Working in schools provided women such as Keeler a temporary, socially accepted reprieve from domestic life and motherhood.
It also gave them a chance to expand their education by attending either an Academy School (high school) or a "normal school" designed to train teachers.
While Keeler was recognized in Cleveland for a 38-year career in the public schools and as a respected voice in the Progressive Era women's club movement, she was best known as an author in her day.
The life-long educator penned a series of seven nature guides between 1894 and her death in 1921.
Harriet Keeler, in the company of countless other middle- and upper-class American women at the turn of the 20th century, navigated through cultural restrictions using preconceived ideals of womanhood as a springboard for creating professional and personal opportunities.
While her work as an author and educator were informed by societal boundaries, these acceptable outlets for Keeler's intellectual life proved frutiful.
An increasingly literate female and male population was enamored with birds, flowers, and trees.
Through her chosen vocations, Keeler provided lasting contributions to Cleveland in the social changes she helped push forward, the lives she touched as a teacher, and the legacy of her written word.
Harriet Keeler's life also inspired a different type of tribute.
By the time of Keeler's first foray into publishing nature writing, a tradition of women botanists preceded her.
The opportunities and experiences afforded to Harriet Keeler as a teacher and student converged with the release of her first book on amateur botany in 1894, .