Laura Clay papers

Abstract

The Laura Clay papers (dated 1819-1959, bulk 1906-1920; 13.63 cubic feet; 34 boxes, 2 folders, 3 items) consists of correspondence, pamphlets, periodicals, organizational records, petitions, scrapbooks, broadsides, programs, legal documents, and suffrage pins and ribbons, which document the career of Kentucky suffragist Laura Clay.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Laura Clay papers
Extent
13.63 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Temperance.
Women -- Political activity -- Kentucky.
Women's rights -- Kentucky.
Women's rights -- United States -- History.
Women -- Suffrage -- Kentucky.
Women -- Suffrage -- United States.
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by format.
Finding Aid Author
Finding Aid prepared by Erin Weber
Preferred Citation
46m4: [identification of item], Laura Clay papers, 1819-1959, bulk 1906-1920, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
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, Clay devoted herself to improving the unworthy position of women as a suffragist and social reformer. She was a founder of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and the organization's first president. She was recognized as a national leader in the women's suffrage movement and served as an officer of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. 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. Clay also worked for the temperance movement, the Democratic Party, and her Episcopal church. She died at age 92 in 1941.
Scope and Content
The Laura Clay papers (dated 1819-1959, bulk 1906-1920; 13.63 cubic feet; 34 boxes, 2 folders, 3 items) consists of correspondence, pamphlets, periodicals, organizational records, petitions, scrapbooks, broadsides, programs, legal documents, and suffrage pins and ribbons, which document the career of Kentucky suffragist Laura Clay. The bulk of the collection consists of Clay's correspondence with other suffragists, family members, legislators, and businesspeople. Notable correspondents include Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Anna Howard Shaw, Harriet Taylor Upton, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Ida Husted Harper, Kate M. Gordon, Alice Stone Blackwell, Ida Porter Boyer, and her father Cassius M. Clay. . The collection includes programs, petitions, expenditures, and minutes of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference. Additionally, the collection includes membership card rolls for the Fayette County Equal Rights Association and the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. There are 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 as well as speeches given by Laura Clay and others on these topics. The collection contains periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings related to women's issues. It also holds many of Laura Clay's personal materials, including a diary, badges, banners, and compositions. Additionally, the collection contains six of her scrapbooks, containing newspaper clippings, programs, and handwritten notes.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1849-1959, undated

The Correspondence series contains correspondence to and from Laura Clay. The majority of these letters are professional and deal with some question of women's suffrage, women's rights, the Democratic Party, the Episcopal Church, temperance, or organizations and conferences pertaining to these issues. There are some personal letters, including wedding invitations and holiday postcards. Additionally, the series contains a small amount of correspondence between other Clay family members.

Family correspondence, 1849-1940, undated

The family correspondence subseries includes letters from various members of Laura Clay's family. The most prominent family members are her sisters Sarah Lewis Sallie Clay Bennett, Anne Clay Crenshaw, and Mary Barr Clay Herrick; each also worked in the suffrage movement. Laura Clay's mother, Mary Jane Warfield Clay, also figures prominently in this correspondence subseries. This subseries includes extended family members, including a number of cousins, nieces, and nephews. In the event that the correspondence is between two family members other than Laura Clay, it is filed with the sender.

Sallie Clay Bennett (sister) correspondence, 1861-1924

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Warfield Clay Bennett (nephew) correspondence, 1910-1938

  • Box 1, folder 2
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(Mrs. Warfield) Esther Bennett correspondence, 1913-1941

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Brutus Clay (brother) correspondence, 1855-1922

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Cassius M. Clay (father) correspondence, 1864-1903

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Green Clay (brother) correspondence, 1860-1866

  • Box 1, folder 6
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(Mrs. Green) Cornelia Clay (sister-in-law) correspondence, 1863-1865

  • Box 1, folder 7
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Green Clay (nephew) correspondence, 1908-1937

  • Box 1, folder 8
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Mary Jane Warfield Clay (mother) correspondence, 1849-1866

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Mary Jane Warfield Clay (mother) correspondence, 1869-1899, undated

  • Box 1, folder 10
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Warfield Clay (brother) correspondence, 1850-1852

  • Box 1, folder 11
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Anne Clay Crenshaw (sister) correspondence, 1879-1923

  • Box 1, folder 12
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Mary Barr Clay Herrick (sister) correspondence, 1861-1922, undated

  • Box 1, folder 13
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Helen Bennett, Laura Bennett Garland, Elise Bennett Smith (nieces) correspondence, 1900-1940, undated

  • Box 1, folder 14
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Mary Clay Johnston, Charlotte Clay Vernon (nieces) correspondence, 1932-1940

  • Box 1, folder 15
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Fanny Crenshaw, Mary Warfield Crenshaw (nieces) correspondence, 1912-1940

  • Box 1, folder 16
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Clay Herrick (nephew) correspondence, 1913-1924

  • Box 1, folder 17
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W.C. Benton, C.M. Clay Jr., Josephine C. Gorde, R.B. Lawrence, Katherine Reid, A.C. Shackelford (cousins) correspondence, 1900-1938, undated

  • Box 1, folder 18
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Various family correspondence, 1852-1940, undated

  • Box 1, folder 19
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Suffrage correspondence, 1892-1937, undated

The suffragists correspondence subseries includes letters to and from Susan B. Anthony, Alice Stone Blackwell, Ida Porter Boyer, Madeline McDowell Breckinridge (Mrs. Desha Breckinridge), Carrie Chapman Catt, Kate M. Gordon, Ida Husted Harper, Anna Howard Shaw, and Harriet Taylor Upton. In the event that the correspondence is between two important suffragists other than Laura Clay, it is filed with the sender.

