case western reserve university



The Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association and
Mather Advisory Council

Mather Alumnae Association Founders
Advisory Council President, Isabella Birdsall Morley, was regarded as the force behind the Association, declaring, “The strength of the college is in its alumnae.” At the time, the College had 8 alumnae. In February 1894, 5 of them organized the College for Women Alumnae Association. There are 4 founders listed here. The fifth founder is not identified in Alumnae Association or College records. She was one of these remaining alumnae: Mary Elizabeth Babbitt, B.L., 1893; Helen Hutchinson Cowing, B.L., 1892; Mary Louisa French, A.B. 1891; Mary Almina Johnson, B.L., 1892.

Eleanor Lewin Critchley (1869-1943)
A founding member of the Mather Alumnae Association, Eleanor Lewin Critchley was born August 21, 1869 in Cleveland. She graduated from Central High School and received the Ph.B. in 1893 from the College for Women, taking the Latin English curriculum. She taught for 5 years at Willoughby High School and later, Astoria High School in Oregon. She died in December of 1943.

Adelaide Cooke Denison (1871-1952)
In 1893 Adelaide Cooke Denison became the first secretary of the Mather Alumnae Association. She was born August 19, 1871 in Cleveland and graduated from Central High School. Miss Denison received the B. L. degree from the College for Women in 1893, taking the Modern Language curriculum. She also attended Normal School in 1895-1896. She taught at Central High School and other Cleveland public high schools. She died March 10, 1952.
Adelaide Cooke Denison
Adelaide Cooke Denison is on the right.

Emilie Christiana Monck (1872–1956)
Miss Monck served as the Alumnae Association’s first president in 1894. She graduated from the College for Women in 1893 and also received her M.A. from Western Reserve University in 1894. Her college preparation was at Cleveland’s Central High School, where she later taught English. Both her parents were from Wexford County, Ireland, where her mother attended the Young Ladies Seminary. They emigrated to Guelph, Ontario, Canada, where Emilie was born July 14, 1872. She died in December 1956.

Ida Blanche Sanders (1871- ?)
A founding member of the Alumnae Association, Ida Sanders was born in Washington, D.C. April 1, 1871. She received her college preparation at Cleveland’s Central High School. She attended Wellesley College for two years, before returning to Cleveland to attend the College for Women. In 1893 she received the B.L. degree. The following year she attended Normal School and taught in the Cleveland schools from 1894 to 1898. In 1899 she married Adam H. Graham.

Mather Advisory Council Founders

On January 24, 1888 the Western Reserve University Trustees authorized President Haydn to establish a college for women. In March President Haydn invited twelve women to his home for an informal meeting to discuss how the college might be launched. From this meeting was created the Advisory Council, a group of women who contributed their time and energy, funds, and influence to ensure a successful start for the new College.

Mary Payne Bingham (1854–1898)
Mary Payne Bingham was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 to 1892. She served on the College Home Committee and furnished 1 suite of rooms in Guilford House. She married Charles W. Bingham in 1876 and her daughter, Frances Payne Bingham Bolton, was the namesake for the Western Reserve University School of Nursing. Mrs. Bingham died in 1898 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Anne Hathaway Brown (? - ?)
Anne Hathaway Brown was an Advisory Council member from 1888 to 1891 and a corresponding member from Brooklyn, New York from 1891 to 1892. She purchased the Brooks School for Young Ladies and Misses in 1886 and operated it as Hathaway Brown School for 4 years, 1886-1890. She “developed a reputation for providing quality education for young women.” She later married Frank G. Sigler.

Harriet Sheldon Hurlbut (1839-1916)
Harriet Sheldon Hurlbut was born in 1839 in Cleveland. She was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 until her death in 1916. She was secretary 1888-1894 and also chaired the Library Committee. A memorial fund was established in her honor to purchase books for the College for Women library.
Harriet Sheldon Hurlbut
Harriet Sheldon Hurlbut

Harriet Louise Keeler (1844-1921)
Harriet Keeler was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 to 1921. She served as vice president 1907-1908 and president 1908-1910. She also served on the House Committee, Committee on Discipline, and the Educational Committee. She was born in South Kortright, New York the youngest of 7 children, and graduated from Delhi Academy in Delhi, New York. She received the A.B. from Oberlin College in 1870 and the A.M. from Oberlin in 1900. She went to work at a young age, first teaching at the age of 14 in a district school in Cherry Valley, New York. She worked in the Cleveland Public Schools from 1870-1912. Besides teaching and serving as principal, she was the superintendent of primary instruction and in 1912 the first woman superintendent of the Cleveland Public Schools.
Harriet L. Keeler
Harriet Louise Keeler
She authored text books and nature books. Her civic activities included: president of the Cuyahoga County Suffrage Association, founding member of the College Club, charter member of the Fortnightly Club, Oberlin College trustee, and memberships in the Woman’s Club, Women’s City Club, and Garden Club. The Harriet L. Keeler Memorial Woods in Brecksville Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks was named for her. In 1913 she received the honorary degree (LL.D.) from Western Reserve University. She organized a memorial fund for Harriet Hurlbut, fellow Advisory Council member, to purchase “modern books of a more popular nature” for the College for Women library. She died in Clifton Springs, New York.

