Born this day in 1844: Fanny Garrison Villard (1844–1928), philanthropist, social activist, suffragist, pacifist
Fanny Garrison Villard was born Helen Francis Garrison, daughter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, in 1844. She married Henry Villard, a businessman and publisher, in 1866. The couple had four children.
Villard was generous with both her time and her money. She first became involved with the Diet Kitchen Association in 1878. The organization provided nutritional foods and certified milk to sick people in the slums of New York. She served as its president from 1898 to 1922. She was also involved in many charities serving women and African Americans, including the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, the Woman's Exchange, the Riverside Rest Association, the Consumers’ League, the Household Economics Association, the Working Woman’s Protective Association, the Columbus Hill Day Nursery for African American children, and the NAACP.
Villard promoted higher education for women and helped found Barnard College, the American College for Women in Constantinople, and the Harvard Annex (which became Radcliffe College). She also gave financial support to African American schools in both New York and in the South, including the Hampton Institute in Virginia.
In her later years she turned politically active and threw herself wholeheartedly into both the suffrage and pacifism. She belonged to several suffrage organizations, holding offices and serving on committees. She attended demonstrations, gave countless speeches, and petitioned state legislatures. She was equally passionate about peace and U.S. neutrality in the World War, even founding her own Women’s Peace Society in 1919 when other organizations to which she belonged failed to embrace disarmament and total nonresistance.
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