The Honorable Maude C. Waitt – Lakewood, Ohio

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Maude C. Waitt, b.1878-d.1935

By Jeannine Vegh, M.A., I.M.F.T. Psychotherapist and Author and

Women’s City Club of Cleveland, Citizen’s League of Cleveland, Women’s Civic League of Lakewood, Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association, Western Reserve Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ladies of the G.A.R., City Council of Lakewood, Lakewood Republican Club and Ohio General Assembly – State Senate

Maude Edith Comstock was born on August 11, 1878 in Middlebury, VT. Her parents were Orvis Foster Comstock and Mary Severence (née Hickey). She was the last of seven children but only three survived into adulthood. She met and later married Walter Gustavus Waitt on June 25, 1903 in Melrose, MA. They had a daughter, Doris Ida who was born on March 7, 1909 (died 1995) after moving to Ohio. Doris would go on to wed a year after her mother died and does not appear to have had any children.  Prior to marriage Maude taught in Vermont and then Massachusetts before becoming a principal at a grammar school there. Mr. and Mrs. Waitt would stay married until her death on December 13, 1935.

In 1914, Maude and her husband, moved to Lakewood, Ohio, where suffrage had been on the ballot for the second time in the state and failed. Two years prior, the Ohio Constitution had allowed cities the right to frame their own suffrage charters and create municipal offices. Then, three years after the couple had moved to the area, Lakewood passed municipal suffrage, which allowed women in the district to vote on municipal issues. This passed with the support of Maude, C.E. Kendall, and Bernice Pyke. At the same time, Maude organized citizenship classes to enable new voters from the immigrant pool.

In 1918, she became the Chair of the Lakewood Women’s Suffrage party. She urged women to “do our part in making the world safe for democracy.”  In this position, she sold $800,000 worth of Liberty bonds for the fourth drive. As a result, the Lakewood Press, on October 18, 1918 stated “They [Lakewood Women’s Suffrage party] have demonstrated their capacity to measure up to every obligation of full-fledged citizenship. Only a narrow minded man in this day of wonderful emancipation would seek to deny women the right to National Suffrage.” The article went on to exclaim “here’s to the ladies; once our superiors, now our equals.”

In 1920, Ohio was the fifth state to ratify the nineteenth federal amendment to the constitution. In 1921, Maude was elected to the City Council of Lakewood. One year later, she would resign as she was now one of the first of six women elected to the Ohio General Assembly in the State Senate. Maude was the first woman for the twenty-fifth Senatorial District. She held the title of the Honorable Mrs. Waitt. She would be re-elected in 1926 and 1930 for a four year term limit. During her three terms she sat on the following Senate committees and was the Chair for three of these: 1. Benevolent Institutions (Chair); 2. Prison and Prison Reforms (Chair); 3. Library (Chair); 4. Public Health; 5. Commercial Corporations; and 6. Soldiers and Sailors Orphan’s Home. She also introduced three bills SB 130, SB 138 and SB 252, and these were all signed into law. The first bill, SB 130 dealt with the sale and conveyance of portions of the Cleveland State Hospital. The second bill, SB 138, allowed the state medical board to appoint visiting teachers for recognized schools of nursing. The last bill SB 252 required schools to prevent sudden cardiac arrest (this is now known as Lindsay’s Law).

After a long illness, Maude passed on December 13, 1935 in Lakewood, Ohio. She was fifty-seven years old.


“Hulbert Family Tree”. Ancestry,

Coates, William R. “Biography of Mrs. Maude C. Waitt.” A History of Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland, The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York, 1924.

Online Biographies, The American Historical Society, Chicago and New York 1924,

“Ladies Gallery.” The Ohio Statehouse, edited by Ohio Women’s Policy and Research Commission,

 A card advertising Ms. Waitt’s run for State Senate. A Service of Ohio’s Public Broadcasting Stations. Ohio Ladies Gallery. The Ohio Channel,

A Dream and What Became of It. A Service of Ohio’s Public Broadcasting Stations. Lakewood Press 1/1/1921. The Ohio Channel,

The following resources were courtesy of: The Lakewood Historical Society, est. 1952, Jessamyn Yenni, M.A., Curator

Borchert, Jim, and Susan Borchert. Lakewood the First 100 Years. Norfolk, VA, Donning County, 1989.

Butler, Margaret Manor. The Lakewood Story. New York, NY, Stratford House, 1949.

Allen, Florence E., and Mary Welles, compilers. The Ohio Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Certain Unalienable Right. USA, 1952.

“Editorial.” Lakewood Press [Lakewood], 18 Oct. 1918.

