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GRABER, BELLE (ISABEL) TAYLOR

GRABER, BELLE (ISABEL) TAYLOR

GRABER, BELLE (ISABEL) TAYLOR (13 Sept. 1873-14 April 1957) was a civic and cultural leader who served as the first woman member of the Lakewood Board of Education and helped found both Lakewood Hospital and Lakewood Public Library.

Born in Canada, Belle Graber came to the United States with her family as a young girl. She graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1896, then taught school in Michigan before her marriage to Dr. C. LEE GRABER on 11 Oct. 1899. They had no children.

Mrs. Graber helped her husband establish Lakewood Hospital. On 27 Jan. 1908 the Lakewood Hospital Charitable Association was created out of her determination to help raise funds for the new hospital, supplement maintenance costs, and maintain three charity beds. Later the association became known as the Woman's Board of Lakewood Hospital.

Mrs. Graber served on the Lakewood Board of Education from 1912-1917. Together with Board member Bernice Pyke, they raised civic support to secure a $45,000 grant to establish a library. The City of Lakewood purchased land in 1915 and construction began at the corner of Detroit and Arthur Avenues for Lakewood Public Library which formally opened in May 1916.

Mrs. Graber was active in the Cleveland Sorosis Society, serving as its President from 1914-1916, and on the Executive Board from 1917-1933. She was also an organizer of the Cleveland Music School Settlement when it began in 1912, and an early member of the Cleveland Academy of Medicine Ladies Auxiliary.

Belle and C. Lee Graber were both longtime members of the Lakewood Methodist Church. She is buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery.


The Cleveland Sorosis Club Records, WRHS

Butler, M.M. The Lakewood Story. (New York: Stratford House, 1949).

Reed, Mary M. History of the Lakewood Public Library, Master's Thesis, Western Reserve University, 1958.

Borchert, Jim and Susan. Lakewood: The First 100 Years. (The Donning Company: Norfolk, 1987).