May Alden Ward

May Alden Ward, born in Ohio on March 1, 1853, was an American author and biographer best known for her work on the lives of Petrach and Dante. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1852 at the age of nineteen and married Reverend William G. Ward in 1853. 

 

Ward moved to Franklin, Massachusetts in the early 1890s with her family and in April of 1893, she founded the Alden Club, a women’s club with a literary purpose. Thirty women attended the initial meeting at the Congregational parsonage. They spent the next few months meeting in Ward’s parlor room, but meetings were eventually moved to the Public Library. The Alden Club joined the State Federation of Women’s Clubs as a charter member in 1893 and the General Federation a year later.

 

Beyond her work with the Alden Club, Ward served as President of the New England Women’s Club, the New England Woman’s Press Association, and the Cantabrigia Women’s Club.

 

May Ward died in a car accident on January 14, 1918 on her way home from an evening lecture in Boston.