Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Badders Holton, 1877-?
By Marsha Nathanson, independent historian
Born about 1877 in Baltimore, Maryland, Mary Badders Holton lived with her husband, Charles H. Holton, superintendent of the Baltimore Post Office, at 2912 Walbrook Avenue, Baltimore City. Her date of death is unknown.
Mary Badders Holton was an ardent supporter of woman suffrage, beginning as early as age sixteen. She was a delegate to the Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association held in Washington, DC, 1893; Portland, Oregon, 1905; Baltimore, Maryland, 1906; Buffalo, New York, 1908; and Louisville, Kentucky, 1911.
The 1906 convention was held at Baltimore's Lyric Theater. The evening audiences numbered 1,500 to 3,000 attendees (out of 20,000 invitations). The Charles M. Stieff Piano Company provided music, and various clergymen attended the opening devotional services. Mary Badders Holton served on the Hospitality committee and as a press representative.
Susan B. Anthony attended the 1906 convention. It was her last. She died the following month. Mary Badders Holton was among the participants at a memorial service in Baltimore.
Mary Badders Holton was an active member of the Maryland Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) and served as a state officer for more than ten years. She participated in monthly meetings, recorded meeting minutes, and worked with Emma Maddox Funck, MWSA president, to locate and secure venues for the organization's many events.
The MWSA held its 1909 annual convention on November 22-23, Baltimore Business College, Charles and Saratoga Streets. At that time, Mary Badders Holton was MWSA treasurer and chairman of the Organization committee. The convention included discussions on: Shall a Woman Belong to Two Clubs, How Shall We Push the Petition Work, and The Susan B. Anthony Fund.
The MWSA participated in Annapolis legislative hearings concerning causes such as suffrage, equal pay for equal service, appointment of women on boards of education, and abolition of capital punishment and child labor. Mary Badders Holton was among the speakers at a hearing on February 24, 1910.
Ida Husted Harper, ed., History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 6, 1900-1920. (1922) [LINK to MD state report]
Annual Conventions of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Accessed via books.google.com.
Maryland Woman Suffrage Association meeting minutes, MWSA 1909 annual convention program. Special Collections Department, Woman Suffrage in Maryland Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md. Accessed via digitalmaryland.org.
1910 U.S. Census Record for Charles H. Holton, head of household; Mary B. Holton, wife. Maryland. Accessed via FamilySearch.org.