Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Dr. Grace Stratton Airy, 1871-1949

By Dr. Cheryl M. Hansen, Professor Emeritus of French, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah.

Member, Utah State House of Representatives in 1917 and 1919.
Prominent representative of osteopathy medicine, and twice president of the State Osteopathic Association and legislative member of the National Osteopathic Association.
Member, Daughters of the American Revolution.
Vice President, Popular Government League.

Dr. Grace Stratton Airy was born in Quincy, Illinois, March 19, 1871, but moved with her family to Wahoo, Nebraska where she was raised. Her father, Captain C.M. Copp, who served with the First Iowa Calvary during the Civil war, was a leader of the temperance movement and was the first prohibition mayor of Wahoo.

Grace was educated in local schools and studied osteopathy in the American School of Osteopathy at Kirksville, Missouri. She graduated with the class of 1904 and spent the next year in Omaha, Nebraska. She had two sisters living in Salt Lake City, Utah, and at their urging, she moved there and established her practice in 1905. She was recognized as one of the most able members of her profession and was elected twice as the president of the State Osteopathic Association and was a legislative member for the national association. In this capacity, she worked to advance the high standards of her profession. She was elected as a representative to the Utah State House in 1917 and again in 1919. She was a member of the Progressive party and supported prohibition, public utilities, and workmen's compensation.

Utah was the second state to win statewide initiative and referendum, passing a constitutional amendment through the legislature in 1899 and ratified it in 1900. However, because the Legislature became mostly Republican, they opposed it and did not implement the legislation. Sixteen years later the Initiative and Referendum advocates organized the Popular Government League of Utah to successfully lobby for the law. The officers were Parley P. Christensen, president; Dr. Grace Stratton Airy, vice president; and Parker B. Cady, secretary-treasurer. Dr. Stratton Airy was an originator of the Municipal Market Movement in Salt Lake City, and she worked for two years to make the market a permanent institution.

Dr. Grace Stratton Airy's first husband, James W. Stratton, was also a doctor of osteopathy. They had two sons, Warren William Stratton, born in 1892, and Horace Blackington Stratton, born in 1895. Following the death of her first husband, she married Howard W. Airy, an agent for North Western Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Grace Stratton Airy died March 18, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.


Women, state, and territorial legislators, 1895-1995: A State-by-State Analysis, with Rosters of 6,000 Women: Elizabeth Cox, Jefferson, N. C. McFarland & Co. accessible at

Utah sinceStatehood, Historical and Biographical: Warrum, Morse, Ewing, Chicago-Salt Lake S.J. Clarke Publishing, 1919. The Ogden Standard Examiner, January 8, 1917.

Women in American Politics. History and Milestones: Doris Weatherford Sage. Los Angeles, 2012.

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