• The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library

Suffragists in Warren County, NY

Updated: Aug 21

If you are in the Glens Falls, NY area before Labor Day, please stop by the Warren County Historical Society & take a look at their exhibitions. The museum is free & open Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM this August. The flagship exhibit, Warren County 360° is on permanent display & my co-curated exhibit, in conjunction with the Old Fort House Museum & featuring dioramas by educator Cindy Whitman, Woman Suffrage in Warren and Washington Counties: 1883-1917 is on display until the end of August. If, for some reason, you cannot make it, or you are finding this post after August 2020, here is a pretty big taste of the Warren County portion, at least.


Votes for Women sash donated by Dr. & Nancy Hudnut. Warren County Historical Society, NY suffrage exhibit 2020.

The yellow panels in the exhibit showcase Washington County, NY suffragists. This part of the display was created by the Old Fort House Museum in Fort Edward, NY for the New York State suffrage centennial in 2017. The white panels, which are the focus of this post, represent my research on Warren County suffragists over the last two years. It is an on-going research project that mainly hinges on searching through old newspapers, thankfully digitized on sites like newspapers.com, New York Historic Newspapers, and Fulton History.



Woman Suffrage in Warren & Washington Counties: 1883-1917

The introductory panel reads...

The Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States of America was, essentially, a 72 year long fight for female citizens to gain equal voting rights with male citizens, beginning with the first organized call for woman suffrage at the Seneca Falls Convention in July of 1848 and culminating with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 26, 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States

to vote shall not be denied or abridged by

the United States or by any State on

account of sex.

The predominant narrative states that the women’s rights movement began in Seneca Falls, NY when Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others declared that women must have the right to own property, retain custody of their children, and, controversially, vote. However, it is not that simple. Women’s rights were debated prior to the founding of the United States. In March 1776, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to husband John Adams stating “If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion.” The second verse of a song published in a Philadelphia newspaper in 1795, Rights of Woman written by “a Lady”, asserts:

Man boasts the noble cause,

Nor yields supine to laws, tyrants ordain;

Let woman have a share,

Nor yield to slavish fear,

Her equal rights declare,

And well maintain.

Before the 1787 Constitutional Convention put voting in the hands of the individual states, some women did have voting rights, and some men did not. In 1807 New Jersey, the last holdout, revoked voting rights for all women.

Prior to 1848, women were fighting for their rights. On April 7, 1848, three months before Seneca Falls, the New York Legislature passed the Married Women’s Property Law, which became the model for future states’ laws. But many women openly fought for temperance, and the abolition of slavery as well. These two movements gave them the lecturing, and organizing experience they would need in the Woman Suffrage Movement. It also gave them allies. When Stanton insisted that voting rights were necessary for women as well as black men, Frederick Douglass, escaped slave and abolitionist, agreed and all resolutions outlined in the Declaration of Sentiments passed the Convention with the signatures of 67 women, and 32 men.

Two hundred miles east of Seneca Falls, embraced by the Green Mountains to the east, the Adirondack Mountains to the north and west, and divided by the Hudson River and Lake George rest rural Washington and Warren counties. The fight for “Votes for Women” arrived slowly. On April 20, 1883, a Glens Falls newspaper, The Morning Star, reported that “At the annual session of the New York State Woman Suffrage association, held in Troy Wednesday evening, Jane M. Wilson, of Lake George, was elected to represent Warren county as a vice president of the association.” By the time of the 1900 New York Woman Suffrage Association annual convention here in Glens Falls, there were political equality clubs, and suffrage study clubs in the majority of towns in Washington County, and a handful in Warren County.

But with the failure of the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention to include equal suffrage for women in the state constitution, the formation of the New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage in 1895, and the continued failure, for more than a decade, of the state Legislature to pass a woman suffrage provision, the activities of the local clubs began to wane. There were no mentions of the Warren county clubs in The Morning Star* or The Post-Star** from 1904-1913, while only a handful of articles appear in The Morning Star and The Greenwich Journal*** about the Washington County clubs during the same time period.

