Folsom, Mariana Thompson (1845–1909)

By: Tony Black

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: July 29, 2020

Mariana Folsom, Universalist minister, lecturer, and reform activist, was born on July 30, 1845, in Pennsylvania, probably in the Borough of Sunbury, Northumberland County, the daughter of merchant S. N. and Susan O. Thompson. The family moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, sometime between 1857 and 1860. After her high school education in Mount Pleasant, Mariana received a degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Although of Quaker background, she became a Universalist minister. In 1871 she married Allan Perez Folsom, who listed himself as a crockery merchant in 1880, an abstracter in 1898, and a lawyer in 1900. By 1879 Mariana was a state lecturer of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association, living in Marshalltown, Iowa. The family probably moved to Texas in late 1884 or early 1885 following an 1884 lecture tour there; the Folsoms lived in San Antonio and Edna before settling in Austin between 1898 and 1900. They had four children. Mariana Folsom was a leader in the National American Woman Suffrage Association and asked Lucy Stone in 1885 for assistance in establishing a state suffrage society. The resulting Texas Equal Rights Association was established in 1893. Mrs. Folsom also corresponded with Susan B. Anthony and Elisabet Ney; she arranged for the latter to appear before a Texas House of Representatives committee and request the ballot for women. She was also a member of the Universal Peace Union and the state Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She died January 31, 1909.

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Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 1968. A. Elizabeth Taylor, Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Texas (Austin: Temple, 1987).

  • Religion
  • Unitarian
  • Women
  • Suffragists and Antisuffragists

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Tony Black, “Folsom, Mariana Thompson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

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January 1, 1995
July 29, 2020

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