Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Margaret Green Cartwright, 1865-1949

By Clay Latham, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Suffragist, physician, and politician

Margaret Green was born on January 4, 1865, in Chicago, Illinois, to Charles William and Paulina Molyneaux Green; he was a brick mason, and she was a housewife. Margaret Green attended the Woman's Medical College of Chicago, graduating in 1890. Shortly after graduation, she married Ira Chester Cartwright on December 17, 1890, in Chicago. Dr. Margaret Green Cartwright practiced medicine from 1890 to 1940.

Around 1891, Ira Cartwright, also a graduate of Northwestern University, was called to missionary work in Mexico with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Reflecting years later, Margaret Cartwright remembered, "he saved their souls and I took care of their bodies." In January 1894, Margaret Cartwright was officially named a medical doctor with the Methodist Episcopal Mission in Guanajuato. The mission work was not always accepted by those it intended to serve, but the medical aspect helped bridge the differences between the Protestant missionaries and the Catholic locals. Both Cartwrights were influential in creating a hospital with this mission, serving there for eighteen years. All of the Cartwright children were born in Mexico, the youngest in 1907. In 1908, the Cartwright family returned to the United States, serving the community in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In addition to her role as a physician, Margaret Cartwright participated in various political and societal organizations. In April 1908, the Albuquerque Woman's Christian Temperance Union elected Cartwright as its president. She regularly invited the WCTU women to her home for meetings. In February 1910, she was listed as a founding member on the incorporation papers for the Albuquerque Young Women's Christian Association, and she led the organization at various points.

Unfortunately, Ira Cartwright died on April 10, 1912, in Albuquerque, leaving Margaret Cartwright a widow. The Albuquerque clubwomen postponed their weekly meeting when he died. Although remaining active in women's organizations, Cartwright stepped out of leadership positions, likely to focus on her career as a physician.

The History of Woman Suffrage [LINK] lists Cartwright among New Mexico's suffragists. Like others in New Mexico, it is likely she came to this activism through her work in temperance and with the woman's clubs. In 1913, Cartwright spoke on health questions before the convention for the State Federation of Woman's Clubs held in Albuquerque. At this convention, Deana Lindsey contended that the woman's clubs should support equal suffrage, a position solidified through her leadership with the clubwomen and then as First Lady of New Mexico. After the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, Cartwright frequented local meetings of the League of Women Voters.

In March 1939, Margaret Cartwright faced trial for performing an abortion, charges brought by an investigator at the district attorney's office. When the jury returned 8-4 undecided, the judge dismissed the case. By 1940, she had moved to California to live with her youngest daughter. In June 1940, Northwestern University awarded her a Golden Reunion certificate, honoring her fifty years of medical practice.

Dr. Margaret Green Cartwright died on April 28, 1949, in Mt. Eden, California, and she was buried at Sunset Memorial Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband.


"Cartwright Jury Fails to Agree." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). March 31, 1939, p.1.

"Convention Opens with All Day Program." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). March 26, 1913, p.5.

"Dr. Cartwright Dies on Coast." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). April 30, 1949, p.6.

"Dr. Cartwright Gets Northwestern Golden Reunion Certificate." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). June 26, 1940, p.7.

"Dr. Cartwright Held for Trial on Charge of Abortion Operation." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). March 18, 1939, p.9.

Find a Grave. "Margaret Ann Cartwright." Accessed March 11, 2019.

"Luncheon on Friday for Mrs. Park." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). March 26, 1922, Society Section, p.2.

"Officers Elected by Temperance Union." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). April 26, 1908, p.5.

Salmans, Levi B. "The Beginning of Medical Missionary Work in Roman Catholic Countries." Missionary Review of the World 22, no. 10 (October 1899): 773-78. GoogleBooks.

Society. Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). November 26, 1926, p.5.

Society. Evening Herald (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). April 13, 1912, Editorial Section, p.1.

"Temperance Day To Be Observed at Theater." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). November 28, 1909, p.8.

"Territory of New Mexico, Office of the Secretary." Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.Mex.). February 14, 1910, p.5.

United States Census 1870, s.v. "Margaret Green, LaSalle, Ill." HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1880, s.v. "Maggie Green, Chicago, Ill." HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1910, 1930, s.v. "Margaret Cartwright, Albuquerque, N.Mex." HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1940, s.v. "Margaret Cartwright, Albany, Calif." HeritageQuest.

Woman's Medical School, Northwestern University(Woman's Medical College of Chicago): The Institution, Its Founders, Class Histories, 1870-1896. Chicago: H.G. Cutler Publishers, 1896. Library of Congress.

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