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Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
There are 631 manuscripts, 525 of which are by Caroline Severance. These include speeches, poetry, essays, articles, notebooks, commonplace books, miscellaneous notes, and a 347-page unpublished autobiography by Caroline Severance entitled "Own Story." The majority of the 10,634 pieces of correspondence is made up of family letters; only 232 letters are written by Caroline Severance. The rest of the correspondence is made up of letters written to Caroline Severance by over 1,700 different authors. The collection contains 9,007 pieces of ephemera, which is made up of address books, appointment books, brochures, business papers, greeting cards, legal documents, newspaper clippings, postcards, fliers, brochures, programs, notebooks, photographs, and financial papers of the family. The manuscripts, correspondence, and ephemera cover the following subjects: African American women suffrage and clubs, Susan B. Anthony, Jessie Benton Frémont, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Julia Ward Howe, child labor reform, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Fröbel and the Kindergarten movement, Charles Fletcher Lummis and the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, Helen Modjeska, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, dress reform, suffrage, temperance, Unitarianism, women's rights, women's clubs, and the history, politics and social life of 19th and 20th century Los Angeles, California.
Background
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.
Extent
20,473 items 10 boxes
Restrictions
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Availability
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site.