Biographical Sketch of Mary Elizabeth Perley

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Miss Mary Elizabeth Perley 1870- ?

By Beth Twomey, Librarian at North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota

Member of the Fargo Votes for Women League

Miss Perley (who went by Elizabeth) was born about 1870 in New Hampshire to George and Ella Perley who lived in Moorhead, Minnesota. She was an only child.

Perley was the chair of the Modern Languages Department at Fargo College where she oversaw the German Club, wrote short stories and plays, gave literary talks, and participated actively in the creative pursuits of the community. She studied in Germany for many years and received her Master's degree in German from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1915. She also taught French.

She was a member of the Fargo Votes for Women League. In 1912, she gave a talk at a League meeting detailing the history and progress of woman suffrage. In her view, two important issues were "women...trying to secure the rights of equal guardianship and equal division of property between husband and wife". At another League meeting, she gave a talk about "The Legal Handicaps of Women". The Fargo Forum notes many other times that she was invited to speak about suffrage at League meetings without providing the title of the talks. At the Votes for Women League state convention in 1912, she gave an address about the "Legal Status of Women." Her address was described as both "exhaustive" and "exceedingly interesting"

In addition, she was a member of the American Association of University Women, vice-president of the New Englander Society, and a member of the Fine Arts Club. By 1930 she was living and teaching in Chicago, Illinois at a private trade school. Her date of death is unknown.

SOURCES:

Club Notes. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 01 April 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1912-04-01/ed-1/seq-5/>

Election by the Women's League. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 14 June 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1912-06-14/ed-1/seq-5/>

Fargo College News. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 06 April 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1912-04-06/ed-1/seq-11/>

Grand Forks herald. [volume] (Grand Forks, N.D.), 02 Dec. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042414/1922-12-02/ed-1/seq-2/>

New Englanders Enjoy Banquet. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 17 April 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1914-04-17/ed-1/seq-7/>

Received MA Degree. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 02 Dec. 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1915-12-02/ed-1/seq-8/>

Social Notes. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 04 Dec. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1913-12-04/ed-1/seq-5/>

To speak at Vespers. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 11 Dec. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1909-12-11/ed-1/seq-12/>

Votes for Women League. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 02 April 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1912-04-02/ed-1/seq-5/>

Votes for Women League Programme. The Fargo forum and daily republican. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.), 12 June 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85042224/1912-06-12/ed-1/seq-5/>

Year: 1910; Census Place: Moorhead Ward 2, Clay, Minnesota; Roll: T624_693; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0062; FHL microfilm: 1374706

Year: 1920; Census Place: Fargo Ward 4, Cass, North Dakota; Roll: T625_1332; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 15

Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0120; FHL microfilm: 2340155

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