8 July 1882Liverpool, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom


22 June 1996Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California, United States



Miriam Carpelan

Miriam Carpelan (née Cowper) is a British-born American supercentenarian who was the oldest living person in California for two years. Her age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) and recognised by LongeviQuest (LQ).

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Carpelan was born as Miriam Cowper in Liverpool, England, on 8 July 1882. She was one of eight children born to William Cowper and Miriam Richards. She married Carl “Harry” Carpelan and the couple emigrated to the United States in 1908. They did not have children.

Carpelan and her husband were avid horse-racing fans, and were also members of the Faith Lutheran Church in Seaside, California. They worked at the Del Monte Lodge in the city. Carpelan was widowed in 1967, later relocating to Santa Cruz.

Carpelan died on 22 June 1996 at the age of 113 years, 350 days, being survived by two nieces and a nephew and their descendants. She was the fourth-oldest person in the United States – and the sixth-oldest in the world – whose age has been validated.

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Carpelan became California’s oldest resident upon the death of Amy Harris, 112, on 26 January 1994. Upon her own death, the title passed to Christian Mortensen, the oldest man ever at the time.

Carpelan’s age was verified by Filipe Prista Lucas and Robert Young, and was validated by the GRG on 20 April 2008.

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