CAMPBELL Helen Stuart, journalist educator and author was born at Lockport NY July 4 1839 daughter of Homer H. and Jane E. Campbell Stuart. The Stuart family after settling in America was prominent in early colonial affairs three generations fighting and dying in Indian French and revolutionary wars. Mr. Homer Stuart removed in 1839 to New York city where he practiced law for over fifty years, being also for some years president of the Continental Bank Note Co. of New York. His daughter was educated in a school at Warren RI and at Mrs Cook's seminary Bloomfield NJ, and about 1859 was married to an army surgeon. From the first her writings were of a philanthropic and domestic character, Mrs. Campbell becoming an earnest student of economic and social problems especially in connection with the conditions of laboring women. Her first literary work was a series of stories for children which appeared between 1864 and 1870 in "Our Young Folks" and "The Riverside Magazine" and in book form as the "Ainslee Series"; then in rapid succession she published "Grandmothers" (1877), "Six Sinners" (1878), "Unto the and Fourth Generation" (1880), "Four and What They Did" (1880), "The Easiest Way Housekeeping and Cooking Adapted to Domestic Use Study in Classes" (1881), "Patty Pearson's Boy A Tale of Two Generations" (1881) "The Problem of the Poor: A Record of Quiet Work in Unquiet Places" (1882) "Under Green Apple Boughs" (1882) "The American Girl's Home Book of Work and Play" (1883) "The Housekeeper's Year Book" (1888) "Mrs. Herndon's Income" (1883) "The What to Do Club: A Story for Girls" (1885) "Miss Melinda's Opportunity" (1886) "Prisoners of Poverty: Women Wage workers their Trades and their Lives" (1887 and 1893) "Roger Berkeley's Probation" (1888) "Prisoners of Poverty Abroad" (1888) "Darkness and Daylight" (1891) "In Foreign Kitchens" (1894) "Some Passages in the Practice of Dr. Martha Scarborough" (1895) and "Household Economics" (1897). The Critic said in 1887 of her "Prisoners of Poverty" "Her book is devoted chiefly to statement and fact not to the suggestion of remedies. She reinforces our consciousness that the final remedy lies farther back than in mere increase of wages or division of profits." From 1881 until 1884 Mrs. Campbell was literary editor of the "Continent" published in Philadelphia and in 1889 she assumed charge of a department in the Springfield Mass. Good Housekeeping entitled "A Woman's Work and Wages." In 1894 she was appointed professor of household economics in the school of sociology at the University of Wisconsin and this chair she continued to fill until 1897 when she accepted a call to the State Agricultural College of Kansas. Her work on Household Economics was compiled from a course of lectures which she delivered at the university. The Bookman of New York said of this "It is fascinating in style, teems with epigrams and abounds in truths which it behooves women to consider. The spirit of the lectures is one of delightful idealism. Mrs. Campbell is a member of the Sorosis Club of New York, the American Economic Association, the Consumers League, and the Women's Press Club. Her writings have a recognized position among economic works, they show a thorough study of her subjects and are thoughtful and sympathetic, lightened by occasional wit and pathos. They are generally more of a popular than a scientific or thoroughly exhaustive character. ("The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 9" published in New York by James T. White & Co. in 1899).
Author, born in Lockport, N.Y. July 4, 1839, daughter of Homer H. Stuart. The family removed to New York City in her infancy, where she afterwards chiefly lived. She received a seminary education. At an early age she commenced writing children's stories. She was deeply interested in the problem of reducing the labor of housekeeping and cooking, and of alleviating the miseries of the poor and ignorant. In 1877 she wrote "The Problem of the Poor," and later "Mrs. Herndon's Income" (1885) in which she embodied her conclusions on these subjects. In 1886, she was appointed by the New York Tribune to investigate the condition of wage-earning women in New York, the results appearing in the Tribune, in a series of papers entitled "Prisoners of Poverty," which led to legislative enactments for the amelioration of the condition of women wage earners in the metropolis. Mrs. Campbell's "Prisoners of Poverty Abroad" was written after some eighteen month's study of the condition of wage earners in England, France, Italy, and Germany. She was literary editor of "The Continent," from 1881 to 1884. Besides several volumes published between 1864 and 1880 her books include: "The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking" (1881); "The Problem of the Poor" (1882); "The American Girl's Home-Book of Work and Play" (1883); "Under Green Apple Boughs" (1883); The What-To-Do Club" (1884); "Miss Melinda's Opportunity" (1886); "Prisoners of Poverty Abroad" (1889); "Roger Brookley's Probation" (1890); "In Foreign Kitchens" (1892); "Darkness and Daylight" (1892); "Some Passages in the Practice of Dr. Martha Scarborough" (1893); "John Ballantyne, American" (1893); "Women Wage-Earners" (1893); "Household Economics" (1896); "Work, an Anthology" (1897); "Ballantyne" (1901) (The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Vol. II).
