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Reexamining Women’s Nineteenth-Century Political Agency: School Suffrage and Office-Holding

  • Kathryn A. Nicholas (a1)

Recognizing public education as a public good, policymakers have focused on providing those with direct interest in public schools opportunities to influence educational policy making. In the nineteenth century, this often meant providing women the right to vote on and to hold public school offices. Frequently conflated, suffrage and public office holding are actually two different, yet related, citizenship rights. Using state and territorial legislative records as a starting place, this article redefines the understanding of school suffrage by complicating the traditional narrative relative to its relationship with full woman suffrage. In doing so, it also provides evidence that before 1900 women were granted the right to hold public education offices, ultimately being elected in forty-three of forty-eight states before the twentieth century, thus broadening the understanding of women’s political agency prior to attaining full suffrage.

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1. Douglas, Joshua A., “The Right to Vote Under Local Laws,” George Washington Law Review 85, no. 4 (July 2017): 10391111; Benjamin, Gerald, “At-Large Elections in N.Y.S. Cities, Towns, Villages, and School Districts and the Challenge of Growing Population Density,” Albany Government Law Review 5 (2012): 238–40; and Noncitizen Voting in New York City, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, City College of New York, July 2015, Proposition D, which appeared on San Francisco’s ballot in November 2010, would have allowed parents and legal guardians of students to vote at school board elections regardless of their immigration status. San Francisco 2010 Voter’s Pamphlet, September 2010, 93–98, 178,

2. Yang, Bryant Yuan, “Fighting for an Equal Voice: Past and Present Struggle for Noncitizen Enfranchisement,” Asian American Law Journal 13, no. 1 (January 2006): 89.

3. Channing, Eva, Brief History of the Massachusetts School Suffrage Association (n.p., Massachusetts School Suffrage Association, 1893). For the purposes of this discussion, school suffrage is defined as the right of specified classes of electors to vote on school matters or for school officers.

4. William Warren, president of Boston University, emphasized that the petition granting women in Massachusetts the right to vote on school issues originated with women interested in improving their local schools, not with suffragists. “Women on the School Committee,” The Woman’s Journal (1 March 1879), 15. Harvard professor Andrew Peabody went so far as to say, “The question of women’s suffrage in the elections and measures appertaining to public schools, ought not to be confounded with the general question of female suffrage.” Peabody, A. P., “The Voting of Women in School Elections,” Journal of Social Science 10 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, December 1879): 42.

5. Black’s Law Dictionary defines suffrage as “a vote, the act of voting; the right or privilege of casting a vote in public elections.” Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary (St. Paul, 1968), 1602.

6. For overviews of the effort at the national level to create a federal educational system, see Canfield Lee, Gordon, The Struggle for Federal Aid, First Phase: A History of the Attempts to Obtain Federal Aid for the Common Schools, 1870–1890 (New York, 1949); Keller, Morton, Affairs of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth-Century America (Cambridge, Mass., 1977), 131–36; and Beadie, Nancy, “War, Education, and State Formation: Problems of Territorial and Political Integration in the United States, 1848–1912,” Paedagogica Historica 52, no. 1–2 (January 2016): 5875.

7. Alexander Keyssar writes, “No history of any form of partial suffrage has yet been written; the existing secondary compilations of laws are inconsistent, and legal histories in many states are difficult to pin down, because court decisions, legislatures, and city councils frequently changed the laws.” Keyssar, Alexander, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (New York, 2000), 414 n 28. Michael Pisapia includes discussion of school suffrage as an example of how women leveraged their involvement in education to gain entry into American politics. See Michael Callaghan Pisapia, “Public Education and the Role of Women in American Political Development, 1852–1979 (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2010); and Pisapia, Michael Callahan, “The Authority of Women in the Political Development of America,” Studies in American Political Development 24 (April 2012): 2456. The only recent scholarly works found that have more than a passing mention of school suffrage beyond Pisapia’s work both focus on school suffrage within the context of woman suffrage. See McConnaughy, Corrine M., The Woman Suffrage Movement in America: A Reassessment (New York, 2013); and Gaylynn Welch, “Local and National Forces Shaping the American Woman Suffrage Movement, 1870–1890” (PhD diss., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2009).

8. Anthony, Susan B. and Harper, Ida Husted, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4, 1883–1900 (Rochester, N.Y.: privately published, 1902). Volume 4 is the most frequently cited volume relative to school suffrage adoptions.

