Hoge, Jane (1811–1890)

views updated

Hoge, Jane (1811–1890)

American reformer who is best known for her work during the Civil War. Name variations: Mrs. A.H. Hoge. Born Jane Currie Blaikie on July 31, 1811, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; died in Chicago, Illinois, on August 26, 1890; daughter of George Dundas (a trader) and Mary (Monroe) Blaikie; graduated from the Young Ladies' College in Philadelphia; married Abraham Holmes Hoge, on June 2, 1831; children: thirteen, eight of whom lived to maturity.

Moved from Pittsburgh to Chicago (1848); was founder and president of Home for the Friendless (1858); with Mary Livermore, directed Chicago (later Northwestern) Sanitary Commission, 1862–65); was a fund raiser and Board of Trustees member for Evanston College for Ladies (1871–74), when it merged with Northwestern University; headed the Woman's Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in the Northwest (1872–85). Publications: The Boys in Blue (1867).

Jane Hoge's initial involvement in the Civil War relief effort was an extremely personal one. When two of her sons enlisted, she volunteered as a nurse for son George's regiment which was at Camp Douglas in Chicago. Her final trip to the field in June 1863 was also a private mission, to bring that same son, colonel of his regiment of volunteers, back from Vicksburg because he had sustained a serious head injury.

Although publicity emphasized the motherliness of her dedication to individual soldiers, her work was of much broader importance than that of a nurse. With her friend Mary Livermore , Hoge co-administered the Chicago Sanitary Commission (1862–65), making it a remarkably successful volunteer organization for fund-raising and for collecting and distributing medical supplies and food to northern Civil War soldiers. Mary Livermore praised Hoge for her marked executive ability and appreciated the fact that "her force of character was irresistible, and bore down all opposition." Hoge's version of the war, told in The Boys in Blue (1867), is primarily a series of stylized vignettes about individual soldiers, but it does contain a chapter about the Sanitary Fair of 1863, the extremely successful fundraiser organized by the two women, as well as some material written by Mary Livermore (M.A.L.) which does not appear in her own book, My Story of the War (1887).

Though Hoge is best known for her Civil War volunteerism, she came to this challenge already experienced as a dedicated benevolent worker. She had helped to found the Chicago Home for the Friendless in 1858, was president of its board, and had been involved on a daily basis in all the practical work of running the Home. After the war, she took up the cause of women's education, helping to raise funds to establish the Evanston College for Ladies (1871) with Frances E. Willard as president. Hoge served on the Board of Trustees until the college made a controversial merger with Northwestern University in 1874. She died in Chicago on August 26, 1890.


Hoge, Mrs. A.H. [Jane Currie]. The Boys in Blue. NY: E.B. Treat, 1867.

James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women, 1607–1950. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971, pp. 199–201.

Livermore, Mary A. My Story of the War. Hartford, CT: A.D. Worthington, 1889.

suggested reading:

McCarthy, Kathleen D. Noblesse Oblige: Charity and Cultural Philanthropy in Chicago, 1849–1929. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982.


E.B. Washburne Papers and Robert Todd Lincoln Collection, Library of Congress.

Sophie S. Rogers Collection, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

Northwestern University Archives.

Dorsey Phelps , editorial director of Monthly Review Press, New York City

About this article

Hoge, Jane (1811–1890)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article