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352 items found

  • Maria Coles Perkins Lawton

    Maria Coles Perkins Lawton (1864–1946) Maria was an African-American woman who was active in the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. She was one of the most active African American women of her day in the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC) at the local, state, and national levels. Maria was a brilliant organizer. In 1912, she was appointed state organizer for the NACWC. She served as the president of the Empire State Federation, the umbrella organization of New York State African-American women's groups, from 1916 to 1929, and as national chairperson of the NACW Program and Literature Committee from 1926 to 1929. As a testament to her leadership, the affiliate of the Empire State Federation in the Albany region, the M.C. Lawton Club, was founded in her honor in 1919. In 1914, Maria was designated by Governor Martin H. Glynn of New York to represent the state at the National Negro Educational Congress meetings in Oklahoma City and St. Louis. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Maria became an active member of the New York Republican Party, hosting teas and luncheons at her home on Willoughby Street for local and state leaders in the Republican Party. In 1924, she was appointed director of the eastern division of the Republican National Convention and endorsed the nomination and election of Calvin Coolidge. Additionally, Maria became active in the labor movement in the 1920s, representing the women of New York State at the Labor Conference of Women in Washington, D.C. in 1924. *courtesy The Evergreens Cemetery Grave #5630 1629 Bushwick Avenue Brooklyn, N.Y. 11207-1849 Kings County Learn More

  • Leah Wheeler Freeman

    Leah Wheeler Freeman (1890–1987) Little seems to be known about Leah's suffragist activities other than that she was involved in the Bristol Women's Club where she was a speaker on the topic of Women's Suffrage. If you know more about her, you can help us tell her story. Please use our Add a Suffragist form to submit your information. Evergreen Cemetery (AKA Baptist Hill Cemetery) ​ 3812 Co Road 2, Bloomfield, NY 14469 Ontario County Learn More

  • Cora Staffin

    Cora Staffin (1866–1956) Cora was the Recording Secretary of the Erie County Political Equality League--an organization of Erie County women’s clubs. In 1904, there were ten women’s clubs under the umbrella of the Erie County organization. Cora attended annual conventions in 1912 and 1913. After the passage of the 19th amendment, Cora was a member of the Collins Town Election Board. She was also Noble Grand of the St. Clair Rebekah Lodge, an Odd Fellows women’s auxiliary, whose ceremony and lectures are based on women in Biblical history who exemplified the nobility and character of women. Collins Center Cemetery Section B. Lot 177 C NY-39, Collins Center, New York, 14035 Erie County Learn More

  • Portia Willis Fitzgerald

    Portia Willis Fitzgerald (1886–1970) Portia was said to be educated, beautiful, well connected and daring--making her participation in suffrage publicity events fodder for press coverage. Her father was distinguished for his Civil War record and later became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her mother was a prominent socialite. The press dubbed her "The Prettiest Suffragette in New York State.” Portia was deeply involved in the New York State suffrage involvement from 1911 to 1917. In 1911, she and five other suffragists (including Harriet May Mills of Syracuse, President of the New York State Women’s Suffrage League) conducted a fourteen county tour of the state to organize local suffrage clubs as branches of the state’s organization. Portia was the youngest of the group. In the following years she extended her lecture tour to New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Massachusetts. In addition to her lectures, she participated in other highly visible events. She worked with the New York State Suffrage Association to organize an aviation rally and parade in Hempstead, New York. Nearly 200 women and eight men participated. She encouraged the young participants to demonstrate their courage by taking a ride in a bi-plane piloted by a female suffrage aviator, Ruth Law. In 1914, she drove an elephant carrying a Suffrage Plank at the head of a parade leading up to the Republican Convention in Chicago, IL. That same year, she was the Grand Marshal of the Women’s Peace Parade, which was a World War I anti-war protest. After the passage of the 19th Amendment, Portia continued to demonstrate her commitment to civic engagement. She was an advocate for the League of Nations as a member of the Women's Pro-League Council. She helped to found and manage the Greater New York branch of the League of Nations Association. She chaired the United Nations Round Table from 1950-53, where she served with Eleanor Roosevelt. Portia's name was entered into New York State's suffrage honor roll in 1931. Woodlawn Cemetery Lot W 5162, Section 65 (Poplar) 4199 Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY 10470 Bronx County Learn More

