Biographical Sketch of Martha Elizabeth Snyder-Root

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists 1890-1920

Biography of Martha Elizabeth Snyder-Root, 1839-1904


Martha Snyder-Root, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, 5 April 1904 (

By Michael Clausen, undergraduate student, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

President, Michigan State Suffrage Association; Member, Michigan Women's Press Association

Martha Elizabeth Snyder was born in Mexico, New York, on January 26, 1839, the eldest of five children born to Avery Brown and Vienna Harris (Taft) Snyder. Martha attended Fally Seminary in Fulton, New York in order to become an ordained minister and became a teacher at the seminary after her graduation.

After an injury caused by falling off a high swing, Martha sought medical treatment in Dansville, New York. While in Dansville, she met her future husband, Melvin A. Root. The two married on September 28, 1873 in Humboldt, Iowa, where Martha's family had relocated while she was working in New York. After their marriage, the couple moved to Bay City, Michigan, where Melvin worked as a real estate agent and Martha worked as a writer and editor. The couple had no children.

Martha became involved in the suffrage movement in Michigan around 1894. She was elected president of the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association in 1902. She was a founding member of the Bay City Woman's Club and was elected president of the club twice. She held a position on the executive committee of the Michigan Women's Press Association and was the founder of the Department of Forestry in the Michigan State Federation. She also worked as a Spiritualist minister and served as the president of the Michigan State Spiritualist Association.

Martha died on April 2, 1904 and is buried alongside her husband in Glenwood Cemetery, Niagara County, New York. Her obituary in The Detroit Free Press called her "an able and versatile writer on political and economic topics and for many years connected with all the women's movements throughout the state."


"Bay City Woman's Club." Detroit Free Press 26 April 1903.,

"Elected Officers Yesterday." Detroit Free Press 13 July 1900.,

"Equal Suffrage Association Favored by President." The Daily Herald, 1 Nov. 1902.,

Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 27 September 2020), memorial page for Martha Elizabeth Root (1839-1904), Find a Grave Memorial no. 187860080, citing Glenwood Cemetery, Lockport, Niagara County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Jen Niethe (contributor 49186528).

Michigan State Federation of Women's Clubs Manual, 1904-1906. Google Books,

"Mrs. Martha Snyder Root Dead at Bay City." The Detroit Free Press 3 April 1904.,

Obituary for Martha Snyder-Root.

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