Sherwin, Belle, 1868-1955

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Belle Sherwin was born on March 20, 1868 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the oldest of three daughters of Frances M. (Smith) and Henry Alden Sherwin, a founder of the Sherwin-Williams Paint Company. BS received her primary education in Cleveland, attended St. Margaret's School in Connecticut and graduated from Wellesley College in 1890. She taught history for a short period at St. Margaret's and in 1894-1895 did graduate work at Oxford University. For the next several years she taught at a girls' school in Boston. In 1899 she returned to Cleveland and began her long involvement with voluntary civic and women's organizations.

During the first years of this century BS was most active with the Visiting Nurse Association of Cleveland, serving on its board until 1924, and with the Cleveland Consumers' League, which she had organized in 1899. During World War I BS coordinated the activities of Cleveland's womens' organizations. She was named chairman of the Women's Committee of the Mayor's Advisory Board in 1917 and later in the same year was appointed Ohio Chairman of the Women's Committee of the U. S. Council of National Defense.

As a result of a visit by Maud Wood Park to Cleveland in 1910, BS joined the College Equal Suffrage League. In 1916 she organized the Women's City Club of Cleveland. After the War (1919) she became president of the Woman Suffrage Party of Greater Cleveland and a supporter of Carrie Chapman Catt. She became chairman of the Cleveland League of Women Voters (LWV) and was elected vice president of the National LWV in 1921. At the National League's fifth annual convention, 1924, in Buffalo, BS was elected president. She moved to Washington, D.C., where the League had its national headquarters, and served as president until 1934.

Under the leadership of BS the League initiated many of the methods and programs still followed today. Adult political education efforts were intensified. The League increased the number of its round tables and schools of citizenship, added many publications, and in 1928 inaugurated the Voters Campaign Information Service, a series of weekly radio programs presenting without partisanship questions of public interest. The League continued to lobby the Congress, participated in the Conferences on the Cause and Cure of War (including the first, held in 1925), exhibited at the Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia (1926), and presented planks that included women's rights issues to both political party conventions in 1928 and again in 1932.

During this period BS was also active in the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship and led the United States delegation to the Paris (1926) and the Berlin (1929) congresses.

In 1934, Marguerite Wells became the third president of the League. BS continued to live in Washington and remained active in a variety of organizations. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her to the Consumers' Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration and to the Federal Advisory Council of the U.S. Employment Service (1934). Her other activities included the following: vice-president of the National Municipal League, member of the General Advisory Council of the American Association for Labor Legislation, and vice-president for North America of the Inter-American Union of Women.

BS's interest in and involvement with Wellesley College continued throughout her life. She was first elected a trustee in 1918 and served until 1952. In 1950, the 75th anniversary year of the college, she was awarded an honorary LL.D. She also received honorary degrees from Western Reserve University (1930), Denison University (1931) and Oberlin College (1937).

In 1942 BS returned to her family home in Cleveland, where she enjoyed her hobbies of gardening, reading and double crostics. She died in 1955.

From the guide to the Papers, 1880-1955, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Stantial, Edna Lamprey. Series XI of the Mary Earhart Dillon Collection, 1893-1944 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Stone, Kathryn H. (Kathryn Haeseler), 1906-. Papers of Kathryn H. Stone [manuscript], 1916-1995 (bulk 1941-1985). University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Woman's rights collection, 1853-1958 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955. Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1870-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Curtis, Lucile Atcherson, 1894-1986. Papers, 1863-1986 (bulk: 1917-1927) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Powell, Rose Arnold, 1876-1961. Papers, 1922-1961 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Stantial, Edna Lamprey, 1897-1985. Papers in the Mary Earhart Dillon Collection, 1870-1944 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Sherwin, Belle, 1868-1955. Papers, 1880-1955 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Gellhorn, Edna Fischel, 1878-1970. Papers, 1919-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Stern, Max William, 1884-1950. Max William Stern papers, 1923-1942. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Pinchot, Cornelia Bryce, 1881-1960. Papers, 1923-1926 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn McCulloch, Catharine Waugh, 1862-1945. Papers, 1877-1983 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Maud Wood Park papers, 1844-1979 (bulk 1886-1951) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Sherwin, Belle, 1868-1955. Papers, 1880-1955 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876-1958. Papers, 1935-1958 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Gellhorn, Edna Fischel, 1878-1970. Papers, 1919-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Cowper, Mary Octavine Thompson, 1881-1968. Mary Octavine (Thompson) Cowper Papers, 1895-1969, bulk 1938-1969. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955. Papers of Maud Wood Park, 1844-1979 (bulk 1886-1951). Library of Congress
referencedIn Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955. Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1870-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn McCulloch, Catharine Waugh, 1862-1945. Papers, 1877-1983 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Woman's rights collection, 1853-1958 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Advisory Council on Economic Security corporateBody
associatedWith Allen, Florence Ellinwood, 1884-1966. person
correspondedWith Anderson, Mary person
associatedWith Brown, Gertrude Foster, 1867-1956 person
associatedWith Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947 person
correspondedWith Cleveland Women's City Club Foundation corporateBody
associatedWith Consumers' League of Ohio corporateBody
associatedWith Cowper, Mary Octavine Thompson, 1881-1968. person
associatedWith Denison University corporateBody
correspondedWith Dewson, Mary (Molly) WIlliams, 1874-1962 person
associatedWith Edna Fischel Gellhorn, 1878-1970 person
associatedWith Edna Lamprey Stantial person
associatedWith Ellen Fitz Pendleton person
associatedWith Gellhorn, Edna Fischel, 1878-1970. person
associatedWith League of Women Voters (U.S.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Lucile Atcherson Curtis, 1894-1986 person
associatedWith Marguerite M. Wells person
associatedWith Mary E. Woolley person
correspondedWith Mary H. Rumsey person
associatedWith Mary (Ritter) Beard, 1876-1958 person
associatedWith McCulloch, Catharine Waugh, 1862-1945 person
associatedWith Mount Holyoke College corporateBody
associatedWith Oberlin College corporateBody
associatedWith Oxford University corporateBody
associatedWith Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955 person
associatedWith Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965. person
associatedWith Pinchot, Cornelia Bryce, 1881-1960. person
associatedWith Pope, Theodate (Mrs. John Wallace Riddle), ? - 1946 person
associatedWith Powell, Rose Arnold, 1876-1961. person
associatedWith Riddle, Theodate Pope, 1867-1946. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945. person
associatedWith Rosa Manus. person
correspondedWith Schneiderman, Rose person
associatedWith Sherwin family
associatedWith Sherwin-Williams Paint Company corporateBody
associatedWith Smith family
associatedWith Stantial, Edna Lamprey. person
correspondedWith Stern, Max William, 1884-1950. person
associatedWith Stone, Kathryn H. (Kathryn Haeseler), 1906- person
associatedWith Wellesley College. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's City Club of Cleveland. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's National Press Club corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cleveland OH US
Boston MA US
Subject
Women in public life
World War, 1914-1918--Women
Women--Suffrage--International cooperation
Social service
Women--Societies and clubs
Associations, institutions, etc
Consumer protection
Women--Suffrage
Women's rights--19th century
Women's rights--20th century
Equal rights amendments
Occupation
Women's rights activists
Teacher
Activity

Person

Birth 1869-03-20

Death 1955-07-05

Female

Americans

English

Information

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