Founder Hattie Briggs Born October 10, 1849


This blog post is adapted from We Who Are Sisters: 150 Years of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. It is available to purchase here

According to Franc Roads, it was Hattie Briggs who famously met with Franc at the stile on the grounds of Iowa Wesleyan University on January 21, 1869, and declared, "Let us start an order of our own."

Harriet "Hattie" Jane Briggs was born on October 10, 1849, in Troy, Iowa, the daughter of Elias L. Briggs, a Methodist minister, and his wife, Jane. In 1863, the family moved to Mount Pleasant, where Hattie attended the preparatory department of Iowa Wesleyan before beginning her own university studies in 1866. A member of the graduating class known as Lifebloods, she received her B.S. in 1869. As well as her regular university courses, Hattie also studies art and music, subjects she taught following graduation. In 1872 she was awarded an honorary M.S. degree.

For her classmate Dillon Payne, she was "the best-hearted girl that ever lived. None knew her but to love her."

Read more about Hattie's life and the lives of the other Founders in the We Who Are Sisters book.