Finally, the state Legislature passed the woman suffrage provision, and it was scheduled to be put to the (male) voters on November 2, 1915. The Empire State Campaign Committee was formed, and suffragists from all over the state (and beyond) converged on New York. Newspaper accounts from The Post-Star, and The Greenwich Journal are full of meetings, speakers, card parties, fundraising events, and canvasing campaigns throughout 1914 and 1915. With the defeat of the 1915 referendum, suffragists doubled their efforts, and won a much earned victory on November 6, 1917 when 54% of (male) voters made New York the first state east of the Mississippi to grant women full voting rights.

With their work in New York complete, the local political equality clubs, and suffrage study clubs, were reformed as book clubs, general study clubs, art clubs, and travel clubs. Easton Political Equality Club became the Easton Book Club. Other clubs suffragists were active in, like Friends in Council, continued as before, but without the added strain of suffrage duties^.

*The Morning Star (published daily 1883-1909)

**The Post Star (published daily 1909-present)

***The Greenwich Journal (published weekly 1845-2017 under various names)

^Sister exhibit on Glens Falls woman’s clubs on display at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library (February 15 to August 31, 2020.)


Since there appear to be no surviving records for the Suffrage Study Club of Lake George, the Political Equality Club of Glens Falls, or any other suffrage clubs in Warren County, I have had to dig through old newspapers to identify local suffragists. Here is the list as of August 2020...


Warren County, NY suffragists identified in newspapers

Suffragist Roll Call- Warren County

Adamson, Earnestine nee Fowler (Mrs. William Harold) 1882-1978

Bain, Susan (Mrs. James H.)

Baker, Mrs. John H.

Bannon Beatrice Palmer {elocutionist}

Bannon, Mary (Mrs. William A.)

Barber, Dr. Annetta {physician}

Bassinger, Edna

Bayle, Adelene Welsh (Mrs. Robert W.)

Bell, Stella Phelps (Mrs. Frank L.)

Benson, M. Louise Charbonneau (Mrs. Harry S.)

Blake, Cornelia (Mrs. J.J.)

Bowden, Katharine [later Mrs. John J. Cunningham]

Bowden, Margaret McEachron (Mrs. Hugh A.)

Brereton, Helen (Mrs. Henry E.H.)

Brown, Mrs. J.B.

Carter, Miss ____ Eleanor (?)

Chapman, Lucy W. (Mrs. George A.)

Chartier, Evelyn {milliner}

Cheney, Annah

Clancy, Harriet M. (Mrs. William H.)

Coolidge, Cynthia (Mrs. Flavel B.)

Curtis, Mae Bell {author}

DeForest, Miss ____

Downs, Althea G. (Mrs. Harry)

Ferguson, Gertrude B. {librarian, Crandall Free Library}

Fish, Mrs. A.H.

Fish, Milla

Fowles, Ella M. (Mrs. E. Chauncey)

Granger, Mrs.

Griffin, Mrs. Elbert W.

Griffin, Clara L.

Hall, Hilda Tait (Mrs. S. Carter)

Haviland, Mrs. F. Marlon

Hemingway, Mrs. J.C.

Hodgson, Mrs. W.D.

Hulbard, Anna E.

Hulbard, Cornelia

Hutchinson, Helen

Imrie, Lillian (Mrs. Daniel F.)

Jacobson, Vera

Judkins, Eva Viola Austin (Mrs. Charles Otis)

King, Eva (Mrs. Charles F.)

Locke, Vernie M. {teacher}

Long, Angie B. (Mrs. Charles W.)

Macarthy, Mrs. Morton

Mangum, Eleanor

Marshall, Ella

Marshall, Lottie

Merrill, Aimee R. (Mrs. Carl M.)

Minahan, Mrs. M.J.

Morgan, Myra

Murray, Anna {teacher}

Murray, Celia

Murray, Ella (Mrs. David)

Myers, Mrs. George W.

