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Fri, 10.22.1830

Mary Dickerson, Businesswoman, and Club Woman born

Mary Dickerson

*Mary Dickerson was born on this date in 1830. She was a Black businesswoman and club woman.

Mary H. Dickerson was born in Haddam, Connecticut. She grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. Dickerson and her husband, Silas, moved to Newport, Rhode Island, sometime around 1865. She opened a dressmaking shop in the early 1870s. She was the first Black woman to open a store in that location on Bellevue Avenue, and her clients were "prominent people in the city" of Newport. In 1895, Dickerson founded the Women's Newport League.

In 1896, she and Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin created the Northeastern Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. Dickerson's husband died at home after suffering a long illness on September 28, 1898. She and her husband had one son, Frederick C. Dickerson, who did business in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Boston. In 1900, Dickerson provided photos of African American clubs, organizations, and individuals from Newport to be included in the "negro exhibit" for the Worlds Fair Paris Exposition.

In 1903, she founded the Rhode Island Union of Colored Women's Clubs. Dickerson was the honorary president of the New England Federation of Women's Clubs in 1904. Mary H. Dickerson died in Newport on July 1, 1914. She was buried in New Haven, Connecticut.

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