Biographical Sketch of Grace Sherwood

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Grace Sherwood, 1878-1948

By Aidan Fenstermacher, student, and Melanie Gustafson, professor, University of Vermont

President, Vermont Equal Suffrage Association

Grace M. Willey Sherwood was born on December 23, 1878 in Newport, Vermont, to Lorenzo William Willey and Ida Williams Willey. After her father's death, her mother married Dr. Ralph Sherwood, a physician in St. Albans, and Grace's name was changed to Grace Willey Sherwood.

Sherwood graduated from St. Albans High School in 1897 and the Female Medical College of Philadelphia in 1904. She began practicing in St. Albans, Vermont, in 1907 and is recognized as the first woman surgeon in Vermont. In St. Albans in 1911, she established the Sherwood Sanatorium for terminally ill patients. As part of practice, she gave talks about preventative medicine and social hygiene to community groups and women's clubs. She was a vice president of the Vermont Medical Society in 1913.

Sherwood served as president of the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association (VESA) from 1915 to 1917. In 1917 and 1919, she served as head of the VESA's Legislative Committee. and as second vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She frequently made addresses at the annual conventions of the VESA and played a significant role in the passage of the municipal suffrage bill in Vermont in 1917.

Dr. Grace Sherwood died at 69 years of age on April 11, 1948.

Sources:

Vermont Equal Suffrage Association Papers, 1883-1927, MSC 144-146, Leahy Library, Vermont History Center, Barre, Vermont.

Ida Husted Harper, History of Woman Suffrage, 6:651-664.

Deborah Clifford, "The Drive for Women's Municipal Suffrage in Vermont, 1883-1917, Vermont History 47:3 (Summer 1979): 173-190.

Vermont Equal Suffrage Association Year Book 1915 (Burlington, Free Press Printing Co., 1915).

Proceedings of the Thirty-seventh Annual Convention of the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association, also Proceedings of the First Meeting of the Vermont League of Women Voters, Following the Dissolution of the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association, St. Albans, Vermont, July 1-2, 1920, typescript, Wilber Collection, University of Vermont.

Burlington weekly free press. (Burlington, Vt.), 02 Dec. 1909, p. 3. Chronicling America

The Bennington evening banner. (Bennington, Vt.), 21 June 1917, p. 5. Chronicling America

The Bennington evening banner. (Bennington, Vt.), 30 Jan. 1913, p. 1. Chronicling America

The Barre daily times. (Barre, Vt.), 13 March 1919, p. 2. Chronicling America

The Barre daily times. (Barre, Vt.), 05 June 1912, p. 8. Chronicling America

The Barre daily times. (Barre, Vt.), 18 Jan. 1915, p. 5. Chronicling America

The Manchester journal. (Manchester, Vt.), 21 June 1917, p. 7. Chronicling America

St. Johnsbury Caledonian. (St. Johnsbury, Vt.), 14 Oct. 1914, p. 9. Chronicling America

back to top