Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Lucretia Horner McBride, 1868-1960
By Heather C. Plaisance, Head of Reference and Research Services: Edith Garland Dupré Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA
Lucretia Horner McBride was born Lucretia Mary Ball on January 17, 1868, to Frederick B. and Harriet S. Ball in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. McBride was one of four children. In 1888, she married her first husband William Grace Horner of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their daughter Stella was born in 1889, followed by son Frederick in 1891. After battling illness for several years, Horner died in 1904. In 1908, she married a second time to sugar planter James Monroe McBride in Asheville, North Carolina. The couple had no children. She later moved to Houma, Louisiana, where she died at the age of 92 on November 27, 1960.
As a young girl, McBride had a passion for learning. Following the death of her parents, she was sent to New Orleans to attend school and entered the Franklin School in the fall of 1881. After elementary school, she attended the Girls High School. Dreaming of becoming a teacher, she studied subjects including physiology, metaphysics, and philosophy. In 1887, McBride graduated from high school fourth in her class. She also had an interest in writing and spent much of her time on her first husband's plantation writing stories about plantation life. Many of these writings were published in the New Orleans Picayune and the Baltimore Sun.
In 1895, while married to Horner, the family moved to New Orleans. There she was active in efforts to improve the conditions of the city's women and children. She served as president of the High School Alumnae, an organization interested in the progress and development of New Orleans public high schools. In 1908, she was secretary of the Milne Asylum for Destitute Orphan Girls and served on the Board of Directors for the Women's Building Association, which sought to create a headquarters for all women's clubs in New Orleans. She also served as president of the Local Council of the Women of New Orleans and represented the organization at the 1901 Southern Industrial Convention in Philadelphia. There she had the honor of being the only woman speaker at the convention and her address on “Woman's Work for the Industrial South” was well received.
Always a champion for the betterment of women, McBride was active in the suffrage movement in Louisiana. In 1907, she was one of five to write a letter to then-gubernatorial candidate J. Y. Sanders addressing his views on granting women the right to vote. She served as treasurer of the Louisiana State Woman's Suffrage Association from 1904 to 1913, and again in 1920.
McBride also held an interest in other civic issues. In 1905, she worked with the Citizens Volunteer Committee in New Orleans to help combat the spread of yellow fever in the city. She was the secretary to the Board of Managers of the Home for Incurables in New Orleans for a number of years. In 1905, she was one of three women elected to serve on the Audubon Park Board, the first time ever women were appointed to a public board in New Orleans.
Her true passion was her work through the Episcopal Church. She taught classes to young women and traveled across the state to speak at different churches. From 1922 to 1926, she served as president of the Woman's Auxiliary in the Diocese of Louisiana. She held other positions within the auxiliary including educational secretary in 1929 and historiographer from 1939 to 1960. For her work on the General Convention held in New Orleans in 1925, McBride received an amethyst cross and later donated it to the Woman's Auxiliary to be worn by each diocesan president. The cross was named the “Lucretia Horner McBride Cross.”
A collection of McBride's papers while in office for the Woman's Auxiliary in the Diocese of Louisiana is available in Special Collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Education to the General Assembly, 1886-1887. Baton Rouge, LA: State of Louisiana, 1888, p. 260. https://books.google.com/books?id=uK1EAQAAMAAJ&dq=lucretia%20m.%20ball&pg=PA260#v=onepage&q=lucretia%20m.%20ball&f=false
Coates, Ollie M. “Mrs. James McBride (Lucretia Horner McBride),” n.d. Box 11, Folder 3, Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Records, 1805-1998, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University.
“Blue and the Gray.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 13, 1901, p. 16. Newspapers.com (Website).
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920). National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]
“High School Alumnae.” The Daily Picayune, November 12, 1898, p. 7. Newspapers.com (Website)
“Home for Incurables.” The Times-Democrat, March 11, 1905, p. 4. Newspapers.com (Website).
“Mrs. Lucretia Horner McBride,” n.d. Box 11, Folder 3, Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Records, 1805-1998, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University.
“Sanders Answered: Pointed Letter of Era Club of New Orleans,” The Caucasian, August 27, 1907, p. 1. Newspapers.com (website).
“Women Commissioners: Three are Elected to Audubon Park Board.” The Times-Democrat, February 13, 1905, p. 5. Newspapers.com (website).