"Tribute to a Great Lady": Exploring the Lives of Two Influential Bloomington Women

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CONFERENCE: John Wesley Powell Student Research Conference

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Black, Jennifer; Lutze, Faculty Advisor, Thomas
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Sarah Davis (1814—1879) and Hazle Buck Ewing (1850—1969) were both wealthy Bloomington, Illinois, women who lived in palatial homes and were well known in the area. Though both women married, they were largely independent women who exercised control over their households, employees, daily activities, and, for the most part, finances. However, while both Sarah and Hazle were widely known and respected for their compassion and charity in the community, there were clear differences in the manner in which they conducted themselves and in their principles. Sarah was against women voting, while Hazle was a staunch supporter of the women’s suffrage movement. Sarah gave of herself on a local and personal level, while Hazle funded and was involved in many national activism movements and philanthropic projects. An examination of the letters and other documents of these two influential women from Bloomington highlights the changes and similarities in the standard for independent Illinois women just a generation apart.