Severance, Caroline M. Seymour (Caroline Maria Seymour), 1820-1914

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Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, suffragist, reformer, and social activist, was born in Canadaigua, New York, in January 1820. In 1840 she married Theodoric Severance. The Severances first lived in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Boston in 1855. In 1868, Caroline Severance founded the New England Women's Club, the first women's club in the United States earning her the name "Mother of Clubs." The Severances moved to Los Angeles in 1875 where she continued her various reform work including Unitarianism, the development of kindergarten programs, socialism, suffrage, women's clubs, and women's rights. In 1911, when women won the right to vote in California, Caroline Severance was reportedly the first woman to register to vote. She died in Los Angeles in 1914 at the age of 94.

From the description of Papers of Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, 1830-1980 (bulk) 1860-1914. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122565228

Woman's club leader; Women's rights activist; Abolitionist.

Born Caroline Maria Seymour, Canandaigua, NY, 1820; graduated from Miss Record's Female Seminary, 1835 and served on the faculty of Auburn Female Seminary; married Theodore C. Severance, 1840; daughter Julia Severance (Burrage). Resided in Cleveland where Caroline Severance lectured and wrote on women's rights and was active in abolitionist movement; moved to Boston area, 1855, where she served on board of New England Hospital for Women and Children; co-founded New England Woman's Club, 1868; and organized American Association for the Advancement of Women. Moved to Los Angeles, 1875, where she organized the L.A. Women's Club, 1878. She died in 1914.

From the description of Papers, 1861-1920. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 50121350

Biography

Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, suffragist, reformer, and social activist, was born in Canandaigua, New York in January 1820. She graduated from the Female Seminary of Geneva, New York, in 1835, and in 1840, she married Theodoric Severance; they had five children, Orson Seymour (born and died in 1841), James Seymour (1842-1936), Julia Long Burrage (born in 1844), Mark Sibley (1846-1931), and Pierre Clarke (1849-1890). The Severances spent their first fifteen years together in Cleveland, Ohio, but moved to Boston in 1855 when Theodoric accepted a position with the North Bank of Boston. At the outbreak of the Civil War the Severances moved to Port Royal, South Carolina, where Theodoric was Collector of Customs. Caroline Severance, who was actively involved in the abolitionist movement before and during the war, became involved in several reform movements and was a member of the boards of the Sanitary Commission, the Freedom Bureau, and the New England Hospital for Women and Children. She also became a supporter of the suffrage movement and in 1866 helped organize the Equal Rights Association with Susan B. Anthony. In 1868, Caroline Severance founded the New England Women's Club, the first women's club in the United States; although this fact would later be disputed, she is always referred to as the "Mother of Clubs." She also helped found the American Woman Suffrage Association with Lucy Stone in 1869.

In 1875 the Severances moved to Los Angeles and established themselves at their home "El Nido" on West Adams Boulevard. While in Los Angeles, Caroline Severance continued her reform work. She founded the Los Angeles Women's Club, the Orphan's Home Society, the first Unitarian congregation in Los Angeles, and the Friday Morning Club; she also helped to develop the first kindergarten in Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1904 she became the honorary president of the Los Angeles Political Equality League. In 1911, when women won the right to vote in California, Caroline Severance was reportedly the first woman to register to vote. She died in Los Angeles in November 1914 at the age of 94.

