Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Harriet Fowler Maltby, 1856-1928

By Ève Bourbeau-Allard, MA, MSI

Suffrage activist based in Waterbury, Connecticut

Harriet J. Fowler Maltby (1856-1928) was a suffragist active in the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA). She was the daughter of physician Benjamin Maltby Fowler (1821-1858) and Mary Payne Fowler. After residing in Poughkeepsie, New York, she moved to Waterbury, CT to marry Julius Maltby Jr. (1857-1926) in 1882. Only one of their two children, Olive Douglas Maltby (1886-1926), lived to adulthood.

A businessman from a prominent Waterbury family, Mr Maltby was the secretary of The Waterbury Buckle Company. Harriet, for her part, while raising their child Olive, started advocating for better opportunities for women. She joined the Young Women's Friendly League of Waterbury, a non-sectarian organization founded in 1889 with the goal of fostering "the development of intellectual, industrial, and social character in self-supporting girls and young women." The League offered courses in practical trades, among other programs. By 1897 and 1898, Mrs. Maltby acted as vice-president on its Board of Officers.

In the early 1910s, Mrs. Maltby's attention turned to the cause of suffrage. In 1911, the meeting minutes of the CWSA board recorded that "Mrs. Maltby is very active in Waterbury". Her local activism included a trolley campaign to publicize the suffrage cause around Waterbury. Mrs. Maltby's efforts did not go unnoticed as she was elected Waterbury County Chairman for the CWSA in 1912, in addition to serving as a second auditor for the organization. By 1913, she was also president of the Waterbury Equal Franchise League, which was, under her leadership, considered a "large and energetic" presence on the Connecticut suffrage scene. She maintained contact with suffragists at the state level by regularly reporting on the initiatives under way in her county.

Her husband supported her activism, and was himself involved as an elected member of the CWSA Men's Advisory Committee starting in 1911. Mrs. Maltby continued her advocacy work after the right to vote was won, volunteering in the Connecticut League of Women Workers and, by 1920, serving as president of the Connecticut League of Girls Clubs.

Mrs. Maltby passed away in 1928, two years after both her husband and child passed. She is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Waterbury, Connecticut.


"Big Campaign and Parade by Suffs in Coming Summer," The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Dec. 20, 1913, p. 4. Retrieved from Chronicling America.

Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association Records (RG 101), Connecticut State Library, Hartford.

Croly, Jane Cunningham. The History of the Woman's Club Movement in America New York: H.G. Allen & Co, 1898, p. 316. Retrieved from The Internet Archive.

"Harriett Fowler Matlby" and "Julius Maltby," Find A Grave, and

"Mrs. Hincks is re-elected head of suffragists," The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 1, 1912, p. 3. Retrieved from Chronicling America.

Pape, William Jamieson. History of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut vol 3. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918, p. 565-66.

Report of the Connecticut State Council of Defense, December 1918, Hartford: Printed for the council, 1919, p. 217.

"State Girls to Hold Convention," The Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer, April 25, 1919, p.14. Retrieved from Chronicling America.

"Votes for Women Enthusiasts Here," The Hartford Daily Courant, Oct. 20, 1915, p.16. Retrieved from

"Willimantic", Norwich Bulletin, Oct. 29, 1920, p. 9. Retrieved from Chronicling America.

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