Biography of Mrs. Maude C. Wait
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

STATE SENATOR MAUDE COMSTOCK WAIT, who is one of the distinguished citizens of Cleveland and a member of the Ohio State Senate, was born in Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, on the 11th of August, 1878, and is a daughter of Orvis and Mary Comstock. The father was a native of Vermont, and was the son of Edson and Chloe Foster, who were prominent citizens of that state. The Foster family came to the Colonies far back before the Revolutionary war, and the qualified members fought for liberty during that long and momentous struggle. It is probable that they first settled in the Old Bay State, but later, when the western exodus began, went to Vermont with the tide of pioneers. The mother of Mrs. Waitt was one of the early graduates of Williard Seminary, and was competent to rear her family with the right incentives and aspirations.

The parents of Mrs. Waitt lived a married life of sixty two years, and were highly respected by their neighbors and acquaintances for their superior and superlative qualities. Her father served as selectman of his home village, and for nineteen years served with conspicuous credit as overseer of the poor of his county. He was an ardent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and served for fifty years with notable renown as a member of the official board of his church. He lived until he reached his eighty fourth year.

Mrs. Maude C. Waitt was given an excellent education in her early years, finishing at the Middlebury High School (Vermont) and in the Normal School department of the Vermont College at Saxton's River, Windham County. After leaving the Normal School she began the business of teaching, first in Middlebury and then at St. Johnsbury, Caledonia County, and at Rockland, Massachusetts, which is now a suburb of Boston. In all of these schools she distinguished herself as a superior instructor of children.

While teaching at Rockland, Massachusetts, she met and married Walter G. Waitt, who was at that time a senior at Harvard University and was one of the leaders of his dass. Mr. Waitt was born in Boston, and is the son of John M. and Mary (Shaw) Waitt. His parents formerly lived in Maine, but came to Boston and there located their final residence. Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Waitt came West and located at Cleveland, where Mr. Wait had previously secured a position with the National Carbon Company. He filled the position to the satisfaction of the company, and was finally transferred to the Fremont, Ohio, plant of the same organization. There he was occupied for ten years, during nearly all of which time he served as manager of the plant. He was then returned to Cleveland and placed in charge as manager of several productive battery plants of the same concern. He is now vice president and production manager of the Twin Dry Cell Battery Company of Cleveland.

Mr. and Mrs. Waitt have one daughter, Dora Ida, who is now aged fourteen years, and is receiving a splendid education. Mrs. Waitt has taken a zealous part in all worthy civic affairs. The results show her superiority and proficiency in economic and domestic advancement and uplift. She was the originator of the plan and became one of the directors of the Citizenship Classes which flourished in Lakewood for two years and is now to be extended throughout the whole state by the Federation of Women's clubs. Her masterly qualities brought her promptly to the front when she had settled down to her life task in dead earnest. She then served as a member of the Executive Board of the woman suffrage party of Ohio, and also as vice chairman of the woman suffrage party of Greater Cleveland. For one year she officiated as director of the Woman's City Club of Cleveland and also of the Woman's Civic League of Lakewood.

All of these experiences qualified her for still higher and more perplexing duties and activities. During the World war period she officiated with high credit as chairman of the Lakewood women in the Fourth Liberty Bond drive and the Victory Chest movement; and about the same time she was granted absolute management and control of the Thrift Stamp and birth registration campaigns. She was selected as one of the state and county speakers for the Red Cross activities. In addition she was elected a member of the Lakewood City Council, running second in a field of thirty one candidates, five to be elected, and she served as such with observable merit for the period of one year. She was also vice chairman of the Lakewood Republican Club, and was chairman of the Woman's Speakers Bureau of Ohio during the Harding presidential campaign.

As a result or consequence of the ability and proficiency which she displayed during these various momentous activities she was requested by the Citizens Committee to enter the republican primaries in 1922 as a candidate for the Ohio State Senate. She accepted and was successful at the primaries and in November following won at the polls and thus became the first woman state senator for the Twenty fifth Senatorial District. Since then she is entitled to be called Honorable Mrs. Waitt. As a member of the State Senate she was assigned to the chairmanship of the committees on state benevolent institutions and on state libraries. She was the first and only woman to serve on the Senate House Conference Committee. While serving in the Senate she introduced five bills: Providing for equal guardianship, for the better training of county nurses, for the sale of eighteen acres of useless land at the Newburg Asylum, giving library treasurers power to authorize the library itself to appropriate money without the consent of school boards, and for the enlargement of the powers of the county library boards. All of the five bills were passed. One of the bills was vetoed by the Governor, but was passed over his veto. She also introduced the "Fifty Fifty" bill, which sought to give women equal representation on the State Central Committee for congressional districts. She was not a side seat member, but was brilliant in her addresses and logical in her arguments and surprisingly prominent in all senatorial work.

State Senator Waitt is a member of the Womans City Club, of the Womans Business Club, of the Lakewood Womans Club, and a director of the Citizens' League of Cleveland.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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