PRENTISS, ELISABETH SEVERANCE ALLEN (16 Nov. 1865-4 Jan. 1944) was a generous benefactress of educational, art, and medical causes. Recipients of her gifts included St. Luke's Hospital, the Cleveland Health Museum (see HEALTH MUSEUM), Western Reserve University (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY), and the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART.
Born in Titusville, Pennsylvania to Louis H. and Fanny Benedict Severance, Elisabeth was educated in Cleveland and graduated from Wellesley College in 1887. Elisabeth was twice widowed. On August 4, 1892 she married Cleveland surgeon DUDLEY P. ALLEN; he died in 1915. On 19 Sept. 1917 she married industrialist FRANCIS F. PRENTISS; he died in 1937. Neither marriage produced children.
Continuing a family tradition of philanthropy, Elisabeth and her husbands provided building and/or operating funds for many institutions. She established the Allen Memorial Library in 1926 in honor of her first husband. She received the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce distinguished public service medal in 1928, the first woman so honored. In 1937 she succeeded her second husband as President of St. Luke's Hospital and continued his work in its expansion.
In 1939 she helped establish the ELISABETH SEVERANCE PRENTISS FOUNDATION to promote medical/surgical care and research in Cleveland. She was a trustee of the Cleveland Art Museum and made gifts to its art collection and its endowment fund. In 1944 the Cleveland Health Museum established the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss National Award in Health Education honoring Mrs. Prentiss who, in 1936, donated a building on Euclid Ave. as the museum's first home, and contributed to its operating fund. She is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.
Severance Family Papers, WRHS.