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Griffith Browne, Mattie (01 January 1825?–25 May 1906), antislavery writer and women's suffrage activist, was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, the daughter of Thomas and Catherine Griffith. Her father was a tavern-keeper and farmer. Various estimates have been made of her correct birth year, but no exact date has been established. Mattie and her older sister, Catherine, were orphaned in childhood, losing first their mother and then their father in 1830....

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Mary Johnston Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112021).

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Johnston, Mary (21 November 1870–09 May 1936), author and suffragette, was born in Buchanan, Botetourt County, Virginia, the daughter of John William Johnston, a major in the Confederate army who, following the Civil War, became president of Georgia Pacific Railway, and Elizabeth Dixon Alexander. Her mother died in 1889, leaving the role of family caretaker to Mary, who acted as surrogate mother to her siblings. Her father’s career necessitated temporary residency, for varying periods of time, in Birmingham, New York City, and Richmond. In 1898 Johnston began her long publishing career, motivated in part by an 1895 reversal of family fortune....

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Robins, Elizabeth (06 August 1862–08 May 1952), actress, author, and suffragist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Charles Ephraim Robins, a financier who later became a metallurgist, and Hannah Mariah Crow. After a move to Staten Island, New York, in an unsuccessful attempt to regain his failing business interests, Robins’s father was forced by severe financial difficulties to make a desperate move to Colorado to mine for metals, leaving his family in the care of his wife. In 1872, after the deterioration of her mother’s mental faculties and subsequent removal to an asylum, Elizabeth Robins and her five younger siblings were sent to live with their paternal grandmother, Jane Hussey Robins, in Zanesville, Ohio. This distinguished albeit impoverished side of the family provided Robins with a stable and refined atmosphere, enabling her to receive a superior education at the Putnam Seminary for Young Ladies in Zanesville, from which she graduated in 1880. As she developed strong interests in acting and writing, her performances and essays won praise from fellow students and teachers....