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Ellen C. Sabin Papers

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Scope and Contents

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Ellen C. Sabin Papers, 1884-1994 | Lawrence University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Ellen C. Sabin Papers, 1884-1994View associated digital content.

ID: MDC-MS/001

Primary Creator: Sabin, Ellen C.

Extent: 0.6 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject or format.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of a selection of papers from Ellen C. Sabin, president of Downer College from 1890 to 1895 and Milwaukee-Downer College from 1895 to 1921. Materials primarily include articles about Sabin, photographs, and correspondence to and from friends and acquaintances.

Collection Historical Note

From the Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography, Wisconsin Historical Society:

"Sabin, Ellen Clara, 1850-1949. Teacher, educator, college president, b. Sun Prairie. She attended the Univ. of Wisconsin (1865-1868) and for a time taught in the district schools, where her original methods of teaching geography led to her selection as principal of the 4th Ward (Doty) school in Madison. In 1872 she moved with her parents to Eugene, Ore., where for a time she conducted a private school. Her success as a teacher brought her to Portland, Ore., first as a teacher, then as principal, and in 1887 she became superintendent of schools for Portland, the first woman to hold such a position in a large city. Returning to Wisconsin in 1890, she reorganized Downer College at Fox Lake, and in 1895, when Downer was moved to Milwaukee and merged with Milwaukee Female College, she became first president of Milwaukee-Downer College, serving in this capacity until her retirement in 1921. During her tenure as president, Miss Sabin established the first course in occupational therapy to be offered in any college. She was also instrumental in organizing the Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs (1896), and was active in the A.A.U.W., which created the Ellen C. Sabin Fellowship in her honor. Following her retirement as president of Milwaukee- Downer, she spent her last years in Madison."

Administrative Information

Repository: Lawrence University Archives

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Property rights reside with Lawrence University.  For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the University Archivist.

Acquisition Method: Materials appear to have been donated from several sources, but the sources, dates, and methods of acquisition are unknown.

Related Materials: A more comprehensive collection of Ellen C. Sabin's papers is part of the Milwaukee-Downer College Records owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society and housed at the UW-Milwaukee Archives/Milwaukee Area Research Center.

Preferred Citation: Ellen C. Sabin Papers. MDC-MS001. Lawrence University Archives, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Processing Information: Preliminarily processed prior to 2005. Final processing and finding aid completed by Erin Dix, 2013.

Finding Aid Revision History: Revised to incorporate certificate from the Columbian Exposition Board of Lady Managers, 2014.


Box and Folder Listing


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[Box 1],
[Box 2],
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Box 1
Folder 1: Articles and biographical information, 1920-1994
Folder 2: Bible used in daily chapel, 1884
Folder 3: Biographical sketch by Walter F. Peterson, 1970
Folder 4: Correspondence, general, 1903-1943
Folder 5: Correspondence with Black, Wilma Elizabeth, 1931-1949
Folder 6: Correspondence with Columbian Exposition Board of Lady Managers, 1893
Folder 7: Correspondence with Gale, Zona, undated
Folder 8: Correspondence with Jelinek, Josephine, 1912
Folder 9: Correspondence with Reynolds, Margaret, 1922-1946
Folder 10: Correspondence regarding shells for rowing, 1904-1914
Folder 11: Correspondence with Smith, E. D., 1897-1898
Acquisition Information: Donated by Richard Lamm, 2016-02-26
Folder 12: Correspondence with Smith, Jessie, 1912
Folder 13: Correspondence with Wolfner, Bessie, 1918-1947
Folder 14: "Ellen Clara Sabin: A Life Sketch," by Marie Adams, 1937
Folder 15: Entry in Notable American Women by Walter F. Peterson, circa 1964
Folder 16: Materials from trip to London, 1902
Folder 17: Photographs, 1904-1944View associated digital content.
Folder 18: Portrait by Louis Butts, 1912
Folder 19: Speeches and writings, 1899-1920
Box 2
Folder 1: Columbian Exposition, Board of Lady Managers certificate, 1893

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