Susan B. Anthony correspondence, 1892-1905

Laura Clay correspondence with Susan B. Anthony, 1892-1898

  • Box 2, folder 1
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Laura Clay correspondence with Susan B. Anthony, 1900-1905

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Alice Stone Blackwell correspondence, 1893-1936, undated

Laura Clay correspondence with Alice Stone Blackwell, 1893-1907

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Laura Clay correspondence with Alice Stone Blackwell, 1908-1909

  • Box 2, folder 4
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Laura Clay correspondence with Alice Stone Blackwell, 1910

  • Box 2, folder 5
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Laura Clay correspondence with Alice Stone Blackwell, 1911

  • Box 2, folder 6
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Laura Clay correspondence with Alice Stone Blackwell, 1912

  • Box 2, folder 7
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Laura Clay correspondence with Alice Stone Blackwell, 1913-1936, undated

  • Box 2, folder 8
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Ida Porter Boyer correspondence, 1906-1922, undated

Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1906-1907

  • Box 2, folder 9
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1908

  • Box 2, folder 10
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1909

  • Box 2, folder 11
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1910

  • Box 2, folder 12
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1911-1913

  • Box 2, folder 13
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1914-1916

  • Box 2, folder 14
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Porter Boyer, 1917-1922, undated

  • Box 2, folder 15
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Madeline Madge McDowell (Desha) Breckinridge correspondence, 1907-1922, undated

Laura Clay correspondence with Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, 1907-1912

  • Box 2, folder 16
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Laura Clay correspondence with Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, 1913

  • Box 2, folder 17
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Laura Clay correspondence with Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, 1914

  • Box 2, folder 18
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Laura Clay correspondence with Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, 1915

  • Box 2, folder 19
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Laura Clay correspondence with Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, 1916-1922, undated

  • Box 2, folder 20
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Carrie Chapman Catt correspondence, 1895-1937, undated

Laura Clay correspondence with Carrie Chapman Catt, 1895-1909

  • Box 2, folder 21
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Laura Clay correspondence with Carrie Chapman Catt, 1916

  • Box 2, folder 22
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Laura Clay correspondence with Carrie Chapman Catt, 1917

  • Box 2, folder 23
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Laura Clay correspondence with Carrie Chapman Catt, 1918-1937, undated

  • Box 2, folder 24
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Kate M. Gordon correspondence, 1895-1923, undated

Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1895-1906

  • Box 3, folder 1
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1907 March-September

  • Box 3, folder 2
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1907 October-December

  • Box 3, folder 3
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1908 January-June

  • Box 3, folder 4
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1908 July-December

  • Box 3, folder 5
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1909 January-March

  • Box 3, folder 6
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1909 April-December

  • Box 3, folder 7
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1910

  • Box 3, folder 8
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1911 January-July

  • Box 3, folder 9
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1911 August-September

  • Box 3, folder 10
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1912-1913

  • Box 3, folder 11
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1914

  • Box 3, folder 12
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1915

  • Box 3, folder 13
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1916-1917

  • Box 3, folder 14
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1918 January-June

  • Box 3, folder 15
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1918 July-December

  • Box 3, folder 16
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1919 February-May

  • Box 3, folder 17
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1919 June-August

  • Box 3, folder 18
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Laura Clay correspondence with Kate M. Gordon, 1920-1923, undated

  • Box 3, folder 19
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Ida Husted Harper correspondence, 1900-1923

Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Husted Harper, 1900-1918

  • Box 3, folder 20
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Laura Clay correspondence with Ida Husted Harper, 1919-1923

  • Box 3, folder 21
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Anna Howard Shaw correspondence, 1904-1918, undated

Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1904-1905

  • Box 4, folder 1
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1906 June-September

  • Box 4, folder 2
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1906 November

  • Box 4, folder 3
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1906 December

  • Box 4, folder 4
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1907 January-April

  • Box 4, folder 5
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1907 May-July

  • Box 4, folder 6
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1907 September-December

  • Box 4, folder 7
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1908 January-April

  • Box 4, folder 8
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1908 May-December

  • Box 4, folder 9
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1909 January-February

  • Box 4, folder 10
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1909 March-June

  • Box 4, folder 11
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1909 September-December

  • Box 4, folder 12
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1910 January

  • Box 4, folder 13
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1910 February-April

  • Box 4, folder 14
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1910 May-August

  • Box 4, folder 15
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1910 September-December

  • Box 4, folder 16
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1911 January-February

  • Box 4, folder 17
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1911 March-May

  • Box 4, folder 18
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1911 June-August

  • Box 4, folder 19
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Laura Clay correspondence with Anna Howard Shaw, 1911 September-December

  • Box 4, folder 20