July 4, 1909

July 6, 2013 § Leave a comment


When I decided to title Susan’s biography Susan Lawrence; The Enigma in the Wright House, I was conveying one of the major conclusions I had drawn during my research: Susan cannot be categorized.  She was a different person at different times of her life.  As her environment and circumstances changed, she assumed a new persona and frequently a new name.

This point was dramatically brought home to me again through two different 4th of July stories.  Last year I posted a description of how Susan and her first husband Edwin Dana gaily celebrated July 4, 1895, with the elite social set of Springfield (To read that post, click here).  This year I found the following news story in the July 3, 1909, Illinois State Journal:

For the first time in the history of Springfield the young women of the city will give a patriotic program on the Fourth of July.  This interesting feature will be held at 4 o’clock in the afternoon at First Presbyterian church in charge of the Young Woman’s Christian Association of the city…The church will be very prettily decorated in flags for the occasion.  The following are the numbers to be given:

Song—“Onward Christian Soldiers”

Devotional exercises—Mrs. L. E. Wheeler

“Battle Hymn of the Republic”-The Misses Grace Myers and Electa Sutton, with chorus by the audience

Reading—Miss Grace Kincaid

Music—Miss Althea Gross

Address—Mrs. E. S. Walker

Account of Fourth of July held in London, England—Mrs. Susan Lawrence Dana


The tone of Susan’s 1909 July 4th celebration was decidedly different from that of 1895 because much had changed in her life in the intervening 14 years.  Mrs. Edwin Dana was the widowed Mrs. Susan Lawrence Dana.  She had become a community leader (She was instrumental in establishing the YWCA.), had traveled in Europe for six months in 1907 and three months in 1908, and had developed the self-confidence of a public speaker.  At this time I can find no record of Susan’s other July 4th celebrations, but I am sure of two things: Each celebration was different, and Susan’s name had changed.

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