League of Women Voters of Lakewood 1922-1967: A Glimpse at the First Forty-five Years. Lakewood, 1968.

Abbott, Virginia Clark, compiler. The History of Women’s Suffrage and League of Women’s Voters in Cuyahoga County, 1911-1945. William Feather Company, 1949.

Thank you to the Ohio History Connection on-site library for their support with Ancestry.


Special Note: This will soon be on a database for the WOMEN AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, co-published by the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at Binghamton University and the online publisher Alexander Street.

A Dream and What Came of It

The following is an article written by Maude C. Waitt (under her married name Mrs. W.G. Waitt). I found this on The Ohio Channel but as they did not note what paper it came from and I was unable to track this, I could not say which periodical it is from. Having said this, I would say it is from one of the Cleveland, Ohio (Lakewood) newspapers as she lived in Cuyahoga County. Ms. Waitt was the first female state senator. The Ohio Channel did note that the date this was published was on January 21, 1921. I have not edited this save for a missing quotation mark by the paper.

A Dream and What Came of It by Mrs. W.G. Waitt


Last night I dreamed a dream and beheld a vision.

I thought I stood upon the shores of a great inland lake and a fair and beautiful city stretched before me.

And as I looked I saw in many homes – on many streets groups of earnest faced women who seemed to be intent on studying something. And ever and anon they would lift their eyes to messages which shone with a pure and wonderful radiance.

And after reading these messages their faces were illumined and they returned to their study with renewed zeal.

And as I drew closer I was privileged to read these flaming messages, “Arise, women voters from the North and South and East and West in this your union together – strong of faith and fearless of spirit and pledge yourselves and all that you are to a new crusade, a crusade which shall not end until the electorate of this republic is clean, intelligent American.”

“I pledge myself never to cast a vote for any measure which has not been submitted to my intelligence and ratified by my conscience.”

“Hold fast to those high ideals of public service which have been handed down to you form women who received inspiration from the Holy Fire of Divinity itself.”

And as I stood there curious – but understanding little which I saw I turned and saw at my side an Angel of Light.

And I said to him “What are all these women studying?” And he replied “They are studying the laws of the nation, state and city.”

“But,” I said, “it seems strange to me that they should leave their homes and children to study thus together.”

And he said, “They are leaving their homes and their children that they may learn better how to protect them. It has been revealed to these women that home cannot be contained within the four walls of an individual house – that home is the community and the people who live in it are the family, and the public school is the nursery and upon the welfare of the one depends the welfare of the other. And sadly do they all need the mother touch.”

“But what use do they expect to make of this knowledge,” said I.

“They are building for the new vision where men and women work together, each administering and governing according to his or her special abilities.”

“But are they not satisfied with the long reign of man?” said I. And the angel made reply: “Many women feel that a great share of the evils of society come from one half the human race with only half the intelligence and less than half the moral power making all the laws of the world alone.

“But what does woman feel she can add to the superior knowledge of man gained the long agest through? She expects to bring quicker intuitions, better moral standards and higher ideals.”

“But said I, half in anger, “Who is this new kind of woman who dares to think she can add to the superior knowledge of man?”

“This,” he made reply, “is the new woman citizen and you behold her in preparation to take her place at the council table of the nation.”

“But who is she and from whence did she come?”

And he said: “This is she who at man’s side stood and received with him the primal curse. This is she, who at his side passed the dread angel of the flaming sword went driven from the garden.

“This is she, who unfailing, weariless and unafraid has borne with man the heat and burden of the day.”

“But she is so new, so untried, can she be trusted?” said I.

And he answered thus: “When God sent to earth his only Son in whose arms was he laid? Whose was the breast that nourished Him?”

And the beauteous vision faded and as I slept I dreamed again. And once more I found myself on the shores of the same great inland lake and the same fair and beautiful city stretched before me. And I saw earnest men and women working together and the light of mutual understanding was in their eyes.

And I saw women working in peace and concord and the light of sisterly love was shining in their eyes. And I said to the Angel of Light still standing by my side: “What is this place?”

And he said: “Heaven is found on earth and here is the city of the new vision building by men and women working together. This is the ideal toward which humanity has been struggling the long ages through – this is the city of Lakewood, O.”


Because of this dream, during the month of February, 1921, a new plan for citizenship classes originating with Mrs. Waitt, will be tried out in the City of Lakewood.

Twenty women have consented to become leaders of twenty groups – each of these groups to contain twenty of their friends or neighbors.

For four consecutive weeks in February these groups will meet and discuss questions relative to the State of Ohio. Said discussion to be followed by a talk-fest and a cup of tea.