Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Mary Rowena Newell, 1868- ?

By Anya Brooks, undergraduate, Rosemont College

Mary Rowena Newell (née Coon) was born on April 21, 1868, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Ephraim Coon, a commercial merchant, and May Partridge. She married a doctor from Massachusetts named Otis K. Newell on October 24, 1888. They had two children together, a son named Henry and a daughter named Alice.

Newell began her involvement in the suffrage movement in Massachusetts in 1897 by signing petitions for suffrage and donating money to the cause. The family moved to Pennsylvania in 1907, and Newell began serving as the corresponding secretary for the Pennsylvania Woman's Suffrage Association in Philadelphia. In 1909, Newell gave up her position with the organization, possibly because of a planned move.

By 1910, Newell seemed to have dropped out of the suffrage movement and out of the historical record entirely. The date of her death remains unknown.


Information about Newell can be found on; in the Philadelphia Inquirer; and in the Fortieth Annual Report of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (Warren, OH: Harriet Taylor Upton, 1908).

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