Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Grace Hannah German (Mrs. O.W.) Chamberlain, 1862-1939
By Ariana Anhalt, undergraduate student, Tulane University
Legislative committee chair and former president for Equal Rights Association; Member of Woman Suffrage Party of Louisiana
Grace H. German was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on September 26, 1861 to Emanuel Seltzer German and Sarah Jane Westfall as Hannah Grace German. It can be inferred through various records that she went by the name Grace H. On January 12, 1887, Grace German married Orville W. Chamberlain, who was appointed by the mayor of New Orleans in 1905 as a member of the State Street Commission. There is no record of her having children. Mrs. Chamberlain died on March 26, 1939 at 77 years old in New Orleans.
Grace H. German Chamberlain was the Legislative Committee Chair and former President of the Equal Rights Association (ERA) and a key contributor to the Women's Suffrage Party of Louisiana (WSPL). The dates she held these positions are unclear, but it can be inferred that she held office in the ERA in the early 1900s. She devoted substantial time to several community-based organizations, as well as to Tulane University and Newcomb College. She was a contributor to the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, which received its funding from the General Assembly of the State and state taxes, and was mentioned several times for her contributions in the Biennial Report of the Board of Curators for 1920-21. In 1907, Mrs. Chamberlain was appointed to the Tenement House Advisory Committee.
In 1915, Grace Chamberlain contributed to the Louisiana Historical Society through her participation in a program dedicated to the retelling of the Battle of New Orleans and the 100 years of peace between the British and Americans. She was also on the committee of Chorus and Singing.
During the early 1900's and until her death, Grace German Chamberlain communicated on numerous occasions with prominent suffragists and activists through letter exchanges. Among the prominent figures were Sophie B. Wright and Florence Kelley. In 1911, she, along with other members of the ERA joined together and circulated petitions all over New Orleans and the State of Louisiana for policy reform regarding suffrage, specifically centered around the topic of putting women on public school boards.
In Grace Chamberlain's will, she left 2014 State Street under The O.W. Chamberlain Fellowship Memorial to the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund to house graduate students with Newcomb College fellowships.
Newcomb College. (1942, January). Announcement for Session 1942-1943. Bulletin of the Tulane University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Series 43, 121. Retrieved February 21, 2017, from https://books.google.com/books?id=eJQ4AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0 - v=onepage&q=grace german chamberlain&f=false.
McConnaughy, Corrine M. The Woman Suffrage Movement in America: A Reassessment. N.p.: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Louisiana State Museum. Biennial Report of the Board of Curators. Rep. N.p.: Louisiana State Museum, n.d. 1920-21. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Arthur, Stanley Clisby. Story of the Battle of New Orleans. N.p.: Hardpress, 2012 .
Grace and O.W. Chamberlain, Louisiana State Museum Historical Center