The Baltimore Humane Society and Elsie Seeger Barton

As owner and chairman of Brown Automotive Group, Ltd., William E. Schuiling oversees operations at dealerships throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. He began working in sales at the company in 1970, and eventually purchased it from his employers. William Schuiling maintains other deep Mid-Atlantic community connections, including his support of numerous local charitable causes, including the Baltimore Humane Society.

Elsie Seeger Barton established the society in the late 1920s. The story goes that, as a teen ill with rheumatic fever and confined to her bedroom, the young Barton cherished the companionship of her family’s pets. It was that early experience that solidified her desire to do something to help animals in need. 

As the wife of paper company magnate Bolling Walker Barton, Jr., she became a leading socialite, but never forgot her concern for animal welfare. She assembled a group of local women to found the Humane Society, to which she made generous contributions.

At first, Barton’s family estate sheltered the animals. In the mid-1930s, she presided over the opening of a major animal hospital, with a three-story medical facility just for horses, as well as an operating theater and classrooms for education in humane treatment.

Barton continued to live in her home on the shelter’s property until she died at age 97, leaving the entirety of her estate to the society. Today, the no-kill shelter helps thousands of animals every year find safety in loving homes.