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Dunham, Catharine Deveney. Papers of Catharine Deveney Dunham, 1888-1929: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: A-19
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Catharine Deveney Dunham
Title: Papers of Catharine Deveney Dunham, 1887-1929
Date(s): 1887-1929
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Speeches by Catharine Deveney Dunham, a delegate-at-large of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 51-59, 85-M112
The papers of Catharine Deveney Dunham were given to the Schlesinger Library by her granddaughter, Evelyn M. Murray, in July 1951 and June 1985.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 1983
By: Krystyna von Henneberg

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Catharine Deveney Dunham as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Catharine Deveney Dunham. Papers, 1888-1929; item description, dates. A-19, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Catharine Deveney Dunham was a delegate-at-large of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, an organization founded in 1874 to promote temperance. Very little biographical information about Dunham is available. Documents in this collection indicate that she was married to William Dunham, who was general agent for Union Central Life Insurance Company and, beginning in about 1913, was employed by the Detroit Life Insurance Company in Detroit, Michigan. Dunham refers briefly to an early period of residence in Philadelphia; while her husband worked in Detroit, they lived in Jackson, Michigan.
Dunham spoke at numerous gatherings of women's and other clubs in Michigan. She wrote her own speeches on topics assigned to her by the leadership of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. These speeches were intended to rally support for such traditional Woman's Christian Temperance Union causes as Prohibition, abstinence from tobacco and narcotics, purity of sexual conduct among both men and women, and, in later years, woman's suffrage. In addition, Dunham argued for reforms in the legal system that would give married women a larger share of property and child custody rights, recognize women's unpaid domestic labor, and emancipate blacks. After the outbreak of World War I, she spoke in favor of United States involvement and supported national preparedness drives.


The collection contains a number of Catharine Deveney Dunham's manuscript speeches, prepared for delivery before local women's and teachers' groups and at meetings of the Michigan Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Jackson and Concord, Michigan, 1887-1917. Included are Dunham's notes on such matters as municipal inspection and sanitation and on the legal rights of mothers. Some speeches (see e.g., "The Temperance Wave" in #9) trace the rise of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and refer to its second president, Frances Willard. Others (see #4 and #21) refer to the National Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction in Public Schools and to its leader, Mary Hunt. "What Can Women Do in the Present Crisis" (#12) contains a poem attributed to Clara Barton. Also included is a typed letter, signed from Zona Gale.
Approximately half the manuscripts are accompanied by typescript copies, some prepared at the time of delivery, the remainder supplied by the donor of the collection. Each folder contains a speech unless otherwise noted.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

African Americans--Civil rights
Michigan--Social life and customs
Sexual ethics
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.
Women's rights
World War, 1914-1918--Participation, Female
Barton, Clara, 1821-1912
Hunt, Mary, 1830-1906
Willard, Frances E. (Frances Elizabeth), 1839-1898
Woman's Christian Temperance Union