Woman of the Century/Mary Sheldon Barnes
BARNES, Mrs. Mary Sheldon, educator and historian, born in Oswego, N. Y., 15th September, 1850. Her father was E. A. Sheldon, the principal of the Oswego Normal School. As a child she had a passion for study. After going through the high and normal schools and preparing for college with boys and girls who were bound for Harvard and Yale, she decided to go to college, and Michigan University was her choice. She entered that institution in 1871, as a classical sophomore in a class of eighty boys and eight girls. She MARY SHELDON BARNES. was graduated in the classical course in 1874. She then went to teach history, Latin and Greek in the Oswego State Normal School, but was soon called to Wellesley College, where she organized the department of history. She was at the head of that department from 1st January, 1877, to June, 1870. She next went to Europe for two years' study and travel, each of which had for her a strictly historical aim. She visited France, Italy, Egypt and Germany. The second year she spent as a student in Newnham College, Cambridge University, England, where she devoted the time to the study of modern history, under the direction of Prof J. R. Seeley, regius professor of modern history. On her return to the United States she taught history and literature in the Normal School in Oswego, Ni Y. Meanwhile she had been gathering materials for a text-book on general history which should present the subject on a more scientific method than the mere giving of a narrative. While in that school she met Earl Barnes. In 1885 they were married, and in that year her first book was published, under the title "Studies in General History" (Boston). It met an immediate and sympathetic welcome from those who understood her plan. It has come rather slowly into popular use, on account of its originality. Her publishers, however, felt warranted in urging her to make an American history on the same plan, which she accordingly undertook. In 1888 that work was interrupted by a literary engagement which took her husband and herself to Europe, where they spent a year in the libraries of London, Paris and Zurich, collecting historical materials. The second book has recently been published under the title "Studies in American History" (Boston, 1892), and is the joint work of herself and her husband. In 1892 Mr. Barnes was called to the Leland Stanford Junior University, at the head of the department of education. Mrs. Barnes has received an appointment as assistant professor of modern history, an appointment obtained without any sort of solicitation, and it is one of the first appointments of the kind made in an institution of that rank. Her "Studies in American History " is having an immediate success. The home of Mrs. Barnes is now in Palo Alto, Santa Clara county. Cal.