Mary Garrett

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Mary Garrett
Mary Elizabeth Garrett.JPG
portrait by John Singer Sargent
Born 5 March 1854
Baltimore, Maryland
Died 3 April 1915
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Known for Bryn Mawr College, philanthropist

Mary Elizabeth Garrett (5 March 1854 - 3 April 1915) was an American suffragist and philanthropist.


Mary Garrett was the daughter of John W. Garrett, a philanthropist and president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). She became the wealthiest "spinster woman" in the country with demise of her father.

Garrett was a part of a group of intellectual women known as "Friday Evening" whose fathers were all on the board at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine or Johns Hopkins Hospital, who were instrumental in advocating for autonomy and more privileges for women, especially intellectually.[1]

Garrett helped found the Bryn Mawr School for Women, so named to reference the already-popular Bryn Mawr College of Pennsylvania, which focused on scholastic achievement in traditionally male-dominated disciplines, such as mathematics and science. Although she was greatly hailed for her work, she was also condemned for having such a prominent role in the teaching of controversial (for women at the time) subjects, stating that women do not need so much education just to be homemakers.

She also enriched Bryn Mawr College, donating $10,000 per year to help the college. She also endowed the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and secured the rights of women to attend thus making it the first co-educational, graduate-level medical school in the United States.[2]

Miss Garrett's Bedroom in Bryn Mawr College

Garrett was also heavily involved in the Women's Suffrage Movement, organizing the National American Woman Suffrage Association's national convention in 1906. She continued to donate heavily to the movement until her death.

At her death, she gave $15,000,000 to M. Carey Thomas, the president of Bryn Mawr College, with whom she was romantically involved and had lived with at Bryn Mawr in the Deanery.[3]

She is buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, MD.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Biographical Sketch of Mary Elizabeth Garrett.....". The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  2. ^ The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, Mary Garrett
  3. ^ Lillian Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America, Penguin Books Ltd, 1991, page 30. ISBN 0-231-07488-3
  4. ^ Sander, Kathleen Waters (2008). Mary Elizabeth Garrett : society and philanthropy in the Gilded Age. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 9780801888700. 

External links[edit]

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.