Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, January 30, 1994, pg. 16
Last week we presented an article about local Albion florist, Arthur H. Dew, father of Albion’s most famous reporter and world traveler, Gwendolyn Dew. One wonders where Gwendolyn got her journalistic talents and adventuresome spirit. This week here in our Historical Notebook we shall find the answer to that question, as we focus on Gwendolyn’s aunt, Louis E. Dew (1871-1963), Arthur H. Dew’s sister. A listing of some of Louise’s accomplishments in life will make the reader here realize that these qualities were passed on to her niece Gwendolyn.
Louise E. Dew was a well known writer and editor in the early 20th century. Born in St. Johns, she was educated in Lansing, and Washington. She began her writing career in the 1890s as a contributor to the Michigan Christian Advocate. She later served as a female reporter for the Detroit Tribune. Beginning in 1898 she began her long association with a variety of women’s magazines. These included associate editor of the Ladies’ Illustrated Journal, woman’s editor of McCall’s, Smart Styles, Woman’s Home Companion, The Lady’s World, the Philadelphia North American, etc. She was a leading contributor to many leading publications in the U.S. from 1906 to 1929. Her family’s floral connection heritage came out in some of her writings, as she was the editor of the publication, How to Grow Flowers (later Home and Flowers), and Pets and Animals. Her articles appeared in many languages, and she was a member of several prestigious literary and journalistic organizations. Her biography appeared regularly in Who’s Who for many years.
Louise E. Dew was married to Clarence H. Watrous, but still went by her maiden name in her writings.
In 1899 she was sent on a tour of the world by Chicago newspapers, and took a keen interest in the orient, particularly Japan. She interviewed Queen Victoria, and published an article entitled “Queen Victoria and I,” which was well received. Louise E. Dew also interviewed Admiral Robert Perry, who discovered the North Pole. She was the first woman allowed to travel in a locomotive engine car, and rode across the country, writing syndicated stories along the way to leading newspapers. Louise E. Dew was know as the “flower lady” to hundreds of Italian and Jewish children on the lower east side of New York City. It is said that there were more that 1,000 children who were named for her as either “Louis” or “Louise,” as the result of her humanitarian work with children. While editor of This Lady’s World, Louise visited many homes, and sent several hundred children to summer camp in the country with her own money, and with money collected from friends.
Louise also crossed the Pacific Ocean on a freight ship as a guest of the California and Oriental Shipping Company. She was the first woman to ride in an aerial tramway, the event of which occurred in Hong Kong.
It is amazing how her life’s experiences, travels, and writings parallels those of her nice, Albionite Gwendolyn Dew. Louise spent her final years at the Wishing Tree Lodge in Clinton, Connecticut, where she died in 1963 at the age of 92. Louise was very fond of her niece, and the two corresponded especially in their retirement years.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Louise E. Dew, taken apparently sometime during the 1920s. If you’ll get ahold of an old Who’s Who, you’ll discover that Louise E. Dew takes up six inches of biographical space in that resource publication. Her articles and accomplishments are so numerous that we could only briefly mention a few of them in this week’s article.
Louise E. Dew
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic