Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Marie L. Hale Losey, 1870-1940

By Jesse Klein, Ph.D., Social Sciences Research & Data Librarian, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

An esteemed elocutionist and leader in the Tuscaloosa women's movement, Marie L. Hale Losey lived a life full of educating others through public speaking, teaching, and writing. Although brief, Marie spent her time in Alabama as President of the Tuscaloosa Equal Suffrage Association and the first appointed Dean of Women at the University of Alabama.


Marie L. Hale was born in Rochester, NY in 1870. Although not explicitly documented, it appears that Marie attended Rochester's prominent public school: Rochester Free Academy (RFA). Recognized by the Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1862, RFA was a free public high school and struggled with training its present and future teachers. Initially the school appointed graduates to fill teaching positions, but without proper training this plan failed. Administrators created a teaching track for students interested in becoming teachers upon graduation and candidates took examinations to become officially appointed. For what would have been her high school years, Marie's class had far more girls than boys, and more women as teachers than men. This representation of women in her high school may have influenced her later suffrage work. It seems like in some iteration of the RFA's teacher training program that Marie passed her examinations and was appointed as an English teacher between her graduation in 1888-1890 and 1891 when she is listed as a past teacher in the RFA 1891 yearbook.

Marie married Frederick Douglas Losey on May 25, 1890 while she was teaching at RFA and he was a student at the University of Rochester. Both loved teaching and public speaking at various events; sometimes they performed together. This interest aligned well with Marie's background in teaching English and elocution, and Frederick's education at the National School of Oratory and position as an instructor of Rhetoric and Public Speaking at Syracuse University. An 1891 article titled "SUCCESSFUL ENTERTAINMENT. Given at Asbury Church by Mr. and Mrs. Losey and the Mandolin Orchestra" applauded a charity performance by Marie and Frederick. Every seat in the building was occupied and the writer stated that "Mr. and Mrs. Losey are both well-known in Rochester as finished and entertaining elocutionists. They have often been heard here, but last night was their first appearance since they formed their artistic and matrimonial alliance."

In 1892, the Livingston Park Seminary in Rochester--a school for girls that first opened in 1858--reopened under new management with the group of instructors including Marie Hale Losey in the subject of Elocution. Research revealed little about the years between 1892 and 1896, other than that Frederick attended the National School of Oratory in Philadelphia and graduated with a Bachelor of Elocution in 1894. In 1896, Marie Hale Losey is listed as newly appointed faculty in the Department of Physical Culture at the Rochester Atheneum and Mechanics Institute (a technical and vocational school). Outside of her trying to break into post-secondary teaching, it is unclear why Marie accepted this position. Another indication of her commitment to both education and performance is from an article in the Democrat and Chronicle (1898) about Marie providing evening entertainment to a teachers' institute at Honeoye Falls with "NEARLY TWO HUNDRED TEACHERS REGISTERED."

That same year in the Bards & Co.'s Classified Business Directory of Western New York 1898-99, Marie is listed under "Music Teachers" as an elocutionist holding lessons at 76 Exchange Place Bldg. It remains unclear how long Marie stayed in these positions, with the only information pertaining to Frederick. Although he had been an instructor for several years, he was officially appointed as an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Public Speaking at Syracuse University in 1904 and remained until 1906--when he accepted an offer at the University of Alabama.


A small group of dedicated pioneers attempted to build a suffrage presence in Alabama between 1902 and 1904. Their reports for 1903 and 1904, however, state that their efforts were thwarted by the state's "backward, unprogressive spirit" and they discontinued their work. By 1910, women in Alabama were ready to try again. Women's participation in the national temperance movement created opportunities for women to direct their efforts to other progressive issues, such as women's suffrage. In 1910, Selma's Equal Suffrage Association, with support from the National American Woman Suffrage Association, organized and solicited participation through calls for action in Selma's newspapers. This new era of activity spread throughout the state, including Tuscaloosa where Frederick and Marie Losey had relocated just a few years before.

In the 1910 Census for Tuscaloosa, Alabama, both Marie and Frederick are listed as teachers, him at "state university" and her at a "private school." Between 1906 and 1910, the Loseys appear to have adapted well to their new life in Tuscaloosa. Marie performed in April and May of 1908, with high praises for her artistry documented in newspapers at the time. Advertising Marie's upcoming charity performance, The Tuscaloosa News (1908) wrote:

"Doubtless a large crowd of Tuscaloosa people will avail themselves of the opportunity of hearing Mrs. Losey in a reading programme at the Elks' Auditorium tonight. As will be seen from the press clippings heretofore printed, Mrs. Losey has attracted attention all over the country by her wonderful gifts and her ability to sway audiences. A great treat is in store for Tuscaloosa people tonight."

In May, with contributions from the University Glee Club, Marie performed various readings and "the audience felt only one regret -- that the programme was not longer."