9. Tetrault, Lisa, The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848–1898 (Chapel Hill, 2014).

10. Harper, Ida Husted, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, vol. 2 (Indianapolis: Bowen-Merrill, 1898), 798.

11. McCammon, Holly J., “Stirring Up Suffrage Sentiment: The Formation of the State Woman Suffrage Organizations, 1866–1914,” Social Forces 80, no. 2 (December 2001): 456.

12. “Nebraska and Arizona,” The (Portland, OR) New Northwest, 21 April 1881, 4; and “The School Law,” Helena Weekly Herald, 22 March 1883, 4. An individual writing under the name of Giocasa indicated that the bill allowing taxpaying women’s voting on school officers “seem[ed] to have been won so quietly, that probably a majority of the female taxpayers [in Massachusetts] have hardly yet come to a realizing sense of the boon just granted them.” Giocasa, “The School Vote,” Boston Post, 5 August 1879, 4.

13. It can be argued that the expansion of school suffrage during the nineteenth century was directly related to the state and territorial expansion of public education and women’s role in that expansion.

14. McConnaughy, The Woman Suffrage Movement in America, 8–14.

15. Keyssar, The Right to Vote.

16. For discussions regarding voting rights vs. candidacy rights, see Avins, Alfred, “The Right to Hold Public Office and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments: The Original Understanding,” University of Kansas Law Review 15, no. 3 (1967): 287306; Gordon, Nicole A., “The Constitutional Right to Candidacy,” University of Kansas Law Review 25 (1977): 545–71; and Wassenaar, Paul R., “The Emerging Right to Candidacy in State and Local Elections: Constitutional Protection of the Voter, the Candidate, and the Political Group,” Wayne Law Review 17 (1971): 1543–79.

17. Pisapia, Public Education and the Role of Women in American Political Development; and Pisapia, “The Authority of Women in the Political Development of American Public Education. For a discussion of how voluntary women’s organizations influenced the adoption of mother’s pensions and other social welfare legislation, see also Skocpol, Theda, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (Cambridge, Mass., 1992).

18. For examples of where women served as superintendents, see Handbook of School Superintendents for 1886–1887 (New York: Writers’ Publishing, 1886); American College and Public School Directory, vol. 19 (St. Louis: C. H. Evans, 1896); “Women in School Administration,” Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1899–1900, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901), 2589–95; and Cook, Katherine M. and Monahan, A. C., Rural School Supervision (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1917), 38.

19. These states included California, Illinois, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. The Statutes of California Passed at the Twentieth Session of the Legislature (Sacramento: G. H. Springer, State Printer, 1874), 356; Laws of the State of Illinois Passed at the Twenty-Eighth General Assembly (Springfield: State Journal Steam Print, 1873), 192; Acts and Resolutions Passed at the Regular Session of the Sixteenth General Assembly of the State of Iowa (Des Moines: R. P. Clarkson, State Printer, 1876), 126; and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg: Benjamin Singerly, State Printer, 1874), 21.

20. Tyack, David, “Forgotten Players: How Local School Districts Shaped American Education,” in School Districts and Instructional Renewal, ed. Hightower, Amy M., Knapp, Michael S., Marsh, Julie A., and McLaughlin, Milbrey W. (New York, 2002), 9; and Tyack, David, “Democracy in Education—Who Needs It?” Education Week, 17 November 1999, 4245. It should be noted that school district and school trustee are common terms used by states, but these are not the only terms used for local school districts and the officers who make district decisions. For purposes of discussion, these terms should be seen to also encompass variations, such as townships and school visitors.

21. Tyack, David, Seeking Common Ground: Public Schools in a Diverse Society (Cambridge, Mass., 2003), 23.

22. “School Elections Again,” Worthington (Minn.) Advance, 26 October 1876, 3.

23. The Acts and Resolutions adopted by the Legislature of Florida . . . 1869 (Tallahassee: Edw. M. Cheney, State Printer, 1869), 44.

24. Second Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of California, for the School Years 1866 and 1867 [John Swett, Superintendent], in Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly, of the Seventeenth Session of the Legislature of the State of California (Sacramento: D. W. Selwicks, State Printer, 1868), 18.

25. (Olympia) Washington Standard, 14 August 1875, 2.

