MARY PORTER TILES[T)ON HEMENWAY (Dec 20.1820. -Mar 6 1894). Philanthropist

Mary Hemenway was born in New York of old New England ancestry, the daughter of a shipping merchant, Thomas Tileson and Mary (Porter) Tileson. She went to a private school in New York and at home "was reared" as she said principally on household duties, the Bible and Shakespeare.

On June 2, 1840, she married Augustus Hemenway a successful merchant, and thereafter she was identified with Boston Mass:. Her husband died in 1876, but she survived him eighteen years devoting her wealth and her energies to the development of numerous educational and philanthropical projects. She read carefully, loved pictures, and knew well leading writers and citizens. She was a member of James Freeman Clarke's Church of the Disciples. A queenly woman without affectation or condescension she combined in her philanthropic work enthusiam with effectiveness. She sought helpers and her benefactions were generally the able result of careful thought.

After the Civil War she helped the establishment of schools on the southern seaboard for both whites and blacks. Later she made gifts to Armstrong at Hampton and Booker Washington at Tuskeegee for the further education of the freed men. In the course of her welfare work for soldier's families during the war she had discovered that many of the soldier's wives did not now how to sew, accordingly, in 1865, she provided a teacher and materials for systematic instruction in sewing in a Boston public school. The experiment brought good results and the instruction was taken over by the city. In 1883 she started an industrial-vocation school in Boston and two years later in 1885 she opened a kitchen in a pubic school, the first venture of its kind in the United States. After three years the city assumed the cost of the kitchen, and cooking, as well as sewing became part of the program of education. Meanwhile, in 1887, Mrs Hemenway had started the Boston Normal School of Cooking, which after her death became the Mary H Hemenway Department of Household Arts in the State Normal School of Framingham. Next for a year, she provided a hundred Boston school teachers free instruction in gymnastics using the Swedish system as best adapted to schoolrooms. In order to interest the public, she promoted in 1889 a conference on physical training, held in Boston which led to the introduction of gymnastics in the city's public schools by action of the School Committees, and was influential in stimulating nation wide interest in the cause of physical education.

In 1889 also she established the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics which twenty years later became the Department of Hygiene and Physical Education of Wellesley College. She promoted at much personal effort the Boston Teachers Mutual Benefit Association. In 1876 in order to save from destruction the Old South Meeting House, famous for meetings in the old revolution days she gave $100,000-, a quarter of the sum required- her hope being to make the church a center for the cultivation of patriotic idealism through education in history. Prizes were offered for essays by high school pupils, historical lectures were given, the Old South leaflets as a series of reprints of "historical sources" edited by Edwin D. Mead, were issued, and the young persons who had competed for prizes were organised into a historical society. At a time when the history of the United States had no place in the School curriculum the "Old South work" was almost unique. Such scholars as John Fiske and James K Hosmer furthered Mrs Hemenway's plans and were helped by her to publish lectures and biographies. Her history and her interest in American history was further evidenced by her promotion of the Hemenway South Western Archeological Expedition begun in 1866 under Frank M Cushing of the United States Bureau of Ethnology, and continued in 1900 under J.W. Fewkes of the Bureau.

The collections made by the expedition are kept in the Hemenway Room at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University the result of its investigations are set forth in five volumes in the Journal of American Ethnology and Archeology (1891-1908) edited by Fewkes and published at Mrs Hemenway's expense. Her will provided for the support of her various enterprises for fifteen years during which time her trustees were able to put them in a permanent basis. A Memorial of the Life and Benefactions of Mary Hemenway 1829-1894 was privately printed and a preface signed by Mary Wilder Tileston.

The foregoing was taken from the pages of American National Biography.