Campbell, Helen Stuart (1839-1918)
U.S. home economist. Born 4 July 1839 in Lockport, N.Y., to Jane E. (Campbell) and Homer H. Stuart. Married Grenville Mellen Weeks (ca. 1860, divorced 1871). Educated New York public schools; Gammell School of Rhode Island; Mrs. Cook's Seminary, Bloomfield, N.J. Professional experience: Published children's stories (1862-1869); Raleigh, N.C., cooking school teacher (1878-1880); Mission Cooking School, founder with Mrs. Anna Lowell Woodbury, Washington, D.C. (1880-1882?); Our Continent magazine, literary and household editor (1882-1884); freelance writer about the poor (from 1882); University of Wisconsin, lecturer (Spring, 1895); Unity Settlement, later Eli Bates House, Chicago, head resident (1895-1896); Kansas State Agricultural College, professor of home economics (1897-1898); freelance writer (1898-1900). Died 1918 in Dedham, Mass. of endocarditis and nephritis.
Born to Vermont parents of Scottish descent, Helen Stuart Campbell was born in New York City where her father was a lawyer and was at one time president of the Continental Bank Note Company. She received her education in the New York City public schools and in two private girls schools in Rhode Island and New Jersey. Her marriage to Grenville Mellen Weeks, a graduate of the University Medical College (now part of New York University) was short-lived. He served as a surgeon aboard the U.S.S. Monitor during the Civil War and an Indian agent and surgeon in the West. When he returned home as a civilian the marriage ended in divorce. In the meantime, Helen had published numerous children's stories and several novels, some under her married name and others under the names Helen Stuart Campbell and Campbell Wheaton.
After the divorce, she held several professional positions in home economics. After taking cooking lessons from Juliet Corson, she began teaching in the Raleigh Cooking School and while she was there wrote a textbook, The Easiest Way in House-Keeping and Cooking. With Anna Lowell Woodbury she founded a diet kitchen and mission cooking school in Washington, D.C. She was the literary and household editor of a magazine, Our Continent, which had a short life. In 1893, she was one of the organizers of the National Household Economics Association, an organization that grew out of the Women's Congress of the World's Columbian Expositions. In 1903, this organization merged into the committee on household economics of the General Federation of Women's Clubs.
Campbell's interest in home economics seemed to wane for a while and to be replaced by the social problems faced by the poor, particularly in New York City. She wrote several books dealing with poverty, and also contributed to a column on "Women's Work and Wages" to Good Housekeeping magazine and to the New York Tribune.
Although Campbell continued to write about the poor, she returned to home economics when Richard T. Ely, an economist at the University of Wisconsin, invited her to give two lecture series in the spring of 1895. She had hoped that the lectures would result in a permanent position, but they did not. She then took a one-year position as head resident of Unity Settlement. Again through the good offices of Ely, she was offered a position at Kansas State Agricultural College as professor of home economics. By the time she got this position, her health was failing and she stayed for only one year, after which she resumed her freelance writing career. After she left Kansas, she moved with reformer Charlotte Perkins Gilman back to New York City, and then moved to the Boston area. Her final illness was long drawn out. The endocarditis and nephritis from which she suffered finally caused her death in 1918. She became a follower of the Baha'i religion and had attended a retreat at Eliot, Maine where her remains were taken after her death.
Campbell, Helen Stuart. The Easiest Way in House-Keeping and Cooking. New York : Fords, Howard and Hulbert, 1881.
