AKA Caroline Lavinia Scott
Birthplace: Oxford, OH
Location of death: Washington, DC
Cause of death: Tuberculosis
Remains: Buried, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: First Lady
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Wife of US President Benjamin Harrison
Caroline Scott was raised in a modest, middle-class family. She attended Oxford Female Institute, now part of Ohio's Miami University, and married a law student, Benjamin Harrison, whose father had been a Congressman and whose grandfather had been President of the United States. He became a lawyer, a General in the Civil War, and eventually became President himself.
Mrs Harrison, meanwhile, volunteered with the Indianapolis Orphans' Asylum and was elected first President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Upon becoming First Lady, she decided that the White House was beneath the dignity of the Presidency, and described it as "rat-infested and filthy." She brought in ferrets to eat the rats, and lobbied to have the White House torn down and replaced with a more regal Executive Mansion. Instead the old building was refurbished from basement to attic, including a new heating system and a second bathroom, along with electricity for the White House. Mrs Harrison reportedly remained somewhat wary of the new technology, rarely operating the light switches herself, and sometimes sleeping with the lights on when neither she nor her husband were willing to touch the switch.
While she was famous as the First Lady, she became perhaps the most prominent signatory and one of the most outspoken advocates for the Women's Fund Committee. Backed with big money from railroad heiress Mary Elizabeth Garrett and prestigious names including former First Lady Louisa Adams, suffragette Julia Ward Howe, and Leland Stanford's wife Jane, the Committee approached then-struggling Johns Hopkins University with a plan to underwrite its new School of Medicine -- provided that women were admitted on a basis equal to men, and stipulating that the funds would be forfeited if the terms of the endowment were not followed. The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine opened in 1893, and has always welcomed students of both genders.
Midway through her husband's Presidency, Mrs Harrison became ill with tuberculosis, and died in the White House. During her sickness and after her death, the duties of White House hostess were carried out by the Harrisons' daughter Mary Scott Harrison McKee (widowed wife of James Robert McKee, co-founder of the company that became General Electric) and by their son's wife, Angeline Saunders Harrison. As the First Lady approached death and her dementia increased, she reportedly accused her husband of being overly friendly with her niece and secretary, Mary Scott Lord Dimmick. The former President married Dimmick four years after Caroline Harrison's passing.
Father: John Witherspoon Scott (Presbyterian minister)
Mother: Mary Potts Neal Scott
Sister: Elizabeth Mayhew Scott Lord ("Lizzie", b. 16-Dec-1828, d. 10-Dec-1889)
Sister: Mary Scott Spears
Brother: John Scott
Brother: Henry Scott
Husband: Benjamin Harrison (US President, b. 1833, m. 20-Oct-1853, d. 1901)
Son: Russell Benjamin Harrison (streetcar company operator, b. 12-Aug-1854, d. 13-Dec-1936)
Daughter: Mary Scott Harrison McKee (b. 3-Apr-1858, d. 28-Oct-1930)
Daughter: un-named (b. Jun-1861, d. stillborn)
University: Miami University of Ohio
Daughters of the American Revolution President General (1890-92)
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