November 16, 1924
WOMEN OFFICEHOLDERS HAVE MADE BIG GAINS
Two Governors, 88 State Legislators, One Representative in Congress and a Secretary of State Successful at Polls – Old Parties Chary of Support
Since the tumult and shouting of the recent elections have died, people are beginning to realize what an important part women had played in the drama; not only in voting and campaigning, but also in winning elective office. Two women have won Governorships, at least eighty-eight women have been returned to the State Legislatures of the nation and one to Congress, while another was elected a Secretary of State. To be sure, a great many of these who ran for office did not win-but there is significance in the fact that so many were nominated, and that here and there they did win. In twenty-two of these United States women entered the competition for State offices. In eleven, women were nominated for Congress. This much has been accomplished within a brief four years toward recognizing the capabilities of the former stay-at-homes. What does the future hold? And what has this year’s history-making meant to the women of the country as a whole?
First of all, the results which are known should be set down at this time. Complete returns are not yet available. Mrs. Miriam Ferguson was elected Governor of Texas, Mrs. Nellie Taylor Ross Governor of Wyoming. They are both Democrats. Mrs. Florence E. S. Knapp, Republican, has been elected Secretary of State of New York, and Mrs. Mary T. Norton of New Jersey will take her seat in Congress as the first woman Democratic Representative. These four places are of nation-wide interest. The first two have achieved a unique position for women, but there have been four women who have served in Congress-Miss Rankin, Miss Robertson, Mrs. Huck and Mrs. Nolan-and there have been two other women Secretaries of State-Mrs. Cromwell of Kentucky and Mrs. Soledad Chacon of New Mexico.
The story of Mrs. Ferguson’s triumph was expected and is too well known to be retold. Mrs. Ross, on the other hand, had so little publicity before election that her success came as quite a surprise outside the State. Her husband, former Governor William Ross, died suddenly in October, and the voters of her state insisted that she take his place and carry on his plans. She rolled…a huge majority at the polls. It happens that the two women Governor have gone in as if by a side door, because of untoward happenings to their husbands. Mrs. Norton and Mrs. Knapp, however, went in on their own through regular channels and as a result of years of work and familiarity with matters political. But no one seems to feel that the first two will be any less valuable to their constituencies.
Next in importance come those who have been elected to their State Legislatures. According to The Woman Citizen, the following have won successes at the polls:
California-Cora M. Woodbridge, Anne L. Saylor, Este B. Broughton, Grace S. Dorris and Eleanor Miller.
Connecticut-Marjorie Cheney, Hannah D. Townshend, Corinne R. Alsop, Elizabeth W. Coe, Mary M. Hooper, Julia Emery, Sarah B. Crawford, Mary B. Weaver, Helen A. Green, Edith Raymond, Edna C. Fenniman, Clarissa Nevins, Ethel M. Ryan, Helen E. Kewis and Annie E. Vinton.
Delaware-Florence M. Hanby.
Illinois-Mrs. Lottie Holman O’Neill, Mrs. Katherine Hancock Goode, Mrs. Rena Elrod and Mrs. Florence Fifer Bohrer.
Indiana (incomplete)-Antoinette C. Hagenwald and Mrs. Edward Franklin White.
Kansas-Mrs. R. H. Trueblood and Mrs.Ben Mickel.
Maine-Mrs. Katherine C. Allen.
Massachusetts-M. Sylvia Donaldson and Mrs. Harriet Russell Hart.
Minnesota-Mabeth Hurd Paige and Mrs. Hannah Kempfer.
Nebraska-Mrs. Clare C. Humphrey, Sarah P. Muir and Mabel A. Gillespie.
Nevada-Daisy Allen, Florence Shazey and Mayme Schwebble.
Eleven Elected in New Hampshire
New Hampshire-Dr. Zatac Straw, Mrs. Arnold S. Yantis, Mrs. Hobart Pillsbury, Mrs. Mary Chapman, Mrs. Imogene B. Emmons, Mrs. Maca S. Hilton, Mrs. Nellie J. Page, Margaret H. Barden, Jennie Fortier, Victoria Langlois, Helen J. Young.
New Jersey-Mae Carty, Mrs. C. Finn, Mary A. Thorpp, Mrs. Lila Thompson, Madge I. Ebert.
New York-Mrs. Rhoda Fox Graves.
North Carolina-Mrs. Julia Alexander, Mrs. Giles Cover.
