Mary Garrett Hay, temperance worker, club woman, and suffragist from Indiana, politically organized the state and city of New York to pass suffrage, winning the most populous state for the suffrage ranks. As President of the New York Equal Suffrage League and the New York City Woman Suffrage Party, she directed the city’s suffrage groups in the state campaigns of 1915 and 1917. Parades, street rallies, and infinite organization won New York for suffrage in 1917. Respected for her consummate political skills, her close association with Carrie Chapman Catt gave her enormous political clout within the suffrage ranks.
Attending political meetings with her father and entertaining politicians in their home, Hay pursued her political interests through reform. She joined the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and a suffrage club, developing a close, life-long association with Mrs. Catt. Organizing California along political lines for the state referendum (1896) gave her experience for the later victory in New York. Hay became Catt’s chief assistant and, after Catt was widowed, they made their home together. As president of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs (1910-12) and director of the General Federation (national) of Women’s Clubs (1914-18), Hay brought the woman’s club movement to suffrage. Hay headed NAWSA’s suffrage lobbying with Republican congressmen. Active in the party, she chaired the Republican convention platform committee – unprecedented for a woman. After winning the vote, Hay chaired the New York city League of Women Voters.