The earliest indication of Marie's involvement in Alabama's suffrage movement is from the 1992 book The New Woman in Alabama: Social Reforms, and Suffrage, 1890-1920. In a push to organize local associations throughout the state, Mrs. Pattie Ruffner Jacobs--the President of the Birmingham Equal Suffrage Association and then elected President of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association--traveled with other suffragists "fifty seven miles to Tuscaloosa in two automobiles, held the organizational meeting, and drove home all in one day." This was in July 1913 and when they left, Marie Hale Losey was the Tuscaloosa Equal Suffrage Association's President with nearly 30 members. One tactic she used was to write about suffrage in local newspapers. In February of 1914, writing as the Association's President in The Birmingham News, Marie summarized the Association report she delivered at the Second State Convention in Huntsville:

"The Tuscaloosa Equal Suffrage Association was organized July 5, 1913, with 28 members. Two meetings a month have been held except during August. About $90 has been raised. One evening meeting has been held in the courthouse when Charlotte Perkins Gilman addressed an overflowing house. Mrs. Jacobs and Miss Worthington addressed an open meeting in January, reporting the national convention. Judge Spratt addressed an open meeting giving the property rights of Alabama women. Twenty-five letters from different persons were written to Chairman Henry, of the Rules Committee of the House, and one fifty-word night letter was wired him from the Association, petitioning the appointment of a special committee on Woman Suffrage in the House. Fiver hundred Alabama flyers have been distributed. Christmas turkeys were sent to the Salvation Army by the Association. We maintain a Sunday column of suffrage news in both daily papers of Tuscaloosa. We have annual dues of $1 and number among us many subscribers to the "Woman's Journal" and the "Suffragist."

Originally published in the Tuscaloosa Times-Gazette, Marie wrote a column titled "Susan B. Anthony--An Appreciation" where she described her own journey to appreciating Anthony's tireless work on the behalf of women. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Anthony's home city, Marie experienced the shift in the press and community towards Anthony's efforts from "remarks made in a spirit of ridicule" to memorializing "the high purpose of a woman for women" with the Susan B. Anthony Hall at the University of Rochester.

Around this same time, Marie was also increasingly recognized as an advocate for college women at the University of Alabama, where Frederick was a professor in the English Department. Although her supportive role to women on campus began informally in 1913, the University's President, George H. Denny, formally appointed her in 1914 as the first Dean of Women at the University of Alabama. The profession of "Dean of Women" was a recent development on college campuses across the country. Women in this role were tasked with providing support for the increasing number of women students, becoming "multi-taskers, acting as mother figures, serving as liaisons between the women students and the university administrations, advocating for women's facilities and women's faculty appointments, and maintaining a link between their universities," and national college women's associations. The student-run school newspaper, Crimson White, called her appointment a "masterstroke of the present administration." At the end of the year, the president and the Board of Trustees reported that Marie in her new role "had done excellent work and was popular with the students" and "noted that the new women's dorm was quite exceptional." She has also been remembered fondly, for in a 2018 alumni publication, "125 Years of Women at the Capstone," Marie's appointment is mentioned in the section "A Cultural Transformation: UA Women of the 20th Century."

The extent to which Marie's suffragist work and her role at the University officially overlapped is unclear. The closest indication is that in Marie's last year as Dean of Women, Helen Keller visited Tuscaloosa to speak on equal suffrage and students "were among the large crowd attending her lecture."

Marie's involvement in Alabama's suffrage efforts reached its peak in 1915. At the state suffrage convention held in Tuscaloosa in February of 1915, Marie was elected as the State Association's recording secretary for the coming year. At the end of 1915, Marie was a State congressional chairman and was selected along with other suffragists to represent Alabama in the big push for the "Federal amendment in progress under the direction of the congressional committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association." One strategy enacted by Marie and other State congressional committees from around the country was to inundate congressmen--especially from non-suffrage states--with district-level conventions, farewell parties, letters, flyers, and showings of hundreds of suffragists both in their home districts and in Washington, D.C.

During this time, Frederick's popularity as a professor and an authority on Shakespeare grew across the University of Alabama campus. He coached a winning debate team, delivered commencement speeches, sponsored a traveling student Shakespearean troupe called Blackfriars, and was an inspiring public speaker. In 1915, however, despite his documented popularity among students and Marie's many contributions to the university, President Denny "refused to extend Professor Losey's contract." Subsequent to this decision, in what can only be described as a confusing quarrel. President Denny and Professor Losey engaged in a public correspondence that caused an official hearing by the Board of Trustees. Quite in contrast to positive reports by his students and peers, the Board issued a scathing statement:

"be it resolved that it is the sense of the Board that due to the undignified, vituperative, inflammatory, and uncalled for presentation by Professor Losey of his view of this controversy....[H]e is not temperamentally fit to serve as a professor in this University. [We] are especially incensed over the moral turpitude and moral unfitness said by Professor Losey in the public press in advance of this hearing.... Therefore, Professor F.D. Losey's connection with this University is this day terminated."


