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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

HARKNESS, ANNA M. (RICHARDSON) - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

HARKNESS, ANNA M. (RICHARDSON) (25 Oct. 1837-27 March 1926), a philanthropist who generously supported educational and health causes in Cleveland and elsewhere, founded the Commonwealth Fund in New York City on 17 October 1918. Locally, she endowed a chair in Biblical literature at Western Reserve University (WRU, later CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY), presented a $50,000 gift to Lakeside Hospital (later part of UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS CASE MEDICAL CENTER) and, with her son-in-law, Louis Henry Severance, funded WRU's Harkness Chapel, dedicated 1902 in memory of her daughter Florence. Harkness was born in Dalton, OH. She married STEPHEN V. HARKNESS† of Monroeville, OH in 1853 (sometimes given as 1854) (his second wife); they moved to Cleveland in 1866. The couple had 2 daughters, Jennie and Florence Harkness Severance, and 2 sons, Charles W. (d. 1916) and Edward S. In 1891, three years after her husband's death, Harkness moved to New York but continued to maintain a home in Willoughby.

In 1917 Harkness gave $3.5 million to Yale University. She also donated to Fifth Ave. Presbyterian Church in New York City as well as the national Presbyterian Church. With her son Edward, Harkness donated 20 acres of land for the medical center of Columbia University (1924).

McGehee, A. "For the Welfare of Mankind": The Commonwealth Fund and American Medicine (1986).


Last Modified: 04 Mar 1998 04:29:31 PM

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