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Title: Oral History Interview with Adele Clark, February 28, 1964. Interview G-0014-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Clark, Adele, interviewee
Interview conducted by Broadfoot, Winston
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
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Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Adele Clark, February 28, 1964. Interview G-0014-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0014-2)
Author: Winston Broadfoot
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Adele Clark, February 28, 1964. Interview G-0014-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series G. Southern Women. Southern Oral History Program Collection (G-0014-2)
Author: Adele Clark
Description: 195 Mb
Description: 43 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 28, 1964, by Winston Broadfoot; recorded in Richmond, Virginia.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series G. Southern Women, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Adele Clark, February 28, 1964.
Interview G-0014-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Clark, Adele, interviewee

Interview Participants

    ADELE CLARK, interviewee
    WINSTON BROADFOOT, interviewer


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This is Winston Broadfoot of the Duke Oral History Project. I'm in the living room of Miss Clark on 3614 Chamberlain Avenue in Richmond. It's snowing outside, February 28, 1964. Miss Clark has kindly consented to make this recording for us of her recollections, and we in turn have promised that it may not be used in any part without her permission. With those few introductory remarks, I would like to turn the microphone over to Miss Clark and have her tell us about anything she likes of her very interesting life, starting wherever she will.
Thank you, Mr. Broadfoot. I'm very glad to have the opportunity of recording some matters in connection with the work I did in the equal suffrage movement and some other things that may come to mind in giving that. You have asked me to identify myself. My name in Adele Clark, and I come of New Orleans heritage, my mother, Estelle Goodman, having been born in New Orleans; my father, Robert Clark, having come there from Belfast, Ireland, in the eighteen-fifties. I was born in Montgomery, Alabama, because my father was transferred to the L and N Railroad in Montgomery just a few months before I was born. But I have very little Alabama connections except for accident of birth there. I was born in September, 1882, and, as I have a fairly [Interruption] Virginia is the first place that I remember, so, despite my connections with any other states in the South, I feel as though I were a Virginian, because the family brought me to Virginia when I was a little over three years old. We then went back when I was about seven and lived in Alabama and Mississippi for a while. Then I came back to Richmond at

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twelve and have been here ever since except for travels around through the country. I became involved in the equal suffrage movement in 1909. It was in the spring that a very active advocate of woman's suffrage, a Mrs. Charles V. Meredith, came up to the Art Club, of which I was a board member, and asked for permission to speak before the board. And so after the Art Club business was over, we called Mrs. Meredith in and she brought a suffrage petition for the Congress asking for a federal amendment for equal suffrage for women. I signed the petition. Miss Ann Fletcher, the artist who was teaching at the Club, signed it, and a young newspaperman, and possibly one other person. I have thought since that Mrs. Meredith really reaped a large crop, getting four signatures at one effort, when I had so much trouble later in getting the suffrage movement. Then there was an old friend of ours, Mrs. Jacob Ezekiel, who was in Washington with the National Suffrage Association, and she wrote me a letter, noticing my name and asking me to become a little more active in the movement. That fall, on November the ninth, the Equal Suffrage League was organized in Richmond. And, as I told you before, I've often thought that a dramatis personae of the women who were at Mrs. Dabney Crenshaw's when the League was organized would be rather interesting. The leading one was Lila Mead Valentine, and in Virginia fashion I'm going to try to sketch a bit of their inheritance. Mrs. Valentine was a descendant of Everud Mead, the general in Washington's army who was commissioned by Washington to take Cornwallis's sword at Yorktown. Virginia-fashion, we were always proud to cite the ancestry of these suffrage leaders. Agnes Randolph

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was another early suffragist, and she was a great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. Lucy Randolph Mason was a descendant both of George Mason, the author of the Bill of Rights of Virginia, and of John Marshall of the … [Interruption]
… and of John Randolph, the first Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kay Fuller Barrett was another one of the women present at the organization of the Equal Suffrage League, and she was a Miss Waller of a rather distinguished Virginia family and had married an Episcopal minister, Mr. Barrett, and had gone into social work, particularly for the Florence Crittenden Mission, which worked with unwed mothers. Mrs. Dabney Crenshaw, in whose home we met, was a descendant of Henry Clay's or a collateral descendant of Henry Clay's, and I think the daughter of Cassius Clay of Kentucky. So we had quite a bit of background. Then Ellen Glasgow of Virginia, the author who was so distinguished, had circulated the first suffrage petition in Richmond. Mary Johnston was another member of the early League. Mrs. Charles V. Meredith. Kate and Marian Mead, Mrs. Valentine's sisters, who are living and who might be wonderful people to get some record from, which we can discuss later. The League was organized after a preliminary meeting. We had also some journalists. It seems interesting to me that the newspaperwomen and writers have always been in the vanguard of movements of this sort. There was a Mrs. Alice Tyler who was editor of the woman's page of the Times-Dispatch. Mrs. Valentine was elected President of the Equal Suffrage League of