Ibid. The Problem of the Poor. New York: Fords, Howard and Hulbert, 1882.
Ibid. Mrs. Herndon's Income. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1886.
Ibid. Prisoners of Poverty. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887. A compilation of the weekly articles in the New York Tribune, which commissioned her to study conditions among women in New York City.
Ibid. "Women Wage Earners." 1891.
Boston Transcript, 23 July 1918. Obituary notice.
Mott, Frank J. A History of American Magazines 3 and 4. 1938-1968. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Willard, Frances E., and Livermore, Nancy A., eds. A Woman of the Century. Buffalo, N.Y.: Moulton, 1893.
(The Biographical dictionary of women in science: pioneering lives from ancient times to the mid-twentieth century. New York: Routledge, 2000. Edited by Marilyn Ogilvie and Joy Harvey).
CAMPBELL, Mrs. Helen S. author and editor born in Lockport NY 4th July 1839. She is of Scotch ancestors on both sides of the house. Twelve months after her birth her father Homer H Stuart removed to New York City where he lived until his death in 1890 and as a lawyer and a citizen he filled with honor various responsible positions. Married at the of twenty to an army surgeon she lived thereafter in various portions of the United States during which time she gained that broad experience which has reappeared in her literary work. Endowed with abundant vitality, great imagination, power of dramatic expression and a profoundly sympathetic nature, it was impossible for the young woman to live an idle life. At the age of twenty three under the married name Helen C. Weeks she began work for children, writing steadily for "Our Young Folks" the "Riverside Magazine" and other juvenile periodicals. Like all her subsequent work these articles were vital, magnetic and infused with both humor and pathos. Soon her stories grew in length and the "Ainslee Series" was issued in book form. This comprised "Ainslee," "Grandpa's House," "Four and What They Did," and "White and Red." They were exceedingly popular and still find a sale. All of them were reprinted in England. Her next works were "Six Sinners" "His Grandmothers" and "American Girl's Hand book of Work and Play." About 1882 she became literary and household editor of "Our Continent," and wrote for its pages the popular novel entitled "Under Green Apple Boughs" followed by the "What- to-do Club." These latter books were preceded by several others entitled "Unto the Third and Fourth Generation," "The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking" and the "Problem of the Poor." With the last mentioned book, which gave an impetus to much work along the same lines by other writers, began Mrs. Campbell's special interest in the poor. This appeared in 1880, and drew great attention toward plans for alleviating the miseries of the ignorant and impoverished in New York City. Some of the conclusions reached by Mrs. Campbell appeared in novel "Mrs. Herndon's Income" which was printed first as a serial in the "Christian Union" and was afterward issued in book form. This powerful book at once lifted Mrs. Campbell to an exalted place as a novelist while her thrilling story won the attention of philanthropists and reformers the world over. Attracted by this volume in 1886 the New York "Tribune" appointed her its commissioner to investigate the condition of women wage earners in New York, and that work resulted in a series of papers under the title of "Prisoners of Poverty" which caused a profound and widespread sensation respecting the life of wage in the metropolis. It may be regarded as seed from which has issued a vast amount literature upon the topic, resulting in great amelioration in the condition of a large, and at that time nearly helpless body of workers. Soon Mrs. Campbell went abroad to investigate the lives of wage -earners in London, Paris, Italy, and Germany. There she remained eighteen months or more, the fruits of her work appearing upon return to this country in "Prisoners of Poverty Abroad." Following that came "Miss Opportunity" and "Roger Berkley's Probation," two short novels and later "Anne and Her Time," a historical study of early colonial life, "A Sylvan City," having already done same thing for Philadelphia. The latest work of Mrs. Campbell, "Darkness and Daylight in New York," is a series of graphic portraitures of the salient features of the city. In 1890 Mrs. Campbell received a prize from the American Economical Association for a monograph upon "Women Wage Earners." She has contributed many articles on economic subjects to reviews and magazines. Her home is in New York City (A Woman of the century: fourteen hundred seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life. Edited by Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore. Buffalo: Charles Wells Moulton, 1893).
