Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Elizabeth Huston Musser, 1858-1944
By Jennifer Sveda, undergraduate, and Leslie Heaphy, faculty sponsor, Kent State University at Stark, North Canton, Ohio
Member, Summit County Woman Suffrage Association; Member, Ohio Woman Suffrage Association; Founder, Akron, OH, Children's Charity
Elizabeth Huston was born near the northern Indiana/Illinois border around 1858. She was the daughter of Mary J. Shannon and James Huston, a private under Captain George Crawford during the American Revolution. She received an education from Bucknell College in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and lived for some time in Aaronsburg. In 1887, she married Harvey Musser, and the couple took up residence in Akron, Ohio. She had two sons, Dr. Harvey Huston Musser and James Coburn Musser. At the time of her death in May 1944, she also had five granddaughters and two great-grandsons.
Elizabeth Huston Musser held a lifetime membership in the Summit County Woman Suffrage Association and the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association. She was a patron of the Princeton Triangle club, a musical association, as well as a member of the Akron Woman's City Club. She also served as president of Akron's chapter of the Needlework Guild of America. However, she was best-known in Akron for her charitable efforts. The work of her husband, an attorney and partner at Musser, Kimber, and Hoffman, granted her a measure of wealth and social status within Akron society that allowed her to focus her time and influence on helping, as she stated, "those who can least help themselves – the poor children of Akron." She was deeply involved in the Mary Day Nursery and Children's Hospital, today known as the Akron Children's Hospital.
In 1913, Musser, then a member of the Board of Directors of the Mary Day Nursery in Akron, founded the Children's Charity and served as its chairman. The charity was designed as a way for children to help children – though anyone could become a member by paying the annual membership fee of one dollar, only children's names would be listed on the register. The proceeds from the charity would be donated to the hospital.
Musser also actively participated in the annual charity ball hosted in Akron to support the hospital. The 1913 charity ball raised $1,000 for the Mary Day Nursery, with Musser serving as a patroness of the event; she was also a patroness for the ball in 1914. The ball remained an important social event for the city in the following decades, and Musser continued to participate as both a committee member and attendee. She occasionally worked with her two daughters-in-law, who also engaged in charity work in Akron; along with attending the 1927 charity ball, Laura Marion Musser, wife of James Coburn Musser, was a member of the 1934 clinic committee for the hospital. Lucile Carter Musser, wife of Dr. Harvey Huston Musser, served on the 1934 ticket committee for the Buchtel High School charity.
Elizabeth Huston Musser died at the age of 86 on Sunday, May 7, 1944, at Peoples Hospital in Akron. The Akron Beacon Journal announced her death as following "a five-year illness," and praised her as one of the "moving figures" in the establishment of the Children's Hospital. She was buried in Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania.
Picture from the Akron Press, November 27, 1912, p. 5.
Caption at bottom reads: "Top – Mrs. E. Eager, Miss Bessie Raymond, Mrs. J. H. Andrews, Mrs. S. F. Zallox, Mrs. L. Loeb, Mrs. C. R. Griffith. Second Row – Mrs. P. D. Hall, Mrs. L. M. Latta, Mrs. H. Musser, Miss Marian Andrews, Mrs. George Hill, Mrs. H. H. Jacobs. Bottom Row – Mrs. H. K. Raymond, Mrs. A. B. Jones, Mrs. Francis Sieberling, Mrs. Wade Aydelotte, Mrs. Walter Clemmer, Mrs. I. R. Manton, Mrs. George Bates."
"$1000 for Babes as Akron Dances at Annual Ball." Akron Press (Akron, OH). November. 22, 1913.
"Buchtel High School Mothers Announce Plans for Final Benefit Dessert-Bridge of Year." Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio). January 10, 1934, p.6. Newspapers.com
Daughters of the American Revolution. Lineage Book - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, vol. 20. Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Publishing Company, 1905.
"Charity Ball Pretentious Affair in Social Circles." Akron Beacon Journal. December 28, 1927, p. 6.
Devers, Stephanie. "Elizabeth Huston Musser, 1858-1944." Akron Women's History (blog). September 6, 2013. http://blogs.uakron.edu/womenshistory/2013/09/06/elizabeth-huston-musser-1858-1944/.
"To Organize Akron Babies for the Purpose of Aiding Charity Work." Akron Beacon Journal, April 21, 1913, p. 12.
Lifke, Pam. "Akron Children's Hospital celebrating 125 years." West Side Leader (Akron, Ohio), March 12, 2015. http://www.akron.com/editions/Akron-Ohio-News-2015-March-12/Akron_Childrens_Hospital_celebrating_125_years.asp?aID=25922.
"Mrs. Musser, 86, Taken by Death." Akron Beacon Journal. May 8, 1944, p. 15. Newspapers.com.
"Social News." Akron Evening Times (Akron, Ohio). December 28, 1923.
"Society." Akron Press (Akron, Ohio). November 22, 1913.
Kerr, Harriet. "New Committee Chairmen, Personnel for Hospital Board Named Wednesday." Akron Beacon Journal. January 10, 1934, p. 6. Newspapers.com.