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Bonney, Margaret Atherton



Margaret Atherton Bonney was a historian and editor at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Bonney conducted research on Mary Jane Coggeshall, Abner Kneeland, Jennie McCowen and Mary Louise Duncan Putnam.

Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall (1836-1911) promoted women's suffrage for forty-one years in Des Moines, Iowa. Coggeshall was a charter member of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association in 1870 and served as the Association's president from 1890-1891 and from 1903-1905. She was editor of the Woman's Standard, the monthly newspaper of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association, and was also active in the woman's suffrage movement on the national level, serving on the board of the National American Woman Suffrage Association for several years beginning in 1895. Carrie Chapman Catt called Coggeshall 'the Mother of Woman Suffrage in Iowa.' Nominated by Margaret Atherton Bonney, Coggeshall was inducted posthumously into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1990.

Abner Kneeland (1774-1844) was a pioneer evangelist and minister, advocating Universalism for a quarter of a century before ultimately being led beyond Christianity to Pantheism (the belief that God and Nature are synonymous). Kneeland advocated birth control and supported women's rights in social and marital relationships, and politics. After he left the Universalist fellowship, Kneeland became the last man to be convicted of blasphemy in the state of Massachusetts. Following his release from jail in 1839 Kneeland moved to Iowa and started a small community he named Salubria (near present day Farmington.) The purpose of the community was to provide a place where freedom of speech and freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Constitution could be practiced freely. The community folded shortly after Kneeland's death in 1844.

Jennie McCowen (1845-1924) entered the Medical Department at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in 1873 and graduated with honors in 1876. In 1875 McCowen became a staff physician at the Iowa Hospital for the Insane in Mount Pleasant, one of the first women in the country to be appointed to such a position. In 1880 McCowen relocated to Davenport, Iowa and variously served as secretary and president of the Scott County Medical Society, refusing a third term as president in 1885. In 1886 McCowen became one of the medical examiners at the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa). McCowen was elected to offices in several state, national and international medical societies. In 1887 she founded the Working Woman's Lend-a-Hand Club in Davenport, an unusual organization designed to promote sisterhood and mutual aid among employed women. McCowen was also connected to the Davenport Academy of Science (now the Putnam Museum) where she served as president for two terms. In 1892 McCowen founded the Woman's Hospital of Davenport.

Mary Louise Duncan Putnam (1832-1903) worked for the development of the Davenport Academy of Science, now the Putnam Museum, in 1867. She was the first woman member of the Academy and later became its president. In 1876 Putnam was responsible for publication of the first Proceedings of the Academy, which later gained worldwide circulation. Putnam became editor of the publication following the death of her son Joseph, the previous editor, in 1881. Highly committed to public education, Mary Putnam established programs for children and adults. School children were invited to study natural history at the Academy through her planning and effort. Upon her death in 1903 Mary Putnam left a trust for the care and preservation of and additions to the collection of entomology and for the continued publication and distribution of the Proceedings. Nominated by Margaret Atherton Bonney, Putnam was inducted posthumously into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1991.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Margaret Atherton Bonney papers

Identifier: IWA0313

Bonney's research files include Iowa suffragist Mary Jane Coggeshall, scientist Mary Louise Putnam, physician Jennie McCowen, and pioneer evangelist and minister, Abner Kneeland

Dates: 1810-1992