Woman of the Century/Mary Ashley Van Voorhis Townsend
TOWNSEND, Mrs. Mary Ashley Van Voorhis, poet, born in Lyons. N. Y., in 1836. She moved to New Orleans, La., in early girlhood and has lived there ever since, save for a short time, when she lived in the West. Her husband. Gideon Townsend, is a wealthy banker, prominently identified with the business interests of New Orleans. Mrs. Townsend is the mother of three daughters. She has been writing since she was a young girl. Her first efforts were short stories, so popular that they went the "rounds of the press." Her first book was a novel, "The Brother Clerks: A Tale of New Orleans" (New York, 1889). In 1870 she published the well-known poem, "A Georgia Volunteer." Next came "Xarilla's Poems" (Philadelphia, 1870). This was followed by a fine dramatic poem of some length, "The Captain's Story" (Philadelphia, 1874). In 1881 she brought out " Down the Bayou and Other Poems" (Boston). Her most important single poem, "Creed." appeared first in the New Orleans "Picayune," in 1869, and at once went ringing round the land, crossed the Atlantic, made itself famous in England and has never lost the hold upon the hearts of the people which it so speedily gained. She was seeded as the writer of the poem for the New Orleans Cotton Exposition. She has made several visits to Mexico, and is a member of the Liceo Hidalgo, the foremost literary club in the city of Mexico, numbering among its members the most brilliant literary men of that country. At the time of her election she was the only American woman so honored. Her latest works are a book on Mexico and a volume of sonnets. Mrs. Townsend's life has been devoted to the highest and purest aims in literature, and her work has all been broad and uplifting. Her home-life is exceptionally happy and conganial. MARY ASHLEY VAN VOORHIS TOWNSEND. One of her daughters was married to a son of Edwin M. Stanton. Mrs. Townsend's intellect is stamped on her strong face.