Maud Wood Park
|Maud Wood Park|
Portrait of Maud Wood Park
January 25, 1871|
|Died||May 8, 1955
Maud Wood Park (January 25, 1871 – May 8, 1955) was an American suffragist and women's rights activist.
She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1887 she graduated from St. Agnes School in Albany, New York, after which she taught for eight years before attending Radcliffe College. While there she married Charles Edward Park. She graduated from Radcliffe, where she was one of only two students who supported suffrage for women, in 1898. In 1900 she attended the National American Women Suffrage Association convention, where she discovered that, at the age of 29, she was the youngest delegate present. Park determined to attract a younger group of women to the organization and, in concert with Inez Haynes Gillmore, formed the College Equal Suffrage League. She toured colleges promoting it, and started chapters in thirty states.  She also organized the National College Equal Suffrage League in 1908.
Park was friends with another American suffragist, Carrie Chapman Catt, who recruited her to campaign in Washington, D.C. for the Nineteenth Amendment, which is the amendment that guarantees suffrage for American women. In 1901 Park became one of the founders of the Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government (BESAGG), which became the League of Women Voters of Boston when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920. She was BESAGG's executive secretary for twelve years. In 1920 Park became the first president of the League of Women Voters, a position she held until resigning in 1924 for reasons of health. From 1925 until 1928 she was the League's legislative counselor.
Park also organized the lobbying group known as the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee in 1924, and worked as its chairwoman. This group was instrumental in the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921 and the Cable Act of 1922, both of which advanced women's rights. Park pioneered the “front door lobby,” a direct approach to lobbying that symbolized the idealism of woman suffrage. She cowrote the book Front Door Lobby. (An Account of the Achievement of Woman Suffrage in the United States), with Edna Lamprey Stantial, which was finally published in 1960. She also wrote the play Lucy Stone, which was first produced in 1939 in Boston.
While attending Radcliffe College, she met and later married Charles Edward Park. The two divorced in 1906. She secretly married Robert Hunter Freeman in 1908. He passed away suddenly in 1928.
Park began the Schlesinger Library on August 26, 1943, when she donated her collection of books, papers, and memorabilia on female reformers to Radcliffe. This donation grew into a research library called the "Women's Archives", which was renamed in 1965 after Elizabeth Bancroft Schlesinger and her husband Arthur M. Schlesinger, as they were strong supporters of the library's mission.
Park died in 1955 in Massachusetts.
- List of suffragists and suffragettes
- List of women's rights activists
- Timeline of women's suffrage
- Women's suffrage organizations
- "Maud Wood Park". Biography.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Maud Wood Park". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- Library of Congress. American Memory: Votes for Women. One Hundred Years toward Suffrage: An Overview, compiled by E. Susan Barber with additions by Barbara Orbach Natanson. Retrieved on May 28, 2009.
- "Park, Maud Wood, 1871-1955. Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1870-1960: A Finding Aid". Harvard University Library. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "The Suffrage Cause and Bryn Mawr - More Speakers". Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Maud Wood Park (1871-1955)". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Our History". League of Women Voters of Boston. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Papers of Maud Wood Park in the Woman’s Rights Collection". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- Park, Maud Wood; Stantial, Edna Lamprey (1960). Front Door Lobby: An Account of the Achievement of Woman Suffrage in the United States. Beacon Press. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
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