By James Keating
Graduate student, University of New South Wales
Marian Vinal Lincoln was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1862 to Edward Winslow, chairman of the city’s parks commission, and Katharine von Weber Lincoln. She was a descendant of Edward Winslow, the third governor of the Plymouth Colony, and Major General Benjamin Lincoln, George Washington’s second-in-command at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. In 1884 she married Edward Langdon Bogert, and subsequently bore two sons. She divorced Bogert in 1896, and remarried in 1901. Her second husband, Marsden J. Perry, was a prominent Rhode Island entrepreneur and art collector. The pair divided their time between Newport, Rhode Island and New York City, and were featured regularly in the society pages of the New York press.
Lincoln Perry’s first appearance in suffrage history comes when she joined the national advisory council of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU). She joined her friend and founder of New York’s Political Equality League, Alva Belmont. Alongside the tremendously wealthy Belmont, Lincoln Perry’s role within the CU was as a fundraiser, where she worked to parley the union’s growing association with society women into much needed donations. In July 1915, Belmont and Lincoln Perry organized a French tea dance to raise funds and promote the suffrage cause among Newport’s holiday crowd. By selling tickets for a brand new car donated by Washington Post editor John Roll McLean, they collected over $3,000 for the CU in a single afternoon.
Alongside her fundraising work, Lincoln Perry was a major donor to the CU and the National Woman’s Party (NWP). Supported by her husband, Lincoln Perry rented and furnished the CU’s Rhode Island headquarters in July 1914. Between 1915 and 1919 she gave the union more than $1,000 per annum, a degree of generosity that saw her lauded by the Suffragist and attacked in the anti-suffrage press.
When the NWP was established in March 1917, Lincoln Perry was instrumental in organizing the party’s Rhode Island branch, and served as its first vice-president. She combined her local work with contributions to the NWP’s advisory council until 1920, after which little is known about her. After her husband died in 1935, she remained in New York City, until she died of pneumonia on 13 June 1938.
“Editorial,” The Reply, May 1915, 3–4; “What it has Cost,” The Suffragist, 28 June 1919, 9–11; “Mrs. Marsden J. Perry: Descendant of Governor Winslow of the Plymouth Colony,” New York Times, 14 June 1938, 21; Thomas W. Bickwell, The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (New York: American Historical Society, 1920).