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Mabeth Hurd Paige Papers

Identifier: M/A 0050

Description of Contents

The collection contains materials related to the life and political career of Mabeth Hurd Paige, including personal correspondence and papers, notes and typewritten transcripts related to Paige’s biography "Lady in Law", unpublished manuscripts and speeches, and newspaper clippings.


  • Creation: 1900s-1960s, 1997


Access Restrictions

The collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours.


Mabeth Hurd Paige represented portions of Minneapolis as one of the first women elected to the Minnesota State House of Representatives. She served in the state house from 1923 until 1945. Mabeth Hurd was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1869 or 1870. She remained in Massachusetts through high school, after which she went on to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the Massachusetts Art School in Boston, and the Julian Art Academie in Paris, France. After returning to the United States in 1891, she settled in Minneapolis where she began work with the art department in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

In Minneapolis, she became acquainted with James Paige, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, and the two were married in 1895. James encouraged her to pursue a degree in law which Mabeth did, graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1900 and being admitted to the bar shortly thereafter. After law school, she was active in a number of social and civic groups. She served as president of the Women's Christian Association from 1910 to 1922, founded the Minnesota chapter of the League of Women's Voters, and was also active with the Urban League, Minnesota Women's Cooperative Alliance, and various state and municipal boards and committees. She was also a delegate to the First International Congress of Women in Rome in 1923 as well as two successive congresses in Paris and Geneva.

In 1922, she ran for the Minnesota State House of Representatives seat for the 30th District (comprising parts of Downtown and North Minneapolis). She was elected and, along with three other women elected that year, became one of the state's first elected female legislators. She caucused with the Republican Party but was described as a "freelance" who was not beholden to a political party. She pursued a number of different legislative initiatives in the areas of public welfare, labor, education, and environmental protection. She served ten consecutive terms, retiring from her seat in 1945.

Later in life, Paige remained active in politics. She served on committees and commissions including the Minneapolis Charter Commission, the State Constitutional Commission, and the Governor's Interracial Commission.

She suffered a stroke in early 1961 and later died in Minneapolis on August 19, 1961. She was survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Paige Thompson.


1.47 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 1 oversize envelope)

Language of Materials


Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

Lady In Law, a Biography of Mabeth Hurd Paige by Darragh Aldrich.

Mabeth Hurd Paige, 1869-1961: Her Contributions as Humanitarian and Legislator by Caroline M. Erwin Thesis written by Mabeth Hurd Paige's granddaughter available in Special Collections Lp143e1

Mabeth Hurd Paige Papers
Nick Steffel and Stephanie Gertken
Finding aid expanded and revised December 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.