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Wisconsin Suffragists

This list is in progress.

Albee, GS

  • President of the State Normal School in Oshkosh

Anneke (Annetke), Franzisca Mathilde

  • Forced to leave Germany in 1848
  • Friend of Carl Schurz
  • Edited a women’s paper in Germany and continued upon arrival in Wisconsin
  • Established a girls’ school in Milwaukee
  • Served as Wisconsin delegate at one of the first national conventions in Washington, D.C. in 1869
  • Died 1882

Atwater, MC

  • Milwaukee
  • Member, South Side Suffrage Club
  • Member, WWSA

Bain, Harriet

  • Kenosha artist and teacher
  • Member of WWSA
  • Proposed Self-Denial Day for Suffrage which was adopted nationwide

Baker, Stella

  • Dexterville
  • Member, Grand Rapids Society
  • Member, WWSA

Bascom, Emma Curtiss

  • Madison
  • President of Madison Equal Suffrage Association, formed in 1878
  • Served as first president of Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association (WWSA)

Bascom, John

  • Madison
  • President of University of Wisconsin
  • Presided at 1882 WWSA convention

Bentley, Mary W.

  • Member and officer of Marathon County Association
  • Member and officer of WWSA

Berger, Meta Schlichting

  • Milwaukee socialist
  • Worked with WWSA
  • Left WWSA to join Wisconsin branch of National Woman’s Party (NWP) in 1917

Brown, Reverend Olympia – See Willis, Reverend Olympia Brown

Campbell, Vie H.

  • Evansville
  • Officer in WWSA 1882

Catt, Carrie Lane Chapman

  • Born in Ripon
  • Schoolteacher and journalist
  • Became NAWSA president in 1915

Charleton, Helen Holmes

  • Born July 8, 1886 in Lockport, New York
  • Broadhead
  • Editor of Wisconsin Citizen – official paper of WWSA

Chynoweth, Edna Phillips

  • Madison
  • Officer in WWSA 1882

Colby, Clara Bewick

  • Born in Sun Prarie
  • Valedictorian of first class of women graduates from University of Wisconsin-Madison un 1869
  • Did most of her work for suffrage in Nebraska but lectured in Wisconsin with Olympia Brown

Collins, Alura – See Hollister, Alura Collins

Comstock, Nancy

  • Member, WWSA
  • Prohibitionist

Curtis, Alice B.

  • Milwaukee Normal School teacher
  • Salaried PEL recruiter during 1911-12 campaign

Derrick, Mary A.

  • Brodhead

DeVoe, Emma Smith

  • Worked with WWSA beginning in 1890s before moving to Washington, where she led the fight for state suffrage
  • Returned to Wisconsin

Dow, Hon. JT

Dudley, Marion V.

  • Milwaukee
  • Served as vice president of WWSA 1882
  • Speech to Senate committee on State Affairs on March 2, 1880 in support of women’s suffrage: “Gentlemen, I pray you to let my people go…to the polls.”

Eastman (Benedict), Crystal

  • Born June 25, 1881, probably in New York.
  • Growing up, she lived in Massachusetts and New York
  • Her mother, Annis, was her first and greatest influences regarding the empowerment and liberation of women
  • Vassar 1899-1903
  • Received master’s in sociology from Columbia in 1904; received Law degree from NYU in 1907
  • Helped her brother Max form Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage in 1909
  • Married Wallace Benedict in 1910 and moved to his hometown of Milwaukee
  • Campaign manager for unsuccessful 1912 Wisconsin women’s suffrage referendum campaign
  • Returned to New York in 1913
  • In 1913, traveled to Budapest for the Seventh Congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance
  • Divorced Benedict in 1915; married British poet Walter Fuller and had two kids
  • Helped found American Union Against Militarism (1914), National Woman’s Peace Party (1915), National Civil Liberties Union (in 1917; later known as the ACLU), fought for legalization of prostitution and right to birth control with Emma Goldman, was blacklisted in 1919, and moved with Fuller to London in 1922
  • Returned to New York after Fuller died in 1927
  • On July 8, 1928, Crystal Eastman died from Nephritis at 48 years old

Farnsworth Mears, Helen

Ford, Dr. Julia A.

Frisby, Dr. Almah J.

