About Mary A. Phillips (1844–1922)
On September 4, 1900, Mary A. Phillips won the Eleventh Ward Board of Education race with 405 votes, a majority of sixty-one votes over her opponent Dr. Walter Moffat’s 344. She was reelected in 1902 in a much closer race by a majority of just six votes. Her second win was somewhat unexpected. Powerful factions within Grand Rapids school board politics had advocated publicly against her, many considering her opponent’s victory a “forgone [sic] conclusion.” Defying her critics, Phillips returned victorious. During her second term she chaired a committee on student savings and helped reevaluate the existing stamp savings system.
Phillips was also an active member of her community and served on the board of directors of the Grand Rapids Woman’s Club from 1905 to 1906.
“Failed in a Couple, Mayor Perry Took a Hand In School Election.” Grand Rapids Herald, September 5, 1900.
Goss, Dwight. History of Grand Rapids and Its Industries. Vol. 2. Chicago: C.F. Cooper and Co., 1906.
“Trustees Chosen.” Grand Rapids Herald, September 3, 1902.
“Will Elect Today: School Trustees Will be Sifted at Polls.” Grand Rapids Press, September 2, 1902.