Famously identified as “The Prettiest Picket,” writer and organizer Beulah Amidon was born in Fargo, North Dakota in 1895 to U.S. District Judge Charles Freemont Amidon and Beulah McHenry Amidon. After graduation from Barnard College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Ms. Amidon studied law at the University of Southern California. She began her career as press secretary of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), writer for the Committee on Public Information and feature writer for the Non-Partisan League. She traveled widely as an NWP organizer and promoter, and she was on the 1916 speaking tour in Los Angeles when Inez Milholland Boissevain collapsed on stage and later died.
In the spring of 1917, Beulah Amidon and Doris Stevens were sent to North Carolina to organize NWP chapters. They were not welcomed, but their conference brought in some curious onlookers, including the granddaughter of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who later expressed support. Their arrival in South Carolina was also met with opposition, but she went on to Alabama with a new NWP companion, Ella St. Clair Thompson, and on to Vicksburg, Mississippi by summer.
In 1917, Beulah Amidon joined the “Silent Sentinels” in quiet demonstrations for women’s suffrage outside the White House gates. She was identified as “The Prettiest Picket” in the caption of a photographic portrait published in The Suffragist on May 26, 1917. Just a few months later, on August 15, 1917, she was arrested after she was knocked down by a sailor who was part of a mob that destroyed 50 purple, white and gold flags.
In 1918, when the National Woman’s Party was lobbying for U.S. Senate votes, Beulah Amidon personally interceded. Senator Porter McCumber of North Dakota said he could not change his vote, having voted against women’s suffrage in 1914. But he reluctantly said he would vote in favor if asked by his state legislature. Ms. Amidon sent telegrams to the state Republican chair, to the Non-Partisan League that controlled the North Dakota legislature, to her father and to others. The North Dakota state legislature passed a resolution calling on Senator McCumber to vote for suffrage and McCumber agreed to vote in favor of the women’s vote, but only after speaking in opposition.
Walton, Mary, A Woman’s Crusade, Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, (New York, New York, St. Martin’s Griffin Press, 1916)
Irwin, Inez Haynes, The Story of the Womans [sic] Party, (New York, New York, Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1921)
Library of Congress, Miss Beulah Amidon, “The Prettiest Picket,” retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000004/