Died: April 30, 1931
Married: Whitelaw Reid (1881)
Children: Son, Ogden Mills Reid, and a daughter
Elisabeth Mills Reid was a philanthropist and social activist. She was the daughter of the founder of the Bank of California, D. Ogden Mills, and the wife of newspaper man and American Ambassador to Paris Whitelaw Reid. The Reids had a summer camp, Camp Wild Air on St. Regis Lake.
In 1898 and 1899 she served as Secretary of the Red Cross Society for the Maintenance of Trained Nurses and Chairman, Red Cross Committee on Nursing for the Philippines. In 1915 she served as Chairman of the England chapter of the American Red Cross, London.
Mabel Boardman, a friend, wrote of her
Elizabeth Mills Reid is an exceptional woman, a possessor of large wealth and of long years of social and diplomatic experience, especially during the time when her husband, Mr. Whitelaw Reid, was American Minister to France and Ambassador to England. She is a woman gifted with the virtues of simplicity, of sympathy and of loyalty to her ideals and her friends. To any object which commands her interest, she has brought practical business ability and understanding combined with clear vision and whole-hearted devotion. She has given not only of her wealth but of herself to the great causes for which she labored, prominent among which have been the American Red Cross, the hospitals she has built and aided and the public health nursing service she has done so much to support. 1
On Mrs. Reid's death, then president Herbert Hoover sent a message of condolence to Mrs. Reid's son, Ogden, who was publisher of the New York Herald Tribune: "It was a great shock to both Mrs. Hoover and me to learn this morning of the passing of your mother. She has been so true and loyal a friend and has contributed so much to national welfare in a thousand directions that her death becomes both a personal and a national loss. We wish you and Mrs. Reid to know that you have our deepest sympathy."
When she died in 1931 she left $20,000 to the Trudeau Sanatorium, and three million dollars to her son. 2
Her papers are in the Library of Congress.
The Fort Covington Sun, May 9, 1889
Younger than Mrs. Lincoln by many years, is Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, daughter of D. O. Mills, the millionaire of California creation. She is very attractive in appearance, of the blonde order, above the medium height, and is notable in dress for subdued colors. Mr. Reid will rent a magnificent hotel in Paris, and it is safe to say that his own thousands, ably assisted by the Mills millions, will create a respectable sensation even at the French Capital. They will take with them their son of seven and daughter, a tot of five years.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 12, 1954
A need for special training in tuberculosis nursing resulted in the establishment in 1912 of the Nurses' Training School. Mrs. Whitelaw Reid became the sponsor of the school and the nurses' home was given as a memorial to her father, D. Ogden Mills.
Lake Placid News, October 25, 1918
AMERICAN WOMEN DOING RED CROSS WORK IN LONDON.
American Red Cross activities in England cover a wide field, ranging from a contribution of $953,000 (£200,000) to the war work fund of the British Red Cross, to the promotion of social welfare work involving women and children. They include also the gathering and distributing of supplies for shipment to France and Belgium.
The London chapter, of which Ambassador Page is president and Mrs. Whitelaw Reid is chairman, operates a workshop where about 2,000 women are employed in making dressings, bandages, splints and other hospital necessities. About one-third of the work force is American, the rest British.
The London chapter also maintains St. Catherine's Lodge Hospital for officers, with 40 beds for orthopedic cases. Other chapter activities include the distribution of books for American soldiers in France and American sailors in European waters, entertainment for American soldiers and nurses in London and the maintenance of a clubhouse for nurses.
The Malone Farmer, September 10, 1919
Saranac Lake gave its returned soldiers, sailors and war workers an official welcome last week at the Boys' Club, with special exercises in appreciation of their patriotic work. Appropriately inscribed bronze medal were presented to all the returned soldiers and war workers present by Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, of New York, who was prominently identified with relief work during the conflict. The village president presided and Richard Lloyd Jones, of Madison, Wis., a guest of C. M. Palmer, made the speech, in which he showed that the Stars and Stripes had always gone into battle, not for selfish purposes, but for freedom and liberty. He said that our boys had just given the country a new legacy by their valor in battle and predicted that no imperial power would ever again threaten the flag of America, which is a country worth living and dying for. Livingston Chapman sang the Star Spangled Banner and "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Each bronze medal bears the name of the recipient, the words, "For Service for Democracy Liberty and Justice" and "Presented by the People of Saranac Lake, N. Y., to Their Loyal Defenders."
Essex County Republican, August 15, 1924
Sir Esme at Saranac Lake.
Among the recent visitors to Trudeau Sanitorium, Saranac Lake was Sir Esme Howard, British Ambassador to the United States, and Lady Howard who visited the various units of the most famous tuberculosis sanitorium in the world.
The distinguished guests were guests of Mrs. Whitelaw Reid at Camp Wildair on Upper St Regis Lake.
The Malone Farmer, January 4, 1928
TO RECONSTRUCT ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
St. John in the Wilderness ancient hand hewn log church known to several generations of Adirondack church vacationists and which recently burned, is to be rebuilt. The new church is to be constructed of field stone, Dr. Francis B. Trudeau, Episcopal warden, announced. Voluntary contributions of more than $20,000 have been made from persons from all parts of the country. A building committee is scheduled to meet Jan. 9 in New York city to inspect plans for the new structure. The committee includes Mrs. Whitelaw Reid and Mrs. Walter B. James, both of New York.
The Fort Covington Sun, August 8, 1929
The Governor-General of Canada, Viscountess Willingdon and staff passed through town on Tuesday en route to Mrs. Whitelaw Reid's camp on the St. Regis river near Paul Smiths for a short holiday. They ferried over from Cornwall to St. Regis and were met there by an escort of State Troopers on motorcycles, who will remain with them until their return.
Chateaugay Record, May 10, 1929
Trudeau Sanatorium is to have a new nurses' home, the gift of Mrs. Whitelaw Reid. It will cost $120,000 and be fireproof. Mrs. Reid in 1912 gave the funds for the present home.
Ticonderoga Sentinel, September 4, 1930
Reid House at Saranac Lake Dedicated
Saranac Lake, Aug. 28 — Mrs. Whitelaw Reid's latest gift to Trudeau sanatorium here, Reid House, was dedicated today, after the annual graduation exercises of the D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses. The $150,000 structure is considered one of the best equipped homes for nurses in the United States. It is a memorial to D. Ogden Mills, Mrs. Reid's father, in whose memory she founded the nurses' school.
The Record-Post, Au Sable Forks, N. Y., September 18, 1930
British Ambassador At St. Regis Lake
Sir Ronald Lindsay, British ambassador to the United States, is the guest of Mrs. Whitelaw Reid at her summer camp on Upper St. Regis lake. Sir Ronald is accompanied by Michael Wright of the British embassy, and they expect to return during the latter part of the present week.
Lake Placid News. May 29, 1931
Fred Barnes of Paul Smiths received a bequest of $5000 in the will of Mrs. Whitelaw Reid who died recently in Europe. All household servants were given $500 each if they had been in three years' continuous service. To her secretary, Irving Blake, Mrs. Reid bequeathed $25,000.
1. History of American Red Cross Nursing, Part 1, By American National Red Cross Nursing Service; Lavinia L. Dock, Sarah Elizabeth Pickett, Clara Dutton Noyes. Macmillan, 1922. p.47
2. Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post, May 28, 1931