Biographical Sketch of Mary Estell Curry

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Estell Curry, 1865-

By Nayrani Mendoza, undergraduate, University of California, Berkeley

Mary Estell Lorentzen, born December 1865 in San Francisco, California, married Mr. Charles E. Curry in 1890 and took his name, becoming Mrs. Charles E. Curry. Charles had a child, Clarence Curry by an earlier marriage. He met Mary in California before moving to Oregon, not long after their marriage, with Clarence Curry. She successfully applies for her passport in 1907 and eventually travels to Europe, returning around spring, 1910. Upon arrival, Miss von Bolton and Miss Nicholson hosted "the tea Madam von Bolton" which honored Mrs. Charles Curry along with others. She also, with Mrs. Hume, established the salesrooms of the Arts and Crafts Society in Ontario, Oregon. Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Curry lived in their home in Portland Heights until 1918 and again from March 2, 1920 and on. That same year on March 6, Mrs. Curry, was elected president of a branch of the Oregon League of Women Voters. The branch, however, was reabsorbed into the main branch of the group when leaders wanted to avoid any issues with a range of different opinions coming from groups claiming to be of the same organization and region.

Mrs. Charles E. Curry obtained that position because she was a very prominent patroness of her district. She was often a patroness for a large variety of events and parties since 1910. She possessed many skills in the arts, often taking out ads in the Oregon newspapers, offering services like piano lessons, as well as entering competitions where she won many awards for things like best display embroidery, pillowcase, handmade handkerchief, embroidered towel, and so on.

She often used these skills to bring a sense of class to the gatherings; the decorations were often noted and very highly admired in the local newspapers. She was a patron for numerous gatherings to raise funds for many causes, and helped finance many of those events. Mrs. Charles E. Curry was directly involved in the fund raising and contributions for: a patriotic relief work fund, to furnish homes for working girls, an overseas hospital fund of the Medical Women's National Association, the Women's building of the University of Oregon, and more. She was a member of many clubs that often had similar goals, such as the Professional Women's League, and the Oregon Equal Suffrage Alliance. Many of these groups were connected with the University of Oregon and clubs among the campus and thus, many meetings were held on the campus itself. During one of these gatherings, she read an original poem entitled "Where East Meets West."

Not long after that incident and short-lived presidency, Estell Curry and her family moved back to San Francisco, California by 1925 and between 1925 and 1928, her husband died. After the move back to California, Estell Curry no longer participated in many suffrage activities. She was, however, a part of the California Historical Society and wrote a page of the quarterly describing the events and meetings that the society had held earlier that year in 1930.

Sources:

Daily Capital Journal. (Salem, Or.), 07 March 1911. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99063957/1911-03-07/ed-1/seq-2/

Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Oregon), 02 July, 1919. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1919-07-02/ed-1/seq-16/

The Ontario Argus. (Ontario, Or.), 25 Sept. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn00063520/1913-09-25/ed-1/seq-7/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 09 July, 1911. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1911-07-09/ed-1/seq-34/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 13 October, 1912. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1912-10-13/ed-1/seq-39/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 21 May, 1916. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1916-05-21/ed-1/seq-35/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 13 January, 1918. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1918-01-13/ed-1/seq-39/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 04 August, 1918. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1918-08-04/ed-1/seq-14/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 11 August, 1918. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1918-08-11/ed-1/seq-34/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 15 June, 1919. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1919-06-15/ed-1/seq-50/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, or.), 15 June, 1919. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1919-06-15/ed-1/seq-50/

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 21 March, 1920. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1920-03-21/ed-1/seq-54/ Year: 1920; Census Place: Portland, Multnomah, Oregon; Roll: T625_1499; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 13; Image: 44

The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Or.), 18 July, 1920. Oregon News: Historic Oregon Newspapers. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1920-07-18/ed-1/seq-42/

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