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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 04, 1909, Image 5

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The San Francisco Sunday Call
Barbara Haughton
THE strong fight waged in the
eastern states /for the enfran
chisement of women seems to
have made little or no impres
sion on California until 1869, when
Elizabeth T. Schenck and Emily Pitt
Stevens called to 'order in San Fran
cisco the first suffrage meeting ever
held on the Pacific coast. Previous to
this. In IS6S, Laura de Force Gordon
end Anna Dickineon had attempted a
6eries of lectures on the subject, and
Mrs. Stevens, through her interest in
the Mercury, had published articles in
favor of equal suffrage.
In IS7O these women, assisted by Mrs.
J. X. Snow, formed the State Suffrage
soStty, and the work began to take
definite form. During that same year
Mrs. Gordon, who was a gifted orator,
made an extensive tour through the
state, delivering lectures, and later,
with Mrs. Emily Pitts Stevens, attended
the Inaugural suffrage convention held
at Battle Mountain. Nev. In 1871 Mrs.
Gordon extended her tour to embrace
both Oregon and Washington' territory,
traveling mostly by stage, and making
one night Etops at small, out of the
w&y places. While lecturing In Seattle
the received news of her nomination by
the Independent party of San * Joaquln
county for the office of state senator.
Forthwith, «he hastened back to Cali
fornia and boldly began her senatorial
campaign, although her eligibility for
the office was hotly disputed on all
sides. The novel campaign attracted
wide attention, and in the end Mrs.
Gordon received as many as 200 votes
from "good, regular male voters," and
scored a signal triumph for the wom
an's cause. . .
In IS7I, this same year, came what
was termed the first big suffrage
•\u25a0boom" in California, owing to N the
presence of the two distinguished pio
neers from the cast, Elizabeth Cady
Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, whose
eloquent speeches brought out the first
real crowds that had attended any pi
the suffrage gatherings.
Rights and Privileges
But in all these earlier meetings the
fight for the ballot was fairly engulfed
in the seemingly more important prob
lems of "rights" and "privileges." At
that period / women In California were
denied even educational advantages
along professional lines, and were de
barred from practicing in any of the.
courts. So far as their property rights
were concerned, they were all "grievous
wrongs," to quote Mrs. Harper, who, in
lier resume of the subject, says:
"The original property law of Cali
fornia is an inheritance from the Mexi
cans which it incorporated in its "own
code and is quite as unjust as those
which still exist on the statute books
of some states, as a remnant, of the
barbarous old English common law."
Previous to this vigorous campaign
ing on the part of toe suffragists, it
would seem that the women of Cali
fornia bad remained placidly content
regarding their status In the state; nor
<3id the public recital of their wrongs :
incite them to any great concerted ac-:=
tion. The law. Just or not, "hath a
niajesty all its own." and, besides, .the.
innovation suggested by these suffra
gists was, indeed, too radical to. meet
with marked approval.
Still, no strong anti-suffrage feeling
seems to have been aroused in Califor
nia in the early days. In truth, all
the'suffrage pioneers in the state were
scarcely sufficient in. number to give
the movement any great prominence.
Petitions were annually presented to
.the legislature without avail, and
speeches were made at stated intervals.
Meanwhile, however, the struggle for
educational and^ professional advan
tages for women was meeting with
hearty support on all sides. "The bal
lot—no!" proclaimed the / legislators
who were forced to puzzle their brains
over the problem. "But educational
advantages — yes! Why not?"
Withal, it was a hard fought battle
In which the women came out vic
torious only after repeated effort.
Bettle Tator, Laura de Force Gordon
and Clara S. Foltz, California's pioneer
women lawyers, made a test case of
their own individual needs and were
largely instrumental in bringing about
the passage of what was termed the
"woman lawyer bill," drafted "by Mrs.
Foltz, in 1877. It was through; these
same women that the; following clauses
were later Incorporated in .the new
state constitution:
"Article 11, section 18. No person
shall be debarred admission to any of
the collegiate departments of the state
university on account of sex."
