Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary E. W. Ramey, 1865-1946

By Beth Zak-Cohen, Librarian
Newark Public Library

Prominent Baltimore suffragist

 

Mary E. Wise was born Nov. 2, 1865 to Robert and Margaret Wise. She had two brothers: Walter (older) and John Dallam (younger) and grew up in Centerville, Md. In 1902, at age 37, she married Frank F. Ramey, a lawyer eleven years her junior. By 1910, she and Frank lived in Baltimore with her brothers.

The Baltimore Sun called Mary, "one of the most enthusiastic advocates of women's suffrage in Baltimore" and indeed it seems an accurate assessment. From 1911, the Baltimore papers chronicled her many actions to advocate for suffrage. She seems to have been a good organizer, often chairman of campaigns, parades and other efforts.

Yearly, with others, Ramey would organize a poll watching in November, handing out fliers, riding cars through the city, and watching the polls. She was a frequent speaker, traveling across Maryland to speak with groups.

In Sept 1911, she helped organize a sale of preserves for suffrage. In June 1912, she helped organize a parade during the Democratic convention, where her husband played the role of "Lord Baltimore." She was president of a Baltimore parade committee in 1912, 1913 and again in 1914.

In February 1913, Ramey joined Rosalie Jones's "hikers"' in Baltimore, as they marched from New York to the suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. In June 1913, she organized nightly street corner meetings. In Feb. 1914 she spoke at the House of Delegates at the statewide hearing of the women's suffrage bill. In June 1914, she helped organize suffrage clubs in each ward of the city. In May 1915, Mr. and Mrs. Ramey together took part in a 350-mile trip around Southern Maryland for the suffrage cause.

Ramey was involved in a group called the Just Government League, based in Baltimore. She was elected treasurer in April 1913 and by December was president of the Third District League. In August 1915, Ramey became even more prominent, voted "permanent chairman" of the Woman's Suffrage Party of Maryland. By 1915, she was a director of the Equal Suffrage League of Baltimore.. In 1917, when Maryland formed a branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Mary was elected corresponding secretary and later chairman of the House committee. The History of Woman Suffrage lists Mrs. Ramey as treasurer of a state ratification committee, but it's unclear which group is the sponsor.

After suffrage was passed, Ramey became vice president of the Democratic Women's Club of Baltimore and a member of the League of Women Voters. After a failed effort to create a statewide network of women democrats, it seems Mary and Frank moved out of Baltimore. By 1930, the Rameys lived in West Annapolis and by 1938, when Mary's brother William died, they lived in Indian Landing, Md. Frank died in Feb 1940, and Mary lived with her younger brother for several years, until his death in 1943. Mary E. W. Ramey died on June 4, 1946, having given much to the suffrage cause.

Besides, her suffrage work, Mary was a feminist author. In 1915 she published a pamphlet called The Chronicles of Mistress Margaret Brent on an early colonial American woman in Baltimore who demanded a place in the colonial assembly.

Sources

Ed. Harper, Ida. History of Women's Suffrage: Vol. 6, (New York: J. J. Little and Ives Company, 1922), pg. 266. [LINK]

United States Census, Centerville, Maryland, 1880 --FamilySearch.org.https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNQB-4JQ Accessed 3 May 2020.

United States Census, Centerville, Maryland, 1910 --FamilySearch.org.https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2F7-K8B Accessed 3 May 2020.

United States Census, Centerville, Maryland, 1920 --FamilySearch.org.https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M63T-ZWS Accessed 3 May 2020

United States Census, Centerville, Maryland, 1930 --FamilySearch.org.https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X371-G98 Accessed 3 May 2020

"Democratic Women to Greet Mrs. Fuller With Public Reception," The Baltimore Sun, April 30, 1921, pg. 7. https://www.newspapers.com/image/372844824/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Frank Funk Ramey," Millersville, Maryland - findagrave.com.http://findagrave.com/memorial/82697704 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Hike Training At Ball," The Baltimore Sun, Feb 4, 1913, pg. 14. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365305981/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"John Dallam Wise," The Baltimore Sun, July 21, 1943, pg. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/374207915/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Life Left in Suffragists, The Evening Sun, Sept 09, 1911, pg. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365444042/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Margaret Brent," Archives of Maryland.https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/002100/002177/html/sources.html Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Mary Emmeline Wise," family tree of benddahlke, Ancestry.com.https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/10292725/person/7016392251/facts?_phsrc=GbW2003&_phstart=successSource Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Maryland Legislature," The Democratic Advocate, Feb 13, 1914, pg. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/348137935/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Mrs. Hooker President," The Baltimore Sun, Aprl 17, 1913, pg. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365315455/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Ramey," The Baltimore Sun, Jun 5, 1946, pg. 22. https://www.newspapers.com/image/374196237/ Accessed 3 May 2020.

"She Will Be Margaret Brent," The Evening Sun, Jun 14, 1912, pg. 9 https://www.newspapers.com/image/372424638/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Snow and Suffrage," The Evening Sun, Sept 18, 1911, pg. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365444603/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffrage Breezes Blowing," The Evening Sun, Aug 5, 1911, pg. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365486151/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffrage Campaign is On In Earnest," The Evening Sun, June 28, 1913, pg. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365467399/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffrage Delegates Elected," The Baltimore Sun, May 6, 1919, pg.5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/378075733/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists At Polls," The Evening Sun, Aug 26, 1911, pg. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365495257/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists At Westport," The Baltimore Sun, Sept 02, 1911, pg. 14. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373399213/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Choose Leader," The Baltimore Sun, Aug 14, 1915, pg. 7. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373240187/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Disagree," The Baltimore Sun, Dec 10, 1913, pg. 14. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365376599/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Give Dinner," The Baltimore Sun, Dec 14, 1913, pg. 8. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365377875/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Hold First Annual Meeting in New Clubhouse" [photo], The Evening Sun, May 23, 1916, pg. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365476541/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Look Forward to Parade," The Evening Sun, Jun 1, 1912, pg. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365461739/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists on Parade," The Baltimore Sun," May 10, 1914, pg. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365376287/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Rushing," The Evening Sun, Nov 4, 1911, pg. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365446780/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Suffragists Will March," The Baltimore Sun, Jan 2, 1913, pg. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/365303966/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"To Head Suffragists," The Baltimore Sun," Jun 6, 1918, pg. 5.https://www.newspapers.com/image/373435524/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Voteless Ones on Guard," The Baltimore Sun, Aug 28, 1911, pg. 12. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373415607/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Will Tour for Suffrage," The Baltimore Sun, May 29, 1915, pg. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/214537539/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Women Democrats Organize, Perhaps," The Baltimore Sun, April 22, 1922, pg. 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373408867/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Women Form Ward Club," The Baltimore Sun, Jun 11, 1914, pg. 12 https://www.newspapers.com/image/365361633/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"Women's Voter League Organization is Begun," The Baltimore Sun, Jun 11, 1920, pg 5. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373127943/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"'Suffs' Elect Officers," The Baltimore Sun, May 23, 1916, pg. 7. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373450885/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

"'Suffs' In New League," The Baltimore Sun, Feb 28, 1917, pg. 4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/373304193/?terms=%22mrs.%2Bfrank%2Bramey%22 Accessed 3 May 2020.

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