Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary B. Magruder, 1865-1945
By Andrew Forschler, Undergraduate, University of Maryland, College Park
Mary B. Magruder was born on August 22, 1865 in Montgomery County, Maryland to Margaret Briggs Brooke Magruder and William E. Magruder. Her father worked as a physician, running a practice out of Hermon, the family home, built in 1866. She had two sisters: Emma Magruder and Maud Magruder; and three brothers: William Edward Magruder, Charles B. Magruder, and Richard Brooke Magruder. She never married and lived in Sandy Spring, Maryland with her parents for much of her life. Her father died in 1914, and her mother died in 1919. In 1917, Hermon was sold and became the site of the Montgomery County General Hospital. Magruder lived in Rockville, Maryland for a short time after the sale but returned to Sandy Spring, living in a small house she first called The Studio and later renamed Lavender Lane.
Magruder became involved in the temperance movement at 21 when she and Edith Farquhar set up a Good Templars Lodge in Olney, Maryland in 1886. Magruder's father was Chief Templar of the lodge. Magruder herself served as Grand Vice-Templar for the Order of Good Templars. She attended Montgomery County and state conventions of the Prohibition Party in 1896. She was involved with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), attending their county, state, and national conventions as a delegate and officer and co-editing with Rebecca T. Miller their Maryland publications, The White Banner and The White Ribbon Herald, for over forty years. Magruder held many positions in the WCTU over the years, including Maryland State Organizer, Superintendent of the Montgomery County WCTU, Recording Secretary of the Montgomery County WCTU, Organizer of the Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Maryland, and Youth Organizer of Women's Suffrage for the Maryland WCTU.
In addition to her temperance work, Magruder was involved with independent suffrage organizations. Magruder and her mother were present at the first meeting of the Maryland Woman Suffrage Association in 1889. She attended the 1908 state convention as a delegate from Montgomery County and gave a speech at the convention titled "Why am I a Suffragist?"
Magruder traveled a fair bit for both temperance and suffrage. She went to Baltimore for WCTU and suffrage conventions. She made trips to Rising Sun, Maryland for WCTU business in 1888 and 1936. She also made a cross country trip to Clotskaine, Oregon to visit relatives in late 1914 and early 1915, visiting New Orleans, Louisiana, San Antonio, Texas, and the Grand Canyon on the way. Adding more than a little excitement along the way, bandits robbed her train car!
Magruder was known for knowledge and intellect. She researched local history and compiled Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Sandy Spring, Maryland 1856-1923. She attended Rockland School, Maryland State Normal School, Columbia University, and George Washington University. She was a founding member of the Wednesday Club of Sandy Spring, an exclusive woman's academic club that met on Wednesdays where members presented their own research on various topics. Magruder presented on many topics, including Greek drama, Andrew Jackson's administration, and the writer E. D. E. N. Southworth. She attended and hosted meetings from the first one in 1904 until the months leading up to her death, when poor health prevented her attendance.
In addition to the Wednesday Club, Magruder was involved in other local clubs and organizations. She served as secretary of the Horticultural Society of Sandy Spring. She exhibited flowers at a fair in Rockville held by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society in 1907. She was a member of the Mutual Improvement Association of Sandy Spring, an exclusive woman's social club noteworthy for being the first woman's club in Maryland.
Magruder earned an income in various ways throughout her life. She sold crafts, candy, plants, and flowers with Helen G. Miller and Emma T. Stabler in 1901 and with Miller, Stabler, Mary M. Stabler, and Lillie B. Stabler in 1902, both times at the Sandy Spring Lyceum. When education became compulsory in 1916, Magruder took on the role of Attendance Officer for the Montgomery County School system, a position she held until early 1919. She also owned a small home, which she rented out.
Magruder was a devout Quaker. She was a member of the Sandy Spring Friends' Meeting, where she gave sermons that frequently targeted a younger audience. She attended the Friends' General Conference in 1906 in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland. In 1931, she taught vacation Bible school. She was a member of the Friends' Equal Rights Association, itself part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She helped compile Notes on Sermons Delivered By Edward Farquhar at Sandy Spring Meeting Dec. 17, 1893-Dec. 30, 1894 in association with the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in 1937.
Magruder died at age 80 on December 21, 1945 at Montgomery County General Hospital, the site of her childhood home. She was buried in the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House Cemetery. The Wednesday Club paid tribute to her at her memorial service.
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Ancestryheritagequest.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Olney, Montgomery, Maryland; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0060; FHL microfilm: 1240625, Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Ancestryheritagequest.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Olney, Montgomery, Maryland; Roll: T624_566; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0114; FHL microfilm: 1374579, Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
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Society of Friends. Proceedings of the Friends General Conference Mountain Lake Park, Maryland 1906. 1906. Google Books.
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