Sarah Orne Jewett House

Mrs. Humphrey Ward

On their 1892 trip to Europe, Sarah and Annie met Mrs. Humphry Ward, a British novelist and social reformer, living and teaching among the poor to improve poor children’s education. Her most famous work, Robert Elsmere, was controversial for promoting Christianity through social concern.

Mary Augusta Ward, writing under her name Mrs. Humphry Ward, was against women’s suffrage and became the founding President of the Women’s Anti-Suffrage League. She, and a number of her sex who were against women’s suffrage, believed that women would lose their moral authority in society if they got the vote. Other anti-suffrage women believed that only men could solve the larger issues of the world.

On meeting Ward, Jewett wrote to her sister Mary, “She is very clear and shining in her young mind, brilliant and full of charm, and with a lovely simplicity and sincerity of manner.”  Transcription by Terry Heller, Coe College.