"Article 20, 6ectlon^lß. No person
shall, on account of sex, be disqualified
from; entering upon or pursuing any
lawful business, vocation or profes
islon.?: ;. , ;:.\u25a0"-\u25a0.' \u25a0'. \u25a0 - \u25a0 \u25a0 '
' "Women ; throughout the state were
quick to avail themßelves of the higher,
educational advantages formerly de
nied them, though few realized, per
haps, that their way. had " been • cleared
of legal 'obstacles, by a brave little body
of so called "fanatics," : who, "aiming at
the skies," had verily shot beyond the
Thoroughly encouraged by what they
had already accomplished, the little
band of workers set about making
more strenuous efforts to educate the
public up to an appreciation of their
main motives in striving for the ballot.
Already many of their recruits were
engaged in journalistic work, and well
written suffrage propaganda was soon
flooding the papers. A few years' later
Hon. Le'land Stanford and his wife,
Jane Lathrop Stanford, gave public ex
pression to their favorable attitude
toward the woman's cause. Governor
.Stanford, in a letter relating -to the
management of the university, gave
further emphasis to their views;
Stanfords for Equality
"We deem it of first Importance. that
the education of botn sexes shall be
equally full and v complete, varied only
as nature dictates. The rights of, one
sex political and other. are the same as
those of the other sex, and this equal
ity of sex ought to -be fully :recog-
For a number, of "years the suffrage
movement, centered in. San Francisco
and the surrounding counties,- though
individual workers did excellent serv
ice in other parts of the state. Clarina
Howard Nichols of Mendoclno county
was early, termed one of the; ablest
women in the reform; Eliza Farnham
of Santa Cruz had made a host of con
'yerts In her own , vicinity, while Mrs ;
Sarah Wallis of '\u25a0 Santa Clara county
and " Mrs. \ Sarah : Knox , Goodrich of San
Jose were almost militant r~Jn;*. their
efforts to: advance \ the interests of : the
cause throughout the state.
.V, In 1385 the ; ;flrst 'woman's' suffrage
association of southern California was
organized in Los Angeles under the
leadership of Mrs. Elizabeth A. Kings
bury, Mrs. . Margaret V. Longley and
Mrs. Alice Moore McComaa. In 1892
the southern, California woman's par
liament was . organized, wliile other
minor clubs, and leagues began to
spring up like mushrooms all over the
state. ; The adoption of equal suffrage^
by Colorado in 1893 gave . fresh impetus
to the California movement.' The same
year, witnessed the forming of _the
equal-suffrage league of San Francisco,
the \u25a0• young woman's , suffrage club, the
political equality -club of Alameda
county,' the Portia law club, with Mrs."
Foi^z. dean, - and the woman's' federa-'.
tion. '' " -..''- "^^ >-' " '\u25a0 "
In 1834 came the great .woman's'con-
gress.lone;of \ the ; most \u25a0brilliant^wom
en's conventions ever held In San ; Fran
cisco, corytributed ; to, 4 as \lt >was,| by \ thel
genius of: the: leaders ;inf the; movement,";
v including Susan B. Anthony herself and I
the "Rev. V Anna" Shaw.- At »the * national ;
American* . convention.^ held^ inV.Wash- :
Ington, ; D.^ C.; mi 1896, * Miss; Shaw; paid
glowing tribute to ; the California' work-:
;erssln t he'r^ report: ;^:^,>:;?:V^^;- ; -h;'\t
.- "Theiwoman's .conerresa [at i Saja- r.ran- ;
Cisco X was the 1 most i marvelous ? gather- :
in g\ I fever saiyr- The > newspapers f said *
; the h men V-. were;;/ hypnotized^ or xithey";
iwould .; hot -stand %ons a? sidewalk -.; two '
: hours I- to ige t '. into J at, church. .; V Every?,
subject: considered -durlnggthelwhole"
, xv eek, '\u25a0 i t ;was [ the . care;of 'chll^='
dren or the \u25a0=; decoration -of r j the', home,
- •.\u25a0\u25a0-."• /*\u25a0//"--"
\"'.. .-. \u25a0' -.- '\u25a0 .- . / " . 'V' .-•/•- -:'.: \u25a0\u25a0'
turned' Yon the Uallot for women, and
Susan- B; 'Anthony was the belle of the
ball. . Tne-fluperintendentof *San;Fran
clsco.closed the schools that Miss An
'thony.Tmight'x address the 900 teachers. \u25a0
"We went the whole length. of the state
and the \u25a0 meetings were just as- en
,th*;iastic." .;- ;:.\\
This, ; congress was the forerunner
of the tremendous campafgns of 1595
and 1896, 'when the women ;of Cali
fornia so nearly gained full suffrage
by an" amendment' to '\u25a0'• the constitution.
