Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Elizabeth Ward, 1885-1957

By Jasmine Melak, undergraduate student, University of Maryland, College Park

Mary Elizabeth Ward was born in Maryland around 1885 to Washington and Sophia Funck Ward. By the 1900 census, she was likely an orphan and living with her uncle, J. William Funck and his wife, Emma Maddox Funck, the president of the Maryland Woman Suffrage Association. Mary Ward never married, and she worked a stenographer, often involved in social reform initiatives. For much of the early twentieth century, Ward spent summers with the Maddox family, specifically Emma Maddox Funck and her mother, Susanna Maddox, in their bungalow in Ocean City.

Mary E. Ward was an active member of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). She was a stenographer for the YWCA for ten years during the early twentieth century. At the same time, Ward was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She also used her stenography skills voluntarily with the Maryland Suffrage Association between 1906 and 1916. In 1906 she was on a local committee at the annual state convention, where she managed the sales tables. Sales tables offered suffrage stamps, leaflets, and photographs as well as subscriptions to such publications as Progress and the Woman's Journal. Ward was also a part of the Woman Suffrage Club of Baltimore. This organization promoted woman suffrage during elections. Members handed out suffrage literature at the polls and decorated wagons and cars and drove them through busy Baltimore streets.

In addition to social reform groups, Mary E. Ward led a varied life. Although she lived with well-to-do relatives, she earned her own living throughout her adulthood. According to local newspapers, Ward bought and sold items at auctions of antiques, modern household furniture and effects, gold and diamond jewelry, sterling silver, china, and ornaments. In 1920, Ward worked as a secretary for the Bold County School. In 1930, she did the same for the Baltimore School Board, where she still worked in 1940. By 1940, she was the head of household, her uncle J. William Funck having died. Her aging aunt, Emma Maddox Funck, was then living in Ward's household.

Mary E. Ward's work in the Baltimore schools prompted her membership in the Baltimore County Educational Secretaries Association, now named the Maryland State Educational Secretaries Association. The association included school secretaries, clerks, and bookkeepers. The organization was meant to foster personal and professional development with workshops and conventions.

Mary Elizabeth Ward died on July 9, 1957, in Towson, Maryland. She was buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore with her aunt and uncle.


Auction Sale. By E.T. Newell and Co. Baltimore Sun. October 29, 1957, p.35. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Deaths. Ward, Mary Elizabeth. Baltimore Sun. July 11, 1957, p.22. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Find a Grave. “Mary Elizabeth Ward.” October 23, 2018. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Maryland,” chapter XIX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, pp. 258-76. [LINK]

Maryland Association of Educational Professionals. “Founding of MAEOP.” Accessed March 8, 2019.

National American Women's Suffrage Association. “Forty-Third Annual Report of the National American Women's Suffrage Association Given at the Convention Held at Louisville, KY, October 19-25, 1911.” New York: Headquarters of NAWSA, 1911. HathiTrust.

Personals. Baltimore Sun. July 23, 1911, Part 3, p.1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

“Pioneer Feminist of Maryland Dies.” Baltimore Sun. March 22, 1940, p.28. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Society News. Baltimore Sun. August 4, 1904, p.6. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

Society News. Baltimore Sun. September 2, 1904, p.6. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

“Third Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, February 7 to 13, 1906, Baltimore, MD.” Pamphlet. Baltimore, 1906. Special Collections Department, Woman Suffrage in Maryland Collection, Folder 3, Box 1. Maryland State Library Resource Center, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD. Digital Maryland.

United States Census 1900, s.v. “Mary E. Funck, Baltimore, MD.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, s.v. “Mary Elizabeth Ward, Baltimore, MD.” HeritageQuest. *Note: Census records vary widely on Ward's birth year, from 1885 to 1899, but she was also listed with her aunt, Emma Maddox Funck (spelling varies).

“W.C.T.U. Entertainment.” Baltimore Sun. May 8, 1909, p.9. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

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