One of the most powerful women in Florida history, May was born in New Jersey, but moved to Crystal River, Florida in 1874. She married her husband Governor Sherman Jennings in 1891. As the First Lady of Florida she was extremely active in civic work, becoming the president of Florida’s Federation of Women’s Clubs. After campaigning for women’s suffrage, in 1920 she became the co-founder of Florida’s League of Women Voters.
She continued her civic work by campaigning for prohibition, better treatment of children and prisoners, highway beautification, historic preservation, Seminole Indian reservations, and education funding.
She was known as the “Mother of Florida’s Forestry” for her tireless work in ecological conservation, her part in creating Florida’s Board of Forestry. She helped created he 1,800-acre Royal Palm Hammock State Park, the eastern entrance to the current 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park.
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