Early In the autumn Miss Anthony
and Miss Shaw returned from the east
to lend; their further aid to California .
workers, and enthusiasm; ran high all
over/the state. Mrs. Ellen C Sargent,
who'- had .succeeded Mrs. -.Nellie Hoi
brook ;Bllnn to the "presidency : of the I
state association, flung open the doors
•of her beautiful home, and there the
suffrage workers /made their 'head- ,
quarters for three months. Mrs.Blinn,
already prominent as a lecturer for
the republican party,"- was - r , a tireless
worker :. and P a \ vigorous campaigner
the long, > tedious '\u25a0 siege.
:In .; February : 'Dr. ; ; Elizabeth r Sargent,
Mrs. Sargent's daughter, and Missu-
Lucy'E. Anthony-arranged a series of
two days'. : conventions in "every county
in the state. * : . "
California's Greatest Campaign
•With; the campaign. once well under,
way ' the superb • energy and \u25a0 persistence
of the leaders j broke. all records. , Miss
Shaw.' spoke "C every- night > for. : seven
months; Miss : Anthon y, hale and ' hearty '
in' the ; heyday.^of- 1 her venerable years,
toured^ the; stated r./'lecturing'iri^ halls,
churches, ;. .wigwams, V parlors, school-/
.; houses and . the: open. air";. Mrs. \u25a0
Iran ? a > column \ In \u25a0 The ( Sunday.^
* Call, and Miss ['Anthony ;i contrlbutea ;
- liberally .to ; other - papers. Mrs. : Chap- £\u25a0
- man r .! Catt^ ."* covering '< a : period of ' two '
months in the Estate,- gave i several ad-;.:
?• dresses ; every I, day. V : - Mies •> Yates ' made
100 speeches, and Mrs. Nellie Holbrook
BUnn i." probabjy hi tripled '\u25a0 that • number.
A Uittle s clipping j taken "from J a\report\:
states that 2CO papers in the state de
clared editorially for -woman's suf
frage i later in the ; campaign • and . that
' only^ 37 1 spbkel openly J against it.
i^Victory; seemed ; assured. S^ The amend- -
mentihad; already.^ passed both ; houses
i by. aHwo^thirds' majority: and 1 the! reso 7 ":4
vlution i had •? been" eigned>by; Governor *;
; \u25a0 i
The women's magnificent campaign
drew to -an abrupt close in the fall
of 1896,- and the amendment was sub
mitted to a vote of the people. , Thus
endeth the chapter gravely, . for . the
measure was defeated. There were
247.454 votes cast: 110,365 for;. 137,099
against; defeated b,y 26.744. It was de
feated mainly :by the vote of San Fran
cisco, Oakland and Alameda.
All subsequent efforts to obtain suf
frage for women in California — even
school suff rage— have been lamentably
unsuccessful. But : for all that, the
work . goes \u0084steadyy on. .It may be
written now that, "Once a. suffragist,
always ;an optimist." Susan B. An
thony's slogan,' "Failure is impossible."
is the creed by which her followers
live. Perhaps not today; but always
tomorrow! .So they who know, . and
they who understand, will tell you that
the fifth star on the woman's flag will
stand. for. California. ': .' .;;\u25a0;,
Mrs. Ellen C. Sargent," the venerable
hojnorary president of the California
Equal Suffrage association, will tall
you: that organized work was never In
better shape ' in the state than ; it fs
today. / Mrs. Mary .Simpson Sperry,
president of the same, organization,
speaks as glowingly of the prospects
for. woman suffrage all over the United
States. Her work " is "Just now con
fined mainly to getting signatures to
the mammoth, petition, that is later to
be/ presented \to congress *by the na
tional ' organization.
