People of Brookline

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Louise Harding Williams, 1882
1869 – 1902; never married; parents: Thomas Blake Williams, Alice Harding Weld; born in West Roxbury on the Brookline border, lived in Boston.

She and Mamie Williams, the owner of the album, were first cousins once removed. (Her father and Mamie’s paternal grandfather were brothers.) She was also a first cousin of Bernard, Richard, and A. Winsor Weld, also in this album. (Their fathers and Louise’s mother were siblings.) Her father worked in the family wine and liquor importing business, J.D. & M. Williams. He died in June 1878 when he escaped from attendees at the McLean Asylum, where he had been confined for several months, and drowned himself in Mystic Lake. Louise traveled with her aunt and uncle and other Bostonians across Canada and to Alaska by train in 1892. In 1893, she graduated from the Boston Cooking School. She worked with many charitable organizations including the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Association for the Blind. She was especially active at Lincoln House in the South End of Boston, part of the settlement movement providing services to the poor. She was an assistant to Ellen H. Richards, the first woman to be admitted to MIT and a pioneer in nutrition and home economics, in the publication in 1902 of The Dietary Computer, a booklet promoting good nutrition for settlement workers and housewives. Louise died in Cohasset August 1902 at the age of 33. A tribute from the Perkins School said "She died from over-exertion in seeking to solve scientifically the great problem of how to feed the poor well and at the same time with economy. Literally she gave herself, with all the enthusiasm of her young heart, to the well-being of the indigent and the needy."