“When the season advanced for filings in the second year after women had suffrage, I found — to my dismay — that very few were filing for either state or municipal offices. Someone asked why I did not start the ball rolling myself.’”
Mabeth Hurd Paige, undated memoir
Her interest in women’s rights began when Mabeth Hurd (no relation to Ethel Hurd) was a young girl in Newburyport, MA. When she told her father that she planned to work for suffrage, he responded favorably. In his opinion, many women did not “yearn for responsibility in public affairs.”
Hurd married James Paige, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, where she later completed a law degree. She joined the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) at the urging of its president, Clara Ueland. In 1919, Paige chaired the committee that reorganized the MWSA into the Minnesota League of Women Voters.
After her election in 1922, Paige served in the Minnesota legislature for 22 years. She worked on issues including expanded psychiatric care, children’s welfare, and environmental protection for Minnesota’s forests and lakes. After retiring from office, she was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Race Relations. She also worked to encourage women to run for office. “I had hoped when I entered the legislature in 1923 that by 1943 no less than 10 percent of the legislature would be women,” she said as she left office. “Yet I am now the only one.”