|"Political Drift in Oregon," Oregonian, February 20, 1909, 10.|
A week later, Salem's Daily Capital Journal, Shelton's hometown newspaper, carried a "Sketch of Mrs. Shelton" in the Society section.
|"Sketch of Mrs. Shelton," Daily Capital Journal, February 27, 1909, 6.|
Then the Capital Journal reporter added more, with a fascinating gendered discussion of Shelton's role in the governor's office and her relationship with the Chamberlains. "Mrs. Shelton has been a very popular society leader in the state capital," the reporter noted, "being premier chaperone on nearly every occasion of public importance of a social character." Chamberlain's family lived in Portland, "and Mrs. Chamberlain is one of the most domestic women in the world, absolutely declining to take any social prominence whatever, and preferring domesticity of the family circle, which demands her entire time, and attention as the mother of a large family. She is a woman of that noble character who gives her highest love, and affection to her children, and has lived an unostentatious life of devotion to the home in preference to the prominence she might have enjoyed at the side of her husband, who has been governor for six years. As a social patroness Mrs. Shelton has filled her position in a very becoming manner, playing the double part of filling an important political office and appearing in the capacity of a society woman."
Sallie Newman Welch Chamberlain married George in 1879 and bore seven children. Bill Robbins's Oregon Encyclopedia entry on George Chamberlain features a picture of Sallie and her daughter Fannie in 1910 from the Oregon Historical Society Research Library Collection (use the right arrow in the media box to scroll to the second image in the entry).
The sketch manages to praise both women and to create space for Shelton's "double part" without criticism. So far there appears to be no additional information or source material on how Sallie Chamberlain or Carolyn Shelton or George Chamberlain felt about these relationships and division of duties. I hold out hope for a box full in someone's attic and would be delighted to hear from anyone with more information on this interesting situation.
More in the next post.