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Looking At The Impact Of '3 Marys' In Ann Arbor History On International Women’s Day

Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg

Monday, March 8, 2021 is being observed as International Women’s Day, part of Women’s History Month celebrating the vital role of women in American history.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Ann Arbor historian, author, and teacher Patti Smith about three women--all named Mary--who played a vital role in the history of Ann Arbor dating back to the 1800’s.

In observance of International Women's Day, WEMU's Lisa Barry and local author, teacher, and historian talk about the "3 Marys" who hold a place in Ann Arbor history.

Mary Clark came to Washtenaw County in the 1830's.  She established the "Misses Clark's Seminary for Young Ladies School." She had rules about when gentleman callers could visit and when women at the school who studied algebra and chemistry would be allowed to shop.  According to the 1881 History of Washtenaw County, "many prominent women owe their high culture to the facilities enjoyed in [the Clark] seminary."

Mary Ann Rumseyis considered a pioneer mother of Ann Arbor and whom partially the city is named after.  She is credited with inspiring Ann Arbor's culinary scene in the early 1800's and was described as "always ready with good humor and a good supper."

Credit The Ann Arbor News
Mary D. Mitchell and her portrait at Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor April of 1969.

Mrs. Mary D. Mitchellis a former teacher, principal, and superintendent of the old Pittsfield School District No. 9 in the early 1940's.  An Ann Arbor elementary school was named in her honor and is still used by the school district today.

Patti Smith has written several books about Ann Arbor history and leads public history tours around the city, including:

Patti Smith
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
Patti Smith


You can follow Smith on GoodreadsTwitterFacebookInstagram, and on her blog.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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