Mary Barr Clay

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Mary Barr Clay
Clay Mary Barr.jpg
Mary Barr Clay
Born (1839-10-02)October 2, 1839
Lexington, Kentucky
Died October 12, 1924(1924-10-12) (aged 85)
Richmond, Kentucky
Nationality American
Known for leader of the American women's suffrage movement

Mary Barr Clay (October 2, 1839 – October 12, 1924)[1] was a leader of the American women's suffrage movement. She also was known as Mary B. Clay and Mrs. J. Frank Herrick.

A daughter of Cassius Marcellus Clay and his wife Mary Jane Warfield, Clay married John Francis “Frank” Herrick, of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1866. The couple had three sons and then divorced.

In 1878, Clay’s parents also divorced, leaving her mother Mary Jane Clay homeless after she had managed White Hall, the family estate, for 45 years. This inequality galvanized Clay into joining the women’s rights movement, and she soon brought her three younger sisters with her. Laura Clay, the youngest, also became very active in the movement.[2]

In 1879, Mary Clay Herrick went to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the tenth anniversary of the National Woman Suffrage Association. There she met Susan B. Anthony and arranged for the suffrage leader to speak in Richmond, Kentucky.[3]

Herrick was elected president of the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1883. She corresponded with Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell and other leading suffragists. She is credited with drawing her younger sister Laura Clay into the women’s rights movement. The younger Clay became so active that she became better known as a women's rights advocate.

Clay Herrick is interred at Lexington Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mary Barr Clay". Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Cole, Jennie (August 30, 2011). "'Her'Story: Women in the Special Collections: Mary Barr Clay, the Louisville Equal Rights Association, and Women's Rights". Filson Historical Society. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  3. ^ A woman of the century : fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life. Harvard University. 1893. pp. 179–180. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 

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