  • Luther Wright Mott

    Luther Wright Mott (1874–1923) Born in Oswego, Luther attended the public schools and graduated from Harvard University in 1896. He began his career at the First National Bank of Oswego, which was owned by his family, and he eventually became the bank's cashier and vice president. He was a founder of the Oswego Chamber of Commerce, created by merging two other organizations, and he served as its president. A civic activist, Luther was a trustee of the Presbyterian church he attended, the public library in Oswego, and Oswego's Home for the Homeless and Orphan Asylum. In 1907 Luther was appointed state Banking Commissioner, but served just five days before resigning on the grounds of ill health. He was a delegate to the 1908 Republican National Convention and he was president of the New York State Bankers' Association from 1910 until 1911. Luther was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-Second and to the six succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1911 until his death in Oswego in 1923. During his service in Congress Luther actively advocated women's suffrage and prohibition. Riverside Cemetery Section X, Lot 10 Old Route 57, East River Road, Oswego, NY 13126 Oswego County Learn More

  • Addie Waites Hunton

    Addie Waites Hunton (1875–1943) Addie was a leading African-American reformer -- a powerful force in the YWCA/YMCA movement and a founder of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). As the first African-American employee of the Young Women's Christian Association, a segregated institution at that time, Addie leveraged the power of its national network to support civil rights. Her husband William Alphaeus Hunton was the first African-American employee of the Young Men's Christian Association. They both traveled extensively for their jobs and moved several times. She was a leader in every community in which they settled: first in Richmond, VA, then in Atlanta, and finally in Brooklyn. Addie Hunton was a well-known speaker and writer from 1900 onward, publishing in popular periodicals like Voice of the Negro, Colored American Magazine, and later the NAACP's The Crisis. As a leader in the very white world of the YWCA, she pushed that organization to be more engaged in fighting lynching and discrimination. At the same time, she urged African-Americans to appreciate the power of working with the YWCA/YMCA despite its segregated structure. Her experiences during World War I bitterly informed her activism. After her husband died in 1916, Addie accepted the YMCA's request to go to Europe to support African-American troops. Historian Adrienne Lash-Jones describes her experience: "Upon reaching France for this assignment, she found that she was one of only three Black women permitted to work among two hundred thousand racially segregated Black troops." Work in the war effort exposed Addie to the most blatant racial discrimination that she had ever experienced, as she witnessed the many ways that Black troops had to endure officially sanctioned racial prejudice and segregation while they served in the United States armed forces. Her book, Two Colored Women with the American Expeditionary Forces (1920) co-written with Kathryn M. Johnson, is most revealing of the bitterness and indignation that she felt as a result of the entire experience. Her book also revealed the smoldering anger within the Black community as they fought to participate in the war effort, and their disappointment with the lack of progress that their participation made. Upon returning, Addie joined the women's peace movement. Due to racism in the white-led peace groups, Addie Hunton and Mary Margaret (Mrs. Booker T.) Washington created a new peace group, the International Council of Women of the Darker Races. She traveled the world for that group and for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a more deliberately integrated organization. In addition to leading both of those peace groups, Addie remained an active board member - often president or executive committee - of NACW, NAACP, YWCA, and the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs. Bio by Rachel B. Tiven. Cypress Hills Cemetery ​ 833 Jamaica Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11208 Kings County Learn More

  • Anna Babbitt Sidman

    Anna Babbitt Sidman (1877–1956) Anna was an educator and an active member of the Gorham Presbyterian Church. Along with her mother, Hannah and sister-in-law, Maud, she became involved in local and county efforts to support women. Anna was a member of the Ontario County Political Equity Club. This organization of men and women discussed local issues as well as women's rights. From 1919-1920, Anna is listed as a member of the Ontario County League of Women Voters. If you know more about her, you can help us tell her story. Please use our Add a Suffragist form to submit your information. Gorham Cemetery ​ Route 245, Gorham, NY 14561 Ontario County Learn More

  • Mary Helen Shepard Light

    Mary Helen Shepard Light (1833–1902) Mary Helen lived on a farmstead near where Oak Hill Country Club is today. The mother of six children, she managed to be the first President of the Pittsford Political Equality Club, which was organized September 6, 1902 in Pittsford, NY. Notes from the Club’s meeting on November 4, 1902, paint a picture of her energy and enthusiasm for suffrage: “The president, Mrs. Light, presided. She was in her brightest mood. Eager to be doing something. Very desirous of arranging for a course of lectures. Mrs. Light and Mr. and Mrs. Charles True attended the state convention at Buffalo. Both ladies were extremely enthusiastic over the exercises, addresses, & c.” Mrs. Light’s leadership was cut short by her death only a few days later. She was found dead in the buggy in front of her son’s home in Brighton. The obituary described her as “one of the most known and highly respected women in Monroe County; a woman of unusual mental ability and of a most social nature.” (*from ) Pittsford Cemetery K 153 38 Washington Road, Pittsford, NY 14534 Monroe County Learn More