Under the name Helen Weeks, Campbell wrote five children's books as well as stories in "Riverside Magazine" and "Our Young Folks." After 1877, Campbell adopted her mother's maiden name (Campbell) and she wrote works mainly fr an adult audience: novels, magazine articles, cookbooks, studies of poverty and women workers. Experience as a teacher in cooking schools qualified Campbell to become household editor of "Our Continent" (1882-84).
From 1894 to 1912 Campbell was closely associated with Charlotte Perkins Gilman. They co-edited "Impress" in San Francisco and worked in Unity Settlement in Chicago. Eventually Campbell lived with the Gilman's in New York. During this period she lectured on home economics at the University of Wisconsin in 1895, and at Kansas State Agricultural College in 1897 and 1898. Her final years wee spent in Massachusetts.
The Ainslee Series, consisting of "Grandpa's House" (1868), "The Ainslee Stories" (1868), "White and Red" (1869), and "Four and What They Did" (1871) reveal Campbell's ability to create troublesome, lively children who tumble from one misadventure to another as they explore their New England or midwestern surroundings. The liveliest and most amusing are Ainslee, five-year old hero of the second book, and Sinny, his black friend. Although no more than a collection of stories, the book is unified by its temporal frame and by the background of New England village life. While Harry in "White and Red" is hardly an interesting hero, the account of his journey and the description of Indian characters and customs in Red Lake capture the imagination and make the tale a valuable portrait of the American past. "Six Sinners" (1877), a boarding-school story written under the name Campbell Wheaton, lacks the freshness of Campbell's's earlier work, but maintains her characteristic flashes of humor.
"His Grandmothers" (1877), which marks Campbell's transition from juveniles to the adult novel, is a light-hearted sketch of a household turned upside down by a flint-hearted New England grandmother. It stands in lively contrast to Campbell's subsequent novels, which often (to the detriment of the fiction) attempt to treat such social themes as the role of heredity, the economic plight of women, the relation of diet to disease, the greed and corruption of postwar America.
"Mrs. Herndon's Income" (1886), Campbell's most important novel, has too many characters and a poorly constructed plot, manipulated to suit the author's moral vision. It is partially redeemed, however, by the comic presence of Amanda Briggs and by the realistic description of New York slums. "Miss Melinda's Opportunity" (1886) uses a smaller canvas and a simpler plot, but is equally didactic. For the modern reader the interest lies less in the scheme for cooperative housekeeping than in the characterization of Miss Melinda and the evocation of New York in the Gilded Age.
Campbell's reform writing, as Robert Bremner points out, places her in the company of propagandists "who hoped to alter conditions by rousing the conscience of the nation." "The Problem of the Poor" (1882) and "Darkness and Daylight" (1891) describe life in New York's slums and McAuley's Water Street Mission. "Prisoners of Poverty" (1887) attacks the exploitation of women in New York sweatshops and department stores, employing case histories to illustrate the effects of starvation wages. "Prisoners of Poverty Abroad" (1889) feebly echoes its predecessor in a superficial survey of women workers in Europe. Less emotional than the earlier studies and buttressed by statistics, "Women Wage-Earners" (1893), which received an award from the American Economic Association, treats the plight of women factory workers across America, condemner low wages, long hours, and poor sanitation. Campbell concludes by recommending the organization of women's labor clubs and the appointment of women inspectors, as well as higher wages and a shorter working week.
As a fiction writer, Campbell was a minor figure, memorable only for the local color and abundant humor of her children's stories. Her role as reformer, however, was more significant. Campbell's studies of women wage-earners stirred the conscience of her age and led to the formation of consumer's leagues in the 1890's, which monitored retail stores to assure fair labor practices.
