Biographical Sketch of Mary Foulke Morrisson

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Foulke Morrisson, 1879-1971

By Mary Osborne, museum specialist, The Stewart House, Monmouth, Illinois

Organizer, National League of Women Voters; Director, Illinois chapter of League of Women Voters; Chairman, International Relations Committee, Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs; Trustee, Connecticut College; Director, Women's Division of the Groton Borough Defense Council

Mary Taylor Reeves Foulke Morrisson was born on November 14, 1879, in Richmond, Indiana, to Mary and William Dudley Foulke. A politician and civil service reformer, William Dudley Foulke also supported women's suffrage and served as president of the American Woman Suffrage Association from 1886-1890. In 1899, Mary graduated from Bryn Mawr, where she studied biology and chemistry. She married James William Morrisson on February 7, 1900, in Richmond, Indiana. After the Morrissons relocated to Chicago, Mary worked with Jane Addams at Hull House and with Carrie Chapman Catt on the campaign for woman suffrage. From June to Oct. 1914, she lived abroad in Europe, and after the woman suffrage bill became law, she devoted her time to educating women about their new rights. In volume 5 of The History of Woman Suffrage, she is noted to have participated in the NAWSA national convention in 1916.

Morrisson distinguished herself by "raising the status of women in local, state and national government." She traveled around the country giving talks about the National League of Women Voters, which she had helped establish. She also assisted in the organization of the Illinois branch of the League of Women Voters. In 1928, she was nominated to be a director for the Illinois league. A Republican, Morrisson supported Herbert Hoover and gave the seconding speech for his nomination during the 1920 Republican National Convention. She later campaigned for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

She did not limit her interests to national politics, however. Morrisson served on the American Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations and on the Committee on the Cause and Cure of War. As its official representative, she spoke at the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact in Paris in 1928. In the 1920s, she also chaired the international relations committee of the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs. During World War II, Mary directed the women's division of the Groton Borough Defense Council in Connecticut. She also maintained an interest in higher education. From 1938 until 1965, Morrisson fulfilled the duties of secretary on the Connecticut College Board of Trustees. The college recognized her years of hard work by naming a new dormitory for her in 1961. At the age of 92, Mary Morrisson died on March 10, 1971, in New London, Connecticut.

Sources:

"Ignorant of Press Bureau," Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1926, 2.

Hartford Courant: "Mrs. Morrisson to Speak for Ike in Debate Friday," March 27, 1952, 20; "Mrs. Morrisson Honored by Connecticut College," October 22, 1961, 2; "Mrs. Morrisson Marks Ninetieth Birthday," November 15, 1969, 9.

"League of Women Voters in Moline for State Meet," Moline Dispatch, November 13, 1928, 11.

"Mrs. Morrisson to Speak at Meeting," Richmond Item, November 15, 1922, 3.

Richmond Palladium: "Some Municipal League Gossip," June 22, 1910, 4; "Mrs. Morrisson Tells of Suffrage Campaign," April 23, 1912, 8; "Nation Needs Hoover, Says Mrs. Morrisson," October 25, 1932, 5; "Mrs. Mary Foulke Morrisson Subject of Newspaper Article," November 28, 1969, 6; "Word Received of Death of Mrs. Morrisson," March 12, 1971, 9.

"Illinois, Cook County, Birth Certificates, 1871-1940," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDZ-3RB7 : 18 May 2016), Mary Foulke Morrisson in entry for Reeves Morrisson, 25 Apr 1913; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, reference/certificate 40144, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm .

"Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27V5-QR2 : 17 October 2017), James William Morrison and Mary Taylor Reeves Foulke, ; citing Wayne, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,839,086.

"Washington, Seattle, Passenger Lists, 1890-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KDZC-32B : 4 December 2014), Mary Foulke Morrisson, 1931; citing Seattle, King, Washington, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1383, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; FHL microfilm 2,266,158.

"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDN-NRSX : 13 October 2015), Mary Foulke Morrisson, 1919; citing Passport Application, Illinois, United States, source certificate #56087, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 671, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,579,737.

"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV5Y-Z4CN : 4 September 2015), Mary Foulke Morrisson, 1923; citing Passport Application, Illinois, United States, source certificate #248310, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 2178, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,728,122.

"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV5Y-7FCK : 4 September 2015), Mary Foulke Morrison, 1924; citing Passport Application, , source certificate #405441, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 2496, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,750,109.

United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VMJZ-WPL : 20 May 2014), Mary Morrison, Mar 1971; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

"William Dudley Foulke." Morrisson-Reeves Library Richmond and Wayne County Biographies, accessible at http://www.mrlinfo.org/history/biography/foulkewd.htm

Chapter XVI: The National American Convention of 1916. In History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 5: 1900-1920 [LINK]

John W. Leonard, Woman's Who's Who of America, 1914-1915 [LINK to Morrisson sketch]

Wikipedia biographical sketch at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Foulke_Morrisson.

For a lengthy obituary, see The Day (New London, CT), March 9, 1971.

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