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Meredith, Virginia Claypool, 1848-1936



  • Existence: November 1, 1848 - December 10, 1936

Biographical Information

Virginia Claypool Meredith was born in Fayette County, Indiana, November 1, 1848, the daughter of Austin B. and Hannah A. Claypool. She graduated from Glendale College in 1866, and married Henry Clay Meredith in 1870.

After her husband's death in 1882, she assumed full charge of his large farm and gained national fame in handling his herds and flocks. Her varied achievements in agriculture, home economics, as a public speaker, organizer, writer, editor, and trustee of Purdue University won her nation-wide recognition as the "Queen of American Agriculture".

Meredith's involvement with Purdue began in 1899, while she was a speaker for the Farmers' Institutes, offering lectures across Indiana that were aimed to educate farmers on the latest science and technology in agriculture. These lectures, along with Meredith's unrelenting petitioning of Purdue presidents, were highly influential in paving the way for a home economics department in 1905. In addition to being a pioneer in agricultural education, organizer of the Indiana Federation of Women's Clubs, and editor of the Breeders Gazette, Virginia Claypool Meredith also became the first woman to serve on the Board of Trustees at Purdue, a post which she held from 1921-1936. The women's residence hall known as "Meredith Hall" is named in her memory.

President University President Edward C. Elliott paid her the following tribute at the time of her death on December 10, 1936: "Thus, comes to an end a brilliant career of devoted service to the nation, the state, the University, and above all to the advancement of the place of women in our civilization. All who had the privilege of working with her were constantly the beneficiaries of her kindly and farsighted wisdom. She was an ideal University trustee. The best of her life was built into the University she loved so much and served so well."


MSF 265, Virginia Claypool Meredith papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Meredith Hall records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 80
Scope and Contents The Meredith Hall Records contain four series regarding various information about the residence hall; History of the hall, Administrative documents, Events held at the hall, and information about Students that resided at the hall. The collection contains information about the building such as schematics and maps of the X shaped dormitory. A postcard that was sent to space on the space shuttle Discovery can be found in the collection. Information regarding the Winter Whisper, an elegant social...
Dates: 1937-2008

Virginia Claypool Meredith papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 31, Placement: 14
Identifier: MSF 265
Scope and Contents The collection consists of three folders which contain 63 articles about or by Virginia Claypool Meredith as well as a four leaf clover she found on the site of the Purdue Memorial Union Building immediately preceding the building dedication ceremonies.
Dates: 1851 - 2002