Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Maude Elizabeth McFie Bloom, 1880-1973
by Sylvia Ramos Cruz, M.D.
Maude Elizabeth McFie was born in Illinois and came, at age 4, to Mesilla Valley, New Mexico. Her parents were John R. McFie and Mary Barr Steel McFie.
From an early age, Maude was surrounded and influenced by progressive and civic minded people who were active in the life of the community. Both of her parents were advocates for the New Mexico Territorial Association for Equal Suffrage that had been formed in 1896.
In the 50th Anniversary booklet of the Woman's Club of Albuquerque, Maude states that in Las Cruces there was a "splendid woman's club called TWIA" (The Woman's Improvement Association) established in 1894. Furthermore, she annotated in the margin, "The first meeting was at my home at Las Cruces. They bought a herse [sic] for Las Cruces that 1st year.
The family moved to Santa Fe when Judge McFie was appointed to the First District Court in 1898. Another annotation states, "I belonged to the Wallace Club," formed by young women in Santa Fe. Most likely these were the same young women she met at social gatherings at the homes of prominent NM suffragists (Laughlin, Hughes, Rapp, Wallace, Ilfeld). There she also met Nina Otero Warren who became very important, especially in the final push to ratify the 19th Amendment in New Mexico.
Maude attended the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and graduated in 1903. Her thesis, A History of the Mesilla Valley, 1903, is an important source for historians and researchers. Much of the material came from oral interviews, aided by her family's involvement in the life of the Valley.
She was Class President and held most other offices, including 1902 Editor-in-Chief of the Collegian. She was on the champion basketball team for several years and "played a fine game." She was described as "intellectual, charming and always lovable."
It's interesting to note that Miss Matilda R. Koehler, Chief Assistant of the College Director, was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and its Auditor in 1901. Maude and she must have had many interactions during those years.
In 1904, Maude E. McFie was hired as teacher of vocal music at the College of Agriculture. She had a beautiful voice and had just spent an extended period studying music in Paris. Years later, when the New Mexico State Museum was dedicated in Santa Fe in 1917, she sang the first solo in the auditorium, the "Marseillaise," in French. Her voice "carried clear to the utmost reaches of the spacious auditorium."
In 1907 she married Lansing Bloom, an ordained Presbyterian minister, who had come to NM seeking a cure for his tuberculosis. They settled in Saltillo, Mexico where Lansing had a missionary assignment. While there, they studied records of Franciscan missions dating to the Spanish colonial era. Maude's fluent Spanish helped in this work that captivated them both. Later, while doing missionary work at Jemez Pueblo, they researched old documents in the mission rectory. Their interest in history was stirred once again.
Lansing served as pastor of the Community Presbyterian Church in Magdalena, New Mexico for several years, including the early part of WWI. The battle for woman suffrage was vigorous throughout New Mexico then. In 1916, a meeting was held in Magdalena for Ada McPherson Morley (69 years old and ailing) and to recruit members by Dr. Jesse Russell, organizer for the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. The Blooms knew Ada, who was very active in suffrage, temperance and civic reform movements. Perhaps they attended the meeting.
The Booms had four children. Maude managed household matters, pursued historical research with her husband, and took part in women's club activities. She was a member of NAWSA. Volume 6 of the History of Woman Suffrage states, "among the women who worked for suffrage in addition to those mentioned in the chapter," was Mrs. Lansing Bloom.
Throughout her life, Maude collected New Mexico folklore. Her fluency in Spanish was particularly important to this work. She wrote about it in J. Frank Dobie's book, Puro Mexicano. Among her other published works are: Holy Ghost Canyon- a Christmas story set in 1599; and What some men worshipped – A legend of the Black Hills. It features Dona Elena, a feminist described as "a fearless, venturesome girl-child"; "a woman who should have been born: a man," a woman who "had found that being a woman was an irksome circumstance."
Tonita of the Holy Faith, a play of faith based in the Spanish southwest was enthusiastically reviewed and taken to New York by drama critic, Ida Severn. It's not clear whether it was presented there, but it was performed in 1924 at the Santa Fe Fiesta and published by the School of American Research.
Maude McFie Bloom was a lifelong member of women's clubs and, even in later years, kept in touch with suffragists and their families. In 1929, the family moved to Albuquerque. She joined the Albuquerque Woman's Club and organized and directed a literature sorority club. She also collaborated with other women's organizations, such as the American Association of University Women, to stage cultural events for the Club. Eventually, as Chairman of the Research Committee and Club Historian of the Albuquerque Woman's Club, she chaired the Committee that wrote the 50th Anniversary Booklet (1953). It's an interesting historical document written in a lively and sometimes humorous style that gives insight into 50 years of women's activism in Albuquerque.
Maude McFie Bloom died at age 92 in 1973 in Washington D.C. She left a lifelong legacy of quiet activism for women's rights and scholarship on New Mexico history and folklore.
For a second biographical sketch of Maude McFie Bloom, click here. [LINK]
Albuquerque Morning Journal November 26, 1917
Albuquerque Morning Journal November 12, 1920
Albuquerque Morning Journal, December 19, 1920
Albuquerque Woman's Club 50th Anniversary Booklet
Conversations and communications with Dr. John Porter Bloom, her son
"Disenfranchisement is a disgrace": Women and Politics in New Mexico Joan M. Jensen from New Mexico Women: Intercultural Perspectives Eds. Joan M Jensen and Darlis A. Miller UNM Press 1986
History of Woman Suffrage Vol 6 (1900-1920) Ida H. Harper, ed 1922 [LINK]
Lansing Bloom 1880-1946 by Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing http://newmexicohistory.org/2013/11/08/lansing-bloom/
Maude McFie Bloom personal papers, manuscripts and diaries (courtesy of Dr. John Porter Bloom)
New Mexico Historical Biographies by Don Bullis Rio Grande Books 2011
Santa Fe New Mexican August 12,1899
Santa Fe New Mexican December 5, 1904
Santa Fe New Mexican July 20, 1907
Santa Fe New Mexican February 20, 1973
The Collegian- June 1903 Commencement, NM College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts
What some men worshipped – A legend of the Black Hills by Maude McFie Bloom - University of New Mexico Press. "Full Issue." New Mexico Quarterly 4, 1 (1934) https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmq/vol4/iss1/1