Kansas suffragists helped bring about the greatest expansion of democracy on a single day when the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote was passed. An exhibit commemorating the centennial of that event was created by the Kansas League of Women Voters.
The exhibit, which received grant funding, will continue to be available into 2021 to accommodate requests and reschedule venues that had been scheduled during COVID-19 closures. The March to the Polls will also occur in Hays and Ellis County September and October. Marchers will walk from election offices and register voters.
The names of women who fought for voting rights have largely faded from memory. Here are a few of the Northwest Kansas women who helped ensure that today’s women can vote:
Lorraine Elizabeth Wooster, Salina: In 1918 became the first woman elected to a statewide office – State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Lilla Day Monroe, Wakeeney: Suffragist with interest in the law, who passed the bar examination and was admitted to practice in the Kansas Supreme Court on May 7, 1895.
Emily Jane (Cornell) Biggs, Lincoln: Lincoln Woman Suffrage Association.
Molly Bierschbach, Norton: Active in the suffrage movement.
Jolen E. Brown, Minneapolis: Treasurer, Ottawa County Kansas Equal Suffrage Association.
May (Belleville) Brown, Salina: President of Kansas Federation of Women’s Clubs, which supported suffrage
Regina Victoria Chambers, Hoxie: Advisory Board, Kansas Equal Suffrage Association.
Ida Estella (Piper) Collister, Minneapolis: 1st Vice-President of the Ottawa County Kansas Equal Suffrage Association
Marilda Jane (Lockard) Curry, Norton: Norton County Equal Suffrage Association
Mary Carolyn “Carrie” Daughters, Lincoln: Kansas Equal Suffrage Association
Amanda M. (Watrous) Doolittle, Lincoln: Member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which supported suffrage
Bertha H. Ellsworth, Lincoln: Secretary of Lincoln Suffrage Society who helped organize the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association
Elizabeth Hopkins, Salina: District Corresponding Secretary of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association
Mrs. C.C. Kidder, Norton: Norton County Equal Suffrage Association
Carrie Katherine “Katie” (Richards) O’Hare, Ottawa County: Ran for congress is 1910, socialist ticket
Mrs. W. W. Wood, Norton: Recording Secretary of the Federation of Women’s’ Clubs, which supported suffrage