Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Young Taylor, 1865-?
By Sharon Thomas, independent historian
Mary Young was born in Baltimore, October 31, 1865 to Joshua L. and Lizzie R. Young. She married Henry Taylor sometime before 1910 and died after 1940.
In today's Baltimore, 608 North Arlington Avenue sits boarded up, another unoccupied historic row home with a storied past and an uncertain future (https://www.google.com/maps/place/608+N+Arlington+Ave,+Baltimore,+MD+21217). Its dormant status lies in stark contrast to its Harlem Park neighborhood's history of youth, modernity, and activism during the early 1900s (“Harlem Park,” https://baltimoreheritage.org/). In the first decade of that century, the home's occupant was Mary Young, a single woman active in Baltimore's suffragist circles (http://collections.digitalmaryland.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/scws/id/31/rec/1). By 1910, she was married and took part in one of the great internal controversies in Maryland suffrage history.
The Baltimore Sun chronicles much of Mary Young (Taylor)'s activism. She attended the Baltimore Woman Suffrage Association's (BWSA) celebration for the first woman lawyer in Baltimore (“Medal for Miss Maddox,” Baltimore Sun, June 11, 1901). She was the music chairperson for the Maryland delegation at the National Woman Suffrage Association's 1906 convention (the final convention for Susan B. Anthony, who died a month later) (“Women Practice Voting,” Baltimore Sun, February 13, 1906). Mary Young (Taylor) also served as the chair of the standing committee of the BWSA (“Maryland,” History of Woman Suffrage 1900-1920, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29878/29878-h/29878-h.htm). In all of these activities, working with Mary Young (Taylor) was Emma Maddox Funck.
Emma Maddox Funck (whose sister, Etta Maddox, was the first woman lawyer in Maryland mentioned above) was one of the most influential suffragists in Maryland with powerful national connections as well (“Guide to the Woman Suffrage in Maryland Collection,” www.prattlibrary.org, p. 4). As a leader of the BWSA, Funck was aligned with Edith Houghton Hooker of the Just Government League, and both organizations were tightly aligned with Susan B. Anthony and Anna Howard Shaw at the National Woman Suffrage Association. In every mention of Mary Young (Taylor) in the Baltimore Sun, Emma Funck is likewise mentioned. Young (Taylor)'s activism is entirely aligned with Funck's, and that relationship would be important in the internal politics of the Baltimore suffrage movement.
A third Baltimore suffrage organization, the Equal Suffrage League (ESL), although viewed as more “radical” than the BWSA, was for many years allied with the BWSA. That alliance was tested in 1910 during a meeting to determine the election of officers for the BWSA (Baltimore Sun, October 29, 1910). Fearful that ESL members would overtake BWSA members as officers, Funck and Young (Taylor) worked to use procedural guidelines to shut down ESL members from election. When ESL members protested these actions, Funck (with Taylor's assistance) moved to eject all members of the ESL from the meeting. The resulting schism cost the BWSA around 600 members and engendered longstanding hostilities among the two groups (Baltimore Sun, November 29, 1910).
After 1910, Young (Taylor)'s activism is not apparent on the pages of the Sun, nor is her death. Perhaps motherhood or other concerns took precedence in her life by then, or perhaps her activism was less public in nature. Regardless, her early activism during her single and early married life show the modern attitude of the Harlem Park residents of that time and the her own individual will to bring about change for herself and other women.
1. https://www.google.com/maps/place/608+N+Arlington+Ave,+Baltimore,+MD+21217 (retrieved May 21, 2018)
2. "Harlem Park,” https://baltimoreheritage.org/
3. http://collections.digitalmaryland.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/scws/id/31/rec/1(retrieved (retrieved May 21, 2018)
4. “Medal for Miss Maddox,” Baltimore Sun, June 11, 1901
5. “Women Practice Voting,” Baltimore Sun, February 13, 1906
6. “Maryland,” History of Woman Suffrage 1900-1920 [LINK]
7. “Guide to the Woman Suffrage in Maryland Collection,” https://www.prattlibrary.org/, p. 4 (retrieved May 21, 2018)
8. “And Now Dr. Welch,” Baltimore Sun, October 29, 1910
9. “Ellicott Cohorts Out,” Baltimore Sun, November 29, 1910