Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary E. Quimby Philbrick, 1868-1943

By Ariana Smith and Morgan Sweeney, Undergraduates, Saint Anselm College

Mary Emma Quimby Philbrick was born in February of 1868 to John W. Quimby and Mary B. Quimby. Their family resided in Concord, New Hampshire where Mary grew up with two brothers, Edward and George. She lived in Concord until her marriage to Walter Jackson Philbrick in 1905. The couple moved to Epsom, New Hampshire where Walter owned and operated a farm. They never had any children.

Mary attended Wellesley College for a year, in 1892-1893, presumably to gain her teaching certificate, as she first appears in the records as a teacher in 1887. Mary started as a school teacher at the Merrimack School and taught within the Concord School District. At the end of the spring semester in 1887 she transferred to the Penacook school where she taught first and second grade for a number of years. Salary records show that Mary continued on her teaching career until 1892.

Mary first became an officer of the suffrage movement in 1901, when she was elected secretary for the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association. Mary was consecutively re-elected as secretary for the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association until 1908. Throughout her work with the movement, Mary fought for a state-by-state approach to gaining suffrage for women. She was quoted in 1903, in the Brief History of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association, stating, “Just before our convention of last year a resolution proposing to strike the word ‘male' from the state constitution in the clause qualifying voters, has been introduced in the Constitutional Convention.”

In 1902, Mary authored Opinions of New Hampshire Men and Women, which consisted of quotes from powerful New Hampshire men and women of the 20th century. It included quotes from various state senators, presidents of universities, and ministers. The document shows support for suffrage and the idea that women have proven themselves in business and public affairs. It discusses how the education of women leads to independent thoughts and actions. Senator J.H. Gallinger was quoted saying “If there is any valid reason why a women should not vote as well as a man, provided she wants to do so, I have never been able to discover it.” Mary spent years advocating and collecting signatures and support for the New Hampshire Women's Suffrage Association.

Mary took over the couple's land following Walter's passing in 1941. Living most of her life in Epsom, Mary was buried in McClary Cemetery following her death on February 27, 1943. She spent her life dedicated to helping children further their education and working in various women's movements in order to further the fight for equality.


Mary E. Quimby Philbrick's early history, including her date of birth, siblings, and parents' names can be found on under “Mary E. Q. Philbrick.” The censuses provided for the years 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 identified her husband and provided their location after marriage.

Records showing that Mary attended Wellesley College in 1892-1893 can be found on page 214 of The Wellesley College Record of 1875-1912 at Mention of Mary's teaching can be found on page 31 of the Annual Reports of the Schools in the City of Concord for the Year 1885-6 as printed by Frank J Batchelder in 1886, or at

Mary's role as the secretary of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association can be found on pages 8, 15, and 32 of The Brief History of the New Hampshire Woman Suffrage Association as published by Rumford Printing Company in 1907, or at Records of Mary being re-elected as secretary for the New Hampshire Women's Suffrage movement can be found in the State News of New York Publication Vol. VII, Issue 11. Records of Mary's re-election also appears on page 399 of The Woman's Journal Vol. XXXV, Issue 50 as published on December 10, 1904.

Parts of Quimby's Opinions of New Hampshire Men and Women can be seen on page 226 of the July 19, 1902 edition of The Woman's Journal.

The account of Mary's Epsom home is found on page 28 of Slab City aka Epsom Center, a publication of the Epsom Historical Association, or at

Record of Mary E. Q. Philbrick's death and grave is located at

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