Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary Mckee Smith Coard, 1872-1934

By Nia Reed, undergraduate, Rosemont College

Mary Mckee Smith was born about 1872 to Anna E. Smith and Samuel P. Smith in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Sharon High School, and then went to The Pennsylvania State Normal School in Edinboro followed by the Chicago Normal School. She studied art in Paris. Mary married Robert D. Coard on April 4, 1900, and they had a daughter named Catherine on February 6, 1904. Mrs. Coard died in 1934 and is buried in Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

Coard became involved in the suffrage movement through joining many women's clubs. She held several prominent positions in clubs across Pennsylvania. She was the founder and president of the Congress of Women's Club, president of the Women's Club of Pittsburgh, Vice President of the State Federation of Pennsylvania Women, President of the New Era Club of Western Pennsylvania, Honorable President of the Congress of Women's Club, and, in 1910, she was the President of the Women's Club of Western Pennsylvania. She was also involved in the Pennsylvania Playground Association. In 1911, Coard retired as the Vice President of the Southwestern District of the State Federation of Women.

Coard was considered to be an "authority on sociological questioning" after writing several expert papers. One study that brought her fame was her first-hand investigation of the conditions in coalmines in Irwin and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Her report brought about reforms on mine conditions, for which the coal-miners were extremely thankful. When she was not attending meeting and conventions or investigating, Mrs. Coard enjoyed reading, lectures and traveling for recreation.


General Catalog, University of Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 1919.

Leonard, John W. Woman's Who's Who of America. New York: The American Commonwealth Co., 1914. [LINK to Coard sketch].

"Mary Mckee Coard ( - 1934) - Find A Grave Memorial." Accessed April 27, 2017.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 22 October 1911, p. 37. Accessed March 17, 2017.

Stratton, Anna R. "Each Section But a Part of Work Of Women Throughout the Country." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2 February 1913, p.13. Accessed March 17, 2017.

"Women Handle Much Business At Convention." The Pittsburgh Press, 14 October 1914, p. 13.,

"Women Prominent in the Convention." The Scranton Truth, 18 October 1910, p. 11., Accessed March 17, 2017.

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