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Henry and Effie Osborn at home

Henry and Effie Osborn

On this date, Harry began a seminar on The Origin of Species and spent some time describing the students who were attending it. Although he asked Effie’s pardon for saying it, he believed that “women very rarely excel or even approach the men” in understanding science.

Effie wrote Harry from the library where she had gone to look for an article for him. In this letter, she first mentioned giving piano lessons. The money she earned helped support her mother and sister and provided her with a few luxuries.

“My juniors are now in a position to do this and I want to give them this year some conception of the modern theory of Evolution because I don’t think that anyone could fairly claim to know any thing about living things who don’t.” Osborn, Henry 1884-10-2

“I have come down with paper etc, but I cant help you after all, for that particular thing they haven’t got.” Osborn, Effie 1884-10-2


The University Archives at Hamline University collects and preserves university records, publications, photographs, audio recording, moving images, artifacts, and other materials from the university’s early days in Red Wing to its present in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Henry L. Osborn and Family Papers are owned by Hamline University and may not be published or extensively quoted without the written consent of the Hamline University Archives (Hamline University, 1356 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104; 651-523-2080; archives@hamline.edu).