Nordstrom, Emily (Mrs. C.J.)

O’Connor, Mary/Minnie (Mrs. Robert K.)

Pardo, Catherine (Mrs. James)

Parks, Arabella Seelye (Mrs. Frederick Hewitt)

Patterson, Phebie L. (Mrs. George A.)

Powers, Alice M. Kingsley (Mrs. Edward F.)

Roberts, Florence

Root, Mrs. H.E.

Russell, Gertrude A. (Mrs. J. Ward)

Sage, Mrs. Mary

Smith, Sara Withrop

Streeter, Edith

Summers, Grace F. {society reporter, Post-Star}

Thornton, Katherine Starbuck (Mrs. Charles H.)

Twiss, Justa K. [later Mrs. Arthur D. Braley]

West, Dora Brown (Mrs. Elmer J.)

West, Harriet B. (Mrs. Chandler A.)

West, Mary DeLong (Mrs. Charles F.)

Wilkie, Emma C. (Mrs. Adelbert M.)

Wilmarth, Florence Durgin (Mrs. Martin L.C.)

Wilson, Jane M.

Wright, Dr. Amelia {physician}


Anti & Pro Suffrage speakers came to Glens Falls, 1915

Glens Falls and the surrounding area hosted a variety of speakers from regional, state, and national suffrage leaders to labor organizers, congressmen, and the occasional anti-suffragist.


Journalist and anti-suffrage darling Lucy J. Price spoke frequently in northern New York during the push for the 1915 NYS suffrage referendum. Price stayed with Charlotte Pruyn Hyde during one of her local speaking engagements in 1915.


THE ANTI-SUFFRAGE SIDE

Forceful Argument Against Women in Politics Presented by Miss Price

At different points throughout the Adirondacks this month- Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Malone, and elsewhere- the Chautauqua blooms forth once more with its many and varied attractions. Among the speakers on this circuit is one young woman who is attracting much attention for her forcible drives against the suffragists, Miss Lucy Jeanne Price, a Vassar girl, who tells why, as she sees it, votes for women would be bad for the country.

Miss Price lays particular emphasis on the loss to women that would be the result of throwing them into partisan politics, and in her address before the Connecticut house of representatives she said:

Anti-suffragist Lucy Price

“All society is one vast partnership of men and women. The family is that partnership in miniature. I have never heard of a partnership succeeding when both members of the firm tried to do exactly the same work, to carry exactly the same part of the responsibilities and to work for the good of the firm through exactly the same means. And I am sure that no partnership could succeed which did not have a united policy toward the outside world. Our civilization is built upon the institution of the family. This cannot continue to be a successful and logical institution unless it has one policy toward the world and state and unless there shall continue to be a division of labor in which each member shall contribute to the state the service which supplements that of the other member and the service to which he and she are particularly adapted.

“Considering that our interests are being completely and successfully represented with our present electorate, we protest against the tying up of women into political parties and to political platforms and the hindering of the best work we can do now with problems of political ambitions and political [expediency?].”

Lake Placid News (Lake Placid, NY). August 06, 1915. P1.


President of the New York State Suffrage Association by 1913, Gertrude Foster Brown

gave up a promising career as a concert pianist (she was particularly keen on Wagner) in order to help the suffrage cause.


MRS. BROWN ASKS FOR FAIR PLAY

Presents Strong Arguments in Favor of Equal Suffrage

ADDRESS IN CITY HALL

Elmer J. West Declares That Women Will Continue Campaign November 3 if They Are Unsuccessful November 2

A plea for play fair was made last evening by Mrs. Raymond Brown, during a suffrage address before a large crowd in City hall. Mrs. Brown presented strong arguments and received much applause. Elmer J. West presided as chairman and in a brief address said that the question might as well be faced now; because if the proposition is defeated November 2, the women will renew their campaign November 3. Mr. West divided the human family into two classes—those who think and those who do not.

