Woman of the Century/Matilda B. Carse
CARSE, Mrs. Matilda B., philanthropist, temperance worker and financier, is of Scotch-Irish origin. She has lived almost continually in Chicago, Ill., since 1858. Her husband, Thomas Carse, was a railroad manager in Louisville. Ky., during the Civil War. In 1869 they went abroad for the benefit of Mr. Carse's health. He died in Paris, France, in June, 1870, leaving Mrs. Carse with three boys under seven years of age. The youngest of those while in Paris had a fall, which developed hip disease. He had almost recovered his health, when in 1874, in Chicago, he was run over by a wagon driven by a drunken man and instantly killed. His tragic death caused his mother to devote her life to the alleviation of the poor and suffering, especially among children. She registered a vow that, until the last hour of her life, she would devote every power of which she was possessed to annihilate the liquor traffic, and with a persistency never surpassed, has bravely kept her word. She early became prominent in temperance work, and has been president of the Chicago Central Woman's Temperance Union since 1878. That union is one of the most active in the country, and supports more charities than any other. To Mrs. Carse is due the credit of establishing, under the auspices of her union, the first creché, or day nursery in Chicago, known as the Bethesda Day Nursery. That was followed in a year or two by the establishment, through her efforts, of a second, known as the Talcott Day Nursery. Beside those nurseries the union supports two kindergartens among the very poorest class; two gospel temperance meetings that are nightly attended by crowds of intemperate men, seeking to be saved from themselves; two Sunday-schools; the Anchorage Mission, a home for erring girls who have only taken the first step in wrong doing, and desire to return to a pure life; a reading room for men; two dispensaries for the poor; two industrial schools, and three mother's meetings. Those charities are supported at a cost of over ten-thousand dollars yearly. Mrs. Carse personally raises almost the entire amount She founded the Woman's Temperance Publishing Association, and in January, 1880, the first number of the "Signal" was published, a large sixteen-page weekly paper. Two years later "Our Union" was merged with it, and as the "Union Signal" it became the national organ of the society. Mrs. Carse also started the first stock company entirely composed of women, as no man can own stock in the Woman's Temperance Publishing Association. It was started with a capital stock of five-thousand dollars, which has been increased to one-hundred-twenty-five-thousand dollars; from having but one paid employee, it now has one-hundred-thirty-five persons on its pay-roll. Mrs. Carse has been the president and financial backer of the association since its first inception. In 1885 she began planning for the great building, the Woman's Temperance Temple in Chicago, the national headquarters of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The ground is valued at one-million dollars; the building cost one-million-two-hundred-thousand dollars; the rentals from the building will bring in an annual income of over two-hundred-thousand dollars; the capital stock is six-hundred-thousand dollars, one-half of which is now owned by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and it is expected all will be secured to that association. Mrs. Carse is founder and president of the Woman's Dormitory Association of the Columbian Exposition. That work was done in connection with the Board of Lady Managers of the World's Columbian Exposition, of which she is a member. She was the first woman in Cook county to be appointed on the school board where she served a term of years with great acceptability. Her name appears upon several charitable boards as a director. For years she was a member of the board of the Home for Discharged Prisoners. She is also on the free kindergarten boards, and is a member of the Woman's Club of Chicago. In all the wide range of charities to which she has given active help the one that probably lies nearest her heart, and to which she has Riven a stronger hand of aid than to any other, helping to raise for its buildings and maintenance tens of thousands of dollars, is the Chicago Foundling's Home, the Reverend Dr. George E. Shipman being its founder. She established its aid society, and has been its president since its inception. Mrs. Carse receives no compensation whatever for her services to the public.