This biographical sketch of Margaret Boone Moss first appeared on the Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States and appears here by courtesy of the publisher, Alexander Street.
Biography of Margaret Boone (Mrs. Robert) Moss, 1867-1942
By Ashley Brooks, undergraduate student, University of Maryland, College Park
Anne Arundel County teacher and women’s advocate
Margaret “Maggie” Augusta Boone was born on November 28, 1867, in St. Margaret’s, Maryland, to Thomas G. and Mary A. Boone. St. Margaret’s, situated in Anne Arundel County, was adjacent to Maryland’s state capital, Annapolis. Maggie Boone was a relative of Humphrey Boone, an original settler in Maryland, who arrived in 1669. Maggie Boone graduated from Baltimore Female College in 1884. She wrote her senior thesis on heroic women, suggesting she was always interested in powerful women. In 1886, Boone graduated from the State Normal College in Baltimore and proceeded to teach in Anne Arundel County. In 1888, she married Robert Moss, who was a judge of the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County and a state senator. The couple had two daughters, Helen and Mary, as well as two sons, Robert and James.
Maggie Moss was active in the women’s club movement. She was a charter member of Anne Arundel County Women’s Club and a co-founder of the College Women’s Club. She served as the president of the Young Women’s Christian Association of Anne Arundel County. From 1932 to 1934, Moss was president of the Fourth or Southern District of the Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs. The Fourth District comprised Anne Arundel, Howard, Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert counties. The organization recognized Moss as a district pioneer and awarded her a Pioneer Woman Medal for her work in the club. The citation said that Moss deserved this honor as “she long identified with every movement which has for its objective the advancement of women in every field.”
Maggie Moss was the most passionate about education and helping children. In 1896 she became the first woman to serve on the school board of Anne Arundel County. In 1915, she was an organizer for the Congress of Mothers and served as vice president. The Congress of Mothers was later renamed the Maryland Parents and Teachers Association. She was also the president of the Mother’s Circle of Anne Arundel County and St. Anne’s Church Service League.
Maggie Moss was involved in many suffrage organizations in Maryland. She lobbied for the Equal Suffrage League, an organization committed to winning the right to vote for women without militancy, though she approved public rallies. In fact, she worked closely with the president of the league, Madeleine King Ellicott, to plan public demonstrations and as well as quieter conversations with legislators. Moss was the second vice president of the Maryland Just Government League and urged the organization to remain tied to the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1915 after some members wanted to break away because they thought the dues cost too much. Moss was a wealthy woman and offered to pay the $150 to the NAWSA herself in order to remain part of the national organization. In 1916, those in favor of equal suffrage spoke in front of the Maryland Senate Committee on Amendments to the (state) Constitution. Maggie Moss introduced each speaker as she was the chair of the legislative committee of the state’s allied women’s suffrage associations.
After the ratification of the Federal Nineteenth Amendment, women in Anne Arundel County argued for better representation in government and wanted women to be their elected officials. At a meeting of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Party in August 1921, attendees decided that the party should name women to a committee that would recruit candidates for the position of sheriff, treasurer, and delegate. Margaret Moss was one of the three women named by women Democrats to run for the House of Delegates, but there is no record that she chose to run.
Maggie Moss was a member of the Women’s Democratic Federation of Anne Arundel County. In 1924, she was chosen as an alternate delegate to the Democratic Party’s state convention in Baltimore. In addition to her partisan political work in the 1920s, Moss was the first president of the League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County. The group was dedicated to nonpartisan lobbying on behalf of legislation benefiting women and children. In 1933, Moss chaired a committee on arrangements for the Mount Olivet Orphanage in Annapolis, another expression of her care for children.
Margaret “Maggie” Augusta Boone Moss died on April 28, 1942, and she was buried at St. Anne’s Cedar Bluff Cemetery in Annapolis. Moss was a leader for women in the state of Maryland, especially those in Anne Arundel County. Moss was dedicated to creating more opportunities for the women of the state through education and suffrage.
CREDIT: Cover, Maryland Suffrage News (Baltimore, MD) 5, no. 1, April 1, 1916, Chronicling America: Historical American Newspapers, Library of Congress, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060379/1916-04-01/ed-1/seq-1/.
“Decides to Affiliate: Just Government League Clings to National Suffrage Association.” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD). April 21, 1915, p.4. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
“Delegates Named by Women: Anne Arundel Democrats Pick Convention Representatives.” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD). February 21, 1924, p.5. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Find a Grave. Margaret Augusta “Maggie” Boone Moss. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/197902198/margaret-augusta-moss.
Gover, Mrs. Orion and Lorine De Moss Harman. “The Fourth or Southern District.” In History of the Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1899-1941, vol.1: 1899-1941. Baltimore: The Federation, 1941, pp.440-63. [LINK]
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Maryland,” chapter XIX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, pp. 258-76. [LINK]
“Mrs. Hooker Re-elected.” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD). April 28, 1916, p.3. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
“Orphanage to Celebrate.” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD). December 8, 1933, p.10. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
“Rites Planned for Mrs. Moss.” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD). April 30, 1942, p.6. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Thirtieth Annual Catalogue of the Baltimore Female College. Baltimore: Baltimore Female
College, 1877. Hathi Trust Digital Library. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.31175035169138.
United States Census 1870, 1880, s.v. “Maggie Boone, Anne Arundel, MD.” HeritageQuest.
United States Census 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, s.v. “Maggie Moss, Anne Arundel, MD.” HeritageQuest.
“Women Demand Party Aid: Insist Democrats Must Name Two of their Number for House.” Washington Post (Washington, D.C.). August 10, 1921. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Weaver, Diane. “Maryland Women and the Transformation of Politics, 1890s-1930.” Ph.D. dissertation. University of Maryland, College Park. 1992.
“Women Plead for Ballot: Urge Senate Committee To Report Equal Suffrage Amendment.” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD). February 10, 1916, p.2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.