CDV Lot/Suffragist EVA MUNSON SMITH/SPRINGFIELD IL/1869

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  • Item Category: Fine Art
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Feb 03,2011
  • Channel: Online Auction
Tintype photograph in carte-de-visite mount (just under 2 ½” by 4”) and visiting card (just under 2 ¼” by 3 ¼”) of Eva Munson Smith of Springfield, Illinois, plus a carte-de-visite photograph (just under 2 ½” by 4”) of her husband George Clinton Smith, circa late 1860s to early 1870s. The tintype in CDV mount, dated in ink at bottom 1869 and identified in the album simply as “Eva,” shows a young woman with curly dark hair and a dark colored posing for her likeness in a photographic studio. The mount has advertising on the reverse for the photographer, Catlin and Williams of Jacksonville IL. This is the Eva Munson Smith (1843-1915) who became a prominent composer, author, and social reformer in the late 19th century. The daughter of composer and school teacher William Chandler Munson of Vermont, Eva was born in Ogdensburgh, New York. Her father accepted a teaching position at the Asbury Manual Labor School and moved his wife and two daughters to Winchester, Tennessee, in the mid 1850s. The school, though administered by the Missionary Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, was largely funded by the Creek Indian tribe and educated young Native American boys and girls aged eight to sixteen years. The school had an enrollment of over eighty students in 1858. One of its teenage students, G.W. Grayson, claimed in his memoirs that Eva Munson had a crush on him and embarrassed them both with her unwanted attentions. “This young lady survived, as I understand, all of her nearest relatives,” Grayson wrote, “married a gentleman who had served as captain in the Federal army during the Civil War named George Clinton Smith and is living in Springfield, Illinois, a worker of statewide note in the Temperance cause.” (See G.W. Grayson, _A Creek Warrior for the Confederacy_, p. 43.) While living in Winchester, Eva F. Munson attended Mary Sharp College and gained some notoriety for herself as a singer. The family remained there for the first year or two of the Civil War, even though William C. Munson was a staunch Unionist and risked the lives of himself and his family by staying in Winchester. He removed his family to Rockford, Illinois, where Eva attended and graduated from Rockford Female Seminary in 1864. Upon her father’s death in 1867, Eva F. Munson moved to Nebraska City, Nebraska, and took charge of the Music Department at Otoe University. She met and married George Clinton Smith there in 1869. The couple moved to Springfield, Illinois, in 1874, and would spend the rest of their lives in that city. George worked as a pharmacist, while Eva likely continued teaching music and composing. The published several songs in the 1870s and 1880s, and a few enjoyed some popularity. Eva Munson Smith also took a scholarly interest in the history of women and music and published _Woman and Sacred Song: A Library of Hymns, Religious Poems, and Sacred by Woman_ in 1885, a work that (when revised in 1887) collected together poems written by some 830 different women and an additional 150 hymns composed by 50 women. The suffragist Frances Willard wrote the introduction to the volume. The book was well received and gained Eva Munson Smith some notoriety. Smith was also deeply involved with social reform movements in Illinois in these years. She was a founding member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) , a reform group that actively pursued the issue of women’s suffrage. Smith also served sixteen years as vice president of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Club, and was acquainted with many of the leading figures in suffrage and reform movements. She died in 1915, leaving her husband a widow. This item is in very good condition with only light wear and soiling that paper holding the tintype to the mount on the reverse has come loose, and I’ve used two small pieces of adhesive tape to hold it in place. The tintype exhibits very good or better tonal range and detail. The second item in this lot is a CDV photograph of her husband, George Clinton Smith, with advertising on the reverse for the photographer, Leonard J. Martin of Topeka, Kans...

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