Mrs. Brown’s address in part, follows:

“It is not woman’s suffrage which is on trial on election day this November, but the men of New York State and in fact our entire theory of government.

“When our fore fathers enunciated those great principles: “All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” that “Taxation without representation is tyranny,” —when they, proclaimed a “government of, by and for the people” they did not at once establish such a government. For fifty years after the revolution only a small number of men, property owners, were allowed to vote. Then the vote was extended to other classes of men, to laboring men, to the foreign born, to certain Indians to the colored men, until today we have a complete democracy for men…

“The entire question is summed up ‘Are women people?’ Are they subject to the same laws as men, are they equally responsible; or are they only a sex, exempt from responsibility and always to be dependent on the other sex for Justice?

“It is evident that where the question of paying or obeying that women are part of the people. It Is only in the right of self-protection and the protection of her own interests by the ballot .that she ceases to be “people.”

“It is un-American, undemocratic, unjust, and unwise to deny her this.

“It is unjust because her interests are in government today as much as man’s interests are…

“Women’s suffrage will not cure labor troubles; it will not bring the millennium, but it is one step in advance, one move forward in the march of civilization. It means more power to the home and all that the home stands for.”

The Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY). October 06, 1915. P12.



M. Jane Mander came from New Zealand to study at Columbia University in 1912. When her studies were interrupted by illness, she joined the New York suffragist’s cause. As a citizen of the first country to grant women the right to vote (in 1893), Miss Mander offered a unique perspective to audiences.


SUFFRAGE LECTURES DRAW LARGE CROWD

New Zealand Woman Tells of Results Accomplished in Her Country

If voters of Glens Falls are not finally convinced that women should be granted full suffrage it is not because the Political Equality club of this city has shirked and of its duties. Since the recent organization of the club, several public meetings, presided over by well known suffrage workers, have been held and the members are setting about quietly but effectively to interest, and in time convince women who are not already believers in equal rights.

Saturday evening a large audience assembled in the auditorium of the High school to hear what the ballot in the hands of the women of New Zealand has done toward making it the most progressive country in the world. The principal speaker was Miss Jane Mander of Columbia university, a native of New Zealand and her subject was “Feminism. Its Moral Results in New Zealand.”…

In brief she said…

“During the first ten years woman’s vote did not make any visible difference but remarkable progress has been made in the last ten years. It was the temperance part that first got the women to vote. Twenty years ago a bad state of affairs existed, drunkeness [sic] was in excess, the chief beverage being adulterated Scotch whiskey and bad beer. Rigid laws were passed regarding the care of hotels by licensed boards, and as a direct result the woman’s campaign conditions improved. At the present time no man would dare to sell adulterated liquor, the kind that drives men crazy, and no man would dare sell liquor to any one who is intoxicated. If a proprietor of a hotel is found guilty of breaking any of these temperance laws, his license is taken away from him for good.

“There is no white slave traffic in New Zealand or Australia. The penalties are too heavy. The office hours for women are seven hours. Every factory is lighted in a certain way, and each room must contain a certain number of cubic feet of air, and the building must be absolutely sanitary. The inspections are rigid.

“There is no child labor in New Zealand. No boy under sixteen and no girl under eighteen can work in a factory. Even the child labor on farms has been done away with by procuring farm hands from England. News boys are not allowed on the street after 8 o’clock in the evening.

“The infant mortality is marvelously low, as a direct result of the legislative work of the women. Parliament has established state nurses, pure milk depots, bureaus of information and medical stations, where mothers can learn the best ways of caring for the babies. Every state office is open to women in New Zealand. She can be anything but a member of parliament, and she has never even aspired to this position, because she can get what she wants without being a member of parliament.”

In closing Miss Mander said: “None of the many wild prophecies which have been made have come to pass. It was said that if women were given the vote they would become manish [sic], abandon their homes, and lose interest in a domestic life, but these things have not happened. It has also been said that the chivalry of men would pass away but it has not died out in the colonies, it is stronger than any place in the world.

Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY). March 02, 1914. P17.



Suffrage Speakers in Glens Falls (1894-1917)

Helen Probst Abbott (president, Rochester Equal Suffrage Club)

Mary S. Anthony (Greenwich native & secretary, NYS Suffrage Association)

Susan B. Anthony (National American Woman Suffrage Association)

Elsie Lincoln Vandergrift Benedict (journalist, lecturer, Colorado)

Kate Deveraux Blake (educator, suffragist, woman’s rights activist)

Frances Maule Bjorkman (National American Woman Suffrage Association)

Dr. Frank Bohn (founder, Industrial Workers of the World)

Mary C.C. Bradford (Superintendent of Public Instruction, Colorado)

Alfred H. Brown (Men’s League for Woman Suffrage)

Carrie Chapman Catt (National American Woman Suffrage Association)

Flora MacDonald Merrill Denison (president, Canadian Suffrage Association)

Emma Smith DeVoe (president, Washington Equal Suffrage Association)

Congressman Jacob Alexander Falconer (P-Washington)

Katherine Hulst Gavit (Greenwich native & head of publicity, NYS Woman’s Suffrage Party)

Rabbi Dr. Samuel Harry Goldenson (Congregation Beth Emeth, Albany)

Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale (British actress & women’s rights activist)

Norman Hapgood (editor, Harper’s Weekly)

Elizabeth Winifred Newport Hepburn (author, suffragist)

Elizabeth Hopkinson & Leona Huntzinger (Industrial section, NYS Suffrage Association)

Rose Livingston (former prostitute, advocate for sex workers)

Dr. Owen Reed Lovejoy (general secretary, National Child Labor Committee)

Mary Carmack McDougall (Oklahoma)

Judge Daniel V. McNamee (County Judge of Columbia County)

Alice Duer Miller (suffragist, feminist, author)

Harriet May Mills (convention organizer, NYS Suffrage Association)

Forest Munger (organizer, American Federation of Labor, Ticonderoga)

Katherine Parker Howard Notman (Empire State Campaign, Keene Valley)

“Farmer” Benjamin Smith (the Demosthenes of Moreau)

Ethel Annakin Snowden (vice president, National Union of Suffrage Societies, UK)

Elvira “Ella” Seass Stewart (president, Illinois Woman Suffrage Association)

Rabbi Dr. Stephen S. Wise (Reform rabbi, Zionist leader, NYC)

Vira Boarman Whitehouse (head of publicity, Empire State Campaign committee)


1894 & 1900 Suffrage Conventions, Glens Falls, NY

A very successful regional suffrage convention occurred in 1894 at the First Baptist Church on Maple St. in Glens Falls, NY. Its success prompted Susan B. Anthony to recommend the then village of Glens Falls to host the New York State suffrage convention in 1900.


COUNTY COMMITTEE NAMED

Spread of Women Suffrage Sentiment Its Object

The Baptist Church was filled to overflowing at the woman’s suffrage meeting under the auspices of the State Woman’s Suffrage Association and the local campaign committee last Saturday evening. The principal speaker was Susan B. Anthony, the most noted woman suffragist of the day. Miss Anthony is well along in ears, but this does not affect her abilities as a speaker and she gave her hearers a most eloquent and masterly address. At the conclusion of Miss Anthony’s talk Mrs. C. F. Kin[g] read the following resolutions:

WHEREAS, We citizens of Warren County, in mass meeting assembled, believe that justice and the principle upon which our government is based, demand the enfranchisement of women, therefore

Resolved, That we urge the members of the constitutional convention to submit an amendment, striking the word “Male” from Article II, Section I of the state constitution.

Resolved, that we specially urge the members of the convention representing the twenty-first senate district, namely, Chester B. McLaughlin, Charles H. Moore, Edgar A. Spencer, Frederick Fraser and Thomas W. McArthur, to vote for such an amendment, and thus secure to the woman of the state full political rights.

