Bessie Van Mater Keyes, ca. 1860.9. Bessie Van Mater Keyes, ca. 1860.  From a daguerreotype, presented by Marion Hudson Wilmot.

Bessie Van Mater Keyes, born in 1857, was the first child of George and Mary Brown Keyes (see #5) and the oldest sister of George and Arthur Keyes (see #8).

The daughter of a prominent family, in adulthood Bessie Keyes was a community leader in her own right. In 1880, she married attorney Woodward Hudson, son of journalist Frederic Hudson and his wife Eliza Woodward Hudson (see #21, #22, and #23). She served on Concord's School Committee and Library Committee and as president of the Louisa May Alcott Memorial Association. She also belonged to the Concord Woman's Club, the Women's Parish Association of the First Parish, the Concord Female Charitable Society, and the Ladies' Tuesday Club.

Mrs. Hudson was deeply interested in Concord history, and particularly in the stories of strong but traditional women like Caroline Downes Brooks Hoar and Ann Caroline French Brown (her grandmother), whom she considered exemplars of female virtue and capability. She prepared biographical lectures about both of them for the Women's Parish Association.

This portrait, given to the Concord Free Public Library by Bessie Keyes Hudson's daughter and only surviving child, shows a calm, good-natured, alert little girl. Later photographs suggest that she retained her early temperament into adulthood (see #10).

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