Mary Alice Isely

Mary Alice Isely was called Alice, or later, Aunt Alice. . The following biography has been extracted from the 1939 edition of the Isely OF-BY-FOR OURSELVES, which was probably written by her younger brother Bliss as an example for the biographies which needed to be written for the 1939 edition of the Isely OF-BY-FOR OURSELVES. In an April 30, 1939 letter to "Clansmen of Isely-Dubach lineage and in-laws", Bliss refers to Alice's enclosed biography, and remarks, "It is reasonably accurate and just think Alice said that she had never done anything and therefore could not write a biography."

Alice was born on August 8, 1865 in St. Joseph, Missouri to Elise and Christian Isely. She was the twin of William Henry Isely. In 1872 the family moved to Brown County, Kansas. Alice attended the following schools: St Joseph, Old Fairview, Spring Grove, Glenn's Academy at Hiawatha, Campbell University at Holton, and Kansas State Normal at Emporia, where she obtained a diploma in "kindergarten and primary teaching." She taught at New Hope, Hamlin, Hiawatha, and Spring Grove, all in Brown County. She later taught at Proctor Academy and Wilcox Academy in Provo and Vernal, Utah. She held a government land claim near Vernal, where water had to be hauled 20 miles from the Green River (as ice).

Alice was a devote Congregationalist. She was a pastor's assistant in Provo. For one year, she was a licensed minister at Comet Church in Brown County. She was a Sunday School organizer for two years for Utah and Routt County, Colorado. This district was 150 miles long and "exceedingly wild and mountainous." She traveled it by team, stage, and horseback. For two years, she represented the New West Education Society in eastern states (New England & New York). She lost her Utah homestead to a claim jumper at this time. She then moved to Wichita where she worked as a librarian at Fairmont College and the University of Wichita. She later received an honorary Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Wichita.

The 1939 edition of the Isely OF-BY-FOR OURSELVES goes on:
Special interests and services -- Sunday School and church work of all kinds, Sunday School teacher or department head in many schools, 10 years supt. Provo Congregational Sunday School, former Kansas supt. Junior Christian Endeavor, former president Kansas Woman's Home Missionary Union, speaker in Interdenominational World Movement as only woman in team of six, speaker for Congregational World Movement, chosen one of 20 outstanding Congregational women of America, sponsor Fairmont Y.W.C.A. and for 10 years of Sorosis at Fairmont, sponsor Psi Tau Delta, colored sorority at Wichita U., helped relatives and non-relatives with loans for education.

Sports--Hobbies--- Croquet as young woman, bicycle riding in Utah, horseback riding on side saddle in early-day Kansas and with astride saddle in Utah and Colorado. Collects pictures of all kinds, collects art, books etc. pertaining to Joan of Arc, makes youngsters feel that this is a happy world, this hobby commencing with brothers and sisters and extending to nephews, nieces and neighbors.

Affiliations -- member Fairmont Congregational Church, Republican Party, Kansas Library Association, American Library Association.

Physical note -- height 4 foot, 11 3/4 inch, brown eyes, dark brown hair before graying. She lived at 1627 North Holyoke Ave. in Wichita

Alice died in 1969 in Wichita at the age of 104.

Here are photographs of Alice.

This 1926 photo of Alice appeared in the 1939 edition of the Isely OF-BY-FOR OURSELVES.


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