Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Gertrude Ferguson Penfield Seiberling, 1866-1946
By: Ali Crum, undergraduate, and Leslie Heaphy, faculty sponsor, Kent State University, Stark, North Canton, Ohio
Member, Ohio Woman Suffrage Association
Gertrude Ferguson Penfield was born on January 23, 1866, and grew up in Willoughby, Ohio. She was the youngest of four children and had two sisters and one brother. Her family owned a successful construction materials and supplies company, called Penfield Brick and Tile Company. The same year she graduated from Lasell Seminary for Young Women in Massachusetts, at the age of 21, she met Frank A. Seiberling. They were introduced by his sister, Harriet, who also attended Lasell. Penfield and Frank Seiberling married in her family home on October 12, 1887. Gertrude Seiberling then moved to Akron with her new husband. They had seven children. In 1898, Frank Seiberling cofounded Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Gertrude Seiberling died on January 8, 1946, and was buried in Glendale Cemetery in Akron.
Seiberling did a lot of work with the arts in Akron. She became a member of a group that became known as the Tuesday Music Club and she worked on bringing musicians to Akron and organized performances. She also participated in singing and performed at the Akron Opera House. Notably, she performed for President Taft. Seiberling founded the St. Cecelia Choral Society, the Akron Garden Club, and the Women's Art League of Akron.
The empowerment of women was important to Seiberling, who was a member of the Ohio Woman's Suffrage Association. She also participated in the Women's National Farm and Garden Association and the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. In 1993, long after her death, the Women's History Project named Seiberling "Woman of the Year."
Fox, Penny. "Gertrude Ferguson Penfield Seiberling, 1866-1946." Akron Women's History (blog). Summit County Historical Society, 6 September 2013, https://blogs.uakron.edu/womenshistory/2013/09/06/gertrude-ferguson-penfield-seiberling-1866-1946/.
Milli, Elizabeth. "The Seiberling Legacy: One Family's Passion and Purpose Helped to Shape the Landscape of America." Teach Green Creative (blog). October 10, 2013. https://teachgreenblog.com/tag/gertrude-seiberling/.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. "Gertrude Ferguson Penfield Seiberling (1866-1946)" (memo). ca. 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/13740883/gertrude-ferguson-penfield-seiberling-stan-hywet-hall-and-gardens.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (website). "History of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens." Accessed April 18, 2018. http://www.stanhywet.org/history.