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Suffragists in Minnesota

Harriet Bishop (1818-83): This schoolteacher was a charter member of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association in 1881.

Fanny Fligelman Brin (1884-1961): As a young high school teacher, Brin was active in the suffrage movement. She believed that women’s long dependence had given them a sense of inferiority, but was confident that education would dispel that lack of self-esteem.

Myrtle Cain (1894-1980): In 1922, Cain was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives as one of the first generation of women legislators. When she introduced an equal rights bill, it was adamantly opposed. In the 1960s, she lent her experience and support to feminists working for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Mary Jackman Colburn (1811-1901): Fought at the Minnesota Legislature for woman suffrage. In 1869, she organized one of the first local suffrage societies in Minnesota in Champlin.

Sarah Tarleton Colvin, (1865-1949), St. Paul: When the U.S. Senate rejected woman suffrage in 1918, Colvin, a Minnesota member of a more radical organization of suffragists, went to Washington to picket. She was arrested and spent time in jail, which would not be the first time she was jailed for her actions on behalf of suffrage. NWP Minnesota state chair.

Sarah Ball Comstock, Moorhead: Active in Moorhead Women’s Club which championed suffrage.

Solomon G. Comstock (husband of Sarah), Moorhead: As a state representative, state senator, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he supported woman suffrage.

Gratia Countryman (1866-1953): A librarian, Countryman’s vision for a democratic society demanded both universal suffrage and an educated electorate. Her extraordinary self-confidence, combined with a winning personality, won over many opponents.

Nellie Griswold Francis (1874-1969): In 1914, 25 African-American women held the charter meeting of the Everywoman SuffrageClub, electing Francis as its first president. She held the post until well after the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, at which time the club evolved into the Everywoman Progressive Council. Francis’ life represents the widely neglected role of African-American women in promoting equality in the early 20th century.

Elizabeth Hunt Harrison (1848-1931): Harrison was vice president of the Equal Suffrage Association of Minneapolis (later the Hennepin County Woman Suffrage Association) from its formation in 1914 until 1919, when the Minnesota League of Women Voters was formed.

Ethel Edgerton Hurd (1845-1929): Hurd’s greatest involvement was with the Political Equality Club of Minneapolis, which participated in many suffragist activities, such as distribution of literature, lobbying legislators and organizing parades and petition drives.

Nanny Mattson Jaeger (1859-1938): President of the Minnesota Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association.

Rhoda Kellogg, Minneapolis: President of University of Minnesota Equal Suffrage Club. Participated in Watchfire demonstrations in Jan. 1919, jailed for five days. Jailed for 24 hours for applauding in court.

Bertha Berglin Moller, (1888-unknown), Minneapolis: Worked for state suffrage before joining NWP. To dramatize the political struggle for the 19th Amendment, Moller staged suffrage ballets in theaters throughout the region. Jailed for three days for applauding in court. Participated in Watchfire demonstrations in Jan. 1919, jailed for five days.

Gertrude Murphy, Minneapolis: Jailed for 24 hours for applauding in court. Participated in Watchfire demonstrations in Jan. 1919, jailed for five days.

Julia Bullard Nelson (1842-1914): During her six-year presidency of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, Nelson petitioned every legislative session for the right to vote.

Emily Gilman Noyes (1854-1930): Noyes was Ramsey County’s suffrage leader in the early years of the 20th century. In 1915, when legislative hearings on a bill for woman suffrage drew overflow crowds to the State Capitol, she addressed the Senate committee on behalf of the measure.

Anna Dickie Olesen (1885-1971): In 1922, Olesen ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate, the first Minnesota woman to run for national office.

Mabeth Hurd Paige (1870-1961): Page was a Minnesota suffrage leader and social reformer who also served as a Minnesota legislator for 22 years, first elected in 1922 as a Republican representing the Kenwood area of Minneapolis.

Martha Rogers Ripley (1843-1912): An active suffragist and a doctor who fought for the health needs of women, she brought the national convention of the American Woman Suffrage Association to Minneapolis in 1885.

Maria Sanford (1836-1920): A charismatic public speaker and University of Minnesota professor, Sanford was 76 when she first spoke out for woman suffrage, at a speech in San Francisco in 1912.

Josephine Schain (1886-1972): In 1914, Schain served as marshal of a large suffrage parade through the streets of Minneapolis. She moved to New York in 1915 as a close associate of national suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt.

Mary P. Short, Minneapolis: Picketed the White House in 1917, arrested, tried, sentenced, and incarcerated.

Josephine Sarles Simpson (1862-1948): One of the chief orators for the suffrage movement. In 1916, Simpson traveled by steamboat down the Mississippi River with a contingent of Minnesota suffragists to speak outside the Democratic convention in St. Louis.

Jane Grey Swisshelm (1815-84): A St. Cloud newspaper editor, Swisshelm regularly voiced her opinions about abolition, woman’s rights and suffrage in the various newspapers throughout her life.

Sarah Burger Stearns (1836-1904): Stearns started the first woman suffrage society in her home in Rochester in 1869; she was elected as the first president of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association in 1881.

Maud Conkey Stockwell (1863-1958): In 1910, Stockwell took a petition for woman suffrage (with 20,500 signatures) to the U.S. Congress.

Clara Hampson Ueland (1860-1927): Ueland led the effort for suffrage in its final years and attended the special session of the Minnesota Legislature in 1919, when it ratified the 19th Amendment. “It is my happiest day, she said at the time.

Marguerite Milton Wells (1872-1959): Wells organized the petition drive for the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association that succeeded in generating unanimous support from the Minnesota congressional delegation for the passage of the 19th Amendment. She also directed the drive for the amendment’s ratification, and Minnesota became the 15th state to do so.

Alice Ames Winter (1865-1944): Believing that women should take an active role in the world, Winter provided a good example after women got the vote by serving as president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, serving on national committees on disarmament and film, and writing innumerable articles on education, support for mothers and women’s citizenship rights.