  • Member, WWSA
  • Medical doctor in Milwaukee

Gale, Zona

  • Born in Portage on August 26, 1874
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison student 1891 to 1895; received her masters from UW in 1901
  • Member of WWSA
  • Left WWSA in 1917 for NWP because of her pacifist views
  • Writer who won a Pulitzer Prize for the stage adaptation of Miss Lulu Bett
  • Died of pneumonia on December 27, 1938

Goodell, Lavinia

Gray, Almedia B.

  • Schofield
  • Member and officer, WWSA

Griswold, Hattie Tyngh

  • Columbus poet
  • Served as second president of the WWSA 1884-1885

Gudden, Sophie

  • Grand Rapids
  • Journalist and writer
  • WWSA Chair of Press Committee
  • Chiefly responsible for supplying German press with suffrage literature in Wisconsin
  • Left WWSA for NWP with outbreak of WWI

Hamilton, Marion V.

  • Waukesha
  • Served as president of Waukesha Woman Suffrage Club?
  • Served as an officer in WWSA

Hollister, Alura Collins

  • Mukwonago
  • Journalist who signed her own name to her work when many others used pseudonyms or initials
  • 1884 – elected a vice president in WWSA
  • Wrote full suffrage and school suffrage bills in 1884
  • Known as the “lady lobbyist” for WWSA

Hooper, Jessie Jack

  • Oshkosh
  • One of the most active women in suffrage cause for 30+ years
  • Elected a NAWSA national director in March 1919
  • Became first president of Wisconsin League of Women Voters in 1920

Horton, Carrie

  • President of Colored Suffrage League of Milwaukee, thought to be the first African American club dedicated to women’s suffrage in the country.

James, Ada

  • Richland Center
  • Lifelong suffrage worker and active in WWSA
  • Split from NAWSA to become a member of PEL
  • Her parents and aunt and uncle were all active in the suffrage movement
  • Father, David H. James, and uncle, NL James, both Wisconsin legislators and introduced suffrage bills
  • Joined Wisconsin branch of NWP in 1917

James, David G.

  • Richland Center
  • Wisconsin state senator
  • Father of Ada James
  • Took first train to DC on June 10, 1919, to receive official certification that Wisconsin’s ratification of amendment was the first

James, Laura Briggs

  • Richland Center
  • Founded and elected a vice president of WWSA in 1882

James, Sarah

  • Oshkosh

Jastrow, Rachel Szold

  • Born 1865, died 1926 in Baltimore, MD.
  • Moved to Madison, WI in 1888 with husband, Joseph Jastrow.
  • Member of NAWSA and WWSA.
  • Acted as liaison from WWSA to state legislature.
  • Acted as spokesperson and delivered speeches from the back of an open vehicle.

Jordan, Charlotte

  • Kenosha
  • Member of WWSA.

Judd, Mabel

  • Lancaster

King, Angie

  • Janesville lawyer.

Koppke, Georgiana J.

  • Baraboo

La Follette, Belle Case

  • First woman graduate of University of Wisconsin Law School

Lake, Lucinda

  • Juda

Luther, Jessie

  • Madison

Mason, Eveleen L.

  • Member, WWSA and NAWSA

McCreery, Maud Leonard

  • Green Bay
  • Joined Wisconsin branch of NWP in 1917

Munro, Dr. Sarah

  • Member and officer of WWSA
  • Practicing physician in Milwaukee

Neubecker, Meda

  • Waukesha

Nyb, FM

Olin, Helen R.

  • Madison
  • UW graduate
  • Husband John.

Olin, John M.

  • Madison lawyer
  • University of Wisconsin Law School graduate
  • Champion of prohibition and suffrage
  • Husband of Helen

Patchin, Hanna

  • New London
  • Member, WWSA

Pearce, Mary G.

  • Milwaukee
  • Member, WWSA

Peckham, Lila

  • Milwaukee lawyer
  • Speaker at third state convention in March 1870
  • Died young

Perkins, Nora

  • Milwaukee

Pomeroy, Jennie M.

  • Member, Grand Rapids Society and WWSA

Quackenbush, Susan Miller

  • Born Februrary 23, 1881 in Milo, New York
  • Moved to Portage with her husband by 1910
  • Chaired WWSA Education Committee
  • Wrote Social Forces booklet in 1913
  • Died at age 40 in Chicago and buried in New York

Richards, Sarah A.