26. “Women’s Votes in School Elections,” New York Times, 11 November 1886, 4.

27. General Laws of the Territory of Idaho, Passed at the Thirteenth Session of the Territorial Legislature (Boise: Jas. A. Pinney, Territorial Printer, 1885), 194.

28. Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Frankfort: A. G. Hodges, State Printer, 1838), 282.

29. Laws of the State of Indiana, Passed at the Forty-First Regular Session of the General Assembly (Indianapolis: Berry R. Sulgrove, State Printer, 1861), 72.

30. The Code of Civil Procedure and Other General Statutes of Oregon . . . 1862 (Salem: Asahel Bush, State Printer, 1863), 42.

31. Information published by the National American Woman Suffrage Association was incomplete regarding school suffrage adoptions. For example, see Martha G. Boyd, ed., The Woman Suffrage Yearbook 1917 (New York, 1917), 25–44.

32. Laws, Joint Resolutions, and Memorials, Passed at the First, Second and Third Sessions of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Nebraska (Omaha: St. A. D. Balcombe, Public Printer, 1867), 102–10.

33. Public Acts and Joint and Concurrent Resolutions of the Legislature of the State of Michigan . . . 1881 (Lansing: W. S. George & Company, State Printers and Binders, 1881), 168.

34. Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts . . . 1879 (Boston: Rand, Aberg, Printers to the Commonwealth, 1879), 559–60.

35. During the period of this study, Montana passed tax suffrage for women in 1889 and Louisiana did so in 1898. Iowa passed bond suffrage (a form of tax suffrage) in 1894. See Jones, Carolyn C., “Dollars and Selves: Women’s Tax Criticism and Resistance in the 1870s,” University of Illinois Law Review 1994, no. 2 (Spring 1994): 265309; and Juliana Tutt, “‘No Taxation Without Representation’ in the American Woman Suffrage Movement,” Stanford Law Review 62, no. 5 (May 2010): 1473–1512.

36. The southern states were the earliest states to adopt such rights, with Mississippi doing so in 1839. See Cott, Nancy F., “Marriage and Women’s Citizenship in the United States, 1830–1934,” American Historical Review 103, no. 5 (December 1998): 1440–74; and Ely, James W. Jr. and Bodenhamer, David J., “Regionalism and American Legal History: The Southern Experience,” Vanderbilt Law Review 39 (1986): 539–67.

37. Lindgren, H. Elaine, “Ethnic Women Homesteading on the Plains of North Dakota,” Great Plains Quarterly 9 (Summer 1989): 157–73. For information on the Southern Homestead Act, see Canaday, Neil, Reback, Charles, and Stowe, Kristin, “Race and Local Knowledge: New Evidence from the Southern Homestead Act,” Review of Black Political Economy 42, no. 4 (December 2015): 399413.

38. Acts of the Legislature of the State of Michigan Passed at the Regular Session of 1855 (Lansing: Geo. W. Peck, Printer to the State, 1855), 44–45.

39. Laws of the State of Mississippi (Jackson: Power & Barksdale, State Printers, 1878), 102.

40. The Laws of Oregon . . . of the Twelfth Regular Session (Salem: W. H. Byars, State Printers, 1882), 38–41; and The Laws of Oregon . . . of the Fifteenth Regular Session (Salem: Frank C. Baker, State Printer, 1889), 125–26.

41. State of Kansas Session Laws of 1887 (Topeka: Kansas Publishing House, T. D. Thacker, State Printer, 1887), 324–25.

42. At least twenty-two different states and territories adopted suffrage for white male aliens at various times during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. See Raskin, Jamin B., “Legal Aliens, Local Citizens: The Historical, Constitutional, and Theoretical Meanings of Alien Suffrage,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 141, no. 4 (April 1993): 13911470.

43. For example, see legislation establishing school districts for Mt. Sterling in 1883: Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Frankfort: S. I. M. Major, Public Printer, 1884), 1392; John’s Creek District–Pike County: Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, vol. 2 (Frankfort: John D. Woods, Public Printer and Binder, 1886), 1378; and Pinesville City Schools: Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, vol. 2 (Frankfort: E. Polk Johnson, Public Printer and Binder, 1890), 1187. Note that not all the districts formed by the Kentucky Legislature included these provisions; some included only women who were taxpayers or widowed guardians of children, without mention of aliens as those granted school voting rights, even during the same legislative session. For example, see the Graded City School System for Lancaster (Ky.)–Union County: Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, vol. 1 (Frankfort: E. Polk Johnson, Public Printer and Binder, 1890), 1094.

44. Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Frankfort: I. M. Major, Public Printer, 1870), 112.

45. General Laws, Memorials and Resolutions of the Territory of Wyoming Passed at the First Session of the Legislative Assembly (Cheyenne: S. Allan Bristol, Public Printer, 1870), 223, 371.

46. State of Oregon General Laws and Joint Resolutions . . . the Twenty-Ninth Regular Session . . . (Salem: State Printing Department, 1917), 130.

47. Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15, 395 U.S. 621 (1969).

48. For example, see Peabody “The Voting of Women in School Elections”; and Polly Welts Kaufman, Boston Women and City School Politics (New York, 1994).

49. General Laws . . . of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Colorado (Central City: Register Book and Job Print, 1870), 100; General Laws of the State of Colorado (Denver: Tribune Steam Printing House, 1877), 51–53; and The General Statutes of the State of Colorado (Denver: Times Steam Printing and Publishing House, 1883), 892.

50. For information on woman suffrage adoptions in the West, see Mead, Rebecca J., How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States (New York, 2004); and McCammon, “Stirring Up Suffrage Sentiment.”

51. General Laws of the State of Minnesota (St. Paul: Pioneer Press, 1875), 19; General Laws of the State of Colorado (1877), 51–53; The Laws of Wisconsin, vol. 1 (Madison: Democrat Printing Company, State Printers, 1885), 184–85; and “Constitution,” in Laws Passed at the First Session of the Legislative Assembly of the State of North Dakota (Bismarck: Tribune, Printers and Binders, 1890), 32.

52. Opinion of the Justices, 115 Mass. 602 (1874).

53. Welch, Local and National Forces, 10.

54. Sedalia (Mo.) Weekly Bazoo, 23 December 1879, 2.

55. Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, 798.

56. Buechler, Steven M., The Transformation of the Woman Suffrage Movement: The Case of Illinois, 1850–1920 (New Brunswick, N.J., 1986), 149; and Edelman, Susan Scheiber, “A Red Hot Suffrage Campaign: The Woman Suffrage Cause in California, 1896,” California Supreme Court Historical Society Yearbook 2 (1995): 53.

57. Avins, “The Right to Hold Public Office”; Gordon, “The Constitutional Right to Candidacy”; and Wassenaar, “The Emerging Right to Candidacy in State and Local Elections.”

58. Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875).

59. The State of Ohio General and Local Acts Passed and Joint Resolutions Adopted by the Seventy-First General Assembly . . . 1894, vol. 91 (n.p.: Published by state authority, n.d.), 182.

60. Laws, Memorials, and Resolutions of the Territory of Montana . . . 1873 (Helena: Robert E. Fisk, Public Printers, 1874), 49.

61. (Deer Lodge, Mont.) New North-West, 31 January 1874, 2.

62. Wright v. Noell, 16 Kan. 601 (1876).

63. Article 232, Constitution of the State of Louisiana . . . 1879 (New Orleans: Jas. Cosgrove, Convention Printer, 1879), 56.

64. Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 21; Amendment to the Constitution of Nevada–Section 3, Article 15, Statutes of the State of Nevada Passed at the Fourteenth Session of the Legislature (Carson City: State Printing Office, 1889), 151.

65. Mrs. Horace Mann [Mary Peabody Mann] and Elizabeth Peabody, Moral Culture of Infancy, and Kindergarten Guide (Boston: T. O. H. P. Burnham, 1864), 107–8

66. Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1874 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1875), 379.

67. Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1874, 450.

68. Kate Gannett Wells, “Women on School Boards,” North American Review 181 (September 1905): 428–29.

69. “Women on the Brookline School Board,” Boston Evening Transcript, 15 March 1900, 6; and Alice Stone Blackwell, “Suffrage for Women,” Indianapolis Journal, 17 February 1902, 6.

70. “Colored People Meet,” Salina (Kans.) Daily Republican, 25 March 1890, 4; Helena Independent, 2 April 1890, 1; and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 1890, 1.

