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Iowa History Daily: January 6 - Eleanor Elizabeth Gordon

Iowa History Daily: On January 6, 1942, important Iowa advocate of women’s education, suffrage, and general equality Eleanor Elizabeth Gordon died. A Unitarian minister of the “Iowa Sisterhood,” Gordon lived a life dedicated to breaking glass ceilings for Iowa’s women.

Born just across the river from Keokuk in 1852, Eleanor Elizabeth Gordon learning and spending time with her good friend and future “Iowa Sisterhood” member Mary Safford. She credited the reading and debate encouraged in her childhood home with helping her develop an inquiring mind to challenge the status quo.

After attending and graduating from the State University of Iowa, Eleanor Gordon spent time in Centerville working as assistant principal. She went on to teach in Hamilton before joining her friend Mary Safford in the Unitarian ministry. In 1900, Gordon took on the job of pastor in Iowa City. She also served congregations in Sioux City, Humboldt, Burlington, and Des Moines during her career.

Gordon also served as co-editor of the publication “Old and New,” and often wrote to express her views supporting suffrage. Education for girls and women also served as one of the important topics Gordon consistently advocated for throughout her career. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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