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Mary Ellicott Arnold
(April 23, 1876 - May 23, 1968) USA

Mary Ellicott Arnold

Social activist, teacher, writer

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Mary Ellicott Arnold was a native of Staten Island, New York. She moved moved at an early age to Somerville, New Jersey where she began her childhood friendship with Mabel Reed, a companionship that later matured into a life partnership.

Mary studied business at Drexel Institute, Philadelphia, and agriculture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. As young women, Mary Arnold and Mabel Reed devoted five years (1901 - 1906) to farming a fifty-five acre plot. They next gained experience as urban organizers in New York City. Their employer, City and Suburban Homes Company, was a philanthropic organization building affordable, decent housing for the working poor.

When Mary and Mabel accepted positions as so-called field matrons on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in the Klamath River Valley of Northern California, they were charged to exert a "civilizing influence" upon the fewer than eight hundred members of the Karok nation, a vagueness they were to exploit to their own benefit and that of the Karok.

Mary and Mabel lacked the social and racial prejudices of the era. Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs expected them to enforce white cultural values, they instead accepted Karok practices and established a close working friendship with Essie, a native woman with three husbands.

In the decades following their breakthrough experience of independent living and community education among the Karok, Mary and Mabel further developed their skills as organizers and activists in cooperative housing, credit unions, adult education, rural development, and American Indian rights. Mary worked in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Maine, New York, and Pennsylvania. In Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia, Mary and Mabel helped the mining community establish cooperative housing. Arnold conferred with Antigonish Movement elders Moses Coady and Father Jimmy and she and Reed lived among the miners.

Mary was an active Quaker and a finance officer with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was a member of the Providence Monthly Meeting in Media, Pennsylvania. Mary Ellicott Arnold died at Riddle Memorial Hospital, Middletown Township, Delaware Township, Pennsylvania. Mary Ellicott Arnold and Mabel Reed are buried together at Providence Friends Meeting Cemetery, Media, Pennsylvania.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - et alii

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