Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Lucretia del Valle Grady Promotes Women's Suffrage in Iran, 1950.

Lucretia del Valle Grady (center), wife of the U.S. ambassador, holds tea in 1950 with activist Princess Safiyeh Firouz to discuss the struggle to give Iranian women the right to vote. (It came in 1963 as part of Reza Shah Pahlavi's "westernizing" government reforms known as the White Revolution).

7x9-inch Associated Press wire photo, August 23, 1950, for publication September 13, 1950.

About Lucretia del Valle Grady: Born Oct. 18, 1892, in Los Angeles, Lucretia was the daughter of Calif. Sen. Reginaldo del Valle (owner of Rancho Camulos) and granddaughter of Ygnacio del Valle (owner of the western Santa Clarita Valley). A part-owner of Rancho Camulos, Lucretia and her cousins sold the ranch to August Rubel in 1924. By that time Lucretia was married to Henry F. Grady, a politically connected economist who taught at U.C. Berkeley before World War II and served as U.S. Ambassador to India, Greece and Iran afterward. From 1941 to 1947 he was president of a shipping company, American President Lines, which was the successor company to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. of the 1840s-1850s. Lucretia had been widowed 15 years when she died on May 23, 1972. Read more about Lucretia here.

About Princess Safiyeh Firouz: An early advocate for women's rights during the Pahlavi reign, Princess Safiyeh Firouz was married to Prince Mohammad Hussein Mirza Firouz (1894-1983), whose ruling Qajar dynasty (since 1785) was deposed in 1925 by Reza Khan (Reza Shah Pahlavi), the last Shah of Iran. In the 1940s, Princess Firouz led a march on the Iranian Parliament for women's suffrage. She founded the Council of Women in Iran in 1943 and opposed wearing the chador (as the viewer will note in this photo). During the 1979 Khomeini revolution, the prince and princess fled to Paris, where the princess died in exile at age 87 on March 20, 1990.

Photo cutline reads:

A96135 - World Wide Please Credit
(For use Sunday, Sept. 13, with Robert Hewett's Tehran, Iran, AP-N story on Mrs. Henry F. Grady)
Mrs. Henry F. Grady, wife of the American ambassador to Iran, holds a weekly gathering at her home in Tehran, to which she invites a different group of women each week. During the meetings, she urges them to assert themselves. "If you show your independence, you can have the vote for women in one year," she tells them. At one of the weekly gatherings are, left to right: Mrs. Hajia Tarbiet, widow of a former Iranian educator, Mohammed Tarbiet; Mrs. Grady; and Princess Firouz of Iran.
11351 1045a 8/23/1950 AJE AP WABC165

Click to enlarge.

Ambassador's Wife Stirs Up Trouble for Iranian Husbands.

Tehran, Iran — (AP) — The lively, go-getting wife of the new U.S. Ambassador to Iran is stirring up a lot of trouble for husbands in this ancient Eastern land.

Since the beginning of Persian civilization, the men have been top dogs. Women have been going without veils for only 14 years, and even today the average wife's place is strictly in the home.

But in the last few weeks, Mrs. Henry F. Grady — Lucretia to her friends — has delighted long-suppressed Persian women by scoffing at tradition.

"If you show your independence, you can have the vote for women in one year," the exuberant Mrs. Grady tells her new Persian friends.

She is making plenty of friends. Her "Thursday morning'' meetings are the talk of Tehran.

Over iced tea or fruit juice, 20 to 30 Iranian women settle down each Thursday for a gabfest with Mrs. Grady. They discuss earnestly such social problems as illiteracy, woman's suffrage and ways to improve the Capital's unsanitary water supply which flows to Tehran homes in open gutters.

Startling Change

It's a startling change from the usual round of polite teas and cocktail parties. Some Persian women were a little taken aback at first by an Ambassador's wife who flouts protocol to jump into all sorts of controversial subjects.

Each week different women are invited to the Thursday meetings. Most go away gossiping enthusiastically at the way an American woman operates.

Mrs. Grady is no inexperienced operator. She gets her bounce, apparently, from a long line of California-Spanish ancestors. She says she made her first speech at the age of two in the California Senate — propped on the desk of her father, the late Reginaldo Del Valle, who for years was prominent in West Coast politics.

World Traveler

In the 1930s she was a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee. She has lived in many parts of the world. Her husband, who has a reputation in the State Department for getting things done in the world's trouble spots, came to Iran after serving as Ambassador in Greece and India.

Not content to settle down in the traditional hostess role of an Ambassador's wife, 58-year-old Mrs. Grady has taken on a full-time job of selling the American way of life as her husband's partner.

The women's vote is only one thing she is interested in (she's promoting a United Nations program for Radio Tehran, for instance). But her first action here was to stimulate the tiny woman's suffrage movement.

'No Vote, We'll Strike'

"If the men won't give us vote, then let's go on strike," was the fiery comment of one chic Iranian woman at a Thursday meeting.

Her friends gasped and giggled at such an unheard-of idea. But a few minutes later they were tossing back and forth with approval.

"Some of the husbands are in for a bad time," commented one foreign diplomat's wife.

If Mrs. Grady follows the pattern she set in Greece, some of the Iranian husbands — government ministers, businessmen, professors, etc. — will be drawn into the discussion circle before long. One American who saw Mrs. Grady in action in Greece commented:

"It sounds fantastic in a country like this, but I'm willing to bet the Persian women will be voting after she gets through stirring things up."

Russians, Too

According to Tehran gossip. Mrs. Grady's impact — and that's the word for it — has hit even the Russian Embassy,

She met Mrs. Ivan Sadchikov, wife of the Soviet Ambassador, at a couple of diplomatic functions.

Now the story is going around that the Soviet Ambassador's wife has asked her manicurist for the same shade of nail polish that Mrs. Grady uses.

It's a mild pinkish hue instead of red.

LW2887: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.

• Del Valle Family


Mission Play 1913


Lucretia: Face of California (Sunset Magazine 1914)


Photo for Lummis


Christens Ship 1946


Departs for D.C. 1947


Arrives India 1947


Promoting Women's Suffrage in Iran 1950


Obituary, Death Cert. 1972

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ] is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV
The site owner makes no assertions as to ownership of any original copyrights to digitized images. However, these images are intended for Personal or Research use only. Any other kind of use, including but not limited to commercial or scholarly publication in any medium or format, public exhibition, or use online or in a web site, may be subject to additional restrictions including but not limited to the copyrights held by parties other than the site owner. USERS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for determining the existence of such rights and for obtaining any permissions and/or paying associated fees necessary for the proposed use.