71. In 1860, 80 percent of the nation lived in areas that the U.S. Census Bureau designated as rural. By 1900 the majority of the nation, 60 percent, still lived in such places. Meyer, John W., Tyack, David, Nagel, Joane, and Gordon, Audri, “Public Education as Nation-Building in America: Enrollments and Bureaucratization in the American States, 1870–1930,” American Journal of Sociology 85, no. 3 (November 1979): 595.

72. Kowalski, Theodore J. and Cryss Brunner, C., “The School Superintendent: Roles, Challenges, and Issues,” in The SAGE Handbook of Educational Leadership: Advances in Theory, Research, and Practice, ed. English, Fenwick W. (Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2011), 145. For an example of the duties of city superintendents, see Larry Cuban, The Managerial Imperative and the Practice of Leadership in Schools (Albany, N.Y., 1988), 111–49.

73. For an example of the duties of county and school district school officers, see Proceedings of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association in Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education, no. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880), 96–103.

74. Public Acts of the State of Connecticut, Passed May Session, 1841 (Hartford: J. Holbrook, 1841), 44–47.

75. Article IX, Section 1, The Constitution of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations (Providence: Knowles and Vose, 1842), 15.

76. The Statutes of California, Passed at the Twentieth Session of the Legislature, 356.

77. R[oyal] Robbins to H[enry] Barnard, 3 May 1842, in “Report of the Secretary,” Connecticut Common School Journal 4, no. 15 (1 September 1842): 193. There is some controversy as to whether she was actually elected to the position, although Willard herself indicated that she had been elected superintendent in 1840. See Robert E. Nelson, “American Antigone: Women, Education, Nation, 1800–1870” (PhD diss., Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, 2008), 185 n.59.

78. Journal of Education for Upper Canada, vol. 8, no. 4 (May 1855): 79; and Howes, Frederick G., History of the Town of Ashfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts from its Settlement in 1742 to 1910 (Ashfield: Town of Ashfield, 1910), 183.

79. New Orleans Republican, 21 March 1868, 1; and Nashville Union and American, 23 December 1868, 1.

80. “All Sorts and Sizes,” Bangor (Maine) Daily Whig and Courier, 21 October 1869, 1; “Multiple News Items” (Washington, D.C.) Daily National Intelligencer, 29 March 1869; “All Sorts and Sizes,” Bangor (Maine) Daily Whig and Courier, March 16, 1870, 1; “New England News,” Boston Daily Advertiser, 1 October 1870, 2; and “Women on School Boards,” Cleveland Morning Herald, 15 April 1871, 2.

81. Acts and Resolves Passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, in the Year 1874 (Boston: Wright & Potter, State Printers, 1874), 443.

82. Report of the Commissioner of Education . . . 1872 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1873), 306.

83. For example, see The (Earlington, Ky.) Bee, 23 August 1894, 4; Asheville (NC) Daily Citizen, September 11, 1894, 3; (San Francisco) Morning Call, 14 October 1894, 15; and Phillipsburg (Kans.) Herald, 7 November 1895, 1.

84. “Women and the Offices” (Winchester, Tenn.) Home Journal, 16 April 1868, 2. The woman is identified as Mrs. E. T. Carter in the Boston Investigator (15 April 1868), 397, and as Mrs. E. F. Allison in Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig (15 April 1868), 1.

85. Mullenbach, Cheryl, “The Election of Julia Addington: An Accidental Milestone in Iowa Politics,” Iowa Heritage Illustrated (Fall 2007): 18.

86. Gallaher, Ruth A., Legal and Political Status of Women in Iowa, an Historical Account of the Rights of Women in Iowa from 1838 to 1918 (Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1918), 229–30.

87. Wright v. Noell, 16 Kansas 161 (1876).

88. State of Oregon General and Special Laws . . . by the Seventeenth Regular Session (Salem, Ore.: Frank C. Baker, State Printer, 1893), 62.

89. “Women Are Ineligible,” Corvallis (Ore.) Gazetteer, 27 July 1894, 3.

90. State ex rel. v. Stevens, 29 Ore. 464 (1896).

91. Laws of the State of Maryland (Baltimore: John Murphy, 1870), 535–58.

92. Carr, Jeanne C., “Educational Progress, as Exemplified at the Centennial Exhibition,” Seventh Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of California for the School Years 1876 and 1877 (Sacramento: State Office, F. P. Thompson, Supt. State Printing, 1877), 3045.

