Glendale, California Biographies

Mrs. Mary Howard Gridley Braly


        Mrs. Mary Howard Gridley Braly. On September 27, 1909, Mrs. Mary Howard Gridley came to Glendale, California, from New York City. After looking at a number of towns in which to build a home she decided on Glendale as the most desirable, it being in such close proximity to Los Angeles and the class of citizens superior mentally and morally.

        In a short time she was elected President of the Tuesday Afternoon Club, afterwards a member of the Library board and for some time was chairman of the book committee. She loved the work with the members of the Library board and never failed to express her appreciation of the wonderfully efficient librarian, Mrs. Danford. She was on the building committee for the public library and greatly enjoyed the harmony of the meetings.

        Mr. Gridley was a state chairman in the Federated Clubs for four years; a member of the Friday Morning Club in Los Angeles; and the Woman’s Press Club, having brought her membership card from New York City, where she was a member for many years. She was also a member of the West End Women’s Club of New York City in which she was chairman of waterways and forestry; the Rubenstein Club; the Forum; The Current Events Club; a director of the Crippled Children’s Home, and an active worker in many lines of charities.

        Being one of the early members of the national society of the Daughter of the American Revolution, descended from ancestors who were all officers in the battle of Bunker Hill, she first joined the “North Shore Chicago Chapter.” She was born and raised in Illinois, in a town founded by her father, Captain Sullivan Howard, who was on the Governor's staff in Boston, Massachusetts. He brought a colony of several hundred people to Illinois before the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad was built, and founded the town of Kewanee, where Mary Howard was born. She was educated by a governess (a Mount Holyoke graduate) who fitted her to enter the Kewanee academy, where she finished the academic course. She then entered Oberlin College, Ohio, where she completed “the beginning of her education.” She has been an ardent student all her life, taking courses of lectures, under many celebrated teachers in different places; has been twice to Europe; has studied art and made a specialty of antique oriental rugs as one branch of art; also has studied the lives of the Persian rug artists. She considers these rugs even more decorative to a home than paintings of the old masters.

        After finishing her school life she married James Conger Gridley, of Pekin, Illinois, a successful merchant of a fine family, who died many years ago, greatly beloved of by his friends. Mr. and Mrs. Gridley had one daughter who married Charles W. Kirk, and now lives in Santa Barbara, California. Mrs. Kirk was educated at a ladies college in Minneapolis, and is an exemplary woman.

        Mrs. Braly has been greatly interested in the Parent-Teacher Association and thinks it a wonderful organization doing much good in demonstrating harmony between parents and teachers in their work. She was a member of the State Lectureship Board and has spoken at a great number of schoolhouses in Los Angeles County, as well as lecturing before nearly all of the largest women’s clubs on antique rugs. She became a member of the Congregational Church at the age of twelve years and began to teach Sunday school at the age of thirteen. She served as church clerk and Sunday school superintendent for many years in the middle west where she lived before going to New York City. She loves Sunday school and Christian Endeavor work and was an ardent worker for all these organizations until coming to California, when she decided she had earned a rest and would leave the responsibility to younger workers. Her home is one of the most beautiful in Glendale. She took great interest in the architecture, and the building as well as the laying out of the grounds and the planting of the trees and the flowers.

        The Los Angeles Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in her home where she was elected regent and served them for two years in the City of Los Angeles where their meetings were held. In 1913 she founded the General Richard Gridley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution without taking any pay.

        She is very proud of her Chapter and thinks the members form the finest Chapter in the world. She has been elected regent for life, also is on the advisory board of the Maternity Hospital in Los Angeles and her Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter has done some praiseworthy work for this institution, both in making articles of clothing for the little babies, putting up fruit and raising money to help sustain it. They also work for the Albion Street School, helping to Americanize the many foreigners in that locality.

In 1910 Mrs. Braly became a member of the Fine Arts League in Los Angeles, and assisted with their collection of art display at Exposition Park. During membership in that League she became intimately acquainted with Mr. John Braly who was president of that League while Mrs. Gridley was vice president.

In July 1914, Mr. Braly and Mrs. Gridley were married in Chicago and came to Glendale to live. Mr. Braly is the father of Suffrage for California, and was a college president when he was twenty-four years of age, having graduated at the University of Tennessee a few months before. He has been president of eight banks and built the Hibernian Bank building in Los Angeles while he was its president and it was known as the California Savings Bank. He is a very well known citizen and a worker in the Anti-saloon League and in all progressive enterprises to benefit California and the United States,.

(Written by one who has known Mrs. Braly from girlhood)

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. P. 318-321. A photo of  Mrs. Mary H. Gridley Braly is on page 319.