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Historical Materials: People
Babson, Emmeline (Emma) Rogers (Mrs. William Friend)
Emmeline (Emma) Rogers Babson (1839–1905) was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the eldest of the two daughters of Nathaniel Babson and Emmeline Davis (Rogers) Babson.
Her mother died when Emma was five and her father, who was a house painter by profession, a selectman, and active in the abolitionist movement, never remarried.
Emma attended the Oread Institute of higher education for women in Worcester, Massachusetts, for one year (her sister Maria attended for one term), before returning to Gloucester, where she brought income into the house as a dressmaker. She married William Hovey Friend (1840–1914) in 1869, and immediately moved to San Francisco, California, where her husband had been residing since 1863. He was a bookkeeper for several firms, and at one time represented the California branch of the Gloucester wholesale fish business of John E. Pew & Sons. In 1896, he became the postmaster of Oakland, California, where he was also trustee and deacon of the First Presbyterian Church for many years. He and Emma had two sons, William Nathaniel Friend, born in 1870 and Roger Berry Friend, born in 1873.
Emma was one of the original organizers of the Ebell Society in 1876 (formed to promote and advance the study by women of literature, science and art), and although suffering from ill health, continued an interest in its affairs until her death. She also helped to organize the Oakland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was a member of the General Society of the Mayflower Descendants, and a life member of the YWCA. She was active in the first campaign for woman's suffrage in 1896, and when the Spanish war broke out she was instrumental in organizing the Oakland Red Cross Society, whose first meeting was held at her home. She was also an avid collector of china and wrote authoritatively about it. She wrote many other articles on a variety of subjects, including art. She died in Oakland, California, in 1905.
Lane made paintings for Emma and her sister Maria from three sketches.