93. “The Colored School Trustees” (Washington, D.C.) Evening Star, 20 August 1895, 3; and “Charge Discrimination” (Washington, D.C.) Evening Star, 31 August 1895, 3.

94. “Trustees in Petticoats,” Washington (D.C.) Times, 6 April 1895, 1.

95. For examples of such elections or women serving as school officers in the South, see “Educational Reform,” (New Orleans) Times-Democrat, 20 January 1896, 4; “Woman Elected School Trustee,” Washington Post, 29 March 1896, 11; and “Women in School Administration,” Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1896–1897, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1898), 1528–33.

96. Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia (Atlanta: Geo. W. Harrison, State Printer, 1897), 41–42.

97. “Woman Elected School Trustee.”

98. M[ilicent] W[ashburn] Shinn, “Women on School Boards,” Overland Monthly 12 (November 1888): 550–51.

99. Ibid.

100. Nearing, Scott, “Who’s Who on Our Boards of Education?” School and Society 5 (20 January 1917): 90.

101. Blount, Jackie M., Destined to Rule the Schools: Women and the Superintendency, 1873–1995 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), 178.

102. Lathrop, Edith A., “Teaching as a Vocation for College Women,” The Arrow 38, no. 3 (March 1922): 419.

103. Lubomudrov, Carol Ann, “A Woman State School Superintendent: Whatever Happened to Mrs. McVicker?” Utah Historical Quarterly 49, no. 3 (1981): 254–61.

104. Prior to the passage of Australian ballots, political parties printed their own ballots during much of the period under examination.

105. There are records of People’s Conventions held throughout the western United States in the two decades prior to the creation of the People’s Party in 1892. Sentiments for these nominating conventions varied but often focused on a refusal to allow electoral control by one or more political party. For example, see “Ratification Meeting Last Saturday Night,” (Tucson) Arizona Citizen, 22 October 1870, 2.

106. General Territorial Election Returns 1854–92, Office of the Secretary of State, Washington State Archives (Olympia), Accession Number AR-20070615, Box 1.

107. Robert E. Ficken, Washington Territory (Pullman, 2002), 189.

108. Baker, Paula, The Moral Frameworks of Public Life: Gender, Politics, and the State in Rural New York, 1870–1930 (New York, 1991), 5689.

109. Bismarck (N.D.) Weekly Tribune, 16 December 1892, 5; and “Northwest News,” Bismarck (N.D.) Weekly Tribune, 26 January 1984, 1.

110. Based on election data collected by the author using historical news reports of election returns.

111. General Laws of the State of Kansas (Lawrence: “Kansas State Journal” Steam Power Press Print, 1861), 260–61; and General Laws of the State of Colorado (1877), 51–53.

112. For examples of these arguments, see Lizzie C. Hull, “Women as School Officers,” The Troy (Mo.) Herald, 11 February 1874, 4; “Women as School Directors,” The (Philadelphia) Times, 22 January 1882, 4; “Educational Reform,” (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, 20 January 1896, 4; “Women as School Trustees,” Denton (Md.) Journal, 15 May 1897, 2; and Donna C. Schuele, “‘None Could Deny the Eloquence of This Lady’: Women, Law, and Government in California, 1850–1890,” in Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California, ed. John F. Burns and Richard J. Orsi (Berkeley, 2003), 194.

113. Van Assendelft, Laura, “Entry-Level Politics? Women as Candidates and Elected Officials at the Local Level,” in Women and Elective Office: Past, Present, and Future, ed. Thomas, Sue and Wilcox, Clyde (New York, 2014), 199215.

114. Carma Hogue, Government Organization Summary Report: 2012, Governments Division Briefs, U.S. Census Bureau, 26 September 2013,

115. “Frequently Asked Questions,” National School Boards Association, Adoption of full woman suffrage actually had limited effect on the percentage of women serving on school boards. It took until the late 1920s for national rates to double from pre-1920 rates of 7 percent to 15 percent. Not until 1975 did women make up more than 20 percent of national school board members. See Stephanie Anne Pace Marshall, “An Analysis of the Profile, Roles, Functions, and Behavior of Women on Boards of Education in DuPage County, Illinois” (PhD diss., Loyola University of Chicago, 1983), 10.

116. Resnick, Michael A. and Bryant, Anne L., “School Boards: Why American Education Needs Them,” Phi Delta Kappan 91, no. 6 (March 2010): 1114.

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