Flavia Camp Canfield

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Flavia Camp Canfield (January 28, 1844 - August 12, 1930[1]) was an artist, author, and founder of the Columbus Federation of Women's Clubs.

Early life[edit]

Flavia Camp was raised in Black Earth, Wisconsin by her mother and step-father Rev Asa A Allen, a Congregational pastor, with a combined total of fifteen siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings.[2] She taught in a local school in her late teens,[3] and went to the University of Wisconsin in 1863, the first year it admitted women.[2]

On June 24, 1873 she married James Hulme Canfield[1] with whom she had a son and in 1879 a daughter Dorothy.[4] Although she didn't speak any foreign languages, she made many trips to Europe with her daughter,[5] for example studying art for a year in Paris.[6]

Organisational work[edit]

Canfield became interested in the nascent Women's Club Movement, and accordingly while her husband was president of the Ohio State University she began a campaign not only to organise clubs in the Columbus region but to federate them.[7] In all she founded 26 such clubs and the Columbus Federation of Women's Clubs.[1] She was the first president (1895–97) of the Ohio State University Women's Club,[8] and was president of the Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs from 1898-1900.[1]

Canfield continued her interest in the arts as president of The Columbus Art Association, in which role she "broadened the policy of the association and enlarged the membership".[7]

Literary legacy[edit]

Her published novels include "The Refugee Family", "The Kidnapped Campers", and "The Big Tent" (1921).

Being made the subject of satire in "Flavia and Her Artists", a short story by her daughter Dorothy's friend Willa Cather, was probably the cause for the ten-year rift between Dorothy and Cather.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "Canfield, Flavia A, Mrs James Hulme Canfield, (1/28/1844-8/12/1930) Fisher, Dorothy Francis Canfield (2/17/1879-11/9/1958)". Columbus in Historic Photographs. Columbus Metropolitan Library. Retrieved 2012-12-05. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Flavia Camp, mother of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, gifted novelist, well remembered by Mrs. Annie Taylor Noyes". The Madison Democrat (Madison, WI). 1919-07-20. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  3. ^ "Back to the old home after an absence of 55 years". Black Earth News (Black Earth, WI). 1919-07-11. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  4. ^ "James Hulme Canfield Collection". University of Vermont Libraries. 1998. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  5. ^ Ehrhardt, Julia (2004), "Tourists accommodated, with reservations", Writers of Conviction : The Personal Politics of Zona Gale, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Rose Wilder Lane, and Josephine Herbst, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press 
  6. ^ "FISHER, Dorothy Canfield, Feb. 17, 1879-Nov. 9, 1958", Notable American Women: The Modern Period, 1980 (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b Denney, Jane (1920). "Club History". The University Women's Club of The Ohio State University. Retrieved 2012-12-05. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Past Presidents". The University Women's Club of The Ohio State University. Retrieved 2012-12-05. [dead link]
  9. ^ Rosowski, Susan J. (1985). "Prototypes for Willa Cather's "Flavia and Her Artists": the Canfield Connection". American Notes & Queries 23: 143–145.