Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Cornelia Cole Fairbanks 1852 ~ 1913


Cornelia Cole Fairbanks

Mrs. Fairbanks was born in the Buckeye State, at Marysville, in Union County. Her father. Judge Philander B. Cole, was one of the prominent men of the Southern shore. He believed in the higher education of women and consequently sent his daughter Cornelia to college.

She entered the Wesleyan College in 1868, taking the classical course, and she graduated in 1872. Like many Western girls she was as active in the athletic field and the gymnasium as she was in the historical and literary societies of the college. She was also connected with the college paper of which Charles Warren Fairbanks, one of the students at the college was the editor. Mrs. Fairbanks, as a girl, became familiar with parliamentary law and her early training gave her an excellent basis for her work in later years.

Two years after obtaining her degree she became the wife of Charles Warren Fairbanks, her former college editor, and they took up their residence in Indianapolis. Mrs. Fairbanks became the president of the first literary club of the state and was the first woman appointed on the Indiana State Board of Charities. She organized "The Fortnightly Literary Club" and belonged to art and musical societies, all of this in addition to caring for her little family of five children. When Mr. Fairbanks was elected senator from Indiana Mrs. Fairbanks became one of the winter residents of Washington, joined the Washington Club, and founded, together with a number of other progressive and enterprising women, "The Woman's League," to aid and assist the "Junior Republic" During the Spanish War she did an incalculable amount of work for our soldiers, was made president of the Indiana Aid Society to send nurses, hospital supplies and commissary stores to the front

In 1900 Mrs. Fairbanks was elected director of the Federation of Woman's Clubs. One of her chief aims was the promotion of Continental Hall, in which she was actively interested. Another measure that Mrs. Fairbanks strongly advocated during her term as president-general was the commemoration of the historic places of the country which she thought might be made into object lessons in love of country to those who had not had early patriotic training.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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