was sudden at last, and, worn out with the care of the family and a succession of deaths in her own and her husband's family, Mrs. Woods took the advice of her physcian and friends and sailed for Europe. For six months she quietly enjoyed study and travel, and then returned to America. During her husband's semi-invalid years she followed him wherever he chose to locate, until necessity compelled her to care for his parents and to educate her children, when she settled in the homestead in Salem. Mass., where she now lives. Her first production was published when she was but ten years old, and she as since kept her pen in active service. She is one of the editors of the "Ladies' Home Journal." of Philadelphia, a regular contributor to the leading magazines, and usually publishes one book each year. Her paintings in oil and water-color have received commendation. She is fond of music, is an excellent horsewoman, and is considered high authority in culinary- matters, besides excelling in embroidery. Her short stories and poems have never been collected, although the former are numbered by hundreds, and the latter are copied far and wide. Among her books are the following juveniles: "Six Little Rebels," "Dr. Dirk," "Out and About," "All Around a Rocking-Chair," "Duncans on Land and Sea," "Toots. and his Friends," "Twice Two'" and several others now out of print. Among her so-called novels, which are in reality true pictures of life, are "That Dreadful Boy," "The Ministers Secret," "Hidden for Years," "Hester Hepworth." "A Fair Maid of Marblehead," "Barbara's Ward," and "A Little New England Maid." Two beautifully illustrated poems from her pen are called "The Wooing of Grandmother Grey" and "Grand-father Grey." She is one of the officers of the Federation of Clubs, a member of the New England Woman's Club, vice-president of the Woman's National Press Association, an active member of many charitable organizations and literary societies, including the Unity Art Club of Boston and the Wintergreen Club. She is a member of the Author's Society of London, Eng., and is president of the Thought and Work Club of Salem. Much of her early work was done under the pen-name "Kate True." Until her sons were old enough not to miss her care, she declined to leave her home for public work. Now she is in demand as a speaker and lecturer. She frequently gives readings from her own works for charitable purposes, while her lectures on historical subjects are very popular.