Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Adelaide Dean Child, 1861-1949

By Megan Aholt and Warren Bunde, student researchers, Montana State University, Bozeman,


Adelaide Dean Child, publicly known as Mrs. H. W. Child, was born in October 1862, in Madison, Wisconsin. She became the wife of Harry Wilbur Child (1856 - 1931) on October 23, 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to his home in Helena, Montana. The couple had a daughter and son: Ellen D. Child (b. 1884), and Huntley Child (b. 1886). Adelaide died on October 17, 1949 and is buried in Forestvale Cemetery, Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana.

Devoted to a life of philanthropy, Adelaide Dean Child showed early interest in equality for women as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Boston University, although little else is known of her formal education. Her marriage to Harry W. Child, president of Yellowstone Park Transportation Company, gained her access to a powerful sphere of influence within society. Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Child formed relationships with a number of well-known politicians and wealthy businessmen throughout the United States, including President Theodore Roosevelt and his wife. Harry Child's ownership of a smelting company located in Great Falls, in addition to ownership of hotel and transportation services throughout Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, secured Adelaid Child's financial security. Child's social and economic status allowed her to devote her leisure time to philanthropy. In the first three decades of the twentieth century, Child helped raise funds to train teachers; contributed funds to build a new camp for the YMCA in Helena, including a clubhouse and additional facilities; established a scholarship for a Montana girl at Scripps College in Claremont, California; contributed to restoration and refurnishing of the Helena public library; and furnished the ballroom of the Grand Canyon Hotel in Yellowstone Park.

Although "Mrs. H. W. Child" was described as "especially active" in the successful 1914 woman suffrage campaign in Montana in the History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6, her specific contributions to the women's suffrage movement are elusive; however, considering her other causes and her family ties to a popular Montana suffragist, it is likely she gave monetary support.

In 1899, Child's sister, Dr. Maria M. Dean, a prominent Montana physician and "advocate in the Votes for Women campaign," served as the campaign fund chairwoman and as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Montana. After Dean's death in 1919, a newspaper obituary commented that she was "identified with every movement for the uplift of Helena and Montana, prominent in child welfare activities, a leader in the years of labor by the women of Montana which led eventually to the passage of the woman suffrage amendment" in Montana.

Sources U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Located at 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Year: 1900; Census Place: Helena Ward 5, Lewis and Clark, Montana; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0175 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1920; Census Place: Helena Ward 5, Lewis and Clark, Montana; Roll: T625_972; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 104

"A Big Transfer," The River Press, August 24, 1887, Chronicling America,

California Death Index, 1940-1997, Adelaide Dean Child,

"Coolidge Perches Government's Seat on Peak in Rockies--President Passes First Night in a Cottage Surrounded by Snow-Clad Mountains," New York Times, August 23, 1939,

"Harry Child, Head of Park Firm, Succumbs in South," The Flathead Courier (Polson, Mont.), 12 Feb. 1931, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

"Helena Y Given $21,000 for Camp by Mrs. H. W. Child," The Choteau Acantha (Choteau, Mont.), 21 Dec. 1939, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

"Helena's Public Library, 70 Years Old, Is Considered One of Finest in Montana-Program of Expansion," Flathead Courier, August 24, 1939, Montana Newspapers,

History of Woman Suffrage, edited by Ida Husted Harper, Vol. VI: 1900-1920 (National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), [LINK]

"Marriage Bells," Helena Weekly Herald, 08 Nov. 1883, p. 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Montana, County Births and Deaths, Huntly Child, March 5, 1886,

Montana, County Marriage Records, Lewis and Clark County, 1903-1908,

"Montana Teachers Will Teach Each Other in Helena," The Anaconda Standard. (Anaconda, Mont.), 17 Dec. 1899, p. 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers,

"News of the State," The Dillon Examiner (Dillon, Mont.), 09 Aug. 1911, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

"Noted Lady Physician Dies at Helena Home," Big Timber Pioneer (Big Timber, Mont.), 29 May 1919, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

"Phi." Visit the Main Page. Accessed March 26, 2018.

"President Kills Lion in Yellowstone National Park," New York Times, April 12, 1903, p. 1, Proquest,

"State Woman Suffrage: Convention To Be Held in Butte September 17th and 18th," The Dillon Tribune (Dillon, Mont.), 15 Aug. 1902, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

U.S. Cities Directories: 1892: Helena, Montana; 1908: Livingston, Montana; 1910: Livingston, Montana; 1944: Helena, Montana,

"Weekly Bulletin of the Equal Suffrage State Central Committee," The Dillon Examiner (Dillon, Mont.), 17 June 1914, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

"Will of Harry W. Child Is Filed for Probate," Big Timber Pioneer (Big Timber, Mont.), 12 March 1931, p. 1, Montana Newspapers,

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