Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Maie Bartlett Heard, 1868-1951

By Mary S. Melcher, Ph.D., historian

Suffragist (b. July 11, 1868, d. March 14, 1951)

Maie Bartlett was born on June 11, 1868 in Chicago. Her father, Adolphus C. Bartlett, was president of Hibbard Spencer Bartlett and Company, which later became True Value Hardware. Dwight Heard, who would become Maie's husband, was working at her father's department store, when she met him. Prior to marrying Dwight in 1893, Maie studied at an elite finishing school.

When Dwight was diagnosed with a respiratory disease, the young couple moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1895. Dwight became an important landowner, raising cotton, alfalfa, citrus, and cattle, and also worked as a real estate developer and the owner of the Arizona Republican newspaper in 1912 (renamed the Arizona Republic in 1930). Active in Republican politics, Maie and Dwight entertained Herbert Hoover and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as prominent local politicians, in their home, which became a showcase for their collection of Native American art.

Maie took an active interest in the development of early Phoenix. She delivered library books to far-off ranch children by horseback and worked with fellow members of the Phoenix Women's Club to build the city's first library, the Carnegie, in1897. Her interests extended to theater, and the first stage of Phoenix Little Theater was located in her coach house. She donated land that would become the site of the Phoenix Civic Center and the gymnasium for the YWCA in downtown Phoenix. Maie Heard went on to found the Heard Museum, where she worked as curator and director for over 20 years.

Maie became involved in Arizona women's battle to win the vote in approximately 1912. She served as treasurer of the Phoenix Civic League, an organization founded in September 1912. Some of the members of this group had circulated suffrage petitions during the summer to get an amendment granting women the vote on the ballot in November. They worked in Maricopa County, the most populous county in the new state. Pauline O'Neill served as president of the Civic League, and it was one of the most active suffrage clubs in Arizona.

In October 1912, members of the Civic League planned a booth at the state fair, where they would distribute suffrage literature and talk to voters. The president of the Arizona Equal Suffrage Association, Frances Munds, attended this October meeting and planned to work with the Civic League members at the fair. They carried out their plans and met many voters there.

After Arizona women won the vote in November 1912, the Civic League continued to advocate for a national suffrage amendment and to press for other issues of interest to women. In December 1912, they petitioned Arizona Governor Hunt for an eight- hour law for working women.

Maie Heard's involvement in the Civic League demonstrates her wide-ranging interests and commitment to women's rights. She continued to be a force in Phoenix cultural life through the Heard Museum until her death in 1951.


Arizona Republican, 12 September 1912; 4 October 1912, 14 December 1912.

Biography of Maie Heard:

Heidi Osselaer, Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009).

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