Fowle, Elida Rumsey (1842–1919)

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Fowle, Elida Rumsey (1842–1919)

American library founder. Name variations: Elida Barker Rumsey; Elida Fowle or Elida Barker Rumsey Fowle. Born Eliza (later altered to Elida) Barker Rumsey, June 6, 1842, in New York, NY; died June 17, 1919, in Dorchester, Massachusetts; dau. of John Wickliffe Rumsey and Mary Agnes (Underhill) Rumsey; m. John Allen Fowle, Mar 1, 1863; children: 3 daughters (1 adopted), 2 sons.

Civil War relief worker, sang for wounded Union soldiers in hospitals and camps in Washington, DC; with ambulance and driver provided by army, distributed various supplies (early 1860s); with John Fowle, co-founded the Soldiers' Free Library, which also served as recreation center, in Washington (1862); constructed new library building on government land in Washington with authorization from Congress (1863); was a member of Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Daughters of the American Revolution; founded Grandchildren of the Veterans of the Civil War in Dorchester, MA; created library and reading room for neighborhood children (1898); donated Civil War mementos to Dorchester Historical Society.