Biographical Sketch of Marianne Everard Meade

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Marianne Everard Meade, 1876-1970

By Frances S. Pollard for the Dictionary of Virginia Biography, a publication of the Library of Virginia. Reprinted with permission.

Marianne Everard Meade (22 September 1876–21 March 1970), woman suffrage activist, was born in Richmond, Virginia, and was the daughter of Richard Hardaway Meade and Jane Catherine Fontaine Meade and a younger sister of Lila Hardaway Meade Valentine. She never married and with her other, unmarried sister, Kate Fontaine Meade, lived with their widowed mother until her death in 1909 and then for the next decade with their brother. Following the death of Valentine's husband in 1919 they lived with her and cared for her during the final years of her life. Thereafter, the two sisters lived together until Kate Meade died in December 1965.

Meade and her sisters attended the two meetings in Richmond in November 1909 when a small group of socially prominent women formed the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia and elected Lila Meade Valentine president. The sisters were in some respects typical of woman suffrage advocates in Virginia. They resided in a city, were members of a prosperous and socially well-connected family, and believed in votes for women. Unlike Valentine, the other two sisters did not often engage in public advocacy. League records contain only a few references to their work behind the scenes, such as mailing and distributing suffrage literature; but newspaper reports of league conventions often noted their attendance. For example, at the time of the December 1915 league state convention, Meade joined a delegation that met with the governor to request his support for a woman suffrage amendment to the state constitution. During World War I she was active on the home front and chaired the league's committee on Red Cross nurses and was a member of the liberty loan committee.

After ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in August 1920, Meade registered to vote on 2 September, the first official day women could register in Virginia. She was a charter member of the Virginia League of Women Voters when it was organized in the autumn of 1920. She was also founding member of the board of directors of the Richmond League of Women Voters and later served as its corresponding secretary and as a ward director. She was one of several league members who lobbied members of the General Assembly during the 1922 session for legislation of benefit to women. In 1940 Meade published a letter to the editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch critical of its attitude toward President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She was also a talented pianist and accompanied various speakers and performers when they came to Richmond.

Marianne Everard Meade died of pneumonia in a Richmond nursing home on 21 March 1970 and was buried in the Meade family section of Hollywood Cemetery.

Sources:

Birth date in Social Security application, Social Security Administration, Office of Earnings Operations, Baltimore, Md; Ida Husted Harper, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage (1922), 6:665–672; letters to Meade in Lila Meade Valentine Papers, Lila Meade Valentine Memorial Association Papers, and Meade Family Papers, all Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond; some references in Equal Suffrage League of Virginia Records, Accession 22002, Library of Virginia (LVA); Rolls of Registered White Voters, Lee Ward, 3d Precinct (1902–1920), Richmond City Election Records, LVA; numerous references in Richmond newspapers, including letter to editor in Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8 July 1940; death notice in Richmond Times-Dispatch, 23 Mar. 1970.

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