Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Margaret Elizabeth Kent Medler, 1873-1942
By Mercedes Metzgar, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Margaret (Marguerite) Elizabeth Kent was born on October 14, 1873, to Frederick H. and Christina (McKenzie) Kent in Junction City, Kansas. In 1880, the Kent family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Margaret Kent later attended Kentwood College in Illinois. She worked as a clerk in her father's real estate business, the F.H. Agency, before marrying Edward L. Medler in 1901. However, the couple divorced shortly thereafter in 1906. Medler never remarried and did not have children. After Frederick Kent died in 1918, she managed and ran her father's company until her death in 1942.
Margaret Medler was involved with women's organizations in New Mexico. According to the History of Woman Suffrage, she supported the state's efforts for woman suffrage. Most of this work was likely due to her role with the woman's club. In 1918, she was elected as president of the Albuquerque Woman's Club for the sixth time, leading the club's efforts on war work, child welfare, and social hygiene. In 1920, Medler attended an event put on by Albuquerque women to celebrate the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Medler was active in the state Republican Party. In 1928, she served as the state's vice chair, and she headed the woman's division. Four years later, she was selected as the state's national committee chair. In 1930, she served as the financial chair for the State Federation of Women's Clubs.
Besides suffrage, club, and political party work, Margaret Medler kept busy in her local community. Medler was a tennis player and an avid patron of the theater. In 1900, she traveled to Denver to compete in a tennis match. She helped with numerous theater productions, including two at the Grant Opera House. Medler kept an extensive scrapbook of meaningful events from 1884 to 1918. The scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, playbills, and event programs that shed light on her social connections. She hosted and attended many social gatherings. Medler served as the vice president of the Albuquerque Humane Society and received praise from the president of the American Humane Association for her efforts in helping stop animal cruelty in 1908. In 1930, Medler served on the board of a child care center in Albuquerque. She provided significant financial support and requested that the center be renamed “Christina Kent Day Nursey,” in honor of her mother. The Christina Kent Early Childhood Center still operates in Albuquerque today.
Medler died on April 16, 1942, at her home in Albuquerque. Her death announcement ran on the front page of the Albuquerque Journal the following day. She was buried with her parents at Fairview Cemetery in Albuquerque.
Caption: Margaret Kent Medler.
Credit: Margaret Kent Medler. Part of the Margaret Kent Medler Pictorial Collection PICT 000-225. Margaret Kent Medler Scrapbook and Almanacs, Center for Southwest Research, General Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Accessed December 19, 2018. http://econtent.unm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/Manuscripts/id/1237.
“City Realtors' Board Install New Officers.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). January 20, 1973, p.A8. Newspapers.com.
“Federation of Women's Clubs Open Convention in the City Monday.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). October 19, 1930, pp.8, 11. Newspapers.com.
Find a Grave. Frederick Herbert Kent. Accessed December 19, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18661924/frederick-herbert-kent.
Find a Grave. Margaret Elizabeth Medler. Accessed December 19, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18661907/margaret-elizabeth-kent.
“G.O.P. Selection April 14th for State Meet to Name Delegates.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). February 11, 1928, Morning ed., p.1. Newspapers.com.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “New Mexico.” Chapter XXX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 434-439. [LINK]
“The History of Christina Kent Early Childhood Center.” Christina Kent Early Childhood Center. Accessed December 19, 2018. http://christinakent.org/who-we-are.aspx.
Margaret Kent Medler Scrapbook and Almanacs. Center for Southwest Research, General Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Margaret Medler Dies Suddenly Here.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). April 17, 1942, pp.1-2. Newspapers.com.
“Pretty Marriage.” Albuquerque Citizen(Albuquerque, N. Mex.). February 21, 1901, p.1. Newspapers.com.
“Republican Convention Practically Unanimous; No Hoover Instruction.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). March 27, 1932, p.1. Newspapers.com.
“Suffrage at Last Thrills Feminine Members of Albuquerque Society.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). August 29, 1920, Society section, p.2. Newspapers.com.
United States Census 1900, s.v. “Margaret Kent, Albuquerque, NM.” HeritageQuest.
United States Census 1910, 1930, 1940, s.v. “Margaret Medler, Albuquerque, NM.” HeritageQuest.
“Woman's Club of Albuquerque Has Record of Construction Work; Mrs. Margaret Medler is President for Sixth Time.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). March 3, 1918. Sec. 2, p.2. Newspapers.com.