Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Reddig Cramer, 1847-1915

By Louise Jones, Director of Research Experience, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky

Mary Reddig was born on November 7, 1847 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania to Samuel R. Redding and Eliza West. She married Frederick A. Cramer on October 7, 1866 in Rock Island, Illinois, where he served as superintendent of the city's waterworks. The couple had three sons: Willard S. Cramer (1867-1933), Frederick R. Cramer (1870-1957) and Harry C. Cramer (1880-1946). The entire family relocated to Lexington, Kentucky in 1885, where Frederick Cramer formed the Lexington Brick Company.

Mary Cramer became an active force in the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and held a number of elected roles, beginning in 1889 when she served as a Woman's Christian Temperance Union member elected to the KERA convention. She served as second vice president between 1893 and 1912 and served as a delegate to the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1893, as well as attending many of the conventions between 1893 and 1912. She simultaneously served as an officer of the Fayette Equal Rights Association. In 1895, Josephine K. Henry quoted Cramer on her suffrage views in a piece she wrote for the national publication, Arena: "A disfranchised class is a servile and subjected class and the mothers of statesmen should be free."

Cramer assisted directly in many KERA sponsored projects, including efforts to pass school suffrage, to expand women's higher education opportunities, and to protect women's guardianship rights. In 1897 Cramer, as part of a committee headed by Laura Clay, petitioned Senator Goebel to introduce a school suffrage bill that cleared the Senate but was defeated in the House. In 1904, she was part of the delegation that requested the creation of a dean of women position at the state college and the establishment of a department of domestic science. That same year she attended a White House reception honoring Susan B Anthony. She was also involved in the Lexington Woman's Club of Central Kentucky.

Mary Cramer died after a long illness on January 6, 1915 and is buried in Lexington Cemetery.


Kentucky. Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates – Microfilm (1911-1964). Microfilm rolls #7016130-7041803. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky, accessed through 10 July 2017

Find A Grave. accessed 10 July 2017

"Obituary, Mrs. Fred A. Cramer," Moline Dispatch, January 8, 1915, 15

Rock Island County (Illinois). County Clerk; Illinois. County Court (Rock Island County), Marriage registers, 1833-1924, accessed through 10 July 2017

Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and Index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1957. State Archives Series 3094, 1957, Certificate #80953. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio; Kentucky Equal Rights Association. (1894). Minutes of the ... annual convention of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. S.l: s.n. accessed 27 July 2017

"COMMEND." Courier-Journal (Louisville), May 22, 1904, p. 1, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Louisville Courier Journal (1830-1922), accessed 7/27/2017

"The New Woman of the New South" Benjamin Orange Flower, ed. The Arena, Vol. XI, Boston, MA: Arena Publishing Co., 1895, accessed 7/27/2017;

back to top