Mary Bostwick Shellman, Westminster community icon, worked for veterans, women and the poor
The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation came together once again on December 4, 2021 to unveil another historical marker that honors Maryland’s suffragists. The celebration, in collaboration with the Historical Society of Carroll County (HSCC), honored Mary Bostwick Shellman, a Westminster community activist and suffragist (1849 – 1938). Read about her lasting legacy in Carroll County.
Mary Shellman was the first president of Carroll County’s Just Government League. Beyond her suffrage work, Shellman worked toward better care for county almshouse residents, as well as advocacy on behalf of the county’s Civil War veterans. In 1868, she organized Carroll County’s first Memorial Day observance and served as its master of ceremonies for many years.
Shellman’s home at 206 East Main Street, where the Just Government League often met, still stands. Following the ratification of the 19th amendment, Shellman provided space in her home to prepare new voters for the 1920 presidential election. The former Shellman home is now the HSCC headquarters.
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation requires extensive primary source documentation before approval and funding of historical markers. Heather Barrett, Administrator of Architectural Research at Maryland Historical Trust and MWHC volunteer Dr. Pam Young collaborated to submit Shellman’s name for consideration. Newspapers, deeds and photos came from HSCC archives and the Maryland Historical Trust.
Guests and speakers included Kristen McMasters, Board Chair, HSCC; Maria Johnson Darby, President, Maryland Women’s Heritage Center; Steve Bodnar, William G. Pomeroy Foundation; Heather Barrett, Administrator of Architectural Research, Maryland Historical Trust; Ed Rothstein, President Board of Carroll County Commissioners; and Dr. Mona Becker, Mayor of the City of Westminster.
During the December 4th event, the HSCC also introduced its new Executive Director, Jason Illari.
These markers put Maryland on the map since they become part of the National Votes for Women Trail. The MWHC represents Maryland on the National Collaborative of Women’s History Sites, which manages the National Votes for Women Trail.