Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mary Lampkin "Mamie" Hatchett Fairbrother, 1861-1936
By April Akins, University Archivist
Lander University, Greenwood, South Carolina
Founder and Third President, Greensboro, North Carolina, Women's Club; active member, North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs; writer, publisher, and newspaper editor, multiple publications
Mary Lampkin "Mamie" Hatchett Fairbrother was born on September 1, 1861, in Lunenburg County, Virginia, to Dr. Richard Jones H. Hatchett and Sara Jane Wilson Hatchett. She received her education from Mecklenburg Female College, graduating at the age of 16; she earned the nickname "brainy beauty of Virginia." She married Col. Albert Fairbrother on November 5, 1889, in Henderson, North Carolina. She died on June 27, 1936, in Long Beach, California and is buried along with her husband at the Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, North Carolina. Mary Fairbrother is often referred to as Mrs. Al Fairbrother.
At the age of twenty, Mary Hatchett organized the Woman's Press Association of the South. Mrs. Fairbrother was the founder and third president of the Women's Club in Greensboro, North Carolina according to the Official Register and Directory of Women's Clubs in America, Volume 15. On February 2, 1915, the Senate and House committee having the Equal Suffrage Bill under consideration granted a joint hearing to the Equal Suffrage League. This was a public hearing where legislators were addressed by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National Association and Mrs. Fairbrother was in attendance with several other prominent suffragists. Mary attended a number of conventions of the Equal Suffrage Association. At the October 29, 1915, convention held at Battery Park Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, Mary was nominated for second vice president, but declined on account of holding other offices. In 1917, Mary was elected first vice president of the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina. She is among the North Carolina women to have made speeches addressing woman's suffrage. Mary also served as the chair of the literature committee. She was active in the North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs until 1926 when she and her husband moved to Long Beach, California.
Mary's first novel was published at age eighteen. In 1886, Mary edited and published Southern Woman, and then she went on to accept a position as editor of the Orphan's Friend published in Oxford, North Carolina. Mary along with her husband were writers, editors, and owners of a number of newspapers in North Carolina over the years. The couple spent their lives establishing and running newspapers and magazines throughout North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Massachusetts. They were considered leading advocates of social and civic reforms. The Everything newspaper published in Greensboro, North Carolina was one of their joint efforts. Mrs. Fairbrother published a special suffrage edition of Everything free of charge to the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina. Mary wrote and published under the name Mrs. Al Fairbrother. Two of Mary's poems (Moonstone and The Silver Bell) were included in Stories and Poems from the Old North State which was edited by Mrs. Sturgis Elleno Leavitt in 1923. She published Along the Way: A Collection of Verses in 1928.
The Bee (Danville, Virginia) June 22, 1936, p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/13129035 accessed 12 July 2017.
Burt, E.V. Women's press organizations, 1881-1999. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.
Col. Albert "Al" Fairbrother. Online at https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=61477623; accessed 12 July 2017.
Genealogy Report: Descendants of Edward Wilson. Online at http://www.genealogy.com/ftm/w/i/l/Lee-Wilson-TN/GENE1-0003.html accessed 12 July 2017.
Harper, Ida H., ed. The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI (1922) [LINK]..
Leonard, John W. Woman's Who's Who of America: a biographical dictionary of contemporary women of the United States and Canada, 1914 - 1915. LINK.
Mary Lampkin "Mamie" Hatchett Fairbrother. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=61477604 accessed 12 July 2017.
Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina Held at Battery Park Hotel Asheville, N. C. October, 29th, 1915. Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina. Accessed online at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/suffrage/suffrage.html, 12 July 2017.
The Twin-City Daily Sentinel (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), 22 January 1917, p. 3. Accessed online at https://www.newspapers.com/image/91940437/, 12 July 2017.
Winslow, Helen M. (1913) Official Register and Directory of Women's Clubs in America, Volume 15 Digitized from the University of Minnesota collection on Jul 8, 2010 Google Books; accessed 12 July 2017.