Biographical Sketch of Mazie Stevens

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mazie Stevens, 1859-1933

By Sara Carlson, Undergraduate University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Beth Twomey, Librarian, North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D.

Women's Christian Temperance Union member, Suffragist, Anti-Tuberculosis Campaign supporter

On June 12, 1859, Mazie C. Rank was born in Chatfield, Minnesota. On January 10, 1883, she married Jerry Elbert Stevens, an aspiring North Dakota state senator originally from Illinois. They went on to have two daughters, Joy and Maud. The couple moved to the Grand Forks, North Dakota, area, where they would spend their summers in Northwood and their winters in Grand Forks. As a Republican senator, Jerry was often travelling across North Dakota, campaigning and attending political meetings. Mazie began her own career of campaigning by joining the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and fighting for an end to tuberculosis through employment with the North Dakota Tuberculosis Association.

Stevens's legacy was her prominent association with the anti-tuberculosis campaign. She spoke of the need to educate Americans on the prevention of tuberculosis and argued that its spread could be prevented through sobriety. She developed a tuberculosis exhibit, which she presented across North Dakota, to educate about the disease and promote prohibition. Stevens fought hard for the opening of a tuberculosis hospital in North Dakota. She gave speeches promoting the hospital and in 1911 told the Bismarck Tribune, "If we could remove the liquor traffic the great cause of tuberculosis could be gone. Drink means poverty, poverty means poor sanitation, poor sanitation means disease." Due to her tireless efforts, the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium opened in November 1912. After the hospital opened, Stevens continued her work advocating against tuberculosis and attending conventions to promote the hospital. In 1913, Stevens made an address, as the president of the Grand Forks W.C.T.U., before the Pythian Sisters (a fraternal order founded on October 23, 1883) at their anti-tuberculosis convention. Stevens reported that the hospital was currently treating twenty-eight patients and that two patients had gone home cured.

Stevens belonged to the Equal Suffrage Association of North Dakota and was elected treasurer of the group in 1901 while attending the Annual Convention in Devils Lake, N.D.

Mazie passed away on April 26, 1933, at the age of 74.

SOURCES:

Hennessy, W.B. (compiler). 1910. "Hon. Jerry Elbert Stevens". History of North Dakota: Embracing a Relation of the History of the State from the Earliest Times Down to the Present Day, Including the Builders of the Commonwealth. pg. 285

1930 United States Federal Census, accessed March 4, 2018;

"W.C.T.U. Held best Meeting in its History." Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) p. 4, September 27, 1911;

Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, North Dakota), July 16, 1913, p. 5.

"Interesting Session" Jamestown Weekly Alert, February 29, 1912

"North Dakota," in History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920. Ida Husted Harper, ed., 1922

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"North Dakota," in Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Alice Stone Blackwell, ed., 1901.

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