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Fuller, Carolyn Farwell, 3521 Harrison Boulevard

Carolyn Fuller
Carolyn Farwell Fuller
Courtesy Kansas City Athenaeum

She was a dynamic leader in politics, music, and education, yet she had grave doubts about the possibility of becoming the first woman member of the Kansas City Board of Education. Conventional wisdom held that a woman´s place was in the home or behind a desk in a classroom. But the public in 1922 had no doubts and give Carolyn Farwell Fuller a 67,000 vote margin of victory. It was in 1921 that women had received the right to vote. Carolyn Fuller was the first woman to be elected to the board and she served two terms from 1922 to 1934.

Carolyn Fuller came to Kansas City from New England when she was 15 years old. With a fine contralto voice, she decided to study at the Des Moines Conservatory of Music and then in Chicago so that she could pursue a concert stage career. After her marriage to Joseph Voorhees she continued a busy schedule of concert and church appearances. From 1899 to 1907 she was in the music department of Central High School. Widowed in 1909, she married George W. Fuller. [They moved into 3521 Harrison Boulevard as the second owners.]

George Fuller was vice-president of the Fidelity Savings and Trust Company and twice a member of the Kansas City Parks Board. During his second term he was president. George died in 1919 and Carolyn continued to live in the Harrison house until her death in 1944.

Carolyn Fuller founded organizations, served as president of several, and was a member of many more. During her third term as president of the Kansas City Athenaeum, she founded the Athenaeum Young Matrons, which supported social, educational, and charitable causes. with her advice and guidance the Athenaeum Young Matrons severed ties with the Kansas City Athenaeum and became the Kansas City Young Matrons. Fuller was named an honorary member.

She organized the Round Table of Presidents and Past Presidents in 1917 to coordinate efforts among the numerous women´s clubs. Other organizations benefited from her membership. Fuller was a charter member of the Kansas City Music Club and served two terms as president. She was also the president of St. Joseph Hospital Auxiliary, the Kansas City Chapter of Pen Women, and Twentieth Century Club, the Republican women´s political organization which she helped found. She organized 1,800 women who raised $135,000 for Lincoln and Lee University in less than three weeks.

Kansas City Women of Independent Minds , Jane Fifield Flynn

Carolyn Farwell Fuller by Janice Lee, Kansas City Public Library Local History

Carolyn Farwell Fuller
Carolyn Farwell Fuller
Courtsey Kansas City Young Matrons