Woman of the Century/Mary Elizabeth Sherwood
SHERWOOD, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth, author and social leader, born in Keene. N. H., in 1830. Her father, General James Wilson, served as a member of Congress from New Hampshire. Her mother was Mary Richardson, a woman of great personal beauty and fine intellect. On her father's side she is of Irish extraction Mary received a thorough education. When her father was in Congress, the family lived in Washington, D. C., and soon alter his election his wife died, and upon Mary fell the care of the large family. She was a young woman of strong intelligence and great beauty. She was acquainted with Bancroft. Motley, Bryant, Prescott and many other men of note. At the age of seventeen she published a criticism of "Jane Eyre," which attracted much attention. While living in Washington, she became the wife of John Sherwood, who is still living. Their union has been a happy one. Her literary work includes correspondence with eminent men and women abroad, and many contributions to the "Atlantic Monthly," "Scribner's Magazine," "Appleton's Journal," the "Galaxy." and the New York "Tribune," "Times" and "World." For years she corresponded for the Boston "Traveller." Her work in "Harper's Bazar," "Frank Leslie's Weekly" and other journals from Maine to Oregon would fill many volumes. Among her published books are "The Sarcasm of Destiny" (New York, 1877); "Home Amusements" (1881); "Amenities of Home" (1881); "A Transplanted Rose" (1882); "Manners and Social Usages" MARY ELIZABETH SHERWOOD. (1884); "Royal Girls and Royal Courts" (Boston, 1887), and "Sweet Brier" (Boston, 1889). She has written many poems, to which she signs the initials, "M. K. W. S." She has translated some poems from European languages. She has written hundreds of short stories, many of which appeared anonymously. During her seasons abroad she formed the acquaintance of Queen Victoria and other notable persons. She has had three interviews with the Queen of Italy. She has traveled extensively in Europe for years. In 1885 she gave readings in her New York City home in aid of the Mount Vernon Fund, and they became so popular that she continued them for several years, giving the proceeds to charity, realizing over $10,000 in that way. Her readings comprise essays on travel, literature and history. She is the president of the "Causeries," a literary club composed of women distinguished in New York society. Her family consisted of four sons, two of whom, James Wilson Sherwood and John Philip Sties wood, died in early manhood. Her living sores are Samuel Sherwood, the artist, and Arthur Murray Sherwood, the broker. In Mrs. Sherwood's parlors hang the original and imaginative drawings and paintings of her two artist sons. One is by Samuel Sherwood of his brother Philip, taken just before his death Several done by Philip Sherwood show that in his early death a genius was lost to the world. In his name his mother has contributed to the funds of the Home for the Destitute Blind, the St. Joseph's Hospital, the Kindergarten for the Blind, the Woman's Exchange, the New York Diet Kitchen, the Manhattan Hospital and Dispensary, the Home of St. Elizabeth and many others, various schemes to care for children, and to many objects known to only her friends, who confide to her sufferings not made public, and especially for women in need and for young women who are striving to fit themselves for a profession by which they may earn an honorable livelihood. She has done much to advance literature and science in New York City. She is still active in benevolent and literary lines. Among her many testimonials of recognition abroad, she was decorated with the insignia of Officier d'Academie, an honor conferred by the French Minister of Public Instruction on persons who have distinguished themselves in literary pursuits. It is said to be the first time this decoration has been conferred upon an American woman.