Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Courtenay Harrison Raoul, 1888-1957
By Janelle Zetty, Head of Cataloging, Edith Garland Dupré Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Mary Courtenay Harrison Raoul, nicknamed Courtenay, was born on August 7, 1888, to Colonel Zadok Daniel Harrison and Laura Hendree Harrison. Courtenay was the second-youngest of seven children. Her parents were active in St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, with her father serving as a Senior Warden and secretary of the Standing Committee. Colonel Harrison fought in the Civil War and later served as the clerk of the Supreme Court of Georgia for fifty-six years. He co-owned the Fernbank Forest and estate, which consisted of 70 acres of virgin timber, in Decatur, Georgia. The Harrison family made their home at Fernbank, and Courtenay's sister, Emily, taught classes to the local children. Presently, the forest is home to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
Courtenay was educated at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, and was a member of the Tri Delta sorority, Alpha Xi chapter. She did not graduate, however, and left college in her second year. In 1908, at the age of twenty, she embarked on a year-long trip to Europe.
On August 7, 1913, at her parents' home in Fernbank, Mary Courtenay Harrison married fellow Georgia native, Loring Raoul. Raoul was a graduate of the University of Georgia, where he lettered in football and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. The couple honeymooned at the Mountain Meadows Inn, in Asheville, North Carolina, and made their home at Cherokee Farms in Smyrna, Georgia, a poultry farm established by Loring Raoul. In 1917, Raoul attended Army training camp in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and left to fight in France during World War I. After returning from the war, Raoul became the production manager for the Tennessee Furniture Corporation. Together, the Raoul's had had three children: Harrison, Mary Wadleigh, and Loring, Jr. The family spent their summers at Raoul's Roost in Highlands, North Carolina, and around 1930, they moved to Sarasota, Florida, where Loring maintained a large farm.
Courtenay Raoul was a supporter of the suffrage movement. She participated in a rally in November 1915 for the central committee of women citizens, while her sister-in-law, Eleanor Raoul, served as chairperson of the committee. Eleanor rode on horseback in the parade, while Mary drove a car. Courtney also supported her community by organizing a chest drive to raise money for charities. She was active in the social scene at her residence near Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and was a member of the Lookout Mountain Shakespeare club, book club, and garden club. In her later years in Sarasota, Florida, Courtenay helped organize the inaugural beach club and performed in the community theater. She also supported the arts by serving as a hostess for the Sarasota Art Association show. Furthermore, Courtenay was involved in the health and well-being of her community. She was a board member of the Sarasota Red Cross and chairperson of the Sarasota Hospital Improvement committee. She was the state director of the women's auxiliary of the Florida Farm Bureau and served on the executive board of the Florida state public health committee. In 1947, she traveled to New York to attend a fashion show benefiting the March of Dimes National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis campaign. In 1953, she helped organize a fashion show to benefit the Red Cross Volunteer Aids of Sarasota-Manatee Association for Crippled Children and Adults.
Courtenay Raoul passed away at her home in Sarasota, Florida, on February 7, 1957. She was 68 years old. She was survived by her husband, one son, and daughter and interred in Highland Memorial Park in Highlands, North Carolina.
A photograph of Ms. Raoul can be found in The Miami News, Dec. 18, 1946, p. 5.
"Courtenay Harrison Raoul (1888-1857) - Find A..." Find A Grave, www.findagrave.com/memorial/106131949/courtenay-harrison-raoul.
"Dinner-Dance." The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), Feb. 16, 1941, p. 29. Newspapers.com (website)
"Emily Stewart Harrison Papers, 1829-1979." Emory Finding Aids, Emory University, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, findingaids.library.emory.edu/documents/harrisonemily556/printable/.
"Entertains Book Club, Mrs. Loring Raoul Hostess Tuesday Afternoon." Chattanooga News (Chattanooga, Tennessee), Oct. 16, 1923, p. 11. Newspapers.com (website)
"Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Harrison, Lois Colwell. Dekalb County Ga Archives Biographies.....Harrison, Zadok Daniel November 26, 1842 - September 24, 1935. USGenWeb Archives, 2012, http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/dekalb/bios/harrison1000gbs.txt.
"Harrison-Raoul Wedding Solemnized at Fernbank." The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), June 3, 1913, p. 8. Newspapers.com (website)
"Leon Farm Bureau Meeting is Today." Tallahassee Democrat, Oct 7, 1948, p.16 Newspapers.com (website)
"Loring Raoul." UGA Special Collections Library Online Exhibitions, Athens, https://digilab.libs.uga.edu/scl/items/show/923.
"Loring Raoul Papers." Emory Finding Aids, Emory University, Robert W. Woodruff Library, findingaids.library.emory.edu/documents/raoul548/series1/subseries1.11/.
"March of Dimes Tea." The Miami News, Dec. 18, 1946, p. 5. Newspapers.com (website)
"Mr. and Mrs. Loring Raoul." Chattanooga Daily Times (Chattanooga, Tennessee), Aug. 24, 1917, p. 6. Newspapers.com (website)
"Mrs. Loring Raoul." The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), Feb. 7, 1957, p. 27. Newspapers.com (website)
"Red Cross Aides to Sponsor Fashion Shows." The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), Jan. 27, 1953, p. 32. Newspapers.com (website)
"Sarasota Art Group to Hold Second Showing." The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), Feb. 18, 1949, p. 14. Newspapers.com (website)
"Sarasota Players Will be Directed by Walter Young." The Tampa Times (Tampa, Florida), Oct. 11, 1932, p. 10. Newspapers.com (website)
"Sarasota Red Cross Names New Leaders." The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), Feb. 24, 1944, p. 18. Newspapers.com (website)
"Shakespeare Club has Closing Meeting." Chattanooga Daily Times (Chattanooga, Tennessee), May 11, 1923, p. 8. Newspapers.com (website)
"Society and Personals." Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, North Carolina), June 4, 1913, p. 2. Newspapers.com (website)
The Trident of Delta Delta Delta, vol. 25, no. 2, Feb. 1916, pp. 199–310. Google Books, https://books.google.com/books?id=q-7OAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA310&dq=mary courtenay harrison&pg=PA199#v=onepage&q=mary courtenay harrison&f=true.
"United States Census, 1900, Mary C. Harrison, Militia District 9, Effingham, Georgia, United States." FamilySearch, 28 January 2020, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3J7-93F : 28 January 2020.
"United States Census, 1920, Courtney H. Raoul, Atlanta, De Kalb, Georgia, United States." FamilySearch, 28 January 2020, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJDC-91H : 28 January 2020.
"United States Census, 1930, Courtney H. Raoul, Precinct 11, Sarasota, Florida, USA." FamilySearch, 28 January 2020, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:S17M-BZM : 28 January 2020.
"United States Census, 1940, Courtney Raoul, Sarasota, Florida." FamilySearch, 28 January 2020, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VTCT-XW2 : 28 January 2020.
"Year Book Gives Garden Programs." Chattanooga Daily Times (Chattanooga, Tennessee), Feb. 3, 1925, p. 6. Newspapers.com (website)