Safford was one of three prominent women, all educated in Hamilton, IL. Born
on December 23, 1851, she was a daughter of Stephen and Louisa Hunt Safford.
After graduation from the State University of Iowa, she became a teacher in
Hamilton, and, later, a minister in the Unitarian Church. She served
churches in Humboldt, Sioux city, and Des Moines, Iowa and traveled
extensively. She was President of the Iowa Association of Unitarian Churches
for eleven years, the Florida Equal Suffrage Association and was one of the
orators at the Chicago World’s Fair. She had a desire to help others, and
was successful in all her endeavors.
Later in life, when she “felt she had something to give”, she decided to pay
tribute to her hometown, where she “spent many happy days, and formed
lifelong friendships.” She had in mind a community house but realized
Hamilton needed a new High School. She then sought the aid of friends and
organizations who could develop a plan that would show her gratitude to this
community. It seemed fitting to her, since many in her family had been
teachers in Hamilton, to build an auditorium that would be part of the new
This would be a Memorial, not only to teachers and students, but to all
citizens of Hamilton. So, on October 11, 1927, the new auditorium was
dedicated and given to the City of Hamilton. Mary Safford was present at the
dedication, but died a short time later. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery
in Hamilton, IL.