Holly Johnson: We recognize the impact of women on our community

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 20, 2021

Since 1980, March has been designated as the official time of year to recognize the impact that women have made in history.

Jimmy Carter was the first President to designate a week to the recognition of the accomplishments of women. He said, “the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” In 1987 Congress extended the designation to a month-long period of recognition.

I spend much time talking about the legacy of George Hormel, but I would like to shine the light on his sisters and one niece this week, and I will feature his mother and mother-in-law next week.

Emma Marie Hormel, the fifth of the 12 children of John George and Susanna Hormel, worked as a milliner, a school teacher and an interior decorator in Toledo, Ohio. She lived in Austin from 1909 with her husband Levi Fisher until they moved to California so Levi could further invest in entrepreneurial endeavors. One of the couple’s daughters taught school in Austin for a few years.

Susanna Hormel was born Feb. 20, 1868, in Toledo. In possession of her family’s musical talent, Susanna was known to play the guitar. She studied to be a teacher and worked at the St. Clair School in Toledo.

Charlotte Hormel was born in 1872, the ninth child in the John Hormel family. She graduated from the Chicago Kindergarten College in the 1890s, which was a highly regarded educational institution for those interested in teaching the youngest of students.

Miss Helen “Nellie” Ann Hormel, George A.’s youngest sister, was also a teacher. Although she died at age 25 of tuberculosis, she was described in her Nov. 8, 1899, Austin Daily Herald obituary as having an “indefatigable ambition to please and to extol making her greatly esteemed in her chosen profession.”

George’s niece, Olive Deane Hormel, was the daughter of his brother, Rev. William Henry Hormel. She was born on July 12, 1892, in Chicago, and had an active career as an author and editor. She completed her undergrad education at Lindonwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, in 1913 and then attended the University of Illinois where she furthered her education in language arts. Olive published two books, which we have in the HHH collections, and served as the book editor of the Christian Science Monitor for seven years.

Whether their impact was on their own family or on the students they taught or in the fields in which they worked, the women of the Hormel family deserve recognition for their accomplishments.

Upcoming Events

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10 a.m. or 12 p.m., Sunday, March 21

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Friday, March 26: Broadway’s My Beat: The Howard Crawford Murder Case

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