Albion College Graduate
Class of 1886
Jennie Worthington served as director of the music department of the Albion Public Schools from its creation in 1892 until her retirement in 1920. An Albion College graduate, she was one of Albion’s most respected women, and was very active in civic and social affairs. She was especially remembered for her leadership in the annual Junior-Ex programs, and in school plays.
Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.
Miss Jennie A. Worthington is the daughter of James L. and Elizabeth (Curtis) Worthington, who came from Illinois to Albion, Mich., March 1878, and settled on the farm south of Albion still known as the Worthington farm, where they lived seven years.
Miss Worthington received her earlier education in Princeton, Illinois, her birthplace, and graduated from the Princeton high school; graduated from Albion College Conservatory of Music in 1886, and took post graduate work in Boston, Mass.; taught piano and harmony and rudiments of music in Albion College for eleven years, (1886-1897); during that time put thedepartment of music into Albion Public Schools and was its supervisor for 26 years, (1893-1920).
For over ten year Miss Worthington was organist and choir director in the PresbyterianChurch, later playing the organ for threeyears in the Methodist Episcopal church. She has had her private studio since 1898, and resides at her home, 515 East Michigan Ave.
Other activities which should be mentioned are president, ELTClub, (1921-1925); regent, Hannah Tracy Grant chapter,DAR, (1912-1915),(1925-1928); vice-regent, (1910-1911),(1917-1919); its historian (1929-1932); state secretary, DAR (1915-1917); charter member Beta chapter of Alpha Chi Omega;secretary, executive board of Albion Hospital for eight years, and at the time it became the Sheldon Memorial hospital; she compiled a complete history from its small beginning; member of the board of Ladies Library association for ten years, and its president for four; president, Albion Federation of Women’s Clubs, (1930-1932). K101
Source: Miriam Krenerick. Albion’s Milestones and Memories. Albion, MI: Art Craft Press. 1932.
If there was ever an Albion woman with a perpetual fountain of youth, it was Miss Jennie Worthington.” Thus the Albion Evening Recorder paid tribute to her upon her death in a home fire on April 19, 1942. The editorial continued, noting her “knack of picking things that needed to be done, and immediately seeing that something was done about them … her good works were legion.”
Jennie Worthington was best known for two major good works in her long and industrious life: first, as a major fundraiser for the Sheldon Memorial Hospital, and second, as the driving force behind the original music program in the Albion Public Schools.
Jennie was born October 8, 1859, in Princeton, Illinois, coming to Albion with her parents in 1878. She was an 1886 graduate of the Albion College Conservatory of Music and taught piano harmony and fundamentals of music there for eleven years. While in college she was a charter member of the Beta chapter of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. This sorority annually gives the Jennie Worthington Cup to the senior woman named the most outstanding music graduate.
In 1893, Jennie created the music department in the Albion Public Schools. She supervised music in Central School and the four ward schools until her retirement in 1920 at the age of 61. Even after retirement, she continued to be active in music, teaching in her private studio at her home at 515 East Michigan Avenue, and serving as organist and choir director for both the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches in Albion.
Jennie served for many years, beginning in 1918, on the then all-female hospital board, which was assisted by a three-man advisory committee appointed by the city. By 1922, the hospital had outgrown its twelve-bed Ash Street facility. Jennie took it upon herself to appeal to James Sheldon Riley, a former Albionite who was living in Los Angeles, for money to build a new hospital. Her powers of persuasion brought the gift of $50,000 from Mr. Riley, donated in his grandfather’s name for the new facility. This amounted to half the cost of the new hospital, which was named the James K. Sheldon Memorial Hospital. She continued serving on the hospital board until 1941.
Jennie served as president of the E.L.T. Club from 1921 to 1925; and as regent of the Hannah Tracy Grant chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution twice (1912 to 1915 and 1925 to 1928) as well as holding other offices in that organization. She was a ten-year member of the board of the Ladies Library Association (forerunner of the Albion Public Library board) and president of the Albion Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1930 to 1932. In the last years before her death , she was chair of the American Red Cross knitting project.
Jennie Worthington died at the age of 82, from burns she sustained when her bathrobe caught fire while she was making breakfast in her home. She was taken to Sheldon Memorial Hospital, where she died the next day.
Source: Albion Evening Recorder, April 20, 1982
From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.