Lucy Carlile Watson Collection

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
Portrait of Lucy Carlisle Watson
Portrait of Lucy Carlisle Watson - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
1743 - 1911, bulk 1851 - 1894

Historical Context

Lucy Carlile Watson (February 10, 1855-December 12, 1938) was born in Utica, New York to Dr. William H. Watson and Sarah Thompson Carlile Watson. Lucy was educated at Young Ladies Seminary and Utica Free Academy in Utica, graduating in 1872. Her father, Dr. William H. Watson, had an active interest in politics, something he handed down to Lucy.

Lucy devoted her adult life to community services and women’s suffrage causes. She was a charter member and president (1899-1903) of the New Century Club, whose building stood at 253 Genesee Street in Utica. She was also a charter member of the Utica Political Equality Club, serving as president from 1900 to 1917. As a member of the Political Equality Club, Lucy played an active role in bringing the suffrage campaign to central New York. In 1915, she told the New York Times, “We have made a good fight, and if all the men who promised to support us keep their word, we shall win.” New York State granted women the right to vote in 1917.

In addition to her civic causes, Lucy was an active philanthropist. She was co-founder of the Central Association for the Blind, and served as president of the Utica Memorial Hospital board of trustees. She endowed a room at the hospital.

In 1915, Lucy was honored with carrying the suffrage liberty touch from Utica to Verona on its route throughout New York State. In 1917, she was appointed to a committee on women in industry, a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on National Defense.She is one of 83 suffragists named on the Suffrage Memorial Tablet that was dedicated in 1931 and hangs in the NYS capitol building. The plaque memorializes women who distinguished themselves in the fight for the vote.

Lucy died on December 12, 1938 at the age of 83. Upon learning of her death, the Mayor Corrou made the statement, “The death of Lucy Carlile Watson removes from Utica one of its outstanding citizens. Her activity in civic, religious, and charitable circles will always place her definitely in the memories of all Uticans.”

Scope of Collection

The collection primarily includes correspondence, diaries, and ephemera relating to Lucy Carlile Watson.  There are also some genealogical materials, newspaper clippings, and materials relating to Watson's family.