  • WWSA member and organizer
  • Former Schofield schoolteacher
  • Served as WWSA “office manager” in Milwaukee
  • Wrote suffrage directory and brief history of WI movement 1884

Robinson, Emma

  • Kenosha
  • Pharmacist
  • Member of WWSA

Rogers, Jane

  • Milwaukee teacher for 15 years
  • Member of WWSA

Ross, Dr. Laura J. – See Wolcott, Dr. Laura J. Ross

Sercombe, Dr. H. Frances

  • Hospital physician
  • Member WWSA

Stearns, Lutie

  • Schoolteacher
  • Organized Wisconsin Library Association in 1894
  • Served as president of WWSA

Strathearn, Sophie

  • Kaukauna

Turner, Jennie Willing McMullin

  • Born January 4, 1885 near Hymera, Indiana

von Bruenchenheim, Minnie

  • Milwaukee

Wagner, Mary Swain

  • Born 1864 in Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Never married and no children
  • Attended University of Minnesota and Vassar College
  • Vocations included teacher, writer, insurance agent, artist, lobbyist
  • Worked in Wisconsin during 1911 and 1912 on 1912 women’s suffrage referendum campaign
  • Helped Ada James establish the Political Equality League (PEL) in April 1911 as a more radical alternative to the WWSA
  • Created a Milwaukee, WI-based group, American Suffragists, but it lasted only two years, after which Wagner returned to Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Wagner opened an inn, The Wagner Inn, near Vassar with her savings of $300, which she ran until her death on August 12, 1937
  • She wrote a book about the inn entitled, The Inner Life of an Inn, as well as a book of poetry, and illustrated them both

Wentworth, Frances McDonnell

  • Born July 2, 1831, in New York City
  • Married October 4, 1852, to John Theodore Wentworth; John died in 1893
  • The couple had four children
  • From New York, moved to Chicago, IL, Lake Geneva, WI, and Elkhorn, WI, before settling in Racine, WI, where Frances Wentworth lived until her death on March 21, 1921
  • In June 1908, Wentworth became treasurer of the Racine branch of WWSA; she was also involved in the temperance movement and her local Presbyterian church

Willis, Dr. Gwendolen Brown

  • Born November 15, 1876 in Connecticut
  • Daughter of Rev. Olympia Brown Willis
  • Milwaukee-Downer College

Willis, Reverend Olympia Brown

  • Born in Michigan, January 1835
  • Influenced by reformer mother and became a teacher at 15 years old
  • Graduated Antioch College in 1860
  • Ordained as Universalist minister in 1863
  • Became pastor at Church of the Good Shepherd in Racine, WI in 1878
  • Served as an officer of WWSA 1882, president in 1885
  • Resigned position in 1887 and worked for suffrage as president of WWSA from 1887 until 1912
  • Joined Wisconsin branch of NWP in 1917
  • Took part in NWP picketing in DC on March 4, 1918, when she was in her 80s

Wilson, Eliza

  • Menomonee

Winton, Theodora – See Youmans, Theodora Winton

Witter, Mrs. Isaac

  • Grand Rapids
  • Musician
  • Member of WWSA

Wolcott, Dr. Laura Ross

  • First woman physician in Milwaukee and third woman in the US to get a medical degree
  • Founder and first president of Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association (WWSA)

Wright, Edna

  • From Milwaukee
  • Employed by NAWSA
  • Spent three months in Wisconsin in 1918 to promote ratification

Youmans, Theodora Winton

  • b. 1863, d. 1932
  • Became a journalist in the 1880s and was the first woman reporter for the Waukesha Freeman
  • Beginning in 1888 with a printing of a letter by Alura Collins Hollister, would write and print women’s news as others hadn’t
  • 1889 married Henry Mott Youmans, editor of the Waukesha Freeman, and became an editor of the paper in 1890
  • Active in clubs; NAWSA member and supporter
  • Became president of WI Woman Suffrage Assn in 1913 (after it merged with the Political Equality League)
  • Upon the opening of a special session of Congress in 1919, traveled to DC to help lobby for passage
  • Became vice president of WI League of Women Voters in 1920

This is not a comprehensive list; names may be added at any time. Information derived from the Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Directory (1885), the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, and McBride, Genevieve G. On Wisconsin Women: Working for Their Rights from Settlement to Suffrage (1994).