Louise Grundy Lindsley

Regent of the Ladies' Hermitage Association and woman suffragist, Louise Grundy Lindsley was born in Nashville on March 12, 1858, the daughter of John Berrien and Sallie McGavock Lindsley. She grew up in Nashville and graduated from the State Normal College in 1879. In 1889 she was recruited by her mother to sign the charter for the Ladies' Hermitage Association when a legal opinion issued on the charter stated that the signatures of unmarried women were needed. During her mother's tenure as regent of the Ladies' Hermitage Association, Louise Lindsley designed the organization's badge, a wreath of green hickory leaves with “LHA” in white enamel.

After her mother's death in 1903, Lindsley took a more visible role in Nashville civic affairs and became regent of the Ladies' Hermitage Association in 1912. During her term as regent, the association purchased the remainder of the acreage of Andrew Jackson's property from the state and continued renovations on the house itself. She provided national visibility and awareness of the Hermitage by speaking to visiting conventions in Nashville.

While performing these duties, Lindsley addressed the Southern Commercial Congress at the Ryman Auditorium. The president of the congress, a national organization in the New South tradition of commercial promotion, recruited Lindsley for the Women's Auxiliary of the Congress to organize the Tennessee Women's Division. From across the state she called together women who were active in other voluntary associations to work together to promote the goals of the congress and to educate rural women. One of the highlights of her work with the congress was a trip in 1914 to Panama, where she walked in the canal prior to its opening. By 1915 she was national president of the Women's Auxiliary to the Southern Commercial Congress. The auxiliary focused on vocational education for women and sought to empower rural women to improve local communities in such areas as schools, roads, and public health.

When the United Stated entered World War I in 1917, Lindsley presided over the initial meeting of the Tennessee Division of the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense and was appointed by the National Bureau of Speakers as speaker for the South. Her work in support of the war effort led to her appointment as organizing chair of the Nashville Housewives' League, a local branch of a national organization supporting the war effort by making housekeeping more efficient and scientific.

An active member of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association, Lindsley was sixty-two years old when the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed giving all American women the right to vote. Throughout her life she continued her involvement in various local women's groups and served in a variety of leadership positions in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, the United States Good Road Association, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of 1812, and the Centennial Club. Lindsley died in July 1944 in Nashville. She is buried in the McGavock-Lindsley family plot of Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Suggested Reading

Carole Stanford Bucy, “Quiet Revolutionaries: The Grundy Women and the Beginnings of Womens Volunteer Associations in Tennessee,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 54 (1995): 40-53

Citation Information

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  • Article Title Louise Grundy Lindsley
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  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
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  • Access Date April 13, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018