Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Caroline Hepburn

By Leah Chen, Student, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Originally from New York City, Caroline Hepburn moved to Portland, Oregon in 1911. She resided near the home of her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Woodruff. The former was a manager of the W.P. Fuller Company in Portland. By 1912, Hepburn had begun her political career in Oregon, as she participated in the first state effort towards women's enfranchisement. At a meeting for the State Equal Suffrage Association, she was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee by club president, Abigail Scott Duniway. Hepburn was voted into the Portland Women's Club as a new member in 1913. At the 1914 Rose Festival, she was among the one hundred representing females for the Portland Women's Club. She participated in the welcoming and reception work, among members of other men's and women's clubs in Portland.

In addition to supporting the state suffrage movement, Caroline Hepburn was one of the fifty delegates who represented the city of Portland at the 1912 Tri-County Fair in Condon, Oregon. The fair emphasized the practice of farm diversification, wherein Hepburn was a participant. In addition, Hepburn was an advocate for the children, as demonstrated in her letter to the The Oregon Sunday Journal, “A Plea for Playgrounds.” Urging readers to support new bonds for children's parks and playgrounds, she argued that it would “make a start towards strengthening the foundation for the building of a better humanity, by giving children this chance.” In 1919, Caroline Hepburn pledged to support a “French war orphan.”

Most importantly, Caroline Hepburn was an ardent supporter of the war efforts during World War I. She was a participating member of the American Red Cross in Portland, Oregon. She was a supervisor of the Park Rose No. 2, Red Cross Auxiliary, established at the Park Rose Church in January of 1918. Afterwards, Hepburn managed the Baby and Refugee Department, where she participated in stitching garments for “babies and young children of France and Belgium.” By November of 1919, the Armistice was signed. Yet, this did not stop the orders for garment production, which Hepburn provided as the Supervisor of Auxiliaries for the Red Cross. As a part of Central Committee, she worked for the Allied Bazaar alongside her sister-in-law, Mrs. C.B. Woodruff. In turn, Caroline Hepburn became an emblem for the “Women's Patriotic Service,” where she was pictured as the Supervisor for the Auxiliaries and Supply Department in The Sunday Oregonian.

In February of 1920, Caroline Hepburn announced her permanent departure from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, California. No more information was found about Hepburn.

A picture of Caroline Hepburn can be found in The Sunday Oregonian on November 24, 1918.


“Allied Bazaar Plans Proceed with Dispatch,” The Oregon Sunday Journal, November 18, 1917, 5.

“A Plea for Playgrounds,” The Oregon Sunday Journal, June 1, 1913, 7.

“Babies Not Overlooked,” The Oregon Sunday Journal, June 9, 1918, 18.

“Beach Season Open in Blaze of Joy for Summer Visitors,” The Sunday Oregonian, June 23, 1912, 8.

“Club Women to Assist,” The Oregon Daily Journal, June 6, 1914, 3.

Edith Holmes, “Women's Patriotic Service,” The Sunday Oregonian, November 24, 1918, 9.

“Many Portland People to Adopt French Babies,” The Oregon Daily Journal, February 23, 1919, 7.

“Red Cross Work Continues Despite Armistice,” The Sunday Oregonian, November 24, 1918, 5.

“Society News,” The Morning Oregonian, February 10, 1920, 10.

“Suffrage Leader's Session Stormy,” The Sunday Oregonian, March 10, 1912, 4.

“Tri-County Fair is Open,” The Morning Oregonian, October 17, 1912, 9.

“Women's Club Meets,” The Oregon Daily Journal, March 1, 1913, 7.

“Women's Patriotic Service,” The Sunday Oregonian, November 24, 1918, 8.

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