MRS. JESSIE PALMER WEBER - There is no department of intellectual activity in which the influence of women has not been felt. This is pre-eminently her age, in which she has attained positions of prominence unknown in former epochs. Her power has become especially potent along educational lines, and marked advance in that direction is directly attributable to her efforts. Occupying a position of prestige in connection with literary and historical research in Illinois is Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, now librarian of the Illinois State Historical Library and secretary and treasurer of the Illinois State Historical Society. Her father, General John McAuley Palmer, was one of the most notable figures, not only of Illinois, but of the nation in the central portion of the nineteenth century, and needs no introduction to the readers of this volume. His wife was Malinda Ann Neeley. He was in the army at the time of the birth of Mrs. Weber, his sixth daughter and eighth child. The ancestry of the family in America can be traced back in paternal line to Thomas Palmer, who with his wife and daughter, came from England, in the ship tiger in 1621, settling in Virginia. Isaac Palmer, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Weber, served in the Revolutionary war and participated in the siege of Yorktown.
Mrs. Weber was a student in the public schools of Springfield in her early girlhood days and was graduated at the Bettie Stuart Institute, of this city, with the class of 1880. She became private secretary to her father, General John M. Palmer, during his term in the United States senate, from 1891 until 1897, and took particular interest in assisting him in his efforts to secure pensions for his old comrades of the Civil War, also in the distribution of government documents. On the 1st of January, 1898, she became librarian of the Illinois State Historical Library, and has had general charge of the publication of the historical works issued by the library, as well as the routine work connected with its conduct. She assisted the late H. W. Beckwith, of Danville, in preparing for publican "Illinois Historical Collections," volume I, and compiled an exhaustive index to the work. She catalogued the books of the library, issuing the catalogue in 1900. Her comprehensive knowledge along general as well as specific lines led to her selection in January, 1903, for the office of secretary and treasurer of the Illinois State Historical Society, and in 1904 she was re-elected to the position and also chosen a member of the board of directors of the society. In 1903 she was elected second vice-president of the National Association of State Librarians.
Mrs. Weber is a member of the American Library Association, the National Association of State Librarians, the American Historical Association, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Authors' Club of Springfield. She was married in 1881 to N. W. Weber and has one daughter, Malinda E. Weber. Her position of prominence in literary and social circles of the city is a self-evident fact. Inheriting the strong intellectual tendencies of her father, her development has been along lines demanding close application and broad reading, resulting in the acquirement of a comprehensive general knowledge, and her efforts to stimulate a love of historical research and to perpetuate a knowledge of the events which have shaped the course of state and nation have not been without effective and far reaching result.