Katharine Seymour Day (1870-1964)

Katharine Seymour Day, of Hartford, Connecticut

Associated Houses

Harriet Beecher Stowe House


She was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Through her mother she was the grand niece of Harriet Beecher Stowe and through her father she was a descendant of John Haynes, 1st Colonial Governor of Connecticut. She grew up in a house on the corner of Garden and Myrtle Streets and often played with the daughters of Mark Twain. She was educated at Hartford High School before travelling to Europe with her parents, living in England (where she was presented at court to Queen Victoria), Germany, and France from 1887 to 1894. On her return, she lived with her family at the Mark Twain House for two years before moving to New York where she studied painting under William Merritt Chase, a member of the Barbaro Set who taught the likes of Gifford Beal.

She took further courses at Columbia University and the Union Theological Seminary before returning to Paris to study at the Academie Julien. She marched for women’s suffrage in New England, New York City, and London. In New York, she helped organize the Women’s Municipal League to end the politically corrupt Tammany Hall regime.

After her father died in 1899, she returned to New York where she lived with her mother. She continued to paint, spending summers at an art colony in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where she frequented Red Roof and Beauport. In 1905, she took a world tour via Japan, China, India, the Near East, and Europe. In 1915, she moved to California where she painted and took summer courses at the University of California (Berkeley). In 1917, she took a Master's degree in the psychology of color and its relation to new painting techniques from Radcliffe College. In 1924, she purchased the Harriet Beecher Stowe House as soon as she heard it was on the market and returned to live there from 1927. 

In 1929, she organized "The Friends of Hartford" and succeeded in raising $100,000 to buy the Mark Twain House, rescuing it from demolition. In 1937, she took a Master’s degree in history from Trinity University and established the Stowe, Beecher, Hooker, Seymour, Day Memorial Library and Historical Foundation, that oversaw maintenance and developed a visitor center and library. In 1940, she bought the house that neighbored her own, now known as the Katharine Seymour Day House, which she used primarily for meetings of the various groups she supported. She served on various preservation and museum committees, and was a member of the Colonial Dames, D.A.R. etc. She died unmarried at the Stowe House and in 1994 was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 03/09/2021 and last updated on 04/09/2021.