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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.

  
 

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Mrs. James Callanan

Martha Coonley, early Iowa reformer and editor, was born near Albany, N. Y., May 18, 1863.  She received an education such as the common schools of that period provided.  In 1846 she was married to James Callanan, a lawyer by profession, but who was interested in many financial institutions in Des Moines.  He was President of the Capital City Bank, a director in the Citizen's National Bank, the State Savings' Bank, and in the Iowa Loan and Trust Co., was one of the founders of the Hawkeye Insurance Co. and part owner of the Des Moines and Minneapolis Railroad.  Possessed of great wealth and with a mind which saw the needs of those less fortunate than herself, and with a heart which prompted her to aid in all sorts of philanthropical and educational measures, she became one of the philanthropists and reformers of Iowa.  She was prominent in the work of the W. C. T. U., in both the state and national work, a liberal contributor to the Benedict Home for friendless girls, was one of the founders of the Home for the aged, was a supporter of the Methodist church in all of its lines of work, particularly in the cause of missions.  She aided many struggling colleges and helped in the education of many boys and girls who, without her aid, would have missed the privilege of a higher education.  In 1870 she helped to organize the Equal Suffrage Association of Iowa, at a convention called at Des Moines for that purpose.  She gave liberal financial aid to the association and edited and published the Woman's Standard, which advocated equal suffrage, temperance and other reform movements.  She died Aug. 16, 1901.

 

 

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