Strong Suffrage societies exist in all
the bay cities and throughout the state.
Slnceevery county in southern Califor
nia gave ,a, majority : f or ; the amend
ment in 1896, Los Angeles county lead
ing? with '\u25a0 4.600. the suffrage workers
are especially : enthusiastic in that sec
tlo.n. The majority of : the leagues and
clubs are affiliated with • the state or
ganizatlon,;though a few are Independ
ent. \u25a0• >, • . -x_ . \u25a0\u25a0 '\u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0 :-.:..
A notable organization among these
latter. Js \u25a0 the Wag* Earners*, suffrage
league/ which is quite las independent
as its name implies. It was formed
last .September by "a;; body of women
interested in the /trade, union move
ment. * i "There '\u25a0 are 3,000 union women
In i San Francisco," : states .. Miss -, Maud
.Younger^of -the> executive board, "and
these are the"' backbone of the suff
rage •; movement." . - The \u25a0 league. • has 10
cent fdues.Y and - aims : at fa; large en
rollment' ofj members. >The • president is
Mrs. E. H." O'Donnell. Other officers ,
are Mrs. Will J. French, Miss Louis* \u25a0
le Rue and Mrs. L. A. Bickall,
Owing to the woric It ia •ccOmtflish-. ...
ing. interest is just now centered la
the College and Professional Woman's
Equal Suffrage league, which was or
ganized in Boston. Since higher edu
cation for women is the direct result
of the steadfast agitation of the early
suffragists, the members of this league
only pay their pioneers just tribute In
now espousing their cause. President
Carrie Thomas of Bryn Mawr is pres
ident of the league, and among its dis
tinguished workers is Mrs. Maud "Wood
Park, who graduated from Radclift In
'98. She has been especially Interest* '.
ed in organizing most of the 25 or
more branches of the league estab
lished in various states.
Two branches of the league have been
formed in California by Mrs. Park.
covering the northern and southern
sections of the state. Miss Fannie W.
McLean is president of the northern
branch, which this year established
two undergraduate sections, one at
Stanford and one at the University of
California. Other officers of the league
are Mrs. Walter Starr. Mrs. Caroline
'Jackson, Mrs. Alexander Morrison, Mrs. '
Charles Slack. Mrs. Frank P. Dearinr
and Dr. Adelaide Brown. „_ v \u0084^"
Suffrage work throughout , America **
has all been atong more or less conserv
ative lines-:— too conservative, claim
some of the more ardent agitators,
who have a yearning toward the ratll — .
tant methods employed by the English
suffragettes. Despite the vigorous cam
paigning and splendid organisation of ;
the various societies, women In Cali
fornia possess no form of auffrajr* \u25a0 *
whatever. But your true suffrage
worker does not brood— she 'xneraly
works and waits. I
The officers in the state association
Desides Mrs. Sperry, the president, "arer .
Mrs. Mary M. Keith. Mrs. Shelly T>l-*
hurst, Mrs. Francisco Pierce, Mrs. Nelly \u25a0 '
L. Scoville, Mrs. Coffin, Mrs. Ella Mitch
ell. Mrs. Adelaide Bollard and Mrs. '
Alma Kower. The honorary presidents
are. Mrs. Sargent, Mrs. Severance, Mrs.
Rebecca Spring and Dr. David Btarr
Jordan. f.!T*'
The equal suffrage league of San. '
Francisco, a local organization, has for
Its president Mrs. Mary T. Carnage. In •
the Susan B. Anthony club, Fanny Kel- -
logg has recently succeeded Nellie Hot- \u25a0
brook BUnn.' who 'resigned at the be- '
ginning -of the year. The Polltclal •
Equality club of Alameda county Is the
largest organization of Its kind on the •.
coast. Many other suffrage dubs and -
leagues too numerous to mention ar* \u25a0
to be found in all portions of the state.
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When Answerlns Taew AdvertlMSMiits Please
llention the Baa - Frudsce Call

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