Mrs. J. T. Bowen, January 1912

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Chicago in spite of its size and somewhat world weary aspect is yet so absurdly young that inhabitants of old Fort Dearborn are still living and children and grandchildren recall spirited recitals of Indian forays which were repulsed from its first stockade. One of these, Mrs. Joseph T Bowen heard many stirring adventures from her grandfather Edward H Hadduck who in the early thirties drove a prairie schooner from Detroit containing $200.000 in gold which the United States Government sent to Fort Dearborn. The young government employee much impressed with the shipping facilities at the foot of Lake Michigan and fascinated with the Chicago river, which young and unpolluted alternately flowed in and out of the Lake with childish inconsequence, returned to Fort Dearborn the following year and this <time> the prairie schooner carried his bride and the house<hold> equipment of a pioneer. Their only child, Mrs. Bowen's mother was born within the Fort and lived her entire life in Chicago. When she was twenty one years old she married Mr. John deKoven who had come in 1856 to the promising young city and Louis Hadduck deKoven the subject of this sketch was their only child.

The family lived for many years in a red brick house on the corner of Wabash Ave. and Monroe St. past which "bunches" of cattle were continually driven on their way to the Stockyards, while <the little girl played> in the gardens stretching to sandy Michigan Ave. on the Lake, one winter with [illegible] "Tad" Lincoln when his mother lived at the Clifton House only a block away. Louise deKoven attended school at Dearborn Seminary first one the site of Marshall Field & Co. huge department store but later <in> moved to a more fashionable neighborhood. [page 2]

Young Chicago was in fact striving in many ways to be "more fashionable" and Miss deKoven at the age of fifteen assumed her obligation in this direction by appearing in the first high dog cart which the city had ever seen Both she and the livered man behind her, were at times vigorously stoned as a demonstration of democracy, and on one occasion the groom exasperated by these missals and holding democratic principles of his own, jumped down from the cart as it was crossing Rush St. Bridge, flinging his despised coat and high hat into the back of it as he hotly announced "you can take this livery over town if you want to but you can't take me." The undaunted young girl drove on without looking back sustained by the reflection that the incident <only> made more clearer the necessity for most metropolitan standards in Chicago. She was not however so totally absorbed in this <perilous> praise worthy undertaking but that she expended much youthful energy and humanitarian enthusiasm upon a hundred boys and young men who formed <a well remembered> her Sunday school class in St. James church and when they <their increasing numbers> overcrowded the billiard room in her father's house, she established a club house for them and for their friends, defraying the <its> expenses from the goodly allowance given her by her grandfather. This clubhouse, like the dog cart was the first of its kind in Chicago.

For ten years, in spite of much social gayety she sustained many [illegible] allied interests <industries> until her marriage in 1886 to Mr. Joseph T Bowen a promising young business man from Providence who represented an eastern firm in Chicago. Even during the years when her four children were young Mrs. Bowen was president of a children's hospital and was closely identified with her husband's activities on the board of St. Luke's and in the Church club. Her interest in Hull-House began sixteen years ago when she became a member of its then new womans clubs and later erected for its [page 3] expanding needs the first womans club building in Illinois. Mrs. Bowen is an active trustee of Hull-House which embodies many of her earliest interests broadened by years of personal acquaintance with an industrial community. She has built a large club house for the Hull house boys equipped with unusual facilities, for to the problem of the city boy as to the many other vexed social and industrial perplexities she constantly brings a vigorous and original mind combined with a remarkable <executive> ability.

For five years Mrs. Bowen served as chairman of the Juvenile Court Committees which was organized in 1899 by Mrs. Flower, Miss Lathrop and other public spirited <Chicago> women to increase the efficiency of the first Juvenile Court in America. When, however, in 1907 the County assumed the support of the probation officers and a detention home for children awaiting trial, the members of the committee were free to turn their attention toward <remedying> preventing those demoralizing conditions which they had become convinced were responsible for the delinquency of the many <of the> children brought into Court. They therefore organized the Juvenile Protective Association of Chicago of which Mrs. Bowen has been the continuous president. Under her able leadership, the association has become a valuable factor in the life of the city, not only for repressing the agencies which work havoc to juvenile morals but in the more difficult undertaking of interpreting and supplying the needs of neglected neighborhoods. Mrs. Bowen spends part of every morning in the large and busy office of the association, the reports from the Superintendent, the attorney, the field officers, the investigators <[illegible] to> the president, and they all realize that she brings to the consideration of each new situation as it arises both a penetrating judgement and a [page 4] courage which is undaunted by the apathy of city officials or by the indifference of public opinion. Mrs. Bowen is active in the United Charities of Chicago, the Visiting Nurse Association, the Immigrants Protective League and in a dozen other organizations which not only endeavor to practice the charity of today but would as speedily as <possible [illegible] that> tomorrow in which it shall be justice. In fact the keen sense of justice which Mrs. Bowen possesses expresses itself in many ways, quite recently in bringing the management of a huge corporation in which she is a large stockholder, to a fairer treatment of its employees.

Whether Mrs. Bowen receives in her charming house with her two daughters or presents the cause of school nurses before a committee of the Chicago common council, whether she applauds her sons as they win championships in tennis or golf or addresses a larger audience upon the wrongs of neglected childhood and the [prerogative] of all youth to wholesome recreation, she carries with her a reassuring sense of competence and power. She combines with <cultivation and> sympathies understanding the acumen and hardihood of the pioneer men and women who built early Chicago. [page 5] 

Mrs. Bowen