Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig
Laura Clay papers, 1906-1920 (bulk dates)
University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Laura Clay papers, 1882-1941, 1906-1920 (bulk dates), 1M46M4, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.
6 cubic ft. (ca. 7000 items)
Suffragist, social reformer. Laura Clay, daughter of emancipationist Cassius M. Clay and his first wife, Mary Jane Warfield Clay, was born at the family estate, White Hall, in 1849. As a result of her parents' divorce and the inequitable property settlement which followed, Miss Clay decided to devote herself to improving "the unworthy position of women." She was a founder of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and was recognized as a national leader in the women's suffrage movement. However, because she wished suffrage to be granted at the state level, she left the ranks of the national movement as the nineteenth amendment was about to be ratified. She continued to be active in the cause of women's rights after 1920, and ran unsuccessfully for the Kentucky Senate in 1923. Miss Clay also worked for the temperance movement, the Democratic party, and her Episcopal church. She died at age 92 in 1941.
The collection includes much correspondence with other suffragists, such as Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Anna Howard Shaw, and Harriett Taylor Upton. It includes addresses, programs and minutes of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, yearbooks of the Woman's Club of Central Kentucky, and membership lists of various suffrage groups. There are also a number of pamphlets dealing with topics such as woman suffrage, child welfare, civil service reform, the peace movement during World War I, and temperance. The collection also includes photographs.