Biographical Sketch of Louise Hartshorn Leeds

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Louise Hartshorn (Mrs. Warner M.) Leeds, 1867-1923

By Jodi Oaks, Librarian, Mohawk Valley Community College

Mrs. Warner M. Leeds was born Louise Hartshorne in New York City on June 6, 1867 to James M. Hartshorne and Sarah Lloyd Taylor Hartshorne. Her parents were married in New Jersey in 1863. Leeds had a sister named Ethel born in 1873 who married Arnold Wood in 1896. In 1894, Leeds married John C. Moore, who worked at the brokerage firm of Moore and Schley. Mr. Moore died in 1899 and two years later, in 1901, she married Warner Mifflin Leeds. Mr. Leeds was born December 29, 1868 in Richmond, Indiana, son of Noah S. Leeds and Hannah Starr Leeds. He was an executive alongside his brother at the American Tin Plate Company. Poor health forced him to retire in 1904. In 1913, the Leeds adopted a three-year-old girl named Katherine Kennedy. The girl was renamed Joy Louise Leeds. In 1915, the Leeds adopted a two-year-old boy named David Warner Leeds, born November 3, 1913. The boy died December 3, 1918. In 1915, the Leeds were reported as multimillionaires, and they owned multiple residences, including on Long Island, property in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a home in New York City.

Leeds was a supporter of woman suffrage in N.Y. State. In February 1910, Leeds attended a mass meeting in Albany put on by the New York Suffrage Association and the Equal Franchise Society. Lawmakers and prominent officials were invited to the meeting to hear arguments for woman suffrage. Leeds was noted as having gone to Albany to call on lawmakers and to speak to representatives from her district regarding supporting woman suffrage. Leeds was listed as serving as chairman of finance for the Empire State Committee, a suffrage campaign committee organized in November 1913 and composed of representatives from several active N.Y. societies, including the State Suffrage Association, Woman Suffrage Party of New York City, and the Equal Franchise Society. Leeds was in attendance at a March 1916 ball of the New York State Suffrage Party, having taken a box for the ball at Madison Square Garden. Leeds was also a member of the League for Political Education, founded in November 1894 with the purpose of promoting "good citizenship, social justice, and general intelligence through education and expression of public opinion chiefly by means of lectures and addresses." In 1919, it is noted that the league had 4,000 members, including 700 public school teachers, and that lectures were attended mainly by women.

Sometime in the early 1920s, Leeds suffered a nervous breakdown and spent time in a sanitarium located in New York City. On February 10, 1923, ten days after coming home from the sanitarium, it was reported that she died after either falling or jumping from a window on the fifth floor of her 11 East 65th Street home. Mr. Leeds died shortly after on March 25, 1923. The Leeds are buried together, along with their adopted son David, in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Sources:

New Jersey Department of State, Division of Archives and Record Management, 1863, "New Jersey, Marriages, 1670-1980: James M. Hartshorn and Sarah L. Taylor, 20 May 1863; citing Middletown Point, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States, Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, Trenton.; FHL microfilm 584,573." New York City Municipal Archives, 1867, "New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909: Sarah Taylor Hartshorne in entry for Hartshorne, 06 Jun 1867; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 13708 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,008." New York City Municipal Archives, 1894, "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940: Sarah Lloyd Taylor in entry for John Moore and Louise Hartshorne, 11 Apr 1894; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,493,117." New York City Municipal Archives, 1896, "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940: Sarah Lloyd Taylor in entry for Arnold Wood and Ethel Hartshorne, 11 Nov 1896; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,487,669." New York City Municipal Archives, 1901, "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940: Sarah Lloyd Taylor in entry for Warner Leeds and Louise Moore, 17 Dec 1901; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,570,689." On woman suffrage support, see Ida Husted Harper, History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (New York: Fowler & Wells, 1922), 469; "Urge Women's Votes at Albany Meeting: Political Leaders Attend Big Gathering and Hear Suffrage Arguments and Pleas," New York Times, February 17, 1910, 9; "Suffrage Parade Today," New York Times, March 4, 1916, 9; "Times Square To Have A Million-Dollar Town Hall: Handsome Structure to be Erected on Forty-third Street Just East of Broadway, With Auditorium Seating 1,800 - Will House League for Political Education and New Club for Men and Women," New York Times, April 27, 1919, 114. On adoption of children, see "A Real Modern Cinderella," The Times Dispatch: Richmond, VA., May 17, 1914; "Boy ‘Straight from Heaven' is Adopted," South Bend News-Times, November 17, 1915, 13. On her death, see "Mrs. Leeds Plunges 5 Stories To Death: Sister-in-Law of Late William B. Leeds Leaps or Falls from Window of Home," New York Times, February 11, 1923, E1; "Died: Leeds," New York Times, February 12, 1923, 13; "Adopted Waif Gets Mrs. Leeds's Riches," New York Times, February 22, 1923, 15; "Topics of the Times," New York Times, February 23, 1923, 12. On death of Mr. Leeds, see "Warner M. Leeds Dies; Child Gets $1,250,000: Will of Tinplate Man's Wife Leaves Fortune to Their Adopted Daughter on His Death," New York Times, March 26, 1925, 23.

Images of Mrs. Warner M. Leeds, 1867-1923:

 

"A Real Modern Cinderella," The Times Dispatch: Richmond, VA., May 17, 1914, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038615/1914-05-17/ed-1/seq-53/.

 

"Boy ‘Straight from Heaven' is Adopted," South Bend News-Times, November 17, 1915, 13, https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=SBNT19151117.1.13.

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