Woman of the Century/Mary F. Seymour
SEYMOUR, Miss Mary F., law reporter, business woman and journalist, born in Aurora, Ill. Her father was a lawyer in Galena, a man well MARY F. SEYMOUR. read in his profession, a fine linguist, and a student and writer on scientific subjects. Her mother was a broad-minded, philanthropic woman, possessing great executive ability. Mary, the oldest faughter, inherited the best traits of both parents. She was a born scribbler and, when she was eight years old, she began to write poems and stories. When she was eleven, a little drama she had written was acted by the children in the village school. She was educated in a boarding-school. While she was still young, her father, acting as counselor for a large company, started for California. While crossing the Isthmus, he was attacked by yellow fever and died. The family returned to the East Miss Seymour secured a school in New York City, where she taught until the confinement affected her health, and she was forced to resign. For a long time she was confined to her bed in New England, where she had been sent for a change of climate. Surrounded by books, she busied herself with her pen. She wrote stories for children, many of them of an instructive character, and a series of "talks" which appeared under the head of "Table Talk of Grandmother Greyleigh," and other more substantial work. The editor of one of the periodicals to which she had been contributing, offered her a regular position on the staff of a new paper he was starting, which has since become well known. She has always used a pen-name. Recovering health, she accepted a position in a New Jersey school. She was soon again forced to give up work, and in the enforced confinement she took up the study of stenography. She went to work in New York City, and was soon earning a large salary. She felt that women should be permitted to till any position for which they had the capacity, and she decided to do anything in her power to help them. Opening an office for typewriting, she engaged two competent young women who understood the use of the machine. As the business increased, there was work for more women, but no women who understood the work. At first tuition was free, but, as the expenses and pupils increased, a regular school was opened, which continues to flourish under the name of The Union School of Stenography. The office work increased until six separate offices were running successfully. Her tastes all tended to journalistic work, and, as her other enterprises reached their full fruition, she gave way to her natural bent and commenced the publication of a magazine devoted to the interest of women, the "Business Woman's Journal" After the first year a publishing company, composed entirely of women, was formed with the name of The Mary F. Seymour Publishing Company, Miss Seymour acting as editor of the magazine and as president of the company. The "Journal" was something new in the line of periodicals and was warmly received. In October, 1892, the magazine was enlarged and appeared under the name of the "American Woman's Journal and The Business Woman's Journal." In the spirit of self-help, and to prove the ability of women to manage large enterprises, all the stock of the company has been kept in the hands of women. and with very satisfactory results. When Miss Seymour was appointed Commissioner of Deeds for New Jersey, an appeal to the legislature was necessary to repeal the law to make 11 possible for a woman to be appointed to such an office. She is also a commissioner for the United States for the Court of Claims and a notary public of New York county, N. Y. In her interest in women and their work she has been interested in woman suffrage, and has given considerable attention to all branches of reform. She has been elected vice-president-at-large of the American Society of Authors.