Monday, September 28, 2015

Mrs. Malcolm Kelly, Library Trustee and Suffragist

Mrs. Malcolm Kelly was born Susan Smith, a daughter of John and Eleanor Smith, who were pioneer residents of Sandusky County, Ohio. In 1876 Susan Smith married attorney Malcolm Kelly, who later became a Circuit Judge. Judge and Mrs. Kelly lived in Sandusky from 1898 through the 1920s. 

In October of 1912, Susan Kelly was part of a group of women who formed a Women’s Suffrage organization in Erie County. The women spoke at local club meetings, granges, and farmers’ institutes, to solicit members and pass resolutions favorable to women receiving the right to vote. The members of the Equal Suffrage League of Erie County decorated automobiles and rode in the Perry Centennial Celebration parade in Sandusky on September 8, 1913. (To read more about women’s suffrage in Erie County, see the January 1921 issue of the Firelands Pioneer.) Though we do not have a picture of the ladies’ decorated automobile, here is a picture of downtown Sandusky at the time of the Perry Centennial Celebration.

For many years in the early twentieth century, Mrs. Kelly served on the board of trustees of the Library Association of Sandusky. While serving as secretary of that board, Mrs. Kelly prepared an annual report which was printed in the Sandusky Register of January 4, 1922.

Susan Kelly was active in several women’s organizations, including the Martha Pitkin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Monday Literary Club, the Nineteenth Century Club, the Women’s Rest Room Association, and she was the former president of the Sandusky Federation of Women’s Clubs. 

Mrs. Susan Kelly died on November 9, 1935 in Westchester County, New York, at the age of 86. An obituary which appeared in the November 12, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Mrs. Kelly was “for years prominent in the women’s clubs and cultural life of Sandusky.” She was buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Ottawa County, next to her husband Judge Malcolm Kelly, who had died in 1923.

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