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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 840

Additional papers of Margaret Foley, 1892-1974


Correspondence, diary, photographs, clippings, etc., of suffragist and Boston child welfare official Margaret Foley.


  • 1892-1974

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Margaret Foley is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 4 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 2 folio+ folders)
These additional papers of Margaret Foley include a diary detailing her speaking tour in New York State, May-August 1917; an address book giving names and addresses of people with whom she stayed while traveling in Massachusetts and other New England states (each individual is coded by religious affiliation); correspondence re: suffrage and concerning Foley's job as deputy commissioner as well as letters from her nephew, William O'Keeffe, while serving in the Navy during World War II; photographs of Foley and her family, Foley working for suffrage, and of her trip to Europe and the Middle East; certificates, her will and other estate papers; and clippings; etc.

Additional material received in December 2016 (accession number 2016-M225) was added to the collection in December 2016 and is housed in #2.1-2.5. Material received in March 2017 (accession number 2017-M55) is housed in #2.6; one photograph was added to #PD.5. All other files remain in the same order. Folders are listed in intellectual, not numerical, order.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Margaret Foley was born on March 19, 1875, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Peter and Mary (Welch) Foley. She had two sisters, Celia and Delia, and a brother James. A member of the Hat Trimmers' Union, Foley was on the board of the Boston Women's Trade Union League. She was employed by the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association from 1906 to 1915 as a speaker and manager of organization work. After making open-air suffrage speaking tours across Massachusetts, in 1911 Foley attended the International Woman Suffrage Alliance convention in Stockholm and spent a month in London studying English suffrage tactics. Between 1912 and 1918 Foley traveled to other states to help local suffrage organizations campaign in critical referenda and elections. In addition to her suffrage work, Foley was a Trustee for Children in the Children's Institutions Department, 1913-1920, and deputy commissioner of the Child Welfare Division in the Institutions Department, 1920-1926, both for the City of Boston. Foley never married and probably lived with her long-time friend Helen Elizabeth Goodnow for many years. They traveled to Europe and the Middle East in 1928-1930. Foley died in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1957.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2015-M172, 2016-M225, 2017-M55. Accession number 2016-M225 was added in December 2016, and 2017-M55 was added in March 2017.

These addenda to the papers of Margaret Foley were given to the Schlesinger Library by Mary Goodnow White (niece of Foley's friend, Helen Elizabeth Goodnow) in October 2015, December 2016, and March 2017.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Margaret Foley Papers, 1847-1968 (MC 404), Papers of Margaret Foley and Helen Elizabeth Goodnow, 1882-1965 (MC 405), and Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1911-1924 (WRC 62-64af).

Processing Information

Processed: October 2015

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional materials added: December 2016 and March 2017

By: Anne Engelhart
Link to catalog
Foley, Margaret, 1875-1957. Additional papers of Margaret Foley, 1892-1974: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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