Eleanor Marsh Frost, First Lady: 1892-1920

Summarized by Daniela Pirela-Manares '202 Comments

Portrait of Eleanor Frost

Eleanor’s love story with William Goodell Frost is as unconventional as they come. Eleanor was the caregiver for William’s wife, Louise Rainey, and their three children. After Louise’s death, Eleanor and William were married and had their own children. Sadly, they lost their son, Cleveland, during World War I.

Despite the devastating effect of this on the family and on Frost, she went on to do exceptional service for the Berea community as the wife of the College’s third president. She traveled into Appalachia on horseback recruiting students, becoming very successful in promoting and raising funds for the College. She advocated for the College to develop a waterworks system for the community, and for the construction of Boone Tavern and the Berea Hospital.

Portrait of William and Eleanor Frost

William and Eleanor Frost

The first lady encouraged weaving and crafts as an art form and was the mastermind behind the plan to build cottages for female students as a way for them to learn homemaking and modern-day practices. She also contributed to the community’s religious growth, as she began Sunday night chapel services at Union Church. Her lifetime accomplishments were awarded with an honorary degree from Berea College in 1945. Eleanor Marsh Frost was reunited with her son and husband in 1950 when she passed away.

2 Comments on “Eleanor Marsh Frost, First Lady: 1892-1920”

  1. Impressive First Ladies aside, when will Berea have a female President? Or a President of color? The college has a long history of promoting equality but … the Presidents have all been Caucasian males.

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