Belle Aurelia Babb was born in Benton Township, Iowa back in 1846 to Miles and Mary. Her father left for California in 1850, where he was superintendent of the Bay State Mining Company, where he was killed in the collapse of a mining tunnel in 1852. After her father’s death the family moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa where the children attended the local schools.
In 1862, she attended the Iowa Wesleyan College. As the men were leaving to fight in the Civil War, universities were admitting women students, then hiring them as teachers. She graduated as valedictorian in just three years.
After graduation, she taught school at Des Moines Conference Seminary in Indianola, Iowa for a year. She returned to Mount Pleasant to marry her college sweetheart John. She taught college at Wesleyan followed by DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. In 1893, she was selected as Dean of the School of Art at DePauw, the next year she was hired as Dean of the School of Music. She died in 1911, she was 65.
What you may not know about Belle Mansfield his that she was the first female lawyer in the United States in 1869, admitted to the Iowa bar.
NW Arkansas, come for a visit, stay for a lifetime.