Ethel Eyre Valentine Dreier Papers
Ethel Eyre Valentine was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1874. She graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute in 1895. After graduation Ethel organized and became president of Brooklyn's first social settlement, All Sorts and Conditions of Girls. She was also president of the United Neighborhood Guild (consisting of five settlements) and the People's Institute of Brooklyn. She married H. Edward Dreier (brother of Mary Dreier and Margaret Dreier Robins, labor reformers; and Katherine Dreier, artist) on April 18, 1901. The next ten years were primarily dedicated to family life. Her daughters Antoinette Storrs and Dorothea; and sons Theodore and John were born between 1902 and 1909.
In 1912 Dreier was named chairman of the Woman Suffrage Party of Brooklyn. Under her leadership its 23 Assembly Districts were organized. When the women of New York state won suffrage in 1917, Brooklyn cast the largest vote for suffrage of any county in the state. For several years after this victory, she continued in a leadership role group as chairman of the Brooklyn League of Women Voters. From 1924 to 1930, and again from 1932 to 1936, Dreier was president of the Women's City Club of New York. She remained honorary president until her death.
Dreier was also active in housing projects for low-income groups as a member of the Brooklyn Committee for Better Housing. In 1928 she was one of the incorporators of the Brooklyn Garden Apartments, the first limited dividend corporation founded under the state housing law. She was also a founder of the Dreier-Offerman Playground, opened in Brooklyn in 1934. In the New York mayoralty campaign of 1937 Dreier was joint chairman of the Fusion Campaign Committee to re-elect Fiorello H. LaGuardia, and chairman of the campaign's Women's Division. She was invited to serve from 1938-40 on the Executive Committee on Women's Participation in the World's Fair, and on the Women's Committee for Brooklyn for Women's Day at the F air. Throughout her career, Dreier was active in the Brooklyn community as a member of the Civitas Club of Brooklyn, the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and vice-president of the Friends of the Brooklyn Public Library. Dreier also spent several years on the advisory council of Black Mountain College in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Her son Theodore was a founder of the school.
In 1941 the Dreiers celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with their first trip to the West Coast. Later that year Ethel set off on a solo car trip through 17 states to catalogue birds and flowers. Also in 1941, the Dreiers moved permanently into their summer home, "Sunken Meadow," in Fort Salonga, Long Island. Ethel became active in the community as a member of the Garden Club, the Board of the Fort Salonga Association, and the Board of Education. Ethel and Edward celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1951 with their children and eight grandchildren. Edward Dreier died in 1955. Ethel Dreier died in December of 1958.