Abby Shaw Mayhew, Leader of Women’s Physical Education in Minneapolis
When Abby Shaw Mayhew moved to Minneapolis in 1892, physical education for women had been practically unheard of—the woman’s place was the parlor, not the gymnasium. Miss Mayhew changed that. Under the auspices of the newly created YWCA she organized one of the first gym classes for women in Minneapolis. By 1897 the classes had grown to include 800 women, among its supporters, notable society women including Beatrice Lowry, wife to Thomas Lowry.
Miss Mayhew taught the seven elements believed required to perfect the body: poise, breathing, control or self-possession, food, dress, exercise, and bathing. Exercises included dumbbell work, club swinging, marching and fancy steps, handball, and hoop drills among others.
In 1897 Mayhew left Minneapolis to become head of women’s physical education at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, a post she held for 15 years. She then went to China to work with the national YWCA, until her retirement in 1930 at which point she returned to the Twin Cities. Mayhew died on November 2, 1954 at the age of 90.
March is Women’s History Month. Follow our friends at The Historyapolis Project for the month of March as they highlight more women significant to the history of Minneapolis.
Photo appeared in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, September 14, 1952.
March 1914: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb?
“In like a lion, out like a lamb? Here’s hoping.” These sentiments were shared 100 years ago, on March 2, 1914 by Minneapolis Journal cartoonist Charles “Bart” Bartholomew. Bart worked as a political cartoonist for the Journal from 1899-1915. He was also the dean of the Federal Schools’ division of illustrating and cartooning, organized Bart Supplies art supply store, and wrote twelve textbooks on illustration and cartooning.
Special Collections has an extensive collection of Bart cartoons and proofs, collection M/A 1994.06.01-08. We are nearing completion of the full description of this collection and are in the process of digitizing the cartoons.
Magic Tricks with the Minneapolis Park Board
Jean Barrett, left, and Lou Ann Trautmas looked with steady eyes, but no use. “Professor” Richard Cornwell gave the sorcerer’s lingo, and, alas! the coin was gone!
- Minneapolis Tribune, January 1, 1939
The children learned tricks while participating in a program sponsored by the Minneapolis Park Board.
First Woman Member of the Minneapolis Gun Club
Nettie Shattuck aims at geese on Lake of the Isles. The photo, which accompanied a Minneapolis Tribune article about Shattuck on May 7, 1899, appears to be posed at the north bay of the Lake.
An accomplished markswoman, Shattuck was the first honorary woman member of the Minneapolis Gun Club. She won prize money in several trap-shooting tournaments including the 1899 Grand American Handicap Tournament in Elkwood, NJ. Her winnings of $36 were small compared to the enormous gain in her reputation.
Growing up, Nettie Shattuck (then Nettie Macomber) went to shooting galleries with her father. She didn’t begin shooting in the field until the early 1890s, after she married William P. Shattuck, a Minneapolis inventor. The Shattucks lived at 2125 Girard Ave South.
“An American Markswoman of Note,” Minneapolis Tribune, May 7, 1899
“Won New Glory: Mrs. W.P. Shattuck Took Second Prize at Canton,” Minneapolis Tribune, June 25, 1899.
Minneapolis City Directories: 1902 and 1906
Winter Fashion, 1915
With the 2014 Winter Olympics underway, we’ve got our minds on winter sports in Minneapolis. Pictured is a woman modeling an ice skater’s costume in 1915. Loving the scalloped hem on the coat!