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Virginia Winslow Hopper Mathews Obituary

The daughter of famed Osage author John Joseph Mathews dies at 86
Virginia Mathews, daughter of famed Osage author John Joseph Mathews, dies at age 86. She was a pioneer in the advocacy of children's literacy. Photo by Shannon Shaw/Osage News

BELLEVILLE- Virginia Winslow Hopper Mathews, 86, of Valley View Haven, Belleville, passed away at 1:35 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

Virginia was born on March 9, 1925, in New York City, N.Y., to the late John Joseph Mathews and Virginia Winslow (Hopper) Mathews.

She was preceded in death by her lifetime companion, Virginia Huie.

Virginia is survived by a brother, John H. Mathews, & wife Gail, of Allensville, three nieces, Sara Dydak, Laura Edwards and Chris Mathews, as well as 13 great-nieces and nephews.

She grew up in New Jersey and attended private preparatory schools, then took courses at Goucher College, the University of Geneva and Columbia University. Her expertise was in the field of communications, promotion, public affairs, public relations and program management. She began in product promotion and market development specializing in children's books for Brentano's from 1944 to 1949 and then with Longmans Green Publisher from 1950 to 1957.

In 1957, she began work with the National Book Committee as Deputy Director and then as Director. She also worked with the Association of American Publishers and wrote reviews of children's books for the New York Times and Herald Tribune. She gave in-service courses for teachers in New York on curriculum use of children's books. When the National Book Committee discontinued, she went to work for the Library of Congress Center for the Book. She has several books to her credit and was instrumental in starting the Head Start program and organizing one of the White House Conferences on Libraries. She was a lifelong member of the American Library Association.

Virginia's father was Osage and active in tribal affairs, and as a member of the tribe herself, she has kept up contact with its affairs.

A memorial service will be held in her honor at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 22, 2011, at West Kishacoquillas Presbyterian Church, with Pastor Samuel G. Strohm officiating.

Burial will take place at Machpelah Cemetery.

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to: Hospice: The Bridge, 400 Highland Ave., Lewistown, PA 17044.

Arrangements are under the care of Henderson Funeral Home, Inc., 3813 W. Main St., Belleville, PA 17004.