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= A CENTURY LONG LEGACY =
CORNELIA LYMAN WARREN
   

CL Warren
Cornelia Lyman Warren, at 14
Painted by Alexandre Cabanel*




 

 

Cornelia Lyman Warren, only daughter of  Samuel D. & Susan Warren,  was born March 21, 1857 in Waltham, MA. She and her four brothers were brought up in Boston and Cornelia attended private schools in Boston and took exams (pre-approved for females) at Harvard.

Choosing not to pursue an advanced education, she devoted her life to travel and service.  First and foremost she was  humanitarian  and deeply interested in the social services.She was certainly ahead of her times in promoting women’s rights; she was the first woman in MA to have a driver’s license.  Since her father was the owner of S.D. Warren paper mill in Westbrook, this city became a benefactor of her progressive thoughts.

Her first activities in Westbrook  were in the early 1900s when she financed classes for girls in Cumberland Hall [see: ‘The Cumberland Gymnasium’ in Photo Archives].  She equipped the gym, built tennis courts, and a baseball stand. In 1905 she funded a ‘swimming pool’ to be built in the river, since this was the only swimming area available to the children at the turn of the century  [ see ‘The Old Swimming Pool’ & ‘The Tank’ in Photo Archives].   She was also a great supporter of the mill library which eventually became the Warren Memorial library. [See ‘S.D. Warren Mill Strikers 1916’ and ‘Paper City Lunch’ in Photo Archives.]

Cornelia died at her home in MA on June 4, 1921, after a long illness.  Although she never lived in Westbrook, her legacy is alive and well here, a century after her death.  In her will she left a wonderful legacy of giving and caring. To the people of Westbrook she left $100,000 in cash and $24,913 in property. The stipulation was that the money was to be used for the education and social welfare of the people, and the land used for recreational purposes.  The Cornelia Warren Community Association was incorporated in 1925 to administer these funds and it is still active today.  These funds, along with financial aid from the S.D. Warren Co., the City of Westbrook, and the United Way, have given the City Warren Athletic Field, provided financing for the up-keep of the tennis courts, pool, and softball field, to name a few.  It has also assisted local organizations in many ways.

Now, a century later, we applaud the sentiments of Judge Frank P. Pride when he said, at word of her death:

 
   

“Miss Cornelia Warren has been most genuinely appreciated by the people of Westbrook
as a wonderful woman who quietly did an immense amount of good. Through her generosity
we have enjoyed privileges common only to large cities. Though not a citizen of Westbrook,
she is mourned as one of our nearest and dearest public benefactors.”

 
   
SDWarrenfamily

The Warren Family: Samuel, Susan, Edward 'Ned', Henry, Frederick 'Fiske', and Cornelia
 
   
* Original painting of Cornelia is hung in Wellesley College's Museum & Cultural Center;
a copy may be seen at Westbrook Historical Society
 
   

References: S.D. Warren Collection, A Presence in the Community, The Warren Legacy

 
All photographs and information taken from Westbrook Historical Society archives, unless otherwise noted.
Comments welcomed at info@westbrookhistoricalsociety.org
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