Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary "Mae" Griffin Caine (Mrs. E.E.), 1872-1955
By Mona Reno, Nevada Women's History Project
President of the Suffrage Society in Elko County, Nevada, 1912. Vice-President of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society, 1913-1914. Delegate from Nevada to the 45th National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in Washington, DC, 1913.
Mary E. “Mae” Griffin was born on March 15, 1872, in Wells, Elko County, Nevada, to James J. Griffin and Maria Hanafin Griffin, both of Ireland. The family was in Nevada because James Griffin worked on the railroad. Mae Griffin attended the University of Nevada, and she taught in the years before marriage. At age 25, Griffin married Edwin E. Caine in Ogden, Utah, on August 30, 1898. They had three children, but only Paul lived to adulthood. Early in their marriage, Edwin Caine was a school principal, and by 1910, he was a lawyer, who later unsuccessfully ran for the US Congress. The couple's involvement in politics would remain a driving force in Mae Caine's life.
Mae Caine began her work for equal suffrage on May 17, 1912, when she was elected president of the Suffrage Society in Elko County. She soon held a statewide office as the vice-president of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society in both 1913 and 1914, representing Elko County. Caine was selected as a delegate from Nevada to attend the National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention in Washington, D.C., from November 29 to December 5, 1913. She resigned as the president of the Elko suffrage group in July 1914.
At the last meeting of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society in February 1915, the Nevada Women's Civic League was formed. Mae Caine was elected the vice-president of this organization, and she represented Elko. Caine was also involved in the Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs and attended their 1917 annual session, representing the Elko Twentieth Century Club. In 1949, she was given a life membership to that group for her over thirty-years membership.
Her husband, Edwin Caine, died in 1922. By 1930, Mae Caine's sister, Emma Wright, was living with her. In 1927, Mae Caine began her long career as Elko county clerk, serving from 1927 to 1950.
Mae E. Caine died at age 83, on August 24, 1955, after having a stroke. She is buried in the Burns Memorial Garden Catholic Cemetery in Elko, Nevada.
Daily Independent(Elko, NV). “Equal Suffrage Meeting.” May 17, 1912, p. 3. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020355/1912-05-17/ed-1/seq-3/.
Earl, Phillip E. “Bustles, Broadsides and Ballots: The Story of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Northeastern Nevada, 1869-1914.” Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 6-7, (Spring, Summer, Fall 1976): 1-77.
Field, Sara Bard. “Clash in Nevada: A History of Woman's Fight for Enfranchisement, the Nevada Suffrage Fight.” Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New. August 1914, pp. 51-66. HathiTrust.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Nevada.” Chapter XXVII in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 394-409. [LINK]
Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV). “Equal Suffrage News.” November 24, 1913, p. 3. Newspapers.com.
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV). “Miss Martin League Head.” February 25, 1913, p. 7. Newspapers.com.
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV). “Women's Club Elects Its Officers.” February 19, 1915, pp.1-2. Newspapers.com.
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV). “League Officers are Ex-Officio Delegates.” April 20, 1916, p. 2. Newspapers.com.
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV). “Life Memberships in Century Club Conferred in Elko.” November 28, 1949, p. 8. Newspapers.com.
Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, NV). “Mrs. E. Caine Dies at Elko.” August 24, 1955, p.16. Newspapers.com.
U.S. Census, 1880, s.v. “Mary E. Griffin, Carlin, NV.” HeritageQuest.
U.S. Census, 1900-1910, s.v. “Mary Caine, NV.” HeritageQuest.
U.S. Census, 1920-1930, s.v. “Mae E Caine, Elko, NV.” HeritageQuest.
U.S. Census, 1940, s.v. “May E. Kane, Elko, NV.” HeritageQuest.
Utah, Select Marriages, 1887-1966. Ancestry.com
Yerington Times. “Equal Franchise Progress: Successful and Harmonious Suffrage Convention.” March 14, 1914, p. 2. Newspapers.com.