  • Sarah Lamb Cushing, MD

    Sarah Lamb Cushing, MD (1818–1919) Dr. Sarah was the first woman doctor in Western New York. She voted at a school meeting of the first district of Lockport, NY, following the passage of the bill to prevent disfranchisement in 1885. Dr. Sarah also endowed the Cushing Fund on Dec. 31, 1910, providing Lockport City Hospital with the income "for the benefit of poor and deserving women, young and old, who are residents of Niagara County who shall be in need of hospital care." Cold Springs Cemetery Section K. Lot 19 4849 Cold Springs Road, Lockport, NY 14094 Niagara County Learn More

  • Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet

    Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet (1831–1911) Sarah was an African-American educator and suffragist from New York City who was the first African-American female school principal in the New York City public school system. She led a long and distinguished career in the New York public schools, beginning as a teacher’s assistant in 1845 when she was fourteen years old and retiring as a principal in 1900. An active supporter of woman suffrage and African American civil rights, Sarah Garnet was also a businesswoman and owned a seamstress shop in Brooklyn from 1883 to 1911. In the late 1880s, she helped found the Equal Suffrage Club, a Brooklyn-based club for black women. Additionally, Sarah served as superintendent of the Suffrage Department of the National Association of Colored Women. As a member of the Equal Suffrage Club, Sarah supported the Niagara Movement, a predecessor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1911, Sarah accompanied her sister, Susan Smith McKinney Steward, to London, England, for the first Universal Races Congress. (Contributed by Meg MacDonald) Green-Wood Cemetery Lot 29541, Section 204, Grave 3 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232 Kings County Learn More

  • Elizabeth Smith Miller

    Elizabeth Smith Miller (1822–1911) Between 1897 and 1911 Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, filled seven large scrapbooks with ephemera, convention programs, letters, press clippings, photographs, pins, ribbons, banners, and other memorabilia. The scrapbooks were created primarily to document the activities of the Geneva Political Equality Club, which the Millers founded in Geneva, New York, in 1897. They offer a unique look at the political and social atmosphere of the time as well as chronicle the efforts of two women who were major participants in the suffrage movement. Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller scrapbooks are a part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. They also recorded some of the persistent efforts of a growing number of dedicated women and men working for woman suffrage at the state, national, and international levels. These scrapbooks capture the spirit of this suffrage struggle and provide a unique opportunity to share in the personal frustrations and victories of a cause in progress. Peterboro Cemetery ​ Peterboro Road, Peterboro, NY 13134 Madison County Learn More

  • Eleanor Weatherhead Higley

    Eleanor Weatherhead Higley (1872–1958) Eleanor was a founding member of the Political Equality Club of Hudson Falls serving as Vice President in 1915, then president 1916–1917. She also served as Chairman of the 1915 Washington County Suffrage Convention. In 1916 she was elected secretary of the Washington County Branch of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party. Chester Rural Cemetery C-G70, Row 4, Grave 9 US Route 9, Chestertown, NY 12817 Warren County Learn More

  • Helen (Fanny) Garrison Villard

    Helen (Fanny) Garrison Villard (1844–1928) “Fanny" was an American women's suffrage campaigner, pacifist and a co-founder of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was the daughter of prominent publisher and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and the wife of railroad tycoon Henry Villard. She founded the Women's Peace Society in 1919. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery ​ 540 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 Westchester County Learn More

  • Blanche Culbertson French

    Blanche Culbertson French (1870–1924) Blanche is best known for marrying a man against her father’s wishes even when she would be cut out of his considerable inheritance. Such an action was scandalous at the time and widely reported in the newspapers. Most women would have accepted the tenets of the will, but Blanche sued for her right to the inheritance and won a compromise settlement. Her fight for personal rights led to her advocacy for women’s rights. Blanche was President of the Equal Franchise League of New Rochelle, New York. Equal Franchise Societies were being formed in cities and states throughout the country. These societies were led by wealthy women who planned to use their influence and means to support women’s suffrage. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. She attended the 1912 Westchester Women’s Suffrage Association and read a report from The Equal Franchise League of New Rochelle, New York. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery ​ 430 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 Westchester County Learn More

  • Rhoda Lynn Price

    Rhoda Lynn Price (1827–888) Rhoda attended the State suffrage convention held in Saratoga Springs in July 1869. The goal of the convention was to create a permanent organization for the State of New York. Rhoda was elected to be a member of the Executive Committee, joining several other representatives from Syracuse. Without a doubt Rhoda "did the work" of suffrage in her day, and yet in regards to herself there's still much left to say. If you know more about Rhoda, you can help us tell her story. Please use our Add a Suffragist form to submit your information. Oakwood Cemetery Sect 12 plot 103 940 Comstock Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210 Onondaga County Learn More

