Traverse City Record-Eagle

Record-Eagle 150th Anniversary

November 2, 2009

TC's early women leaders


Mrs. J.W. Milliken, born Callie Thacker in 1878, a recognized artist whose ceramic art earned a first prize in an international exhibit in New York; wife of merchant J.W. Milliken.

Mrs. J. T. Milliken was Hildegarde Milliken, daughter of Charles and Helen (Blackwood) Grawn. Her father was Traverse City school superintendent from 1884-1899 and later president of what is today Central Michigan College. She was the city's first elected woman school board member.

Ada K. Sprague Pratt, 1843-1924, first woman in Traverse City to start a business -- a millinery shop -- in 1861; sister of Traverse Bay Eagle/Daily Eagle publisher Elvin Sprague. Her husband, Edwin S. Pratt, was a lawyer, county prosecutor and circuit court commissioner.

Mrs. M.A.S. Roberts, or Mary A. Stevens Roberts, an Oberlin College graduate who originally settled in Benzonia with husband Lorin, a teacher and later a public school superintendent in Traverse City, lawyer, prosecutor, judge and investor in a flooring company and brick yard.

Mrs. Dr. Augusta Rosenthal-Thompson, born in 1859, graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1884 and had a practice in Traverse City 1886-1911; Son Isaac Jr. died of diphtheria in 1896 at age 6. She returned to medical schools in New York and Europe to study diphtheria and came back with new skills and life-saving equipment.

Sources: "Grand Traverse Legends Vols. 1-3," Robert E. Wilson; "Glimpses of Grand Traverse Past," and "Who We Were, What We Did," Richard Fidler; "Grand Traverse Herald," "Grand Traverse Region," H.R. Page & Co."''

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