Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Jackson Norcross, 1875-1938

By Michelle Furlano, independent historian

Mary Jackson Norcross was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on March 5, 1875, to George and Louisa Jackson Norcross. She was the third of four daughters born to her parents. Her father was a pastor in the Second Presbyterian Church, and Mary was an active worker in the church for the entirety of her life.

Mary studied history and political science at Bryn Mawr College. She graduated in 1900 and served as an assistant bursar at the College from 1901-03. She never married, although she had at least one long-term relationship, with Mary Moore, mother of the poet Marianne Moore, from 1901-10.

Mary became interested in feminism and the achievement of equal rights for women during her time at Bryn Mawr. She became directly involved in the suffrage movement sometime between 1903-14, as she is noted as a chairman of the Carlisle division of the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association in 1914. Her leadership in the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association continued through 1915. On October 1 she led the delegation of vehicles escorting the Liberty Bell into Carlisle. Mary passed away on February 14, 1938.


Cress, Joseph. "Cumberland County women were active in suffrage movement" The Sentinel , Mar. 11, 2016.

Leavell, Linda. Holding on Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).

Leavell, Linda. "Marianne Moore, the James Family, and the Politics of Celibacy," in Twentieth Century Literature, Summer, 2003.

Mary J. Norcross. Gravestone. Find a Grave Memorial.

Program: Forty-Sixth Annual Convention: Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association. November, 1914, at the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Also accesssed online at

Harper, Ida H., et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920 Vol 6. (1922) [LINK]

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