The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

May Eliza Wright

27 May 1844–23 July 1920

Born 27 May 1844 in Greenfield, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin Territory.[1] Daughter of Philander Mortague Wright and Mary Weeks.[2] Graduated from Northwestern Female College (later Northwestern University) with a degree in science, 1866, and a master of arts, 1871.[3] Teacher and administrator of schools in Michigan and Indiana.[4] Married first Edwin W. Thompson, 4 Mar. 1872, in Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan; widowed, 1875.[5] Married second Theodore Lovett Sewall, 31 Oct. 1880, in Corinth, Kent Co.[6] Secretary of the Equal Suffrage Society of Indianapolis, 1880.[7] Editorial manager of the women’s column in the Indianapolis Times, Sept. 1881.[8] Founder and principal of the Classical School for Girls in Indiana, 1883–1907.[9] Founder and first secretary of the Indiana Equal Suffrage Society, 1878.[10] Served as chair of the executive committee of the National Woman Suffrage Association, 1882–1890.[11] Elected president of the Women’s National Council, 1891.[12] Organizer of the World’s Congress of Representative Women in conjunction with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893.[13] Attended birthday dinner for Susan B. Anthony with EBW, 15 Feb. 1895.[14] Visited by EBW in Indianapolis, 8 Mar. 1895.[15] President of the National Council of Women for the United States, 1897–1899.[16] Greeted EBW with Susan B. Anthony at the Omaha Suffrage Convention, 22 Oct. 1898.[17] Met with EBW, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Washington DC, New York, and London to prepare for the International Congress of Women, 1899.[18] Founder and president of the International Council of Women, 1899–1904.[19] Appointed by President William McKinley as a delegate to the Universal Congress of Women in Paris, 1900.[20] Traveled to Salt Lake City to lecture and visit EBW and suffrage supporters in Utah, 12–17 July 1901.[21] Served as the American commissioner in the International Women’s League for Permanent Peace, 1915.[22] Writer and editor of many works pertaining to suffrage, education and peace, including Genesis of the International Council of Women and the Story of Its Growth, 1914, and Neither Dead nor Sleeping, 1920.[23] Died 23 July 1920 at Indianapolis.[24]

 

[1] U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925, cert. nos. 11901–12300, 1–3 Dec. 1915, p. 12256, May Wright Sewall, microfilm 7574678, DGS 1521331, image 645, 646/714, FHL. 1850 U.S. Census, Greenfield Township, Milwaukee Co., WI, Mary E. Wright. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 20 Mar. 2018), Mary Eliza Wright (KDST-Q6R).

[2] 1850 U.S. Census, Greenfield Township, Milwaukee Co., WI, Mary E. Wright. 1860 U.S. Census, Greenfield Township, Milwaukee Co., WI, p. 7, Mary E. Wright. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[3] May Wright Sewall, Neither Dead nor Sleeping (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1920), ii. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[4] May Wright Sewall, Neither Dead nor Sleeping (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1920), ii. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[5] Michigan, Secretary of State, Marriages Records, 1880–1925, p. 449, Ed. W. Thompson and May E. Wright, microfilm 2342454, DGS 4207549, image 369/661, FHL. Find a Grave, database and images (https://findagrave.com, accessed 15 Apr. 2018), memorial no. 51281495, Edwin Walter Thompson; Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, NC.

[6] Michigan, Secretary of State, Marriages Records, 1880–1925, p. 153, Theodore Lovett Sewall and May Wright Thompson, microfilm 2342466, DGS 4207610, image 132/667, FHL. 

[7] Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, 3 vols. (Rochester, NY: Susan B. Anthony, Charles Mann, 1887), 3:537–538. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[8] Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, 3 vols. (Rochester, NY: Susan B. Anthony, Charles Mann, 1887), 3:556.

[9] May Wright Sewall, Neither Dead nor Sleeping (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1920), ii. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[10] “Retro Indy: May Wright Sewall,” Indy Star (http://indy.st/1is2yyv, accessed 31 Dec. 2019).  Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[11] Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, 3 vols. (Rochester, NY: Susan B. Anthony, Charles Mann, 1887), 3:558. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 269.

[12] “Representative Women of the Convention,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1891, 140.

[13] Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 270.

[14] EBW, Diary, 15 Feb. 1895.

[15] EBW, Diary, 8 Mar. 1895.

[16] “Representative Women of the Convention,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Mar. 1891, 140. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 270. “Retro Indy: May Wright Sewall,” Indy Star (http://indy.st/1is2yyv, accessed 31 Dec. 2019).

[17] EBW, Diary, 22–23 Oct. 1898.

[18] EBW, Diary, 11 Feb. 7 June, and 11–12 July 1899.

[19] “Retro Indy: May Wright Sewall,” Indy Star (http://indy.st/1is2yyv, accessed 31 Dec. 2019). Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 270.

[20] May Wright Sewall, Neither Dead nor Sleeping (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1920), ii. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 270.

[21] EBW, Diary, 12 and 17 July 1901. “Program for Mrs. Sewall’s Visit,” Deseret Evening News, 12 July 1901, 7. “Mrs. Sewall Arrives,” Salt Lake Herald, 13 July 1901, 2.

[22] May Wright Sewall, Neither Dead nor Sleeping (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1920), ii. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 270.

[23] Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), 270–271. May Wright Sewall, Genesis of the International Council of Women and the Story of its Growth (Indianapolis: printed by the author, 1914). May Wright Sewall, Neither Dead nor Sleeping (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1920), 2.

[24] “Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899–2011,” Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com, accessed 21 Mar. 2018), May Wright Sewall; Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, IN.