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Virginia, and I have in my records, but don't recall right now, the names of all the Vice Presidents. Mrs. John H. Lewis, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Langer Lewis, who was an aunt of Lady Astor's, was one of our Vice Presidents. She had come down from Lynchburg to attend this meeting and became a very distinguished leader in the suffrage movement. She was quite a wonderful woman. At the meeting Mrs. Tyler was elected Secretary but declined to accept the Secretaryship, because she was afraid she'd lose her position with the Times-Dispatch. Some other lady then was chosen, and she was afraid her husband would object. I was one of the youngest women there and one of the least distinguished; in fact I wasn't particularly distinguished at all, except that I had been active in art work in Richmond. But I didn't have any job and I didn't have any husband, and finally the Secretaryship fell to me [Laughter] because of those two accidents. So I have the handwritten record of that first meeting of the suffrage association. We had no idea that anything much would come of it. We did not go to the newspapers with the formation of the League immediately. But the newspapers caught hold of it, and, as it was just at the time of the militant suffragists in England, although Mrs. Valentine's connection with suffrage had been through the conservative group in England (she having visited England with her husband quite frequently), the newspapers caught hold of this. And, as I recall it, the headlines came out a few days later saying, "We may expect women to go up and down Broad Street throwing rocks at store windows." We were very much embarrassed, and of course we didn't throw rocks at store windows. We felt much more like

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throwing them at the newspapers [Laughter] for all of the ugly things that they said about us. The editorials came out in very bombastic fashion saying that a group of misled women had formed an Equal Suffrage League, and that no doubt the large majority of pedestal-holders in Virginia among the women would repudiate this outrageous thing that their sisters were doing. And it was amazing to realize that the wives of some of the best known men in Richmond were involved in this outrage. I don't remember a single nice thing being said about the whole movement. We didn't introduce any measure for amending the Virginia Constitution until well over two years had elapsed.
It was in the legislature of 1912 that the resolution to amend the Virginia Constitution was proposed. The Virginia Constitution was at that time only ten years old, because we are living under a constitution which had its inception in 1900 and was proclaimed in 1902. If I may run back a moment, because this is a little informal, when the Constitutional Convention of 1900-1902 was meeting, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt came to Richmond and spoke before the Privileges and Elections Committee of the Constitution, urging that woman's suffrage be put in the Constitution. Mrs. Valentine told me that she had received a letter from Mrs. Kate Gogan Bruns, of a New Orleans family, who was living in Charlottesville at the time, and Mrs. Bruns wrote her and asked her to meet her and Mrs. Catt at the Capitol and to appear before the Privileges and Elections Committee. It was at that time that Mrs. Valentine met Mrs. Catt. I have not been able to find any record of it in the records of the Constitutional Convention, because only floor action was recorded, and the committee action, if it is on record anywhere, has never been discovered.

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It has always seemed to me such a curious thing that the men of Virginia, as well as of the South, did not realize that they could have preserved what they were so anxious to preserve—the white electorate majority—had they enfranchised the women of the South. Because the Fourteenth Amendment was not at all concerned with Negro women voting. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which enfranchised the Negro, enfranchised only the Negro men, disfranchised all of the white men who had borne arms for the Confederacy. And, as you know, most of the South was under military district rule for anywhere from five to ten years, and therefore, had the southern men, when they began to write new constitutions, enfranchised the women, the federal government could not have touched the fact that they enfranchised white women. Because the Fourteenth Amendment didn't say anything about women, and they could have got a large white majority very easily, but they never seem to have thought about it. Anyway, the Constitutional Convention did nothing about the enfranchisement of women, and the suffrage movement did not begin until 1909.
In 1910, we were entitled to send two delegates to the national convention of the National American Suffrage Association in Washington; it met in the spring of 1910. William Howard Taft was President. We sent two delegates, Mrs. Valentine, because she was President of the League, and Mary Johnston, because she was one of our most distinguished suffragists, and she was to make the report in Washington. I went up as an alternate, and I think we had another alternate but I don't recall who it was. The morning that the reports were to be made of what the Suffrage League in Virginia had done in its year of existence, Mary Johnston

