Among the citizens of Minnesota who will be most deeply touched at the death of Governor Johnson will be the club women of the state, who have had in him a most generous and kindly fried. His sympathy as always been with the work undertaken by the Minnesota federation or by any band of women interested in any form of progress. He has given most freely of his time and ability at the time of the annual meetings.
Club women of the state will remember him with kindness and gratitude. He was the honor guest in Duluth a few years ago at a midwinter luncheon, at which the members of the Women's Council were hostesses, and his toast on that occassion will live in the memories of the 200 guests who heard him.
The governor spoke of his personal gratitude to women for their endeavors in the world. He referred to the efforts of a band of women at St. Peter, Minn., his home city, to establish a library there, and of his indebtedness to them for much of the pleasures that he secured from the books that these efforts brought to him. But it was the latter part of his toast that made the most vital impression. The lunceon was held on Lincoln's birthday, and there was no toast set aside particularly for the great emancipator, and none of the former speakers had referred to the great American whose anniversary it was.
The late governor paid his tribute to the great Lincoln in a few of the most simple and sincere statements lasting hardly four or five minutes, but saying it seemed, perfectly, just the words that placed most vividly the greatness of the life of Lincoln and the privilege it was to them to be allowed to honor him. The tribute of the man who has been likened to the great Lincoln, was mastery.
The governor's attitude toward women was most tenderly chivalrous, and he was ambitious for them to rulfil the most broadening and greatest possible field that they could work out for themselves. He believed in their work in public life. He showed a comprehension of the "incarceration of the women in the home," as it has been called by a recent writer. That one would hardly expect from a man of such big affairs.
His utter comprehension of the restricted life that many women must lead who are hourly engaged in the duties of the middle class family, that never-ending toil of wives and mothers, was such and, one would hardly expect from a man removed in large part in his own life from such conditions. He said in effect: "Men are too often selfish.
In their work during the day they go out in the world in touch with people and events, meeting at least a new viewpoint and having some little change, and they too often forget their wives at home, with the narrow outlook which a woman almost of necessity must have, in doin the work of her family. The husband comes home at night, and instead of doing his duty in the way of providing a new interest, a kindly discussion, he buries himself behind the paper and emits only grunts.
"It isn't right," said the governor, with the earnest and sincere glance that was typical of him. Among the sorrowing people of Minnesota there will be none more appalled at the sense of loss than the women of the state.
Source: Crookston Times
Saturday September 25, 1909
Submitted by Brenda G. June 2001
Updated 21 APR 2015, K Kittleson