Cornelia Gray Lunt

Name: Cornelia Gray Lunt
Birth Date: March 19, 1843
Birth Place: Chicago Illinois, USA
Death Date: December 26, 1934
Death Location: Evanston Illinois, USA
Burial Place: Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois


Cornelia Lunt (1843-1934) was the daughter of Northwestern University founder Orrington Lunt. She came to Evanston in 1871 after graduating from Dearborn Seminary. Widely known as the leading lady of Evanston, Lunt served on the board of the Evanston College for Ladies, then on the Northwestern University Board of Trustees. She was active in the University Guild, serving as its first President. Her father’s home “Anchorfast,” which became her home after his death, was the center of Evanston’s social life for many years. She was the founder of the Fort Dearborn Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving as its first Regent and later honorary Regent for many years.


Cornelia Lunt, “First Lady of Evanston,” was the daughter of Orrington Lunt and niece of John Evans. The Lunt family moved to Evanston after the Chicago Fire, though Orrington had helped to found Northwestern University before the move. Cornelia traveled widely during and after her schooling, both throughout the United States and even made an annual trip to England. She brought together many noted artists and was instrumental in several groups. She helped to found the University Guild and was its first president. She also helped to found the Fort Dearborn chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was regent for the first two years. Later she was honored with permanent election as honorary regent. Lunt also served on Northwestern’s Board of Trustees from 1899 until 1920. Lunt was the founder of the Chicago branch of the Colonial Dames of America and was a charter member of the Fortnightly Club of Chicago. Lunt Park was established to honor her involvement and influence in Evanston.

Quotes: Life is a falling and getting up again. One should run. If one cannot run, walk, or even creep. To be still is to be stagnant -- to die. Age has nothing to do with the world within us. I have lived much because I have so much loved life and my friends
Father: Orrington Lunt
Mother: Cornelia Gray
Education: Dearborn Seminary: 1865. Boarding Schools in Massachusetts and New York.
Years in Evanston: 1871-c.1934

Sources: Archives and Collections: "Evanston Women Pre-1950." Subject Files. Evanston History Center. Newspapers: "Evanston's Younger Women." Daily News Index 3/1937. "3 Abundant Lives" Evanston Review 1935. "Something for the Girls: Evanston Women in the Women Movement, 1954 [sic]-1920"; Lunt's memoir - Sketches of Childhood and Girlhood - at