Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Douglas, Sophia Julia Coleman

DOUGLAS, SOPHIA JULIA COLEMAN (1851–1902).

Called "the mother of adult study clubs," educator and women's club leader Sophia Julia Coleman Douglas was born September 22, 1851, in Cattauragus County, New York. At age eight she moved with her family to Michigan, and she later enrolled at the state normal school. She attended Vassar before her marriage to Judge Selwyn Douglas on June 8, 1869, at Boone, Iowa. They had a son named MacGregor.

After the family moved to Oklahoma City in 1891, Sophia Julia Douglas served as principal of Oklahoma City's first high school. She immediately became involved in club work by joining the Philomathea Club in 1891 and serving as its president in 1894. In 1896 she helped establish a young women's study club known as Sans Souci. Two years later Douglas founded the Federation of Oklahoma and Indian Territories Women's Clubs and served as its first president from 1898 to 1902. She continued to organize clubs, including the Twentieth Century Club in 1898, the New Century Club in 1900, and DAYC Club (Do All You Can) in 1901. A letter written by Douglas in 1900 to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie resulted in a twenty-five-thousand-dollar donation to build the first Carnegie Library in Oklahoma Territory and the future state of Oklahoma. Located in Oklahoma City, the library was completed on August 29, 1901.

Sophia Julia Douglas died on August 8, 1902, in Oklahoma City and was buried in Fairlawn Cemetery. In her memory the territorial women's clubs donated funds for the construction of a bronze fountain in front of the library. Her life mirrored that of other middle-class and upper-class Oklahoma women who wanted to improve themselves and their new communities.

Linda D. Wilson

See also: OKLAHOMA FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS, WOMEN, WOMEN AND WORK, WOMEN'S CLUB MOVEMENT

Bibliography

Susan L. Allen, "Progressive Spirit: The Oklahoma and Indian Territory Federation of Women's Clubs," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 66 (Spring 1988).

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 12 April 1903 and 19 April 1964.

"Sophia Julia Douglas," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Luretta Rainey, History of Oklahoma State Federation of Women's Clubs (Guthrie, Okla.: Cooperative Publishing Co., 1939).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Linda D. Wilson, "Douglas, Sophia Julia Coleman," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 23, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia