Biographical Sketch of Mary Lucretia Dudley Spargo

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Lucretia Dudley Spargo, 1846-1929

By Wendy Lucas, Professor, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas.

President of the Arkansas State Woman Suffrage Association, League of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Mary Lucretia Dudley was born October 28, 1846 in St. Louis, Missouri to William Dudley and Martha Nicol. She married James Spargo, a river engineer, around 1879. They had two children, Hope (1881-1952) and Stephen (1883-1946). The family moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1896. She died in Hot Springs April 8, 1929.

In April 1912, a group of women met at the courthouse in Hot Springs to push for suffrage. They called themselves the Frances Willard Equal Suffrage Association and Spargo was elected its president, with daughter Hope as secretary. The notice in the Hot Springs New Era about the group said the women had claimed it was “the first organization of the kind in Arkansas” who wished to “promote the political equality of woman, through the ballot.” That July, the same paper reported that the group was now calling themselves the Political Equality League of Hot Springs, and that during the next legislative session, women from the organization intended to join together to ask for suffrage. By 1914, Spargo was still president as the group discussed plans for “effective work during the Arkansas State Fair,” but due to her illness, another woman (Frances Ella Wright) was acting as president. Spargo was listed as the president of the league from Hot Springs, Arkansas to the State Woman Suffrage Association, which met for the first time in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1915. Although she is not listed as a state officer, she likely heard Carrie Chapman Catt when she came to speak in Little Rock in April of 1916.

Possibly because of her poor health, little is known about Spargo's activism between 1916 and her death on April 8, 1929.

Sources:#x200e accessed 03 May 2018. (includes image of grave marker) accessed 03 May 2018.

“Suffragettes Have Organized in Hot Springs,” Hot Springs New Era, 9 April 1912, page 1. ( accessed 03 May 2018.

“Will Ask for Right to Vote in State,” Hot Springs New Era, 18 April 1912, page 1. ( accessed 03 May 2018.

“Suffrage Club Held Meeting Yesterday,” Hot Springs New Era, 03 October 1914, page 7. ( accessed 03 May 2018.

The History of Woman Suffrage, Ida Husted Harper, ed. (New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922), 6: 18. [LINK]

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