Biographical Sketch of Mary Hillard Loines

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Hillard Loines, 1844-1944

By Ava Blumberg, undergraduate student, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Mary Hillard Loines was born in London, England on May 4, 1844 to American-born parents, John Hillard and Harriet Low Hillard. Her father, John Hillard, was born in Virginia and her mother, Harriet Low Hillard, was born in Salem, Massachusetts. They emigrated to England for business reasons shortly after their marriage. In 1848, the family returned to America, taking up residence in Brooklyn, New York where Mary continued to live for most of her life. In October 1892 she married New York City native Stephen Loines, who worked as an insurance broker as part of the marine insurance firm of Johnson and Higgins. Together, they had four children: Russell H. Loines (b. 1874), Hilda Loines (b.1878), Elma Loines (b.1882) and Sylvia Loines (b.1885).

Mary spent fifty years battling for women's rights. In 1869 she was elected a secretary of the Brooklyn Equal Rights Association and selected in May of that year as a Brooklyn delegate to the first convention for the American Suffrage Association. From then on Mary became instrumental to the suffragist movement, particularly in New York State. Elected as chairman of the Legislative Committee in the New York State Woman Suffrage Association in 1898, Mary helped lobby the legislature from 1902-1905 to allow all tax-paying women in cities with a population of less than 50,000 to vote on all special taxation questions, a campaign that did not succeed. In 1899 Mary was accompanied by the then Governor of New York State Theodore Roosevelt to one of the many suffrage conventions which she attended over the course of her lifetime. She was also able to meet privately with Roosevelt, along with a small group of New York activists, to consult about enfranchising women in New York.

Mary led the Brooklyn Woman's Suffrage Association between the years 1899 and 1919 and was heavily involved in the logistics of the League of Women Voters after women's enfranchisement. Outside of her activism for women's rights, Mary worked as a secretary at George Putnam's publishing company for five years before her marriage. She also, for a brief period following the Civil War, spent time in the South helping to educate recently emancipated slaves, then became an avid advocate for the Tuskegee Institute and the Hampton Institute. Mary was an activist for human rights, helping to organize and establish the Consumers League of New York, and joining the effort to reform the incarceration system. Prior to America's involvement in World War I, Mary signed a letter to the president imploring him to urge for peace in Europe. Mary died in 1944 at the age of 99 while living in a nursing home in Florida.

1. Mary Hillard Loines and her husband, Stephen Loines, Source: Anthony F. Hall, Adirondack Almanack



2. Mrs. Stephen Loines, Source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York), 26 August, 1940


Harper, Ida Husted, ed. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

Loines, Mary H. to Chapman, Mariana W, 14 January 1902. In Miller, NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911, Library of Congress.

Loines, Mary Hilliard. “1920-1940: Two Decades of Franchise Equality.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York), 26 August, 1940.

U.S. Passport Applications for Mary Hillard Loines (1795-1925) website

United States Federal Census for Brooklyn, New York (1910) website

“Mrs. S. Loines, 99, Suffragist, Dies.” New York Times, 21 April 1944. ProQuest.

United States Federal Census for Winter Park, Orange County Florida (1940) website

United States Federal Census for Brooklyn, New York (1900)

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