Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mila Tupper Maynard, 1864-1926
By Nancy Oakley; condensed by Kay Sanders, both for the Nevada Women's History Project
Nevada suffrage leader spoke to the Nevada Assembly 1895; Unitarian Universalist minister
Born in Iowa as the Civil War was drawing to a close, Mila Tupper had a dream of becoming a minister even though at the time women were not admitted to professional seminaries. She was active in the Unitarian Church and was ordained as a Unitarian minister the same year she graduated from Cornell in 1889. She served as pastor of churches in Indiana and Michigan. While she was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan she met Resin Maynard, a church trustee, whom she was called upon to counsel. Ultimately they were married and served in a ministry together.
In 1892 they moved to Reno, Nevada where in 1893 they became co-pastors of the newly organized Reno Unitarian Church. They offered a series of lectures and Mila taught courses at the University of Nevada. They were social activists and spoke on topics that included "Rights of Women and Children," "Rights of Property," "Political Rights and Duties of the State," "State Supervision of Religion and Education," and "Treatment of Criminals."
Both ministers were leaders in the woman's suffrage movement. Mila played a critical role in a temporary 1895 victory in the struggle. She was invited to address the Nevada State Assembly. Resin wrote a passionate plea for the right of women to vote and predicted that allowing them to do so would bring about "a complete revolution in government, religion, and social life." It was published in the Reno Evening Gazette.
The couple left Reno in 1895 when they moved to Utah to serve as ministers for the First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City. By 1907 they had settled in Los Angeles. Mila devoted herself to teaching until her death in 1926.
Cynthia Grant Tucker, Prophetic Sisterhood: Liberal Women Ministers of the Frontier 1880-1930 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994).
Anne Bail Howard, The Long Campaign, a Biography of Anne Martin (University of Nevada Press, 1985), 26.
Nevada State Journal, February 25, 1895.
Nevada State Journal, October 15, 1893.
Nancy Oakley, "Mila Tupper Maynard." A Biography on the Nevada Women's History Project website. http://www.nevadawomen.org/research-center/biographies-alphabetical/mila-tupper-maynard/
Elmer and Mary Rusco, articles for Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada.