Katharine Seymour Day

Katharine Seymour Day

Induction Category:
Education & Preservation

Born: 1870

Died: 1964

Inducted: 1994

Town: Hartford

When Connecticut native Katharine Seymour Day returned to Hartford from New York in 1927, she bought and moved into the home of her great-aunt Harriet Beecher Stowe at Nook Farm, and subsequently founded the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. After learning that the neighboring Mark Twain House was about to be torn down and an automobile showroom built in its place, Day organized the Friends of Hartford and raised $100,000 for its purchase and renovation. Her successful efforts to rescue both the Stowe and Twain homes preserved the historic and irreplaceable houses as important centers of culture, research and education enjoyed today by thousands of visitors every year.

Katherine Seymour Day was born in 1870, the great-granddaughter of the Reverend Lyman Beecher and the granddaughter of suffragist and reformer Isabella Beecher Hooker. Day spent much of her early life in Europe, where she became interested in painting. She moved to New York in 1896 and continued to study painting. In 1918, she returned to school to study the psychology of color and, at the age of 47, earned a Master’s degree in psychology from Radcliffe College.

Day’s return to Hartford and subsequent successful campaign to rescue the Mark Twain House led to other ventures in historical preservation. In 1931, the Mark Twain Library and Memorial Commission was chartered by the Connecticut Legislature, and Day served as its president for many years. She bought other properties on Forest Street and set up a trust fund to ensure their future care. She became a member of the Hartford City Planning Commission, helped establish the Children’s Museum of Hartford and earned a second Master’s degree (this time in history) from Trinity College. In addition, she was an active member of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the State of Connecticut.

Day continued to serve on the board of the Twain Memorial Commission as honorary president until her death at age 94. She is buried in Hartford’s historic Cedar Hill Cemetery.

During This Time
1921 - 1945: Prosperity, Depression, & War