Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragist, 1890 – 1920

Biography of Mary Laurence Reed, 1878 - ?

By Lori Osborne, Director Evanston Women's History Project, Evanston History Centre and Julia Flynn, Researcher, Evanston History Centre, Evanston, Illinois.

National Suffrage Association; International Woman Suffrage Alliance; Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs; Englewood Woman's Club.

Mary Laurence Reed was born in 1878 in Ogle, Illinois to Jordan C Laurence and Margaret Alice Laughlin. She married Rufus Maynard Reed in 1901 and had three children, Margaret Reed (1904), Laurence Reed (1906) and Rufus Reed (1914).

Mary Reed was commonly referred to as Mrs. R. M. Reed and although research could not be found on her educational level or if she attended a tertiary institution, the 1940 Census did list her education level reached as 4th year high school.

Mrs. Reed was actively involved in women's equal rights issues and was particularly active in the Englewood Woman's Club.

She lived in Illinois for most of her life; however, shortly after her marriage, the Reeds are recorded in minutes from the Methodist Episcopal Church of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1901 and it appears the Reeds attended church in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania under Pastor Frank Watson Leidy.

Little research could be found to trace Mrs. Reed's evolution in the area of women's suffrage. It appears in 1917, she was recruited in her capacity of Legislative Chairman of the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs to see that two workers were appointed in every congressional district and that almost every woman's club in the state of Illinois had constitutional convention program content.

In 1919, it is reported that Mrs. Reed spoke at the First Annual Meeting of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce speaking of the Constitution from the perspective of women.

A champion of equal rights for all, Mrs Reed served as Guard of Honor at a funeral service in 1921 for Elizabeth Maloney who herself was a waitress union organizer and who had fought for stricter and fairer work conditions for waitresses, restaurant workers and bartenders.


Official Register and Directory of Women's Clubs in America, 1919

The Minutes of the Session of the Thirty Third Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1901 Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

The Mixer and Server, Volume 30

History of Woman Suffrage ,Volume Six, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan Brownell Anthony, Ida Husted Harper, Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds. [LINK]

Illinois Journal of Commerce, Volumes 1-2 for birth and marriage records.

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