Charlotte Kellogg

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Charlotte Kellogg (1874–1960) Author, Activist Born: Charlotte Hoffman Spouse: Vernon Lyman Kellogg
A later portrait of Charlotte Kellogg, sourced from the University of Chicago Special Collections

Charlotte Kellogg (1874 – May 8, 1960), born Charlotte Hoffman in Grand Island, Nebraska,[1] was a prominent author and social activist of the 20th century and the wife of American entomologist, Vernon Lyman Kellogg.[2]


Kellogg studied at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Bachelor of Philosophy in 1900.[1]

Early career and family life[edit]

After five years (1903–1907) as head of the English department at the Anna Head School in Berkeley California,[3] Kellogg married Vernon Lyman Kellogg in Florence in 1908. Two years later, she gave birth to their only daughter, Jean Kellogg.[2] She then traveled to Brussels with Jean in 1916 and worked with the Commission for Relief in Belgium for a year, on special request of the President. Kellogg studied the women of Belgium and later published Women of Belgium: Turning Tragedy to Triumph (1917), and Bobbins of Belgium (1920).[4] When her husband was appointed by Herbert Hoover as an assistant to the United States Food Administration, Kellogg joined him in his work as an internationally active war relief speaker and fund raiser.[5]

Work and Research in Belgium[edit]

Some of Kellogg's most notable publications centered around her time spent in Belgium with her husband prior to America's entrance into World War I.

Kellogg was sent by Herbert Hoover and the Commission for Relief in Belgium specifically to document the experience and struggles of the women living in Belgium. According to President Herbert Hoover, who authored an introduction to Kellogg's 1917 publication Women of Belgium: Turning Tragedy to Triumph, Kellogg did "more than record in simple terms passing impressions of varied facts of the great work of these women, for she spent months in loving sympathy with them."[6] Kellogg also spent extensive time researching the Belgian Lace industry, publishing Bobbins of Belgium; a book of Belgian lace, lace-workers, lace-schools and lace-villages, a unique portrait of the women who worked in this industry, which suffered when Belgium faced occupation and the challenges of world war.[7]

During her time abroad, Kellogg developed an intimate relationship with Désiré-Joseph Mercier, a notable Belgian scholar and a famous leader in resisting the German occupation of Belgium from1914–1918. In 1920, Kellogg published a biography of Cardinal Mercier, Mercier, the Fighting Cardinal of Belgium, based on her personal interactions with Mercier and her impression of his personality. This biography contained a forward by American journalist and diplomat Brand Whitlock who in his forward to her work claimed, "no one is better qualified than [Kellogg] to speak of [Mercier's] courageous work."[8] Her biography of Mercier includes personal details of his early life as well as an elaborate history of his activist work in Belgium, including many anecdotes and direct quotes from speeches and one on one conversations.

Interactions and correspondence with Marie Curie[edit]

In this seating chart Charlotte Kellogg is designated to sit to the left of her dear friend Marie Curie, the guest of honor at the Radium Gifting Ceremony on May 20, 1921 in the East Wing of Warren G. Harding's White House

Marie Curie, as a result of her refusal to patent her discovery of elemental Radium, struggled at several points in her life to raise funds in order to secure the costly element, which, in 1921, was priced at approximately 100,000 USD per gram.[9] After Curie met with American journalist, Marie Mattingly Meloney, during a rare interview in 1920, and expressed her research needs, Curie agreed to make her first visit to the United States in order to receive the gift of Radium which Meloney promised to procure.[10] Meloney and Kellogg, along with many other American women, facilitated a grass-roots campaign in 1921 "to raise money to make a gift to Madame Curie on the occasion of her visit of a gram of radium for exclusive use in experimental work."[11] Kellogg corresponded with Curie for the months proceeding her visit to the United States and was appointed by President Warren G. Harding to escort Curie and her two daughters on a trans-Atlantic voyage from Paris to New York. While travelling to and from France with Curie, Kellogg recounts in An Intimate Picture of Madame Curie, from diary notes covering a friendship of fifteen years, that "on board [Curie] worked on her 'Life of Pierre Curie,'" which Kellogg assisted in translating.[11]

Kellogg and Curie remained in contact after their voyage together for many years until Curie's death in 1934, and much of their correspondence remains preserved in the University of Chicago Library Special Collections.

Later life[edit]

Following the death of her husband, Vernon Kellogg, in August 8, 1937, Charlotte Kellogg continued to write, living in California until her death on May 8, 1960. She was survived by her only daughter, Jean Kellogg Dickie, who married cartoonist James Dickie on July 31, 1960.[3]

Notable publications[edit]

  • The Burial of John Muir (1916)
  • Women of Belgium: Turning Tragedy to Triumph (1917)
  • Poland's Women (1920)
  • Bobbins of Belgium (1920)
  • Mercier, the fighting cardinal of Belgium (1920)
  • Jadwiga, Queen of Poland (1936)
  • Paderewski (1956)
  • Prelude (1960)


  1. ^ a b "Kellogg, Vernon L. (Vernon Lyman), 1867–1937". Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  2. ^ a b McClung, C.E. (1938). Biographical Memoir of Vernon Lyman Kellogg. National Academy of Sciences. p. 252. 
  3. ^ a b Kaplan, compiled by Bella Z. Berson and Diane E.;, File format:. "Guide to the Kellogg-Dickie Papers". Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  4. ^ "Register of the Charlotte Hoffman Kellogg papers". Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  5. ^ The Abingdon war-food book;. New York,. 
  6. ^ Kellogg, Charlotte (1917). Women of Belgium: Turning Tragedy to Triumph. New York: New York and London, Funk and Wagnalls company. pp. xvi. 
  7. ^ Kellogg, Charlotte (1920). Bobbins of Belgiuma book of Belgian lace, lace-workers, lace-schools and lace-villages. New York: New York, London : Funk & Wagnalls. 
  8. ^ Kellogg, Charlotte (1920). Mercier, The Fighting Cardinal of Belgium. New York: New York, London, D. Appleton and Company. pp. viii. 
  9. ^ "Marie Curie – Women in European History". Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  10. ^ Times, Special To The New York (1929-10-30). "MME. CURIE AT WHITE HOUSE; Hoover Will Speak When Radium Is Presented to Her Tonight". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  11. ^ a b Kellogg, Charlotte. Carmel, California. An intimate picture of Madame Curie. From diary notes covering a friendship of fifteen years. 1p. From the Joseph Halle Schaffner collection in the history of science, 1642–1961., Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.