Julia Reed Shattuck

Julia Ball Reed was an exceptional student, finishing the high school course in Hartford, Connecticut at age 13. The following year she was a teacher! When she reached a suitable college age Julia set off—by train—to find a college “whose advantages were not limited by sex.”  

Hillsdale College was second on her list, but as the train neared the village the college building on top of the hill captivated her. She disembarked and walked through swamp and farm land to enroll in what would be the 1860 graduating class of Hillsdale College.            

After the Civil War, Julia again defied convention and married Capt. L. Brace Shattuck, a local Hillsdale merchant who was considered to be beneath her social station in life. The Shattucks moved to the bustling young city of Chicago in 1870, where involvement of women in civic and cultural affairs was accepted. Julia fit right in, teaching parliamentary law, helping with the Protestants’ Orphan Asylum, and later becoming a member of the Board of Lady Managers of the Chicago Columbian Exposition, the World’s Fair of 1893.         

Julia often returned to Hillsdale, where she was elected first vice president of the Hillsdale College Alumni Association in 1895. She was highly esteemed by Hillsdale College President Joseph W. Mauck, and he presided at her funeral. He said that Julia felt that “one who is favored in talent and environment is under obligation to contribute to the comfort and happiness of others.” It wasn't until sixteen and a half years after Julia's death that the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Fortunately, the formalities of law and restrictions on women never stifled Julia's inclinations to make the world a better place.


JoAnne P. Miller