The Wonderful Vaporings of Mrs. Ella Storrs-Webb

Mrs. Ella Storrs-Webb was part of a reformist movement in the early 20th century and worked in a settlement house. Settlement houses were residences in poor and immigrant areas of large cities, designed to assist those in need, Hull House in Chicago being a famous example. Mrs. Webb occasionally made the news for her outlandish ideas on social reform and editors seemed to enjoy sparring with her in print:

The Day Book (Chicago, Illinois) · March 23, 1912

It is worth noting that eugenics was a popular and widespread pseudoscience at the time and many states had eugenics laws on the books (or were developing them). While I am not prepared to draw any conclusion on whether Mrs. Webb was a proponent of eugenics based on the two articles in this post, I feel comfortable saying she used the language of eugenics and would certainly have been welcome in the company of eugenicists.

Also suspicious: she wasn’t a huge fan of dogs.

The Dog Fancier, December 1912

While her proposal to ban dogs from cities didn’t catch on, she certainly had a way with words and was probably a formidable presence in any debate. As I was unfortunately unable to find a picture of Mrs. Webb, I offer one from her era in its place:

Mineola dog show, Pekingese “Pou-sa” belonging to Mrs. J.P. Morgan Jr., held by Mrs. Morris Mandy, 1908 (Image: Library of Congress #LC-DIG-ggbain-01898)

One thought on “The Wonderful Vaporings of Mrs. Ella Storrs-Webb

  1. I’d bet the animal rights extremists today would have embraced her thinking…

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