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Cynthia Westover

31 May 1862–8 January 1931

Born 31 May 1862 in Afton, Union Co., Iowa.[1] Daughter of Oliver S. Westover and Lucinda Lewis.[2] Moved to New York City to pursue a career in opera.[3] Appointed as a U.S. customs inspector, 1887.[4] Served as secretary to the New York City commissioner over street cleaning, 1890; invented and patented an improved street cleaner’s handcart and a self-emptying dump cart.[5] Married John Alden, 15 Aug. 1896, in New York City.[6] Editor and contributor to several newspapers and magazines, including the New York Recorder, 1894, and Ladies’ Home Journal, 1899; wrote a column for the New York Tribune, 1897.[7] With several journalist friends, organized the Sunshine Society, 1896.[8] Organized the International Sunshine Society, incorporated 9 Mar. 1900, and served as president throughout her life.[9] Met with EBW in Washington DC at a Republican Party banquet, 27 Feb. 1901.[10] Under the auspices of the Sunshine Society, organized the first home for blind children, 1902.[11] By 1931, the International Sunshine Society counted five hundred branches in thirty-eight states and eight foreign nations and operated hospitals and homes for the blind and orphans, summer camps, lodges, facilities for working women, and other services.[12] Died 8 Jan. 1931 in Brooklyn, Kings Co., New York.[13]

 

[1] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5. 1900 U.S. Census, Brooklyn, Election District 5, New York City Ward 19, Kings Co., NY, ED 290, p. 5, Cynthia W. Alden. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 27 Nov. 2017), Cynthia May Westover (KZKK-R6V). 

[2] Manhattan, NY, Department of Health, Marriage Records, 1866–1937, cert. no. 12576, John Alden and Cynthia M. Westover, 15 Aug. 1896, microfilm 1493575, DGS 7586973, image 589/1278, FHL. Brooklyn, NY, Department of Health, Brooklyn Death Certificates, 1919–1949, cert. no. 815, Cynthia M. Westover Alden, microfilm 2069221, DGS 40073399, image 861/2033, FHL.

[3] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5.

[4] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5.

[5] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5.

[6] Manhattan, NY, Department of Health, Marriage Records, 1866–1937, cert. no. 12576, John Alden and Cynthia M. Westover, 15 Aug. 1896, microfilm 1493575, DGS 7586973, image 589/1278, FHL. 

[7] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5. “Cynthia May Westover Alden,” Britannica Online Encyclopedia (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cynthia-May-Westover-Alden, accessed 17 Apr. 2020).

[8] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5.

[9] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 5.

[10] EBW, Diary, 28 Feb. 1901.

[11] Cynthia M. W. Alden, “Department of the Blind,” Ladies’ Home Journal and Floral Life 6, no. 8 (Aug. 1913).

[12] Robert McHenry, Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Dover Publications, 1983), 6.

[13] Brooklyn, NY, Department of Health, Brooklyn Death Certificates, 1919–1949, cert. no. 815, Cynthia M. Westover Alden, microfilm 2069221, DGS 40073399, image 861/2033, FHL.