Missouri Women Talk Suffrage

Rose O’Neill
“Callista and I were keen about the fight for woman suffrage and I walked in some parades, wore a placard, and made drawings for the cause. One Sunday evening I had been at an anti-suffrage meeting uptown and had stopped off at Madison Square, where I saw a crowd gathered about a platform. Two of the suffrage workers immediately asked me if  I would hold the crowd. I went up on the platform to make my first and only suffrage speech. I began well for I was introduced as the mother of the Kewpies to thunderous applause. I’ve forgotten what my arguments were but I remember they were all on the humorous side. One “anti” had proposed that if a wife had the vote, hers, if opposed, would only nullify her husband’s. I suggested that all men partners would have to decide which should vote, Park or Tilford, Lord or Taylor, etc. I finished in a gale of applause.” — Rose O’Neill

Phoebe Couzins

“Gentleman, The sentinels of great ideas, are calling to each other from mountain top and peak, “Watchman, what of the night?” The nineteenth century responds, “Traveller, the dawn usually breaks in the east, but, lo! the morning cometh from the west, and the star of Wyoming and Missouri proclaims the birth of freedom’s daughter!” — Phoebe Couzins, A Speech by the Lady Bachelor at Law, 1871

Equal Suffrage Headquarters, St. Louis

“After the Federal Amendment had been passed by both houses of the  National Congress, it still had to be ratified by three-fourths of the legislatures of the states. There again it suffered every form of delay, misrepresentation and sharp practice. However, the innocent handful of wishful thinkers who had first gone to work trustfully had through the years learned several things. They now had a membership behind them of respectable size with influential women who had learned in a hard school to be seasoned campaigners. Our opponents were very influential. They represented the railroads, breweries and other industries. Many of them were large employers of women.” — Mary Ezit Bulkley, Grandmother, Mother, and Me, 1946

“We believe that all persons who are subject to the law, and taxed to support the government have a voice in the selection of those who are to govern and legislate for them… We therefore pray that an amendment may be proposed striking out the word ‘male’ and extending to women the right of suffrage.” — Excerpt from a petition presented to the Missouri State Legislature in 1867.  It was rejected by a vote of eighty-nine to five.  It would take over fifty more years for women in Missouri to legally exercise their right to vote.

Virginia Minor

“The principle upon which this government rests is representation before taxation. My property is denied representation and therefore can not be taxable… I refuse to become a party to this injustice… as clearly the duties of a citizen can only be exacted where rights and privileges are equally accorded.” — Virginia Minor, addressing the St. Louis Board of Assessors regarding her refusal to pay property taxes, August 26, 1879.

Edna Gellhorn

“I was inspired by the message that women had something to contribute.” — Edna Gellhorn

“Questions of water supply, the milk and foods generally, the problem of the clean street and clean alley, garbage and ashes collections and a hundred… other things – she can no longer control without a voice in the making of laws affecting such matters.” — Barbara Blackman O’Neil

Maryville Ladies Marching Band in Washington DC

“We did not have time to stop and think about the really important thing we did when our band led the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. We were not right in the lead when the parade started: a number of women escorts, a number of walking officers of the National Equal Suffrage Association, with our band following, was the order when we first started. We had gone but a short distance when the crowd started closing up toward the line of the parade, and men blockaded a place in the street a short distance ahead. One of the suffrage officers came rushing  back to us and told us to march on ahead and lead; that it would be necessary for the band to open the way proved true. We were not molested in the least and although the march was slow on account of the crowds, no one offered to stand in our way down the avenue.” — Alma Nash, leader of the Maryville Ladies Marching Band, who led the 1913 Women’s Suffrage parade in Washington D.C.

“If I had the gift of some great educational or political right, and it was in my power to confer it upon men, they wouldn’t even have to ask me for it. They wouldn’t have to wear themselves out petitioning me to give them something that is no more mine than theirs.” — Alice Curtice-Moyer Wing

Maye Shipps Corrough was in the Arkoe, Missouri general store when she heard the news that women could legally vote, “I got up on the counter and danced!”

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