Biographical Sketch of Louise Carr Koons

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Louise Carr Koons, 1877-1944

By Nora Kassner, PhD Candidate in History, University of California, Santa Barbara

Executive Board Member, California Political Equality League

Louise Brewer Carr was born in California, likely either Hot Springs (Modoc County) or Salinas, in 1877 to Larkin W. Carr and Artha L. Carr. She lived in Los Angeles throughout her adult life, marrying physician and surgeon Henry Haynes Koons on December 2, 1916. The couple had no children. After her husband's death in 1929, Carr Koons lived alone in their home in Los Angeles—which had also been her childhood home—until her death on September 1, 1944.

Louise Carr Koons came from a wealthy family that had moved to San Francisco sometime before 1852 and invested in land and cattle. After his father's death in 1903, Larkin W. Carr inherited money and moved the family from Salinas to Los Angeles. Carr Koons lived with her parents until her marriage at the age of 39, and she and her husband later bought her parents' home.

During the 1911 campaign for California state suffrage, Carr Koons served on the executive board of the California Political Equality League. The Political Equality League concentrated its efforts on Los Angeles and the surrounding region, expecting that strong support from this area would be necessary to offset expected opposition in the Bay Area. As an executive board member, Carr Koons was in charge of literature, and early historians of the suffrage movement describe the exhaustive pamphlet campaign the League employed. The League overcame open opposition to pass suffrage in the November 1911 election.

Following her marriage in 1916 at the age of 39, Carr Koons became a prominent member of Los Angeles society. She is listed in the 1923 Southwest Blue Book as a member of elite clubs including the Friday Morning Club, Women's City Club, Women's Athletic Club, Los Angeles Athletic Club, University Club, Hollywood Country Club, and California Yacht Club.

Carr Koons also remained engaged in political work. As a member of the State Industrial Welfare Commission, she worked to pass a $10 per week minimum wage for women. She was also active in organizations including the League of Women Voters, which grew out of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and a state campaign to oppose political corruption.

Most records of Carr Koons' activism date to the late 1910s and 1920s, and so it is possible that she stepped back from civic activity following her husband's death in 1929. Carr Koons survived her husband by fifteen years, dying in 1944.

Sources:

"California, County Marriages, 1850-1952," database with images,
FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XLHC-HRJ: 28 November 2014), Henry Haynes Koons and Louise Brewer Carr, 02 Dec 1916; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 1,033,265.

"Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch
(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVGC-JV8Q : 13 December 2015),
Louise C Koons, 1944; Burial, Glendale, Los Angeles, California, Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale); citing record ID 119325730, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.

"Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch
(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVGC-JV89: 13 December 2015),
Henry Haynes Koons, 1929; Burial, Glendale, Los Angeles, California, Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale); citing record ID 119325183, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.

Harper, Ida Husted, Editor. The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. 6. New York, NY: J. J. Little & Ives Company, 1922.

Hichborn, Franklin. Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1921. San Francisco: James H. Barry Company, 1922.

King, Lenora. Southwest Blue Book, 1923-1924. Los Angeles: L. H. King Berry, 1923. "New Problems in State Regulation." California Outlook (Los Angeles, CA), September 1917.

Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention, National League of Women Voters. The League, 1921.

"Wealth of Jesse D. Carr." Big Valley Gazette (Bieber, Lassen County, California), December 16, 1903.

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