May Kemp was one of three daughters born to Angus Smith Kemp and his wife Catherine McCarthy. She sang alto in the Exhibition Choir in 1891-92. On 6 Mar 1900 May married William John Stewart Cowper, a chemist, in Launceston. They moved to Fitzroy, Victoria, by 1903, but were divorced in 1911. May was granted permanent alimony in March 1912. May's mother and sisters Christina and Jessie are also pictured in the Family Album.