Biographical Dictionary of American Educators - Vol. 3

By John F. Ohles | Go to book overview
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SABIN, Ellen Clara. B. November 29, 1850, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, to Samuel Henry and Adelia M. (Bordine) Sabin. M. no. D. February 2, 1949, Madison, Wisconsin.

Ellen (also called Ella) Clara Sabin spent her early years on farms in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin from 1865 to 1868. Her father moved his family of eleven to Eugene, Oregon, in 1872.

Sabin began her teaching career as a teacher and principal in Sun Prairie ( 1866) and Madison, Wisconsin ( 1869-72). In Oregon she established a one-room school ( 1872-73) and taught in Portland ( 1873-85). She spent a year studying in Europe, augmenting her earlier education ( 1885-86). On her return to Oregon, she became superintendent of the Portland schools ( 1887-90), an unusual position for a woman in a city the size of Portland.

In 1891 Sabin returned to Fox Lake, Wisconsin, to become president of Downer College, a college for women. She continued to serve as president until 1921 of the then combined Milwaukee-Downer College (later, merged with Lawrence College to Lawrence University). During her tenure as college president, she received her first college degrees: honorary doctorates from Beloit ( Wisconsin) and Grinnell ( Iowa) colleges.

Sabin's rural beginnings, life in the West, and years of teaching experience in a waterfront area of Portland led her to view education from a practical point of view. She helped her students in Portland get jobs and ensured that Milwaukee-Downer College offered degree programs in home economics, nursing, and occupational therapy along with courses leading to the traditional liberal arts degree.

Sabin was active in civic and professional organizations and served as a juror of educational exhibits at the Chicago Exposition of 1893 and as a member of the National Council of Education ( 1886-92) and the Wisconsin State Board of Education ( 1912-23).

REFERENCES: NAW, NYT, February 3, 1949, p. 23; WC; WWW ( II); Wisconsin Journal of Education 81 ( March 1949): 28. Rita S. Saslaw

SABIN, Florence Rena. B. November 9, 1871, Central City, Colorado, to George Kimball and Rena (Miner) Sabin. M. no. D. October 3, 1953, Denver, Colorado.

Although she was born in the mining camp country of Colorado, Florence Rena Sabin received her education in the East, first attending Ver


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