Edna Dow Cheney was an author, born in Boston. Mass., 27th June, 1824. There in 1853 she became the wife of Seth W. Cheney, an artist of local prominence, who died in 1856, leaving her with one daughter. The daughter died in 1882.
Miss Cheney studied in the Institute of Technology, of which General Francis J. Walker is president, and her memory is preserved by the "Margaret Cheney Reading Room," devoted to the convenience of the women students. Mrs. Cheney's life has been devoted to philosophic and literary research and work.
Her early womanhood was passed under the most stimulating influences. She was a member of one of the famous conversation classes which Margaret Fuller instituted in the decade of 1830-40. Emerson, Mr and Mrs. Alcott, James Freeman Clarke and Theodore Parker were among those who strongly influenced her thought. Her parents. Sargent Smith Littlehale and Edna Parker Littlehale, gave her every educational advantage.
In 1851 she aided in forming the School of Design for Women, in Boston, and served secretary. In 1859 she aided in establishing a hospital in connection with the Woman's Medical School. She took part in a woman's rights convention in 1860. In 1812 she was secretary of the New England Hospital. In 1868 she helped to found the New England Woman's Club and served as vice-president. In 1863 she was secretary of the teachers' committee of the Freedman's Aid Society and secretary of the committee to aid colored regiments. In 1865 she went to Readville and taught soldiers, and attended the convention of Freedmen's societies in New York City, and in the following year the one held in Baltimore, and for several years visited colored schools in various Southern States. In 1869 she assisted in founding a horticultural school for women. She lectured on horticulture for women before the Massachusetts State Agricultural Society in 1871. In 1879 she delivered a course of ten lectures on the history of art before the Concord School of Philosophy, and the same year was elected vice-president of the Massachusetts School Suffrage Association, of which she is now president. In 1887 she was elected president of the hospital she had helped to found. She was a delegate to the Woman's Council in Washington, D. C. in 1888. In 1890 she attended the Lake Mohawk Negro Conference. She has lectured and preached in many cities and has spoken at funerals occasionally.
She has visited Europe three times and has traveled extensively in this country. Her works, all published in Boston, include: Patience (1870), Social Games (1871), Faithful to the Light (1872), Child of the Tide (1874), Life of Susan Dimoch (1875), Memoir of S. W. Cheney (1881), Gleanings in Fields of Art (1881), Selected Poems of Michael Angelo (1885), Children's Friend - A sketch of Louisa M. Alcott (1888), Biography of L. M. Alcott (1889), Memoir of John Cheney, Engraver (1888), Memoir of Margaret S. Cheney (1888), Nora's Return (1890), Stories of Olden Time (1890), and a number of articles in books. She has contributed to the North American Review, the Christian Examiner, the Radical, Index, the Woman's Journal and other periodicals. She edited the poems of David A. Wasson (Boston, 1887), and of Harriet Winslow Sewall (Boston, 1889). Much of her work is devoted to religious and artistic subjects.