Kristine’s description of her lunch with Esther Peterson got me to thinking about other women I wish I could have met. I was somewhat surprised that Louie Felt and May Anderson popped into my mind. These two women were the first two presidents of the Primary. Between them they presided over the Primary from 1880 (at its beginning) to 1940. Louie Felt was a plural wife; May Anderson never married. (May was quite a few years Louie’s junior.) Neither had children. I take my title from the title of an article about the two that appeared in the Children’s Friend, the magazine they edited together for decades.
I loved the story about these two women from the Friend. It described in some detail the close friendship that developed between the two, the American plural wife and the British convert. The two shared a house together from soon after their meeting until Louie’s death. Louie didn’t like traveling alone for the Primary from settlement to settlement. She insisted that May give up her tea (so the story in the Friend goes) so that Louie could call her to be secretary of the Primary. That way Louie would have a traveling companion. The article described the two women sitting in their bed in the house they shared together correcting proofs for the children’s magazine. The two also founded the Primary Children’s Hospital. The article emphasized the importance of their devoted friendship in leading the Primary.
The nineteenth-century language of friendship and love always delights me. So much to learn. Others I’d take to lunch in a minute: Emma Smith, Sarah Pratt, Emmeline B. Wells, Amy Brown Lyman. . . . . .I could make a very long list.