Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Light Ogle, 1857-?

By Rachel Wolters, Ph.D., Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Mary Light Ogle was a well-known artist who was active in both Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. She grew up on the family farm, Light Hills, near Covington and often used the local landscape in her paintings and drawings. Her parents were Dr. George Light and Elizabeth Light; and she was likely a young woman during the 1890s, when she was mentioned in newspapers concerning her artwork. It is possible that Mary Light Ogle passed away in 1929 or shortly thereafter; no records mention her after an August 1929 news article that stated she was very ill and staying with a friend in Covington. However, it is clear that Ogle was very active in the woman suffrage movement at both the state and national level. Her membership on numerous committees also meant that she traveled to far destinations in order to fulfill her commitments to the suffrage movement.

Similar to many women activists in Kentucky, Ogle's earlier involvement in suffrage was related to education and local school boards. In 1901, she was a member of the Twentieth Century Club in Covington, which was part of a network of private women's clubs founded in cities across the United States. As representatives of the Club, Ogle, Mary E. Giltner, and Kate B. Ellis wrote a newspaper letter asking that women's names be included on the Republican ticket for school board members in Covington. They pointed out that Lexington recently appointed women to the school board and the results were overwhelmingly positive. The writers also made the case that since women were charged with the care of children, it would make sense for them to also serve on school boards.

Ogle is listed as the Recording Secretary of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1890. Then, her next mention does not come until the minutes for the Thirteenth Convention in 1901. At that year's convention, she read a paper on taxation. A few years later, in 1904, Ogle represented Kentucky at the Thirty-Sixth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association as a representative. Many of the Kentucky representatives who attended the convention in Washington D. C. were from Covington.

Ogle's most prominent position was that of "Historian" for KERA. She was nominated and elected to that position at the organization's Seventeenth Annual Meeting in 1906. At the same meeting, Ogle was also appointed to the Credentials Committee and was appointed to attend the Thirty-Ninth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Chicago in 1907. Ogle continued to travel for the suffrage cause, and in 1913, she also participated in the massive suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with President Wilson's inauguration.

While most references to Mary Light Ogle are found in committee and organization minutes, there is one other interesting connection to Ogle. In 1917, Ogle filed a patent for a puzzle. The puzzle included fourteen pieces and was in the shape of a cross with short arms. Most references to Ogle in the 1920s discuss her continuing artwork and gatherings at Light Hills, along with legal battles over boundaries and control of the family estate.

Sources: 1870 census.

Cincinnati Enquirer. "Died from Blood-Poisoning." Cincinnati, OH: May 15, 1894.

Cincinnati Enquirer. Editorial. Cincinnati, OH: August 25, 1929.

Courier Journal. "Child Labor: Discussed by Kentucky Equal Rights Association." Louisville, KY: November 23, 1906.

Courier Journal. "Kentuckians at Reception." Louisville, KY: February 21, 1904.

Courier Journal. "Women's Plea: Desire to Serve on Covington School Board." Louisville, KY: August 15, 1901.

Kentucky Equal Rights Association. "Minutes of the Third Annual Convention, Held at the Courthouse." Richmond, Kentucky: 1890.

Kentucky Equal Rights Association. "Minutes of the Thirteenth Annual Convention, Held at Trinity Church." Newport, KY: 1901.

Kentucky Equal Rights Association. "Minutes of the Seventeenth Annual Convention, Held at Ashland, KY." Newport, KY: 1906.

National American Woman Suffrage Association. "Proceedings of the Thirty-sixth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association Held Washington, D.C., February 11th to 17th inclusive, 1904." Warren, OH: William Ritezel & Co., 1904.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Gage, Harriot Stanton Blatch, and Ida H. >Harper. The Complete History of Women's Suffrage—Complete 6 Volumes (Illustrated): Everything You Need to Know About the Biggest Victory of Women's Rights and Equality in the United States—Written by the Greatest Social Activists , Abolitionists, and Suffragists. E-artnow, 2017.

United States Patent Office. "Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office." Vol. 252. Washington D.C.: 1918. Pg. 715

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