Emma Gilson Wallace

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Emma Gilson Wallace, A woman of the century

Emma Gilson Wallace (born September 2, 1841) was an American philanthropist.

Early life[edit]

Emma R. Gilson was born in La Moille, Illinois, on September 2, 1841. [1]

She received a careful education, and was at an early age interested in reform and charitable movements. [1]


Emma Gilson Wallace was for years president of the Women's Universalist Association of Illinois, and the work accomplished under her leadership was of great importance to the denomination at large. She successfully managed church and charitable associations without number. [1]

She was a member of the Chicago Press Club, the Chicago Woman's Club, the Woman's Relief Corps, the Woman's Exchange, the Home of the Friendless and many other similar organizations. [1]

She was among the first to interest the public in a woman's department for the World's Columbian Exposition for 1893, and she was one of the lady managers of the exposition. She was president of the Illinois Industrial School for Girls, in Evanston, Illinois, and that institution owed much of its success to her. [1]

Personal life[edit]

Martin R. M. Wallace

On September 2, 1863, Emma R. Gilson married Col. Martin Reuben Merritt Wallace (1829–1902), and their wedding tour took them to the South, where Colonel Wallace was stationed. They remained in the South until the war ended, and then went to Chicago, Illinois. [1]

They had 3 children: George William Ransom Wallace (1865–1944), Katherine E. Wallace (1866–1947), and Sarah Price Wallace Boyden (1868–1953).

They were members of St. Paul's Universalist Church, in that city, and Wallace was prominently identified with its interests. [1]

She died in 1911 and is buried at Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Willard, Frances Elizabeth, 1839–1898; Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice, 1820–1905 (1893). A woman of the century; fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life. Buffalo, N.Y., Moulton. p. 741. Retrieved 8 August 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.