Mrs. Eva L. King

Mrs. Anna Saylor

Mrs. Fannie DeVoll

After the reading the resolutions were adopted unanimously. The meeting was enthusiastic to a degree which must have been gratifying in the extreme to the women of Warren county who are laboring to have the obnoxious word “male” stricken out of the state constitution.

The work of creating sentiment throughout the county favorable to the adoption of an equal suffrage amendment will be carried on from now until next fall by an organization formed late Saturday afternoon. The organization, which is known as the county campaign committee is composed of the following ladies, one from each town in the county: Bolton, Mrs. Annie Blanchit; Caldwell, Mrs. Ione Bowman; Chestertown, Mrs. Myron Tripp; Luzern, Mrs. Carrie Richards; Johnsburg, Mrs. Taylor Eldridge; Queensbury, Miss Roxie Tuttle; Horicon, Mrs. Jane Ross; Hague, Mrs. Henry Stark; Warrensburgh, Mrs. John Wills; Stony Creek, not supplied; Thurman, not supplied. Mrs. J. H. Bain, who represents the village on the committee is also the chairman of the county committee. Miss Annie Murray is the vice-president-at large; Miss Henrietta Fish, the secretary, and Mrs. Belle Haviland the treasurer.

The Daily Times (Glens Falls, NY). April 30, 1894.


SUFFRAGISTS’ CONVENTION.

Addison B. Colvin commented:

…I firmly believe in woman’s rights, and I believe there ought to be a bond of sympathy between you illustrious ladies and myself. Both of us want a franchise, you to vote and myself to run a greatly beneficial railroad through my beloved town. Forgive me for seeking to boom my own scheme at this time, but I believe you would agree with me, when you see an opportunity to advance your case, you seize it, and I have seen here today the one man whom I have found it impossible to find since I applied for my franchise, and to talk to him it has been necessary to speak at the present time.

The Morning Star (Glens Falls, NY). October 31, 1900. P4.


Also on display is a selection of my personal suffrage memorabilia.

Suffrage stamps and first day covers (Tisha Dolton)
Anti-suffrage memorabilia (Tisha Dolton)

Local educator and playwright, Cindy Whitman created two suffrage history vignettes, using repurposed Playmobil toys; one of the Silent Sentinels of Alice Paul's National Women's Party picketing the White House in 1917 (below left), & one of the 1900 NY State Suffrage Convention at Ordway Hall here in Glens Falls (below right).



Celebrating Suffrage in Greater Glens Falls committee's 2017 NYS suffrage centennial celebrations, 2017.

Co-founded in April 2016 by historian & librarian Tisha Dolton and educator Kim Harvish, the Celebrating Suffrage in Greater Glens Falls, NY committee has grown to include members throughout the region, encompassing Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex, and Clinton counties in New York, as well as Addison County, Vermont. Successful events in Glens Falls, NY like the New York State suffrage centennial Suffrage Rally in City Park on May 7, 2017 and the award-winning 1900 Suffrage Convention Re-enactment at First Baptist Church on October 21, 2017 paved the way for other events throughout the next two years.


COVID-19 delayed our 2020 plans for the ambitious Champlain Valley Suffrage Centennial Auto Tour commemoration of the national suffrage centennial. Now delayed until August 2021, the Champlain Valley Suffrage Centennial Auto Tour will begin with Linda McKenney as Susan B. Anthony speaking in Plattsburg and culminating with a suffrage pageant in Glens Falls, this multi-city, multi-venue event will cover the vast span of the Woman Suffrage Movement with a local focus.


If you would like to know a bit more about the exhibition, you can view the News 10 DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Building the history of women’s suffrage in the North Country.


Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.


#suffrage #suffragecentennial #warrencountyhistoricalsociety #folklifecentercpl #glensfallsny #suffragists #janemander #lucyprice #gertrudefosterbrown #votesforwomen

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