From the guide to the Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers, 1830-1980, (The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Sarah Brown Ingersoll Cooper Papers, 1813-1921 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Papers, 1820(1830-1900)1915 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Severance, Caroline M. Seymour (Caroline Maria Seymour), 1820-1914. Papers of Caroline Maria Seymour Severance, 1830-1980 (bulk) 1860-1914. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Mrs. Frank S. Churchill portrait collection of abolitionists, [18--]. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Kreider, Samuel L. Papers of Samuel L. Kreider, 1637-1953 (bulk 1856-1953). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn New England Women's Club. Records, 1843-1970 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers, 1830-1980 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
creatorOf Burdette, Clara Bradley, 1855-1954. Papers of Clara Bradley Burdette, 1843-1954. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Spencer, Lilly Martin, 1822-1902. Martin family papers and Campus Martius Museum records regarding Lilly Martin Spencer, 1825-1971. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Charles Sumner correspondence, 1829-1874. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Severance, Caroline M. Seymour (Caroline Maria Seymour), 1820-1914. Letter to Miss Larcom, July 27 / C.M. Severance. University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
creatorOf Park, Alice, 1861-1961. Papers of Alice Park, 1798-1953 (bulk 1902-1920). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Lutz, Alma,. Collection of documents by and about abolitionists and women's rights activists, Part 2 (Liv-W), 1775-1943 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Collection, n.y., n.d., 1775-1943 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Historical Society of Southern California Collection of Lantern Slides, 1870s-1932 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Ralph Waldo Emerson letters from various correspondents, ca. 1814-1882. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Harbert, Elizabeth Boynton, b. 1845. Papers of Elizabeth Boynton Harbert, 1863-1925. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Blanchard, James B.,. Historical Society of Southern California Collection of Lantern Slides [graphic], 1870s-1932. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Severance, Caroline M. Seymour (Caroline Maria Seymour), 1820-1914. Papers, 1861-1920. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Briggs family. Papers, 1820-1915 (inclusive), 1838-1900 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Cooper, Sarah Brown Ingersoll, 1836-1896. Sarah Brown Ingersoll Cooper papers, 1813-1921. Cornell University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888. person
associatedWith ALMA LUTZ, 1890-1973 person
associatedWith Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906. person
associatedWith Association for the Advancement of Women. corporateBody
associatedWith Avery, Susan Look. person
associatedWith Avery, Susan Look. person
associatedWith Blackwell, Alice Stone, 1857-1950. person
associatedWith Briggs family. family
associatedWith BRIGGS FAMILY family
associatedWith Burdette, Clara Bradley, 1855-1954. person
associatedWith Churchill, Frank S., Mrs., collector. person
associatedWith Cooper, Sarah Brown Ingersoll. person
associatedWith Cooper, Sarah Brown Ingersoll, 1836-1896. person
associatedWith Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895. person
associatedWith Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882. person
associatedWith Ferguson, Georgia Ransom Fay. person
associatedWith Ferguson, Georgia Ransom Fay. person
associatedWith Frémont, Jessie Benton, 1824-1902. person
associatedWith Friday Morning Club (Los Angeles, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fröbel, Friedrich, 1782-1852. person
associatedWith Garrison, William Lloyd, 1838-1909. person
associatedWith Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 1860-1935. person
associatedWith Graham, Margaret Collier, 1850-1910. person
associatedWith Hamilton, Gail, 1833-1896. person
associatedWith Harbert, Elizabeth Boynton, b. 1845. person
associatedWith Harvard Club of San Francisco (Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Hearst, Phoebe Apperson, 1842-1919. person
associatedWith Hooker, Isabella Beecher, 1822-1907. person
associatedWith Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910. person
associatedWith Kreider, Samuel L. person
associatedWith Larcom, Lucy, 1824-1893. person
associatedWith London, Jack, 1876-1916. person
associatedWith Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928. person
associatedWith Lutz, Alma, person
associatedWith Mitchell, Maria, 1818-1889. person
associatedWith Modjeska, Helena, 1840-1909. person
associatedWith National American Woman Suffrage Association. corporateBody
associatedWith New England Women's Club corporateBody
associatedWith Park, Alice, 1861-1961. person
associatedWith Ruddy, Ella Giles, 1851-1917. person
associatedWith Sanborn, Kate, 1839-1917. person
associatedWith Sargent, Ellen Clark. person
associatedWith Sargent, Ellen Clark. person
associatedWith Severance, Julia. person
associatedWith Sewall, May Wright, 1844-1920. person
associatedWith Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919. person
associatedWith Southwest Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Spencer, Lilly Martin, 1822-1902. person
associatedWith Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902. person
associatedWith Stearns, Sarah B. person
associatedWith Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893. person
associatedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith University of Wisconsin--Madison. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections. corporateBody
associatedWith Ward, Henry Baldwin, 1865-1945. person
associatedWith Ward, Lydia Avery Coonley, 1845-1924. person
associatedWith Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915. person
associatedWith Wendte, Charles W. (Charles William), 1844-1931. person
associatedWith Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923. person
associatedWith Wilshire, Gaylord, 1861-1927. person
associatedWith Wilson, J. Stitt (Jackson Stitt), 1868-1942. person
associatedWith Zakrzewska, Marie E. (Marie Elizabeth), 1829-1902. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Los Angeles (Calif.)
California
United States
United States
California
Los Angeles (Calif.)
Subject
Women socialists--United States
Suffragists--Archives
Clothing and dress--Social aspects
Women--Societies and clubs
Cooperation and socialism
Women--Suffrage--United States--History--20th century--Sources
Feminists--Archives
Child labor--Law and legislation
Temperance
African American women--Suffrage
Feminists--United States--Archives
Unitarianism--United States
Women's rights
Abolitionists--Correspondence
Women--Suffrage--History--20th century--Sources
Women's rights--United States
Kindergarten
Clothing and dress--Social aspects--United States
Temperance--United States
Women--Societies and clubs--History--Sources
Kindergarten--United States
Women--Legal status, laws, etc
African American women--Societies and clubs
Unitarianism
American literature--Women authors
Women--Suffrage--United States--History--19th century--Sources
Cooperation and socialism--United States
Child labor--Law and legislation--United States
Suffragists--United States--Archives
Women--Suffrage--History--19th century--Sources
Women socialists
Suffragists--Correspondence
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1820

Death 1914

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