Biographical / Historical
Mary Hopkins was born in 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Francis C. and Virginia Reed. Mary Caroline Reed attended Finch Junior College and subsequently graduated from Smith College in 1951. She married Byrd Hopkins in the middle of her senior year, and they had four children. She began to volunteer and then work for the Northern Educational Service in Springfield, Massachusetts, as a counseling coordinator for disadvantaged students. Beginning in the early 1960s, she regularly attended Friends' Conference on Religion and Psychology and studied Jungian psychology. She was an English major in College, but after her marriage ended in 1971, she increasingly became involved in religious thought, psychology, feminism, and social work. She also became a Quaker, joining the Mount Toby Monthly Meeting. In 1977 she earned an MSW from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. From 1977 to 1981, she worked as a medical social worker for Sacred Heart Hospital in Chester, Pa., and in private practice. She was a long time participant in the Round Table Associates, an Association for Analytical Psychology in the Delaware Valley.
In the 1980s, Hopkins became deeply interested in the search for a female identity through symbols, and she researched the images of women in art, collecting an extensive collection of slides. After leaving the social work profession, she developed a series of slide lectures on female symbols and the lack of a female iconography created by women; she presented these talks in many forums, including Quaker, feminist, and Jungian groups. She was also active in the Women?s Caucus for Art and worked for three years as a national administrator for the organization. Her research evolved into a workshop entitled "Exploring Women's Spirituality Through Art History" in six parts, five of which were made into a video tapes entitled "Woman and Her Symbols" in three parts. An active Friend as well as a feminist, Mary Hopkins was involved in groups which were trying to develop a more woman-centered meeting. In the 1990s, she devoted increasing amount of time and energy to Quaker activities. She was active in Friends General Conference, especially in the Women's Center and was a member of the Ministry and Nurture Committee. She served as Clerk of the Women's Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. She was also involved in Quaker meetings as a clerk and observer. In the mid-1990s she participated in the Structure and Workings Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Several of her articles concern religion and the spiritual state of the Society of Friends, with special attention to silent worship. The two main religious writings are from 1968 and 1975, a sermon and a Spiritual Autobiography.