Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Martha Elizabeth "Mattie" Hamilton Flick, 1861-1937
By Amanda Ritter-Maggio
English Instructor, University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana
Martha Elizabeth "Mattie" Hamilton was born in Pique, Ohio, the daughter of Harvey Asdale Hamilton, a merchant, and his wife, Jane Lithgow Hamilton. She had a sister, Jeannetta "Nettie," and a brother, Samuel. She married Edward F. Hamner in 1885. The couple lived in Washington, D.C., where Mattie worked as a newspaper writer. They had one son, Edward, in 1889 before the elder Edward died in 1890.
Mattie and Edward returned to Pique for a time before Mattie married George Flick in 1893. He adopted Edward Junior, who thereafter went by the name Edward Flick. The couple lived in Washington, D.C., where Mattie was a founding member of the League of American Penwomen in 1904. She was elected to represent the organization at the meeting of the International League of Press Clubs that same year. Sometime in the early 1900s, the couple moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where George Flick became a prominent real estate developer and newspaper editor. In 1916, George suddenly collapsed and died in the Carnegie Library in Oklahoma City, where he and Mattie had gone to spend a Monday evening reading.
As a widow, Mattie continued working as a reporter in Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, but kept a home base in Oklahoma City. The History of Woman Suffrage reports that Mattie was elected to the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Women's Suffrage Association, a NAWSA chapter, in 1912. In 1914 she was elected treasurer of the Oklahoma City woman suffrage organization.
Mattie's son, Edward, died in 1931, and Mattie died of pneumonia in Oklahoma City on March 1, 1937. Her obituary was published in dozens of newspapers across the country. A reporter for The Frederick [Oklahoma] Press wrote in tribute, "Ninety-five years old ... in her body ... her mind as alert as ever ... it never aged nor did her spirit. [...] She told me some clever little side lights on the newspaper women when she was in her prime on the Washington Post. She was almost an outcast in her family ... they were embarrassed to think they had a person so forward as to hold a man's job ... a most unladylike performance to say the least." She is buried with her husband George and son Edward in Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City.
The Frederick Press (Frederick, Oklahoma), 19 March 1937; U.S. Find A Grave, Edward Flick, Edward F. Hanmer, George Flick, and Martha Hamilton Flick, accessed on findagrave.com on March 27, 2020; The Piqua Daily Call (Piqua, Ohio), 17 March 1937; Ida Husted Harper, ed., History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 4 (New York: Little and Ives, 1922); "The League of American Pen-Women." Bulletin of the Society of American Authors, Volume 4, Issues 1-7, (Irvington, New York: Society of American Authors, 1899), 25; DailyOklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 21 Nov. 1916; U.S. Census, 1880, Washington, District of Columbia; U.S. Census, 1910, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma; "Press Club News." The Fourth Estate No. 533 (New York: Ernest F. Birmingham, May 14, 1904), 14.