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Mary Smiley photograph collection

Identifier: P070

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographs from Marie Stuart Edwards and the Shirk, Stuart, and Edwards families in Lafayette and Peru, Indiana and Marion, Ohio, as well as photographs, letters, and scrapbook pages from Mary Castner Smiley in Denver, Indiana, ranging from 1876 to 1990, regarding Edwards' women's suffrage activism (circa 1920-1922) and war work during World War II; family portraits of Edwards and three generations of the Stuart and Edwards families; the Shirk-Edwards House in Peru, Indiana (1970s); homes of the Stuart family, including Earlhurst, in Lafayette, Indiana (circa 1900-1919); Castner and Smiley family members (1882-1986); and Smiley's club activities (1968-1990).

The photographs concerning women's suffrage highlight two of Edwards' activities with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and National League of Women Voters, specifically her western speaking tour and involvement at Social Justice Day in Warren G. Harding's hometown, with Carrie Chapman Catt, on October 1, 1920. There is also a newspaper clipping about Marie Stuart Edwards from the Indianapolis Star on July 16, 1977.


  • 1876-1990

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Notes

Marie Stuart Edwards was a suffragist and social reformer. She graduated from Smith College in 1901. During the 1910s, Edwards campaigned for women's suffrage in Indiana and nationally. She became the president of the Woman's Franchise League of Indiana, serving from 1917 to 1919. Edwards was the publicity director of National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), working in Washington, D.C. at the time of the amendment's passage on August 18, 1920. Two months after the amendment passed, she attended Social Justice Day, which she helped organize, in Marion, Ohio on October 1, 1920 with over 12,000 women from 40 states who listened to the next president, Senator Warren G. Harding, give a front porch campaign speech. Edwards served as the first treasurer of the National League of Women Voters upon the founding of the organization' in 1920 and later, as the organization's vice president. As part of her duties as treasurer and manager of the national speakers bureau for the League, she traveled across the United States.

Edwards involved herself in other personal and civic pursuits, which included designing a window screen that was manufactured by her husband's chair factory in Peru, Indiana and managing said factory in his absence during World War I. She was the first woman to sit on the Peru Board of Education and in 1921, she was appointed to the Indiana State Board of Education by Governor Warren T. McCray. Edwards led the local Works Progress Administration board in Miami County during the Great Depression. In 1937, she served as vice-president of the Indiana Board of Public Welfare, as well as chairman of the drafting committee for the Indiana Civil Service bill.

Edwards was born to Thomas Arthur (1853-1892) and Ada (Ellsworth) Stuart (1855-1937) in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana on September 11, 1880. She had one younger sister, Allison Ellsworth Stuart (1886-1950). Edwards married Richard Elbert Edwards (1880-1969) in 1904 and they had one son, Richard Arthur (1909-1984). The family lived in the Shirk-Edwards House, located at 50 North Hood Street, Peru, Miami County, Indiana, which is a Classical Revival and Victorian home on the National Register of Historic Places. Edwards died on November 17, 1970 in Peru, Indiana and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Peru, Indiana.


Dice, Nellie Waggoner. "Forum: The Readers Corner." Indianapolis Star, July 16, 1977, 63.

Educator-Journal Company. "The Personal and Educational Department." The Educator-Journal 22, no. 7 (March, 1921): 426. "Marie Stuart Edwards." Find a Grave Index. Accessed Mary 4, 2017.

National Park Service. "Shirk-Edwards House National Register of Historic Places Registration Form." Accessed May 4, 2017.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. "Indiana." In History of Woman Suffrage, 1900-1920, vol. 6. (New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), 127.


Mary Alice (Castner) Smiley was born January 28, 1919 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Livy and Hannah Castner. In 1940, she earned a nursing degree from Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. One year later, she married Paul Smiley on September 14, 1941 and they had two children, David and Lloyd. The family later moved to Peru, Indiana where Paul Smiley owned and operated Smiley Sawmill and Smiley Buildings from 1949 to 1973. They bought the Shirk-Edwards House in Peru, where Mary Smiley discovered a scrapbook belonging to Hoosier suffragist, Marie Stuart Edwards. Smiley was chapter regent of the 19th Star Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and held offices in the Indiana Federation of Clubs (IFC). She died on September 15, 2015 in Westfield, Indiana.


Items in the collection.

"Mary Alice Castner Smiley" obituary. Indianapolis Star, September 20, 2015. Accessed May 5, 2017.

"Paul E. Smiley" obituary. Indianapolis Star, November 27, 2016. Accessed May 5, 2017.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Mary Smiley on 1988/04; 1993/12/20.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/05/05 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2017/05/05 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid revised 2018/10/16 and 2019/03/19 by Brittany Kropf.
Mary Smiley photograph collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.