Ohio- (incomplete)-Mrs. Nettie B. Loughead, Mrs. Maude C. Waitt, Grace E. Makepeace, Nettie M. Clapp, Mrs. Clara Wood Derr, Mrs. Viola D. Romans, Mrs. May D. Van Wye, Mrs. Florence H. Wells, Mrs. C. J. Ott, Osa Denny.
Pennsylvania-Mrs. Flora M. Vare (to Senate), Lillie H. Pitts, Martha G. Thomas, Helen Grimes, Alice M. Bentley, Martha M. Pennok, Maude B. Trescher.
South Dakota (incomplete-Mrs. Mabel Moody, Gladys Pyle, Celia M. Kelley, Christine Olson.
Utah-Mrs. N. A. Dunyon, Mrs. Julia Smart, Mrs. Arthur E. Graham, Mrs. Munroe Paxman.
Washington-Mrs. Belle Reeves, Mrs. Harry John Miller, Mrs. Maude Swe?man.
West Virginia-Dr. Harriette Jones.
This list is impressive since it shows how much the old attitude of antagonism is dying out, and because it tells where women will be working for one another in the seats of government.
And herein lies a curious bit of psychology.
Women generally do not support women. Those who have handled campaigns make that statement universally, and some of them deplore it. At headquarters for the Woman’s Party, for example, Mrs. Clarence M. Smith, state Chairman, said:
“We never advocate that people should vote for a woman simply because she is a woman, but we do wish that they would get over the idea that women are not as capable as men. If voters would only give them the benefit of the doubt and look into qualifications, a great many more women would hold office. There are women in every branch of professional and business life who are known to be eminently successful, yet the general feeling is that an elective job is too big for them to handle.
“The major parties seldom nominate a woman, because they don’t feel that the policy is one to inspire the confidence of their voters. Socialist, Prohibition, Farmer-Labor-all the small parties list them but those parties seldom win.”
“Do you think it is a wise move for the women who seek office to become identified in the public mind with the less conservative groups?” Mrs. Smith was asked.
“The public mind is very slow to identify anything, and I think it is better to use that means as an opening wedge than to do nothing at all. Public opinion has changed a great deal since the days of Mrs. Pankhurst, but it has had to be very gradual.”
…Vice President of…Council of the Women’s…not think that the recent elections indicate any improvement on the part of the attitude of women generally.
Women Don’t Interest Women
“Those who were elected were put in by the man’s votes, and will administer their offices as nearly in accordance with party policies and political expediencies as men would do in the same position. They are not particularly aware of nor interested in improving the condition of women by means of legislation for equal rights. The vast majority of busy housewives are not yet awake to their responsibilities for helping less fortunate women. They are not yet really interested in using the power which the ballot gives them. It will take time-great movements always do.”
“What do you think of the likelihood of a woman for President?”
“I think it is quite probable, at some future date. Why not? Women have governed well as queens and empresses-it wouldn’t b too big a job by any means.”
That same question was put to at least tenpersons, both men and women, and after the first surprised minute of thinking they nearly all answered to that effect. And one man added: “What would we have said last year to the proposition of women for Governors? One had better be mighty wary now about saying what could not happen.”
In studying the official lists of nominations it becomes evident that the Democrats and Republicans name a woman under only two conditions: One: when there is absolutely no chance for her to win; and the other, when there is no chance for her to lose, as shown by the party solidarity behind Mrs. Norton, for instance. While it must be admitted that it is pretty good party policy, progressive women think it hard that the powers that be do not give women a chance to put up a good fight on their own account. They believe, however, that that may come in due time. One factor in the situation is that the qualifications demanded of a woman office seeker are infinitely more exacting than those demanded of a man. A woman is required to be a person of social standing, of excellent education, of personal charm, of wealth, and with ability to make good speeches. A moment’s reflection shows how much higher that standard is than the one which men candidates are measured by, for whom every possible assistance is furnished by an eager party machine.
Have Lost in England.
In contrast to the situation in this country, England’s women have lost badly. Out of forty-one candidates only four were elected, largely because of the shifting of power from Labor to Conservative. It is rumored that the Duchess of Atholl will be appointed to the new Cabinet, but the great favorite, Lady Astor, has had to step into second place. There are those who mourn Lady Astor’s residence in England, feeling that her own country lost a great stateswoman when Nancy Langhorne of…
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