Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Rosamond Danielson, 1884-1971
By Kelly Marino, Assistant Lecturer of History, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
Philanthropist, War Worker, and Suffragist
Rosamond Danielson was born on November 6, 1884, in Providence, Rhode Island, and died on April 12, 1971, in Putnam Heights, Connecticut. Her parents were Connecticut native George Whitman Danielson (1829-1884), a newspaper printer, typesetter, and editor of The Providence Journal, and Rosa Frances Peckham Danielson (1842-1922), an artist and painter from Rhode Island, whose work was once exhibited in Paris, France. She had one brother named Whitman Danielson (1881-1952), a Harvard University graduate. She attended Bryn Mawr College from 1901-1905, where she studied Chemistry and Geology. Danielson was interested in horticulture, botany, and flower and vegetable gardening. Because of her family's wealth, she never had a formal career and spent her life engaged in activism and philanthropy.
Her suffrage activism started around early 1913 when she and other local women were inspired to take up the women's rights cause after hearing the presentations of Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA) organizer, Emily Pierson, who was touring the Northeastern corner of the state. That year, Danielson was elected as secretary of the new Putnam Equal Franchise League and later as Windham County Chairman of the CWSA. As a state and local suffrage leader, Danielson contributed to many campaigns for women's right to vote. She helped collect signatures for a suffrage petition to the legislature, arranged congressional delegations, planned county conferences, and organized parlor meetings and open-air speeches. Danielson and her mother offered their large and expansive Putnam Heights estate to local activists for suffrage events. In 1920, Danielson organized a 3-day long suffrage institute in Willimantic under the direction of the citizenship department of the CWSA to teach women about how the government worked and the practice of casting a ballot.
Danielson also campaigned in neighboring New York and Worcester County, Massachusetts. Frustrated with the unrelenting political opposition to women's suffrage in Connecticut, she and her supporters from the Windham area crossed the border to help activists in Southbridge and Webster in a local trolley campaign and state ratification drives. Danielson, like many Connecticut activists, gave suffrage speeches in New York State, when summoned by neighboring allies. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Danielson became the president of the newly organized Putnam Civic club, which carried out the work of the Connecticut League of Women Voters on a grassroots level.
In addition to suffrage, Danielson was active in many other public causes. She advocated for women's education and secured funding for Connecticut College in New London. She served on the women's board of the Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam. During World War I, Danielson supported the home front by participating in war work, such as helping with food rationing programs, serving on the state's council of defense, and promoting citizenship education. During World War II, she was a Red Cross worker and air raid assistant. She also was active in the First Congregational Church of Putnam and the Connecticut Historical Society. Danielson never married or had any children. She is buried with her family at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island.
A photograph of Rosamond Danielson can be found in the Dudley WWI Photograph Collection. The image is of her and other Connecticut activists. It is included in my blog post here and rights to reproduce are available through the Connecticut State Library: https://connecticuthistory.org/rosamond-danielson-windham-county-suffragist-and-community-leader/
Another headshot of her (yet a grainy one) is available in the newspaper clipping: "On Connecticut Suffrage Executive Board," Alaska Daily Empire, April 21, 1920, page 1. This clipping was collected from the Chronicling America free public online newspaper archive.
A record of Rosamond Danielson's suffrage activity can be found in local Connecticut newspapers. Particularly valuable is the Norwich Bulletin, which contains over 100 articles about her work and is reproduced on the Chronicling America website. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014086/
The following manuscript collections would be helpful to a researcher searching for more information about her:
"Finding Aid to the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association Inventory of Records." Connecticut State Library, 2009. http://ctstatelibrary.org/RG101.html.
"Finding Aid to the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Movement Collection," n.d. Western Connecticut State University Archives & Special Collections. http://archives.library.wcsu.edu/findingaids/suffrage.xml.
"Rosamond Danielson," n.d. Alumnae Association Files, Special Collections. Bryn Mawr College Library.
The following books mention Rosamond Danielson:
Lincoln, Allen Bennett. A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut: A Windham County Treasure Book. Chicago, IL: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1920.
Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties, Connecticut: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and of Many of the Early Settled Families. Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers & Co., 1903. https://archive.org/stream/commemorativebio1903chic#page/n5/mode/2up.
Nichols, Carole. Votes and More for Women: Suffrage and After in Connecticut. New York: Institute for Research in History: Haworth Press, 1983.