Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Alice Spry, 1867-1948
By Patricia Sackschewsky, student, University of Puget Sound
Mary Alice Wrathall was born in 1867 in Grantsville, Utah. Little is known about her childhood, but on July 10, 1890 she married William Spry, who went on to become Governor of Utah from 1909-1913. The couple had three children: Mary Alice, Lita, and Jarvis.
Mrs. Spry became very involved in the struggle for women's rights, as was her husband, and his role as governor gave Mary Spry a powerful platform to stand on and influence society and the government, even after his term had expired. Mrs. Spry's prominence in her own right is shown by the fact that she attended national presidential conventions as a delegate and is reported to have stood as a leader on the Republican side. In 1916 as the national suffrage movement heated up, The Salt Lake Herald-Republican informed its readers that the National Woman's Party was taking a stance against President Wilson due to his lack of support for women's suffrage. It noted that Mrs. Spry headed a large delegation from the National Woman's Party to welcome Miss Maud Younger and other women in charge of the lobby for the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage when they arrived in Utah.
Mary Alice Spry involved her entire family in her work. Her daughter Mary Alice sponsored and christened the battleship Utah with her mother and father and eventually became a big advocate for the women's suffrage. With her family, Mrs. William Spry made a great impact on the lives of women up to this very day. Mary Alice Spry died on December 7 1948 in North Hollywood, CA, and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK].
"Salt Lake Tribune: 1909-12-02." Utah Digital Newspapers, https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6nk4r54.
"Suffrage Campaigner Warmly Greeted by Utah Workers in Cause," Salt Lake Herald-Republican: 1916-10-05," p. 16. Utah Digital Newspapers , https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s62240kz.