Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Genevieve Tierney, 1883-?
By Amanda Kaupp, St. Louis, Missouri and Thomas Dublin
Mary Genevieve Tierney was born in St. Louis, January 4, 1883, the daughter of Thomas and Kate Tierney., She is listed in the 1910 federal manuscript census for St. Louis, living with her parents, an uncle and five younger siblings. In 1910 she was working as a stenographer. Her father was an Irish immigrant, but by 1910 a naturalized citizen. Her mother was Missouri-born.
In April, 1912, 60 business women interested in suffrage gathered for lunch at Vandervoort's department store in downtown St. Louis, where the Business Women's Suffrage League was formed. Two weeks later, Tierney was named to the executive board. In 1913, the name became the Business Women's Equal Suffrage League (BWESL). They met bi-weekly, with one of the meetings devoted to the study of politics and open to the general public.
An article in the St. Louis Star and Times (22 June 1913), noted the formation of the Town Club, a women's club with a seemingly very similar membership. Miss Genevieve Tierney, a public stenographer, was said to be one of three organizers of the club. She also served as the group's secretary. Another was Charlotte Rumbold, a social worker, who later worked with Tierney on a statewide suffrage campaign.
In 1914 Tierney was active in support of an unsuccessful statewide referendum on woman suffrage, which garnered 36 percent of the more than 500,000 votes cast in the November balloting. In the Missouri state report in volume 6 of the History of Woman Suffrage, Miss Tierney was said to have co-directed the "business part" of the referendum campaign from a downtown office building in St. Louis, while Charlotte Rumbold served as directory of publicity.
We have had no success finding Tierney in a later census or in marriage or death records.
Federal Manuscript Census, St. Louis, household of Thomas T. Tierney.
Birth record for Mary Genevieve Tierney accessed on Ancestry library edition.
"Final Report Organizing for Power, 1890-1920," Women and Clubs Landmarks Association of St. Louis FY 1996. Accessible online at https://dnr.mo.gov/shpo/survey/SLCAS017-R.pdf
Florence E. Weigle, "St. Louis Business Women's Suffrage League," Missouri Historical Review: October, 1919 – July, 1920), p. 384.
Accessible online at:
"Unique Club Formed," St. Louis Star and Times, June 22, 1913, p. 24.
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922). [LINK]