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Mary Elizabeth Garrett
Birth: Mar. 5, 1854
Baltimore City
Maryland, USA
Death: Apr. 3, 1915
Bryn Mawr
Montgomery County
Pennsylvania, USA

Philanthropist, Women's Education and Suffrage Pioneer. She helped lay the foundation for the modern American medical education system, and the entrance of young women into it. Raised in a family of privilege (her father was railroad and shipping magnate John Work Garrett), her educational accomplishments were limited, but she was to learn the ways of business and philanthropy as her father's confidante and secretary. In 1878, Garrett and some like-minded friends founded the "Friday Evening" group (which was to remain active until around 1895) with the vague goal of improving the educational lot of young girls. Her father's death in 1884 left her and her associates with the means to develop specific projects; in 1885, they founded the Bryn Mawr School for Girls, a college preparatory institution in the Baltimore suburbs, based on the Pennsylvania college of the same name. The school opened in 1890, and Garrett turned her attention to medical education. Johns Hopkins University (on whose board Mr. Garrett had served) was in the process of building a medical school. At the time, men and women were trained in separate institutions; the men's facilities were, for the most part, of poor quality, little more than trade schools, and those for women fewer, and worse. Johns Hopkins had a problem; the original endowment was not going to be nearly enough. Garrett offered to make up the deficit, but with the stipulations that women would be admitted on the same basis as men, and that all candidates would have to meet certain standards of educational accomplishment. The conditions were accepted, the first modern American medical school opened in 1893, and Garrett took up the cause of Bryn Mawr College. The Pennsylvania institution was in need of money, which she was willing to supply, again with a condition; that her "Friday Evening" friend M. Carey Thomas be made president. The trustees were eager to get Thomas, the bargain was concluded, and Bryn Mawr became a world-class facility. Garrett then set her sights on the increasingly contentious fight for Women's Suffrage. Poor health was to limit her involvement, though her financial backing continued, and helped insure later success. She lived her final years at Bryn Mawr, essentially retired from public life after 1909, and died of leukemia. Her full story is told in the 2008 "Mary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age", by Kathleen Waters Sander. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Family links: 
  John Work Garrett (1820 - 1884)
  Rachel Ann Harrison Garrett (1823 - 1883)
  Thomas Harrison Garrett (1843 - 1888)*
  Robert Garrett (1847 - 1896)*
  Mary Elizabeth Garrett (1854 - 1915)
*Calculated relationship
Green Mount Cemetery
Baltimore City
Maryland, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 39.30766, -76.6067
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: May 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37473299
Mary Elizabeth Garrett
Added by: Bob Hufford
Mary Elizabeth Garrett
Added by: Ryan David Schweitzer
Mary Elizabeth Garrett
Added by: KP
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- sjm
 Added: Apr. 3, 2016
You are fascinating to read about and when you died you left $15,000,000, to M. Carey Thomas, pres. of Bryn Mawr College, with whom you were romantically involved and had lived with.RIP
- Tom Nichols
 Added: Sep. 29, 2015

- quebecoise
 Added: Jun. 9, 2015
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