Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary M. Raspe, 1868-?

By Eve Bourbeau-Allard, MA, MSI

Delegate from Baltimore County to Suffrage Meetings

The sixth volume of the History of Woman Suffrage, edited by Ida Husted Harper, highlights the contribution of local activists to the fight for suffrage in the early 20th century, state by state. A woman named Mary C. Raspe is honored for having represented Baltimore County in Maryland suffrage conventions. This activist is likely Mary M. Raspe, who is identified in a Baltimore Sun article as the delegate from Raspeburg, Baltimore County, to the 38th Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, held in Baltimore in 1906.

In addition to suffrage work, Mary M. Raspe dedicated her time to local faith-based activities. In the early years of the 20th century, she was involved in the Ladies' Aid Society of Gatch Methodist Episcopal Church and in the Epworth League, a young adult association for Methodists. She helped to plan festivals, dinners, and kaffeeklatsches (coffee times) for her church's Ladies' Aid Society. Aid Societies affiliated with local Methodist churches were established around the country in the mid- to late- 1800s and provided a key avenue for Methodist women to serve their community and church.

Mary M. Raspe was born in 1868 in Maryland to a family of first- and second-generation immigrants from Germany. Her father, John H. Raspe (1840-1903), born in the United States to German parents, was a storekeeper, postmaster, and landowner in a small town to the north-east of Baltimore, named Raspeburg in his honor. Mary's mother Elizabeth Raspe (1838 or 1839-1909), née Milchling, was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. Mary probably did not marry, as the 1910 federal census lists her as a single woman living with her sister Emma, Emma's husband John Oyeman, and their son Albert.


1880 United States Federal Census, Baltimore, District 12, Maryland; Roll 496, page 425A; Enumeration District 253. Retrieved from

1910 United States Federal Census, Baltimore, District 14, Maryland; Roll T624_551, page 1B; Enumeration District 0057. Retrieved from

Brunger, Ronald A. "The Ladies Aid Societies in Michigan Methodism," Methodist History 5 no. 2 (1967), p. 31-48.

Harper, Ida Husted, editor. History of Woman Suffrage volume 6. [New York]: National American woman suffrage association, [1922]. Page 252. [LINK]

"John H. Raspe," FindAGrave. Retrieved from

"Kaffe Klatsch at Raspeburg," Baltimore Sun, September 22, 1905. Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

"Mrs. Elizabeth Raspe Dead," Baltimore Sun, January 17, 1909. Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

"Registered at the Lyric - Delegates from Many States and from Abroad," Baltimore Sun, February 11, 1906. Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

"Rousing Meetings Mark Close of Epworth League Rally," Baltimore Sun, September 25, 1905. Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

"Strawberry Fete at Raspeburg," Baltimore Sun, May 18, 1906. Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

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