Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Lucy Barrow McIntire, 1886–1967

By Anne Mellen, independent historian

Lucy Barrow McIntire or "Miss Lucy," as she was fondly called, was born in 1886 to a prominent Athens, Georgia family, the Davenports. She married an attorney from Savannah, Georgia, a town she adopted as her own, and bore six children. However, family responsibilities did not limit her, and as one person noted, she liked having her "finger in the pie," every pie it seems.

"Miss Lucy" was the president of the Savannah Suffrage Association, and after the vote for women was won, she helped found Savannah's chapter of the League of Women Voters. However, this was not nearly the end of her involvement in her town. The Georgia Women of Achievement, a group she was posthumously inducted into in 1997 as its sixth inductee, noted that "her youthful zeal to find pragmatic solutions for the myriad problems facing [Savannah] and [Georgia] did not cease with age." She had more than a half of century of accomplishments before she passed away in 1967 (one web site stated 1975, but most stated 1967).

McIntire had her finger in everything it seems. She was a poet, helped found the Georgia Poetry Society in 1923, and won many prizes for her poetry. A sample below encompasses all she was about:

Three Islands

"Savannah wears about her wrist
A bracelet of seas
With little jewelled islands set
At intervals in these.
One is alive and colourful
With laughter in her name,
And one, a wistful monotone
For tragedy to claim.
The third is carved in mystery
A jewel hot and strange
Whose many sided facets flash
An iridescent change."

McIntire showed many facets of herself in her life. She founded Historic Savannah after, as she put it, "having noticed the gradual blotting out of the distinctive character and fine architecture of old Savannah by a universal lack of zoning," including the tearing down of the old market, "one of the handsomest and most traditional city buildings," in order to make "leading [Savannah] citizens aware of the rare heritage they possess". The organization was able to halt some further destruction of historic buildings and to preserve original structures. Savannah would not be the historic destination it is today without her work.

However, improving social welfare was her highest calling. She established a free lunch program in the Chatham County schools, founded the Savannah Nursery School, the Women's Relief committee, the Juvenile Protection Association, the Savannah Health Center, and the Chatham Nursing Home, along with being on the boards of numerous other social welfare agencies. Furthermore, she won numerous awards such as Woman of the Year in 1955 and the Oglethorpe Trophy, Savannah's highest civic award, in 1958, and was the first woman named to the Metropolitan Planning Commission in Savannah.

She was also involved in politics and government. She was a Field Supervisor for the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and founded the U.S.O – Soldiers Social Service of Savannah and became Service Director of the American Red Cross, both during WWII. Finally, she served as the first Georgia committeewoman on the Democratic National Committee.

Working for women's suffrage was just McIntire's jumping off point for many further accomplishments in the wide world of furthering social and political justice.


McIntire, Lucy Barrow. Three Islands. Poetry Society of Georgia, 1923.

"Lucy Barrow McIntire" (accessed November 19, 2017)

"Lucy Barrow McIntire" (accessed November 19, 2017)

"On the 50 the Anniversary of HSF: From ‘Miss Lucy'" (accessed November 19, 2017)

"Poetry Society Returns to the Telfair" (accessed November 17, 2017)

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