Following Frederick's termination, Marie resigned as Dean of Women and they both left the University of Alabama. Documentation of her activity in the Tuscaloosa Equal Suffrage Associate stops around 1916, coinciding with their departure from the University. At some point within the next four years they moved back to New York, this time living in Manhattan. The 1920 Census shows the Loseys on Riverside Drive in Manhattan with Frederick listed as a "public lecturer" and Marie as a "public reader." The 1925 New York State Census has the Loseys still on Riverside Drive with Frederick listed as a "lecturer" and Marie as a "housewife." In the 1930 Census, the last Census where the Loseys appear, Frederick was listed as a "lecturer" in the "books" industry and "none" was listed under the occupation for Marie.

Frederick passed first on June 5, 1932 and Marie died on October 25, 1940. Both are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York with a shared tombstone where below Frederick's name it reads "THE READINESS IS ALL" and below Marie's name it reads "THE REST IS SILENCE." In recognition of their shared love of public reading and speaking, these are both lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet.


Offices of the Board of Education. N.d. A History of the Public Schools of Rochester, New York 1813-1935.

Beta Chapter of the Gamma Sigma Fraternity. (1891). The Aegis R.F.A. Yearbook. (n.p.). In the roster there is a Marie L. Hale and a Mrs. F.D. Losey listed.

Syracuse University SURFACE Repository

1891, February 18. "SUCCESSFUL ENTERTAINMENT. Given at Asbury Church by Mr. and Mrs. Losey and the Mandolin Orchestra." Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), pp. 7.

Livingston Park Seminary. (1918). The Story of Sixty Years, 1858-1918: Livingston Park Seminary. Rochester, NY. Publisher not identified.

Annual Report of the Regents. (1897). Abstracts of the Annual Reports of the Colleges of the University of the State of New York. United States, (n.p.).

1898, December 20. "NEARLY TWO HUNDRED TEACHERS REGISTERED At the Institute in Session at Honeoye Falls." Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), pp. 5.

Bards & Co.'s Classified Business Directory of Western New York 1898-99 Her name was misspelled as Losey, Matie Hale.

Parker, A. (1914). THE GAMMA OF CALIFORNIA. The Phi Beta Kappa Key, 2(4), 173-181. From

Harper, I. Husted., National American Woman Suffrage Association. (1922). The history of woman suffrage: Volume VI. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association. [LINK to AL state report]

Year: 1910; Census Place: Tuscaloosa Ward 1, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Roll: T624_35; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 0157; FHL microfilm: 1374048

1908, April 10. "Mrs. Marie Hale Losey at Elks Auditorium Tonight." The Tuscaloosa News (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), pp. 6.

1908, May 7. "Mrs. Losey's Recital." The Tuscaloosa News (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), pp. 5.

Thomas, M. M. (1992). The New Woman in Alabama: Social Reforms, and Suffrage, 1890-1920. University of Alabama Press.

1914, February 22. "REPORT OF TUSCALOOSA E. S. A. AT HUNTSVILLE CONVENTION." The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama), pp. 25.

1915, April 4. "Susan B. Anthony--An Appreciation." The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama), pp. 26.

Battles, D. M. (2019). Yea, Alabama! The Uncensored Journal of the University of Alabama (Volume 3 - 1901 through 1926). United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Freeman, Margaret Lynn. (2011). "To Seek the Good, the True, and Beautiful: White, Greek-Letter Sororities in the U.S. South and the Shaping of American 'Ladyhood,' 1915-1975." Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. Paper 1539791826.

Smith, Jamon. (2018). "125 Years of Women at the Capstone." Alabama Alumni Magazine.

Crimson-White, Jan. 13 and March 2, 1916. As cited in Battles, D. M. (2019). Yea, Alabama! The Uncensored Journal of the University of Alabama (Volume 3 - 1901 through 1926). United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

1915, February 12. "TO HEAD SUFFRAGISTS: Mrs. Solon Jacobs Chosen President Without Opposition." The Selma Mirror (Selma, Alabama), pp. 4.


1915, September 10. "Congressional Suffrage Committee Evolves Plan Line Up Congressmen." Miami Daily Metropolis, pp. 7.

1967. Senator Lister Hill. Oral History Recording. National Library of Medicine Bethesda, Maryland.;cc=oralhist;rgn=main;view=text;idno=2935109r

1916, January 31. "Minutes of the Trustees." University of Alabama. As cited in: Battles, D. M. (2019). Yea, Alabama! The Uncensored Journal of the University of Alabama (Volume 3 - 1901 through 1926). United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 9, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1202; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 697

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 40; Assembly District: 09; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 21

Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, Manhattan, New York; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0462; FHL microfilm: 2341292 U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

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