  • Mathilde Friederike Neymann Wendt

    Mathilde Friederike Neymann Wendt (1828–1923) Mathilde was born in Germany and arrived in New York with her family in 1848. She was very active in social reform issues within the German-American community, and from 1869-1872 she was co-owner and editor-in-chief of the German language newspaper, Die Neue Zeit. As a leading voice in the German-American women’s reform network, Mathilde helped found Deutscher Frauenstimmrechtsverein in 1872, which was often critical of the national women’s movement, particularly when issues of nativism arose. Despite any conflict, Mathilde served on the executive committee of the National Woman Suffrage Association and was elected as a delegate for the 1873 International Congress in Paris. Notably, she was an honorary vice president of NAWSA for New York between 1898 and 1919. Woodlawn Cemetery ​ 4199 Webster Avenue, Bronx, NY 10470 Bronx County Learn More

  • Daisy Robinson Tapley

    Daisy Robinson Tapley (1882–1925) Daisy moved to Chicago to study music and perform organ at Quinn Chapel, a congregation within the progressive African Methodist Episcopal faith. It was perhaps during this period that she first became exposed to the politics of gender and race. She married Green Tapley and moved to New York City in the early 1900s. She was already a budding contralto voice in the national music scene. Even as her career grew, Daisy became engaged in the women's rights movement. This included her attendance at the 1913 convention of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, where she and her fellow delegates would vote in favor of women's suffrage. Daisy remained active in the organization beyond this initial participation, including acting as the treasurer of the New York chapter. In 1915, while serving in this role, Daisy's name appeared on a resolution for the allocation of funds for a monument to Harriet Tubman. *Courtesy Oakland Cemetery ​ Jermain Avenue, Sag Harbor, NY 11963 Suffolk County Learn More

  • Rose Schneiderman

    Rose Schneiderman (1882–1972) Rose was a star orator among New York suffragists. Beginning in 1907, she lectured all over New York City and New York State as a leader of the Equality League for Self-Supporting Women (later called the Women's Political Union), the Women's Trade Union League, and the Wage Earners League for Women's Suffrage. And yet, Rose is most famous as a labor organizer. She was president of the Women's Trade Union League for decades, an advisor to FDR & Eleanor Roosevelt, and one of few women who played a key role in shaping the landmark legislation of the New Deal: the National Labor Relations Act, the Social Security Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Years before that, she was also a suffragist. Beginning in 1907, Rose Schneiderman and Leonora O'Reilly were featured speakers at National American Women's Suffrage Association conventions. The white, middle-class and upper-class leaders of the suffrage mainstream were initially wary of working class Jews and Irish, but they warmed up when they saw these fiery activists ignite the crowds. Rose Schneiderman's biographer Annelise Orleck says: "In an age when political oratory was a leading form of entertainment, many contemporaries described her as the most moving speaker they had ever heard." Bio by Rachel B. Tiven . Maimonides-Elmont Cemetery Path B30, Lot 390 (near the fence) 90 Elmont Road, Elmont, NY 110039 Nassau County Learn More

  • Abbie Keene Mason

    Abbie Keene Mason (1861–1908) Abbie was a wife, mother and temperance reformer. In 1888, she married Rev. James E. Mason, a pastor at Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Zion), the oldest African American church in Rochester, New York. Beyond her family life, she participated in the women's rights movement. Specifically, she was a founding member and the inaugural president of a branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) in August of 1901. Eight women joined the chapter along with her. The majority attended Zion, which had a storied history of fighting for advancements for women and African Americans. Abolitionists and women's rights advocates, including Abbie, contributed to Zion's distinguished legacy. Abbie held W.C.T.U. meetings in Zion's basement and participated in a church conference that highlighted the achievements of Frederick Douglass. Douglass published his anti-slavery weekly, the North Star, in Zion's basement. He also led the efforts to make the original church building a stop on the Underground Railroad, which sheltered Harriet Tubman and other escaped enslaved people. Furthermore, Douglass's friend and leader of the suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony, gave her last public speech at Zion before her death in 1906. *courtesy of Mount Hope Cemetery NW 1/4, BB, Lot 159 1133 Mount Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620 Monroe County Learn More

  • Mary (Minnie) Sutherland True

    Mary (Minnie) Sutherland True (1856–1924) Mary “Minnie” was elected one of the vice- presidents of the Pittsford Political Equality Club at their first meeting in September 1902 and attended the state suffrage convention in Buffalo that year. The Club’s second and third meetings were held in her home at 42 Monroe Avenue. Minnie’s involvement with suffrage reflected the close ties between suffrage and temperance. The first suggestion to form the Club was made at a meeting of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Women particularly suffered from alcohol abuse when it contributed to domestic violence. Women had no legal recourse and no right to custody of their children, their own wages, or to own property. The right to vote was seen by many as a way to establish legal protections for women and their children. Although Mary died in Washington, D.C., she was buried in Pittsford, NY. (*courtesy of Pittsford Cemetery A 66 38 Washington Road, Pittsford, NY 14534 Monroe County Learn More

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