Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Rev. Mary Garard Andrews, 1852-1936

By Eric LoPresti, Lisle IL

Born March 3, 1852 in Clarksburg, Virginia, Mary Garard was orphaned at young age, losing her mother when she was 5, and her father a few years later. Despite personal and financial hardship, Garard was able to obtain an education, spending two years attending school at the Washington Academy, Iowa, three years at the Iowa State Industrial College, and three years at Hinsdale College, Michigan, where she completed her English Theological studies. A member of the Free Baptist Church, throughout her time at school Mary had charge of several churches, while also preaching twice every Sunday. Regarding the controversial question of whether a woman should preach, Garard was quoted as saying, "I never spent much time over the oft controverted question, 'Shall woman preach?' I thought the most satisfactory solution of the problem would be for woman quietly, without ostentation or controversy, to assume her place and let her work speak for itself."

Though she continued her duties for several years, Garard would eventually cut ties with the Free Baptist Church and continue her pastoral work as a member of the Universalist Church. She would go on to take a post-graduate program at Lombard University, Illinois, where she obtained her B.D. A well-regarded minister, Rev. Gerard resigned from regular parish work following her marriage in 1885 to Isaac Rollin Andrews (1849-1905), though she continued to substitute for churches in Iowa and Nebraska.

Rev. Andrews's suffrage work began when she moved to Omaha, Nebraska following her marriage. She helped organize the Nebraska Women's Club, serving separate terms as President and Vice-President, and was elected President of the Nebraska Suffrage Association in 1908. While Andrews resigned from this position when she moved to Minnesota in 1909, she continued to advocate for the cause, serving as member of the Equal Suffrage Association, the Political Equality Club, and the Lewis Parliamentary Law Association. In 1914 she served as District Superintendent of the Franchise Department of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Minneapolis. In March of that year she spoke on "New Phases of Suffrage Work" at the Lucy Hayes WCTU in Minneapolis. In the fall of that year she was noted among a group of Minneapolis women who went to North Dakota to "Speak for Suffrage," where she campaigned for two weeks. She continued to support woman suffrage through the ratification of the 19th Amendment and after the November 1920 election she offered a talk on "Procedure in the United States Senate."

She was also engaged in a number of civic clubs, including the Columbian Club, the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, the Women's Co-operative Alliance, and the Business and Professional Women's Club.

Mary Garard Andrews died on September 25, 1936 at her home in Minneapolis. She was survived by her son, Rollin Garard Andrews, her brother George Garard, and two grandchildren. She was interred at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Omaha.


Foster, M.D. Who's who Among Minnesota Women: A History of Woman's Work in Minnesota from Pioneer Days to Date, Told in Biographies, Memorials and Records of Organizations. Minnesota: Self-Published, 1924.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. History of Woman Suffrage Vol. IV (1900-1920). National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

"Isaac Rollin Andrews (1849-1905)." Find A

"Nebraska Suffrage Association Elects Officers." The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE), November 7, 1908. Accessed from

"Minneapolis Women Speak for Suffrage in Dakota Campaign." Minneapolis Star Tribune, 18 Oct. 1914, p. 38.

"The Reverend Mary G. Andrews" obituary. Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), September 26, 1936. Accessed from

"Rev Mary Garard Andrews (1852-1936)." Find A

Willard, Frances and Mary A. Livermore, ed. A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-Seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life. New York: Charles Wells Moultin, 1893. [LINK]

"Women's Club Election." The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE), May 16, 1898. Accessed from

"Women's Club Officers." The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE), May 25, 1897. Accessed from

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