May Genevieve  PRESTON

May Genevieve PRESTON

Female 1858 - 1943  (85 years)

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  • Name May Genevieve PRESTON  [2, 3
    • THE LADY CHAPLAIN

      CONVICTS IN A PENITENTIARY PETITIONED THE GOVERNOR TO APPOINT MRS. SLOSSON,
      By a Special Contributor.

      Mrs. May Preston Slosson, wife of Prof Slosson of Platt University, has recently been appointed chaplain to the Wyoming State Penitentiary at Laramie.

      Before her formal appointment as chaplain, Mrs. Slosson devoted several hours each week to teaching the convicts. When the Governor of the State decided that the welfare of the prisoners called for the appointment of a chaplain, he naturally turned to the clergy, and it was expected that some popular preacher of the day would receive the appointment, and with one voice petitioned the Governor that Mrs Slosson be made State chaplain.

      Mrs. Slosson is a native of New York State, and studied at Cornell University, where she was one of the first women enrolled; she was also the first woman to receive from the university the degree of Ph.D. In her undergraduate days she attracted the notice of President White and the late H.H. Boyesen, and was distinguished in her college course for her knowledge of literature and her readiness in composition, in both prose and verse.

      "The chaplain's work is still in the experimental stage," Mrs. Slosson says, in speaking of her appointment, "and marked results cannot yet be looked for. What I am trying to do for the prisoners is to awaken hoe in their hearts, to reiterate words of encouragement, to give them a desire to cultivate their higher natures. Hope is the best ally a chaplain can have in persuading men to reform, aided by a realization of the truth that those men are not unlike others--
      save these chains' of untoward circumstances. I try to make my afternoon sermons at the penitentiary as practical as can be; one series of talks on the ideal man took some manly quality for the text, each Sunday for instance, courage, honesty, industry, and so on. Sometimes I read to the men, sometimes I simply talk. I get the best music I can, and if some distinguished orator comes to Laramie I beg a talk for my boys.

      "How much I am doing for their reformation I cannot tell; they do love me, and that gives me courage to go on, and a certain leverage. The men are visited when sick, and their personal letters to the chaplain receive careful attention and an earl answer. They are urged to visit the chaplain when released, and many do so, and assure me of their determination to live a better life. many things encourage me, however, in my work; for one thing, the warden's report that cases of insubordination have deceased 50 per cent, since my appointment."

      Upon occasions Mrs. Slosson has been asked to preach at different churches. "Whether I preach a really sermon or only deliver a lecture, I cannot say." [1]
    Born 10 Sep 1858  New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Gender Female 
    Education 1880  [5
    Graduated from Cornell University 
    Census 1900  Living with husband in Laramie, Albany Co., Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Census 1910  Living with husband in Manhattan, New York Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Census 1920  Living with husband in Manhattan, New York Co., New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Died 26 Nov 1943  Ann Arbor, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    Notes 
    • Excerpts from "Graduate and Professional Education":

      The first woman to earn a Ph.D. at Cornell was Mary (May) G. Preston. As described by Charlotte Conable,
      In 1880, Cornell University awarded to may Preston a Ph.D. degree, the first such degree granted to a woman at this institution. After serving as professor of Greek and English, May Preston Slosson moved to Laramie, Wyoming, where she was appointed by the governor to serve as chaplain of the State Penitentiary for Men, reputedly one of the first women to hold such a position.

      May's graduate work was in philosophy and her thesis was entitled "Different Theories of Beauty." She was interviewed by Florence Hazzard many years later and observed that the four faculty who examined her for her degree in 1880 "compromised" on a harder cours for her than was required for male candidates at the time. As May noted, female students at Cornell in that era were "a picked lot," having a deep sense of responsibility. Their conduct had to be "impecable - couldn't be frivolous- were conscious of being pioneers." The examination by this committee was grueling, lasting one week and taking 8 hours per day.
    Person ID I45457  Main Tree
    Last Modified 12 Oct 2016 

    Father Levi C. PRESTON,   d. Bef 1900 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Mary GORSLINE,   b. May 1835, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 1920 and 1930  (Age ~ 84 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Family ID F17152  Group Sheet

    Family Edwin Emery SLOSSON,   b. 07 Jun 1865, Albany, Kansas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Oct 1929, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years) 
    Married 12 Aug 1891  Centralia, Kansas Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Children 
     1. Preston William SLOSSON,   b. 02 Sep 1892, Laramie, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. May 1984, Knox, Clarion County, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 91 years)
     2. Raymond Alfred SLOSSON,   b. 08 Jan 1894, Laramie, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Sep 1900, Laramie, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 6 years)
    Family ID F13900  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 12 Aug 1891 - Centralia, Kansas Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1900 - Living with husband in Laramie, Albany Co., Wyoming Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1910 - Living with husband in Manhattan, New York Co., New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 1920 - Living with husband in Manhattan, New York Co., New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 26 Nov 1943 - Ann Arbor, Michigan Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    May Preston Slosson
    May Preston Slosson
    May Preston Slosson
    May Preston Slosson
    May Preston Slosson
    May Preston Slosson

  • Sources 
    1. [S8790] Newspapers.com.

    2. [S03663] WorldConnect: Post-em note from Diana Lineman.

    3. [S03336] Slason-Slauson-Slawson-Slosson Family by George C. Slawson dated 1946.

    4. [S00880] 1900 Census Laramie, Albany County, Wyoming.

    5. [S01737] Ancestry.com: Biography & Genealogy Master Index.

    6. [S01100] 1910 Census Manhatten, New York County, New York.

    7. [S01302] 1920 Census Manhattan, New York County, New York.