Women of Note

Mayme Spencer

Attorney Mayme Finley Spencer was Evanston’s first African-American female alderman. She came to Evanston in 1957 with her husband Warren, a doctor at the Community Hospital. Spencer was elected alderman in 1963 and served two terms. A graduate of Kent College of Law, Spencer practiced law for many years at a Chicago law firm while …

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Kay Davis

Katherine McDonald Wimp (better known by her stage name, Kay Davis) (1920 – ) was a classically trained vocalist, receiving her Masters Degree from Northwestern University in 1943.  She joined Duke Ellington’s band in 1944 as one of his trio of female singers and toured with the band throughout the U.S. and Europe in the …

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Evanston and Women's Suffrage

From Evanston’s earliest years, women were active locally and nationally in advocating for women’s suffrage. As early as 1876, Evanston was home to the Pro and Con Club, organized by Elizabeth Boynton Harbert, author and suffrage activist, for the purpose of discussing women’s suffrage. Harbert had participated in the founding of the American Woman’s Suffrage Association …

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Florence Walrath

Following her sister’s experience with infertility, Florence Walrath (1877-1958) founded The Cradle adoption agency in 1923.  At the time, adoption facilities had not changed much since the 19th Century.  Walrath and The Cradle became leaders in the effort to dignify adoption and improve the quality of child care in these agencies. She and her staff …

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Alice Bunker Stockham

Alice Bunker Stockham (1833-1912) was a doctor who specialized in pediatrics and women’s reproductive health. She wrote pioneering books and pamphlets on female sexuality at a time when the subject was taboo, founded a publishing house to print them, and later was tried and found guilty of sending improper material through the mail. She came …

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Edna Dean Baker

Edna Dean Baker (1883-1956) was a pioneering educator who helped develop standards for early childhood education in the U.S. She served as president of the National College of Education (now National Louis University) from 1920 until 1949 and, with her sister Clara, founded the Baker Demonstration School there. The two were early proponents of kindergarten …

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