Flora Stone Mather (1852-1909)
Flora Stone Mather served on the Advisory Council from 1888 until her death in 1909. She served as vice president 1894-1895 and president 1895-1898. She also served on the College Home Committee, House Committee, Haydn House Committee, and the 1891 Building Committee which was responsible for Guilford House and Clark Hall. She was the youngest child of Amasa and Julia Gleason Stone, who made the gift to move Western Reserve College to Cleveland. In 1881 she married Samuel Mather, another benefactor of Western Reserve University. The College for Women was renamed in her honor in 1931.
Flora Stone Mather
Flora Stone Mather

Augusta Mittleberger (? –1915)
Miss Mittleberger was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 to 1915, serving on the Educational Committee as well as the Committee on Discipline. She had started giving private lessons in her home, which evolved into Miss Mittleberger’s School (ca. 1877-1908). This school “became the school where prominent Clevelanders sent their daughters” and prepared them for college. She retired in 1908 and died in 1915.

Isabella Birdsall Morley (1839- ?)
Born in Winstead, Connecticut in 1839, little is known about Isabella Birdsall’s education and early years, other than that she taught languages at the Berkshire Institute in New Marlboro, Massachusetts. She married Edward Morley in 1868 and accompanied him to Hudson, Ohio when he took a post as professor of chemistry, botany, mineralogy and geology at Western Reserve College. She also taught while living in Hudson. Mrs. Morley was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 to 1906 and a corresponding member from 1907 to 1922, residing in West Hartford, Connecticut. Mrs. Morley was the first president, serving two terms, 1888-1895 and 1904-1906. She also served on the Social Committee and the Educational Committee.
Isabella Birdsall Morley
Isabella Birdsall Morley

Ellen G. Reveley (? - ?)
Ellen Reveley was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 to 1903 and a corresponding member in 1904, from Syracuse, New York. She also served on the Educational Committee and the Committee on Extension. For a time she was head of the Sterling School.

Laura Barnett Sheffield (1851?–1951)
Laura Sheffield was the longest serving of the founding Advisory Council members. During her sixty-three-year tenure, from 1888 to 1951, she served on the College Home Committee, the House Committee, and the Guilford House Committee. She married Charles J. Sheffield. The Advisory Council’s memorial resolution included the following tribute, “Her alert mind and ready wit added great value to her wise judgment, which was always sought, and as long as she was able, she gave liberally both of her time and means. That she will be sadly missed is very evident, but the memory of her gracious personality will linger always.”

Harriette Benedict Sherman (1848–1929)
Mrs. Sherman was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 till her death in 1929. She was an officer for thirty-eight of those forty-one years: vice president (1888-1894), treasurer (1902-1904), and recording secretary (1919-1926). She chaired the House Committee from 1888 till 1896, She also served on the College Home Committee and the 1891 Building Committee, which worked diligently for Guilford House and Clark Hall. She chaired the Annin Fund Committee, which was later named the Sherman Fund in her honor. In recognition of her years of service, in 1965 one of Case Western Reserve’s new student residences was named Sherman House. In 1875 she married Henry Stoddard Sherman. Several of her descendants also served on the Advisory Council.

Harriette Benedict Sherman
Harriette Benedict Sherman (image courtesy of David Sherman Carter)
Ellen Garretson Wade (1859–1917)
Mrs. Wade was a member of the Advisory Council from 1888 till her death in 1917. She served on the original College Home Committee as well as the Library Committee. Typical of the very personal involvement of the Advisory Council members in the life of the College, Mrs. Wade, for many years, provided the flowers for Commencement from her greenhouse. Several of her descendants also served on the Advisory Council. In 1965 the dining hall of the new student residence complex was named for her, “For her sincerity of purpose, for her generous support and her concern for the comfort of the students it is fitting that her name be perpetuated in a dining hall and lounge for women students.”
Ellen Garretson Wade
Ellen Garretson Wade (left) with her mother, Ellen Howe Garretson

Harriet W. Brown Williamson (1852 –1923)
Mrs. Williamson served on the Advisory Council from 1888 till 1893. She was born in 1852 in Auburn, New York. Her father, Rev. Samuel Robbins Brown, was a missionary to Japan who also helped establish a college for women in upstate New York. As a young woman, she spent time in Japan, returning to the United States in 1879. She married Judge Samuel Williamson in 1884. He was an alumnus of Western Reserve College and trustee of Western Reserve University and Adelbert College. Beginning in 1898 with her husband's new job in New York, she split her time between Cleveland and New York. In 1910 she relocated to East Norwalk, Connecticut, where she resided at the time of her death.
Harriet W. Brown Williamson
Harriet W. Brown Williamson (image courtesy of Frederic E. Williamson)

Information was compiled by staff of the Case Western Reserve University Archives, May 2008.