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Vira Boarman Whitehouse

(1873–1957) The owner of the Whitehouse Leather Company, a suffragette and early proponent of birth control, Vira became interested in suffrage after the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 erupted into violence.

She marched in the May 1913 suffrage parade in New York City and volunteered with the Women's Political Union after the parade. Six months later, Vira gave her first outdoor suffrage speech.

Vira was chairman in 1913 of the publicity council of the Empire State Campaign Committee and in 1916 of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party (NYSWSP). In May 1915, Vira made cold calls to potential voters to ask their views on suffrage. This is one of the earliest examples of telephone polling.

Vira was the first vice-chair of the New York City Woman Suffrage Party and a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, organizing large suffrage parades in New York City. On September 8, 1917, she led the second New York Suffrage Campaign at Sagamore Hill, meeting with Theodore Roosevelt. Leading an incredibly successful fundraising campaign, making large donations herself and soliciting donations from New York's most prominent families—when New York State granted women the right to vote on November 6, 1917, Vira was widely credited with the win.

Vira Boarman Whitehouse's husband was a member of the Men's League for Women's Suffrage. By July 1917 he was treasurer of the League. When Vira bought and managed the Whitehouse Leather Products Company, she worked to improve working conditions for women.

Additionally, she served on the National Chairman of the Woman’s Action Committee for Victory and Lasting Peace.


Green-Wood Cemetery

Lot 1250, Section 83

500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Kings County

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