Mary Elizabeth Hardy


Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biography of Mary Elizabeth Elder Hardy, 1850-1930


By Leah Pierre, student, Rosemont College

Mary Elizabeth Elder Hardy was born in March of 1850 in Petersburg, Virginia. In 1882, she married James T. Hardy, who was born in 1858 in Suffolk, Virginia. By 1882-83, they were living at 15 Rockwell Place in Brooklyn, New York, where they resided for many years. James Hardy died in 1903 of alcoholism after many years of heavy drinking. Mary E. Hardy supported herself and her three children, Emma, Daisy, and Leon, as a laundress and a domestic servant over the years. She is listed in Brooklyn, Ward 11 in 1910 as a widowed head of household, renting her home and working at home as a laundress. She is noted as having given birth to 11 children, two of whom continued to live with her at this date. Five additional boarders lived with her at this date.

Mrs. Mary E. Hardy was likely a delegate for a church-related social club in 1913 at the fifth annual meeting of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs in Buffalo when a resolution in support of woman suffrage was passed. She was an active member of the Concord Baptist Church, where she served as a deaconess. She also belonged to the Order of the Tents, the oldest benefit society for black women, which was founded in 1867 by a former slave named Annetta Lane. Her daughter, Daisy M. Hardy, died in 1920 at the age of 21 after a sudden illness.

Despite her modest financial circumstances, Mary E. Hardy participated in charitable relief efforts: she raised $65 by holding a rummage sale in Brooklyn in 1917, which she donated to the Old Folks' home. She donated not only money to her community but also her time, as she served as the president of the Helping Hand Society. She was on a committee that helped to organize a tagging campaign for the Mother's Day Nursery. She was most likely a member of the Lucey Laney League as she attended their eighth annual reception in 1913. In 1927, the New York Age published a brief report about Mary E. Hardy in which they called her "a faithful worker in church, benevolent, and secret orders" who was "still vigorous and active" after a year's illness. The paper reported on the death of Mrs. Mary Hardy on May 27, 1930, and she was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery.


1900 United States Federal Census, in 2004.

New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909, in 2018.

Journal record of deaths, 1897-1914, in

"Female Smokers Are Criticised," New York Age (New York, NY), Jul. 10, 1913, accessed via

"Brooklyn Notes," New York Age (New York, NY), Jan 8, 1927, accessed via

"Miss Daisy Hardy Dead," New York Age (New York, NY), March 27, 1920, accessed via

"Brooklyn," New York Age (New York, NY), May 10, 1917, accessed via

"Brooklyn," New York Age (New York, NY), Jun. 6, 1907, accessed via

"Brooklyn Notes," New York Age (New York, NY), Jul. 11, 1912, accessed via

"Lucy Laney League Reception," New York Age (New York, NY), Mar. 20, 1913, accessed via

"Brooklyn Notes," New York Age (New York, NY), Jan. 8, 1927, accessed via

"Hudson, N.Y," New York Age (New York, NY), May 31, 1930, accessed via


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