Vilona Palmer

Full name

Vilona Cora Brownlee Palmer

Presence at Shimer



Seminary period alum

Vilona Palmer, née Vilona Brownlee, was a student at Shimer College during the late Seminary period, graduating in 1893.

Of her subsequent studies, the July-August 1895 Oread reports that:

Miss Brownlee is studying vocal music with Mr. Wheeler, one of the leading teachers of vocal music in Chicago. He speaks highly of her and is kind enough to say that all of Mrs. Hazzen's pupils come to him in good condition for study

Early issues of the Annual Calendar show her still in Chicago. The first issue of the Frances Shimer Quarterly, which is dated March 1909 but includes accounts of events back to 1907, notes her as having recently begun teaching at the Creal Springs Seminary, run by fellow Shimer alum Gertrude Brown Murrah.

On June 16, 1908, she married Baptist minister James A. Palmer in Kankakee, Illinois. They appear to have led a fairly peripatetic life: the Annual Calendar places her in Abingdon, Illinois in 1909 and 1910, Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1911, and Clinton, Kentucky in 1912. The 1918 Semi-centennial alumni record of the University of Illinois places Rev. Palmer again in South Dakota, in Fairfax.

Palmer was the source of many of the historical pictures of the Seminary campus used in Ned Crankshaw's 1993 article Changing Images at Shimer College (PDF).


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