Biographical Sketch of Lydia Agnes Zimmerman Reckord

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Lydia Agnes Zimmerman Reckord (1856-1945)

By Maura Page, Hood College

Woman Suffrage Activist

Lydia Agnes Zimmerman was born on August 18, 1856, to George G. Zimmerman, first captain of Baltimore's Metropolitan Police, and Mary Jane Athhison [sic] Zimmerman of Ireland. Lydia married John Henry Reckord in 1877 in Union Chapel, Maryland. She and John had 10 children, but only eight survived.

By the standards of the time, she was an ordinary housewife and society matron; to her family, however, she was a "tiny lady with great fortitude." The 1900 Census listed Lydia as a homemaker. However, the 1910 Census records showed Lydia as the head of household following the death of her husband John on February 26, 1908; matching that family history was the fact that she assisted with running the Reckord Mill after John's death. All indications reflect that Lydia was a devoted and loving mother and grandmother, who cared for her children's bodies, minds, and souls. This is evident in the World War I correspondence between Lydia and her sons, Milton (Atch) and Leland, during their service in France.

Lydia actively participated in socially-minded groups within her Bel Air community. The Baltimore Sun reported on October 19, 1902, that Mrs. John H. Reckord was elected as one of the Maryland delegates to the January 1903 National Convention of The Woman's Christian Temperance Union held in Portland, Maine.

Within a few years, Lydia's involvement in social movements expanded to woman suffrage. The 1904–1910 record of the meeting minutes for the Baltimore Woman Suffrage Association of Maryland recorded that Lydia was the President of the Bel Air Club of the association from 1905 through 1907. Unfortunately, John's death in the winter of 1908 seems to have changed her activities within the movement. Judging by association records kept until 1910, Lydia's active participation appears to have stopped after 1907. However, in History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI, 1900–1920, Lydia's name was listed as one of Harford County's delegates to the suffrage conventions. It is unclear for which annual convention(s) Lydia was a delegate. Therefore, she may have chosen to be a delegate to remain active after John's death. Interestingly, the organization minutes list her as Mrs. John H. Reckord and Mrs. John Reckord. In contrast, the History, Volume VI, lists her as Lydia Reckord. Focusing on suffrage history for the period from 1900 to 1920, when Lydia participated in the movement, reflected a solid dedication by all the Maryland suffragists to the cause.

Lydia died in the home of her daughter, Mrs. G. C. Fitzgerald, in Lynchburg, Virginia, on V-E Day, May 8, 1945. She was buried in the family plot at Mountain Christian Church Cemetery in Bel Air, Maryland.

SOURCES: and, United States Federal Censuses from 1880, 1900, and 1910, Lydia Agnes Zimmerman and Lydia A. Reckord, respectively.

Baltimore Woman Suffrage Association of Maryland meeting minutes, second book, 1904-1910, listing Lydia as both Mrs. John H. Reckord and Mrs. John Reckord, pages 26 and 28, respectively.

Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Certificate of Death, Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. State File No. 9473. Registered No. 229, dated May 9, 1945.

Harper, Ida Husted. History of Woman Suffrage, Volume 6, 1900-1920. New York, 1969, p. 252. [LINK]

Milton Reckord papers, Special Collection, Maryland Room, Hornbake Library, University of Maryland, College Park. Series 1, Box 2: Personal Correspondence–Leland Reckord to Lydia Reckord, 1918-1919; Personal Correspondence–Lydia Reckord to Milton Reckord, 1918, 1935, 1943-1944; Personal Correspondence–Milton Reckord to Lydia Reckord, 1918-1919, 1924, 1944-1945.

Telephone and email exchange with Elizabeth Reckord J. Herrmann, great-granddaughter of Lydia Reckord, granddaughter of Milton A. Record.

The Aegis, Bel Air, Maryland, obituary for Mrs. Lydia A. Reckord, May 11, 1945.

The Baltimore Sun, October 19, 1902, p. 7.

The New York Times, obituary for Mrs. Lydia A. Reckord, May 9, 1945.

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