Woman of the Century/Katharine Johnson Jackson
JACKSON, Mrs. Katharine Johnson, physician, born in an isolated farmhouse among the bleak hills of Sturbridge, Worcester county, Mass., 7th April, 1841. Attendance in the district school alternated with home study until the age of sixteen, when she spent a year in a select school in Hopedale, Mass. Afterwards, under a private tutor, she prepared for the high-school course in Hartford, Conn., where she was subsequently engaged as a teacher. From both parents she inherited refined and cultivated tastes and a fondness for books, which has made her an eager and faithful student. Her father, the Hon. Emerson Johnson, has been a member of both the House of Representatives and Senate of Massachusetts. Dr. Jackson has always enjoyed active physical exercise, especially housework, in which she became proficient as a young girl. She was also fond of out- door sports and walking, and could never so perfectly master a Latin or history lesson, as after a long walk over the hills or vigorous indoor work. In later life, whenever she could have, as rarely happened, what she calls a "play spell" of housework, she has found it the most satisfactory relief from professional taxation. Ambitious to be self-supporting, she took up the study of stenography at home, and was probably among the first women to adopt that profession. Her acquaintance with the Jackson Sanatorium, in Dansville, N. Y., where she was destined to find her life-work, began in the KATHARINE JOHNSON JACKSON. year 1861, when she became private secretary to Dr. James C. Jackson, who was at that time conducting his institution under the name of "Our Home on the Hillside." It was during the two-and-a-half years which she spent there that the acquaintance with Dr. Jackson's son, James H. Jackson, ripened into a mutual affection, which resulted in their marriage on 13th September, 1864. After the lapse of a few years, during which time their only child, James Arthur Jackson, was born, she and her husband went to New York for a medical course, he in Bellevue and she in the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary. She was graduated in 1877 as the valedictorian of her class, and at once assumed professional duties and responsibilities in the institution, which she, as much as any one individual, has helped to make a home and haven of rest for the sick and suffering. Her nature is rarely well poised, sympathetic and hopeful, and it is often observed by strangers that the experiences of professional life have in no wise lessened the womanly grace and charm which are her peculiar attributes. From her New England ancestry she has inherited a catholic religious spirit, which expresses itself in an unwavering trust in the Infinite Love and faith in the inherent goodness of human nature. The secret of her influence is in her single-minded devotion to the work of helping all who need help, whether physical or spiritual. To her nothing is common or trivial Though she has a heartfelt interest in all progressive social movements which tend to alleviate suffering, uplift humanity or insure the progress of women, her time is so fully occupied as to afford little opportunity for public expression of her sentiments, except through her writings. While she is progressive, she is never aggressive. Her presence, like her spoken or written word, radiates peace. She is an able and accomplished writer and an attractive and persuasive speaker, her talks upon health and kindred topics being among the most practical and valuable instructions given to the patients in the Jackson Sanatorium. As a successful physician, a devoted wife, mother, daughter and friend, Dr. Jackson is an inspiring type of the nineteenth century woman.