Early Illinois Women

Sarah Atwater Denman, 1808-1882

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A Friend of the City. Article about the death of Sarah Denman from the Quincy (Illinois) Whig Newspaper, May 18,1882

transcription follows:


In the death of Mrs. [Sarah] Denman the city has lost an invaluable friend. Though in her life she shrank from publicity, and her burial, in accordance with her own wish, is to be private, THE WHIG would regard it as unfitting merely to announce the act of her death without some recognition of the Great services she has rendered to the higher interests of the city by her always opportune liberality. Fitting mention will doubtless be made elsewhere of the calm Christian faith in which she lived and died; there are many in this community who could tell of her numerous private charities, and the charm and culture of her home, the friends who have enjoyed her hospitality will cherish among their pleasantest memories, but THE WHIG would take occasion to acknowledge the debt which the city owes to her wise public liberality, and to suggest that in this respect more of our citizens might well emulate her example.

The value of any benevolence depends not altogether upon the amount of the gift, but also upon its seasonableness. Mrs. Denman's gifts were not only large, but they were bestowed with such judgement and timeliness as to secure important objects and benefits to the city which might otherwise have failed. Many citizens of large means and generous intentions fail to become public benefactors, and to leave behind them such a memory as Mrs. Denman has left, because they let slip by them the opportunities which they might seize for the building up of important public institutions. Mrs. Denman was not only willing to use large portions of her property for the benefit of the city, but she was quick to discern the right time for giving; and the Blessing hospital, the fine Presbyterian church, many books on the shelves of the library, and the free reading room, all bear witness to the wisdom and timeliness as well as to the extent of her benefactions. What she has done in private circles for the higher education and culture of women will not soon be forgotten by the different societies, like the Friends in Council, which she was largely instrumental in establishing and maintaining.

Contributing Library:

Quincy Public Library, Quincy, Illinois

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