CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

O'NEILL, CORDELIA L.

O'NEILL, CORDELIA L.

O'NEILL, CORDELIA L. (7 Feb. 1866-29 May 1928), elementary school principal in the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, pioneered in the AMERICANIZATION of immigrant CHILDREN AND YOUTH and helped organize the WESTERN RESERVE CHILD WELFARE COUNCIL (1911). Her introduction of preventive dental care (see DENTISTRY) into the schools reportedly led to the creation of the National Mouth Hygiene Association. She served as vice-president and trustee of the Cleveland Mouth Hygiene Association and participated actively in religious and civic causes, helping to organize both the Roman Catholic CATHERINE HORSTMANN HOME and the SAFE AND SANE FOURTH OF JULY celebration. O'Neill was born in Cleveland to Michael and Margaret Nagle O'Neill. She attended public school, and graduated from West High School and the Cleveland Normal School. During WORLD WAR I, she worked with the AMERICAN RED CROSS, CLEVELAND CHAPTER. For the Cleveland schools, O'Neill taught at Scranton School and served as assistant principal at Brownell School (1900-04) and then principal at Marion, Kennard, Gilbert, and Kinsman (1925-28) schools.

A member of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, O'Neill's religious activities included serving as president of the Cleveland Diocesan Council of the NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CATHOLIC WOMEN and organizing the St. Joseph's Guild. She was a charter member of the WOMEN'S CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND and the Women's Club House Association, and belonged to the BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL WOMEN'S CLUB OF GREATER CLEVELAND. O'Neill was a life member of CLEVELAND ASSOCIATED CHARITIES and a trustee of the CLEVELAND HUMANE SOCIETY. O'Neill, a single woman, lived in Cleveland with her sister, Margaret.


Western Reserve Child Welfare Council Records, WRHS.