Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Louise Roxana (Mrs. Leslie R.) Rounds, 1881-1970

By Victoria Sasaoka, student, University of California, San Diego,

Louise Roxana Gilman was born on March 1, 1881, in Foxcroft, Piscataquis, Maine. Her parents were Augustus William Gilman and Mary Lizzie Loring. Her siblings were Arthur Loring Gilman, Julia Elizabeth Gilman, and Mary A. Gilman. She married on September 1, 1909, to Leslie R. Rounds, who rose to become the Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. During her youth, Ms. Gilman was educated at Foxcroft Academy, the Misses Gilman's School in Boston, and eventually Mount Holyoke College. After graduating from Mount Holyoke in 1902, Louise would teach for several years. Her record from the archives of Mount Holyoke notes that before she married, she taught from 1902 to 1909 in Portland, Maine; Wallingford, Connecticut; South Portland, Maine; and Boston, Massachusetts. She was reported in the 1920 U.S. census as residing in New York, and lived in Mahwah, New Jersey, with her husband as of the 1940 census.

Mrs. Rounds became active in the suffrage movement shortly after her marriage. In 1913 she became the president of the College Equal Suffrage League in Maine, which assisted the local branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in its legislative work. We know she gave regular talks at several social events as representative of the Maine Woman Suffrage Association. In particular, a 1914 article in The Bangor Daily News mentions her giving a talk promoting woman's suffrage at the Cosmopolitan Club in Portland, Maine. Mrs. Rounds seemingly continued to climb up the ladder in women's suffrage activism, as she was referred to as the Vice President of the Maine Woman Suffrage Association in a 1915 letter from Florence Kelley to Lucy Burns. According to the 1916 Annual Report of the Woman's Board of Missions, Mrs. Rounds was appointed to be the "teller" of the Western Branch of the Woman's Board of Missions. The Christian Woman's Board of Missions was a grassroots organization intended to benefit women and children's causes worldwide, especially in developing countries. Members of the Board had typically supported causes like temperance and women's suffrage.

After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Mrs. Rounds traded her women's rights activism for more religious and moral activities. Her obituary in The Bangor Daily News noted that she was a member of the South Congregational Church, the Home Mission Board, the America Board for Foreign Missions of the South Congregational Church, the Woman's Committee of Japan International Christian University, and the Committee of World Literature and Christian Literature. She also partook in civic and leisure activities in Mahwah's Women's Club, where she was chairman of the International Relations Department. Finally, she and her husband served on the Yenching University Committee from 1925 to 1945 for the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. Her husband continued to serve on the committee from 1945 until the Communist takeover of the Board in 1958.

When he died in 1965, Leslie R. Rounds left his wife a widow until her death in 1970 in Sanford, Maine, at the age of 89. They never had children.

Sources:

"Archives of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia", Yale University Divinity School Library. Accessed 9 May 2021.

"Around the County," The Bangor Daily News, 29 Jan. 1942, p.60.

"Chapter XVII: Maine." History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6: 1900-1920, edited by Ida Husted Harper. New York, NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, pp. 237-238. [LINK]

Sklar, K. K., & Palmer, B. W. (2009). The selected letters of Florence Kelley, 1869-1931.

"Leslie Rounds, Retired Federal Reserve Officer," The Record, 5 Oct. 1965, p.30.

"Louisa Roxana Gilman". FamilySearch.org. https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/9QGL-KW5/louise-roxana-gilman-1881-1970. Accessed 9 May 2021.

Lowell, Mary Chandler, Old Foxcroft, Maine: Traditions and Memories, with Family Records. Concord, N.H.: Printed by the Rumford Press, c1935.

"Mrs. Louise G. Rounds, Kennebunkport," The Bangor Daily News, 12 Jul. 1970, p.9.

"With the Clubs," The Bangor Daily News, 19 May 1914, p. 9.

Woman's Board of Missions. (1916). Annual Report of the Woman's Board of Missions (Vol. 49). G.C. Rand & Avery.

"Women to Speak," The Pittsburgh Press, 1 Jun 1929, p.4.

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