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The 19th Amendment and Women's Suffrage

Start your research on the women's suffrage movement in the United States and Alabama with this resource guide.

People of the Suffrage Movement in Alabama

Alice Borman Baldridge (Aug 21, 1874-Jul 23, 1961)

Alice Baldridge was an active member of the Huntsville Equal Suffrage Association, representing Huntsville at state and nation wide suffrage events. She was active in Huntsville's community, serving on the Carnegie Library board, and in 1916 she was the first woman elected to the Huntsville City School Board. In 1918 she passed the Alabama state bar, becoming Huntsville's first female lawyer. Widowed at a young age, Baldridge was the primary caretaker of her family. She moved to New York in the early 1920s and practiced law there until the late 1950s. While living in New York Baldridge kept close ties to Huntsville by owning land throughout Madison County and keeping the family home on Adams Ave. for her daughter and family to live in. She spent the last 3 years of her life in Huntsville and is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery.

 

Virginia Clay-Clopton (January 16, 1825-January 23, 1915)

Virginia Clay-Clopton was the second president of the Alabama Woman Suffrage Association serving from 1896-1900, and the first president of the Huntsville Equal Suffrage Association. She was also a founding member of the first wave organization, the Huntsville League for Women's Suffrage. Virginia Clay-Clopton was well known throughout the South East, and an Alabama celebrity. She was the wife of Clement Claiborne Clay who represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate when it seceded from the Union leading up to the Civil War. Her memoir of this time, A Belle of the Fifties, was published in 1904. Virginia Clay-Clopton started Huntsville's first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1894. She is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery.

 

Priscilla Holmes Drake (June 18, 1812-February 11, 1892) 

Priscilla Holmes Drake was involved in women's rights activities throughout her adult life. She was the first suffragist in Alabama and was the only representative of Alabama in national suffrage associations throughout the 1880s and 1890s. She and her husband, James Drake, moved to Huntsville in 1861. She is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery. 

 

Frances Griffin (1843-1917)

Frances Griffin was a graduate of Judson College and an educator. She became involved in the temperance movement in 1885. Around 1893 she organized a suffrage association in Verbena, Alabama before helping to organize the Alabama Woman Suffrage Association, the first state organization, with Ellen Hildreth. She was made the first secretary of the state association. She was in high demand to speak on suffrage throughout the South East, and she became president of the state association in 1900. In 1901 she gave a speech to the Alabama Constitutional Convention on women's suffrage.

 

Ellen Stephens Hildreth (February 23, 1845-January 6, 1916)

Ellen Stephens Hildreth organized Alabama's first suffrage organization in New Decatur in 1892. Later she helped to organize the Alabama Woman Suffrage Association, the first state organization, and served as the organization's president from 1892-1896. She wrote suffrage articles for both the New Decatur Advertiser and the Woman's Journal, NAWSA's official publication. She studied Early Childhood Education and started Decatur's first kindergarten. She was among the first in New Decatur to be involved in women's clubs and started the Progressive Culture Club, and the Stephen's Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is buried in the Decatur City Cemetery.

 

Ellelee Chapman Humes (October 1850-July 24, 1920)

Ellelee Chapman Humes was a pioneer in Huntsville's suffrage movement. She was the sister of fellow suffragist Alberta Chapman Taylor and the daughter of Alabama Governor Reuben Chapman. She served on the board of trustees of the Boy's Industrial School, was a founder and charter member of the Huntsville infirmary, and was involved in the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

 

Bossie O'Brien Hundley (July 8, 1876-1966)

Bossie O'Brien Hundley was a graduate of St. Mary's College where she studied music. She was a member of the Birmingham Equal Suffrage Association and the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association and donated much of her time to fighting for equal suffrage. She served as president of the Birmingham Equal Suffrage Association in 1913 and the following year became chief lobbyist of the state association. After facing some defeats running for positions in the Birmingham and state suffrage organizations Hundley turned her energy towards other ventures. She was elected president of the Alabama Federation of Music Clubs in 1918. She spent much of her life after her first husband passed away traveling and eventually settled in Asheville, North Carolina and is buried in

