Today…January 2nd

Today…January 2nd

Martha Carey Thomas (January 2, 1857 – December 2, 1935) is remembered as a suffragist and the president of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. For many years, Carey Thomas was in a relationship with Mamie Gwinn. She is still remembered as one of the earlier lesbian leaders in the United States.

M. Carey Thomas - Wikipedia

She was also a racist. As president of the university, Carey Thomas fought to prevent Jewish academics from being hired to teach and from potential students being admitted if they were Jewish. Additionally, she openly advocated for elevating whiteness. “If the present intellectual supremacy of the white races is maintained, as I hope that it will be for centuries to come, I believe that it will be because they are the only races that have seriously begun to educate their women” (speech to the freshman class in 1916). She also paid for a Black student’s tuition at Cornell University in order to prevent them from attending Bryn Mawr. Beginning in 2017, the college began a conversation to consider renaming spaces named for Carey Thomas and to find new ways to offer reparations for the harmful legacy of her racism.

Many of the reflections on Martha Carey Thomas never mention her racism, but we remember her for both the ways she was able to find space to be a woman who loved women, in a time when many lesbian women did not have that ability, and for the things she got wrong. We remember both sides of her in order to recommit our intention to help end the legacy of racism in this nation, both within and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. Learn more at:

She was a woman ahead of her time M. Carey Thomas the POWER & PASSION

It was a radical notion for her time, but M. Carey Thomas had always believed that women were equal to men, that they deserved the same chance to have a career and make their own choices in life. Her mother and a favorite aunt had encouraged Thomas’ independence as she grew up in West Baltimore in the mid-19th century.