Works: Grandpa's House (1868). The Ainslee Stories (1868). An American Family in Paris (1869). White and Red: a Narrative of Life Among the Northwest Indians (1869). Four and What They Did (1871). Six Sinners or School days in Bantam Valley (1877). His Grandmothers (1877). Unto the Third and Fourth Generation (1880). The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking (1881). Patty Pearson's Boy: a Tale of Two Generations (1881). The Housekeeper's Year Book (1882). The Problem of the Poor (1882). Under Green Apple Boughs (1882). A Sylvan City or Quaint Corners in Philadelphia (with others, 1883). The American Girl's Home Book of Work and Play (1883). The What-To-Do Club: a Story for Girls (1885). Good Dinners for Every Day in the Year (1886). Mrs. Herndon's Income (1886). Miss Melinda's Opportunity (1886). Prisoners of Poverty (1887). Roger Berkeley's Probation (1888). Prisoners of Poverty Abroad (1889). Darkness and Daylight (with T. Knox and T. Byrnes, 1891). Anne Broadstreet and Her Time (1891). Some Passages in the Practice of Dr. Martha Scarborough (1893). Women Wage-Earners (1893). In Foreign Kitchens (1893). Household Economics (1896). The Heart of It: A Series of Extracts from the Power of Silence and The Perfect Whole (ed. H. Campbell and K. Westendorf, 1897). (American women writers from colonial times to the present, edited by Nina Mainiero. New York: Ungar, c1979).
An article on Helen appeared in "The Middletown News" (Middletown, Ohio) on June 3, 1905 (page 5).
References to Helen from the autobiography of author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, titled "The living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman":
p. 142: The P.C.W.P.A. (Pacific Coast Woman's Press Association) had a convention, with speakers from afar, and one one of them was Helen Campbell. As "Helen C. Weeks," her writing in "Our Young Folks" had delighted me when I was six. We became the closest friends, she was one of my adopted "mothers."
p. 171: I left Oakland in debt and failure, and moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1894, beginning again, with a great new hope - "The Impress." This was a small paper which had belonged to the P.C.W.P.A. and which I had run for them, successfully, as the "Bulletin." It seemed to me, and to Helen Campbell, who was to join forces with me in this enterprise, a possible thing to make a good family weekly of this. The P.A. was to retain a double page for its special news. Mrs. C. furnished another department of Household Affairs - she being an expert in those lines, and she brought with her an "adopted son," Mr. Paul Tyner, used to newspaper work, who was to be manager.
p. 173: This fiasco (the "Impress" lasted only twenty weeks) was what showed me my standing in that city. Mrs. Campbell, who was honored as a distinguished stranger, made some inquiries as to the rather surprising lack of support.... One somewhat important woman told Mrs. Campbell that it was a pity she should lose by this venture...
p. 174: One piece of work contributed to California during these years was a share in arranging several annual Woman's Congresses. These brought together the foremost women of the state, showed what progress was being made, and introduced noted speakers from the east. Among these, as I have said, were Helen Campbell and Jane Addams. Also came Susan B. Anthony, that grand leader of the Equal Suffrage Movement. These all became friends of mine. Mrs. Campbell became like a mother to me, Miss Anthony wanted me as a suffrage worker, Miss Addams's championship was most valuable.
p. 185: Knowing the unreliability of my health I did not undertake to manage this settlement ("Little Hell," a companion to Jane Addams's Hull House), but suggested Mrs. Campbell, who was by this time teaching economics in Wisconsin; and she accepted the position.... Helen Campbell was our beloved "Head" and mother to us all. She even cooked special treats for us when the settlement maid was worse than usual; I remember bringing in some delicious gingerbread with the proclamation, "Made by our Ma! - Not marred by our Maid!"
pg. 223: Got a lot of letters including invitation to chair in Kansas Agricultural College - $1400.00 a year! This looked to me like an immeasurable sum. As I had not been to college I was naturally complimented by being asked to teach in one. But I knew too well that I could not hold out in steady work, had no right to undertake it. So I declined, and as in the case of the Settlement proposition, I suggested Mrs. Campbell as much fitter for the place than I. She accepted the position and filled it well. But I have always rather gloated over the invitation.
p. 287: On one long absence my dear Helen Campbell was mother for me. A reliable woman came once a week to clean; it was a peaceful and easy home for all of us. Having met Mrs. Campbell and installed her with (Charlotte's daughter( Katharine) and Mr. Gilman, I started early in November, 1900, for six weeks' trip which is a good example of my professional life.
pg. 290: In April of that year (1901) - Bad news about Mrs. Campbell - her mind is wandering - and so is she.