 

Pattie Ruffner Jacobs (October 2, 1875-December 22, 1935)S

Jacobs founded the Birmingham Equal Suffrage Association in 1910 and the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association a year later. She was active in other aspects of the Progressive Movement, such as labor reform. She had a presidential appointment to the Consumer Advisory Board, and the National Recovery Administration. She was also the spokesperson for the Tennessee Valley Authority, and a member of the Salvation Army and the Jefferson County Anti-Tuberculosis Association. In 1933 she was the first woman appointed to the Democratic National Committee from Alabama and served in this capacity until here death in 1935. She is buried in Birmingham's Elmwood Cemetery.

 

Adella Hunt Logan (February 10, 1863-December 10, 1915)

Adella Hunt Logan was an educator at Tuskegee Institute and a graduate of Atlanta University. She was avid about education advocacy for the black community, and a member of the Tuskegee Woman's Club. Her social circle included such esteemed company as: Booker T. Washington, Margaret Murray Washington, and W.E.B. DuBois. Logan wrote eloquently on the topic of suffrage and was published in well respected magazines including the Woman's Journal and The Crisis (the publication of the NAACP).

 

Alberta Chapman Taylor (1850-May 16, 1912)

Alberta Chapman Taylor led Huntsville's first suffrage organization. She was the sister of fellow suffragist Ellelee Chapman Humes, and the daughter of Alabama Governor Reuben Chapman. She was responsible in part for coordinating Carrie Chapman Catt and Susan B. Anthony's visit to Huntsville to speak on suffrage. In addition to her suffrage work, Taylor was involved in the United Daughters of the Confederacy at the local and state level, and served as director of the city hospital. She is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery.

Suffrage Organizations in Alabama

Alabama Equal Suffrage Association (AESA)

AESA was the state organization during the second wave of Alabama's women's suffrage movement. This organization was formed in 1912 and was active until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Alabama Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA)

AWSA was the state organization during the first wave of Alabama's women's suffrage movement. This organization was formed around 1893 and operated until around 1901.

Birmingham Equal Suffrage Association (BESA)

BESA was Birmingham's suffrage organization during Alabama's second wave of women's suffrage. This organization was formed in 1911 and was active until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Huntsville Equal Suffrage Association (HESA)

HESA was Huntsville's suffrage organization during Alabama's second wave of women's suffrage. This organization was formed in 1912 and was active until the ratifcation of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Huntsville League for Woman Suffrage (HLWS)

HLWS was Huntsville's suffrage organization during Alabama's first wave of women's suffrage. This organization was formed around 1894 and was active until Alabama's 1901 Constitutional Convention.

National Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)

NAWSA was the national suffrage assocation, formed in 1890 from the two groups that preceded it: the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Assocation (AWSA). It operated until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The League of Women Voters was formed from the members of NAWSA once women achieved suffrage.

Tuskegee Women's Club

The Tuskegee Women's Club was formed in 1895 by women associated with the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). This organization was formed to uplift the black community in Macon County, Alabama. Members of the Tuskegee Women's Club focused on education in the black community but also performed much needed social services.

Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)

The WCTU was formed in 1873 with the purpose of promoting sobriety but also promoting abstinence and purity with a heavily Christian message. The WCTU subscribed to many ideals of the Progressive Movement such as women's suffrage, labor reform, public health, and sanitation.

Quick Guide to Terms

Anti-Suffrage

A movement that sought to preserve the status-quo for women by opposing the idea of giving women equal suffrage rights.

Prohibition

The prevention by law of the manufacture and sale of alcohol, especially in the US between 1920 and 1933.

Suffrage

The right to vote in political elections.

Suffragist

A person advocating the extension of suffrage, especially to women.

Temperance

Abstinence from alcoholic drink.