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sent for me at her hotel and told me that she was so ill—she was a woman of very delicate helath—that she would be unable to make the report, and so she wanted me, as an alternate, to make the report. I remember that I was terrified to walk up the aisle at the hotel there in Washington and make the suffrage report, but there was nothing else to do because Mary was ill. Mrs. Valentine was on the platform with the other presidents, and I made the report, and I can remember now with a certain amount of amusement that we did report that we had gone down to the General Assembly of 1910 but had not attempted to introduce any suffrage resolution to amend the state Constitution, but had been very active in a pure milk bill [Laughter] , because, of course, women had been interested in educational and health affairs. At any rate, our report was received with great enthusiasm, partly because there were not many southern states enrolled in the Suffrage Association, and also because Mrs. Valentine was a friend of Mrs. Catt's, and she herself was a woman of tremendous personality, and I recall our report being very much applauded. That night or one night during that convention, President Taft was asked to make an address to the Suffrage Association convention. He was very late for the meeting. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, who had put off her speech for the longest time waiting for the President to come, had finally become involved in making her President's report, when suddenly there was a signal from the back of the hall, and Colonel Archibald Butz preceded the President. He was his aide, and he preceded him into the hall. He was quite a magnificent-looking man. You will recall that he was

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one of the fatalities on the "Titanic" on his way back from Europe some years later. He came in with a great military air, and they had not given Dr. Shaw time to close her speech, and she hastily put her papers together and [Interruption]
Therefore it did not make too pleasant an impression on the women delegates, who had the greatest veneration for Dr. Shaw, to see her somewhat confused by the President just walking in. But after all, it was the President of the United States coming to speak to a suffrage convention, and possibly the first time a President had addressed the convention, so there was quite a good deal of excitement. Dr. Shaw hastily put her papers down, and the presiding officer introduced the President, and Mr. Taft began to speak. And as far as I can recollect, at least the first part of his speech that made a very definite impression on me was that he said… He was very jovial, and he said that when he was in high school he had written a paper on woman's suffrage and that it had been in favor of woman's suffrage. But a good deal of time had elapsed, and in the light of today he had seriously modified his views. Of course, he had said a word of welcome before he did that, just as he would have welcomed any group to Washington. But he said that in the light of years that had passed, that he had come to the conclusion that the giving of suffrage was a very difficult experiment, and one would not give the suffrage to Hottentots. But when he said that one would not have given the suffrage to Hottentots, a little group of women—I understood afterwards they were led by a Mrs.

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Fitzgerald of Boston—hissed. The presiding officer quickly rapped for order, and a good many women over the hall were saying, "Shhh" to the women who were hissing. And so that occupied only a few minutes. And then Mr. Taft went on with his speech and told us how beautiful Washington was in the spring and all the sort of thing that a welcoming person says, and he and Colonel Butz and the rest of his aides left the hall. But the next morning the Washington papers came out with two-inch headlines saying, "Suffrage Convention Hisses the President." And I think it took the suffrage movement years to live that down. It was a very unfortunate thing, but it has stuck in my memory [Laughter] because it was the first convention I attended.
That, of course, was a very unfortunate thing and was played up by the enemies of woman's suffrage a great deal. One of the features of the convention was the presentation of petitions from all over the country to the Congressional committee. It was at the era that old Uncle Joe, as the Congressmen called him—Joe Cannon—was the Speaker of the House. We had a Mr. Lamb from the Third Congressional District, in which Richmond is located, so we handed our petitions to Congressman Lamb, who told one of us some years afterwards that when he came up with them to Uncle Joe Cannon's desk that Congressman Cannon had said, "You know what to do with those. Just throw them in the wastebasket when the session's over." I just give these to show the atmosphere that existed with regard to woman's suffrage. We went from the presentation of the petitions to a meeting of some committee of Congress that was to hear Mrs. Katt speak; Dr. Shaw spoke; and some of the most distinguished women

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in America. The committeemen, some of them had their feet up on their desks; several of them turned their backs. The ladies who presented these measures were treated with such disrespect and contumely that I know I and a number of the other women from the South, who were at least accustomed to being treated politely by our officials, although they voted against us all the time… But most of the southern men in office had been extremely courteous to the women when they came to present their… They said insulting things on the floor in their speeches, but they were personally very polite. So I was very much shocked to see the way these ladies from all over the nation were treated by the Congressional committee. I don't recall very much else about the convention. It was in the spring of 1910. And we came home and just kept on getting names signed to the petitions, and our Virginia League decided immediately to concentrate on getting a state amendment.
A great many of the women felt very keenly that they would prefer having the state constitutions amended giving women suffrage by their own states, instead of getting it through a federal amendment. Because a good many of them—Mrs. Valentine herself having been born in 1865 and grown up during the Reconstruction—still felt a little leery about getting federal government interfering in suffrage. So we started right away to get the suffrage through the state Constitution. It's more difficult to amend the Constitution of Virginia than it is to amend the Constitution of the United States. A constitutional amendment has to pass in exactly the same form through two sessions of the General Assembly, and then be submitted to the people. If an "and" or a "the" or a "but" or an "or" is altered in the passage of it through the two

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different sessions, it doesn't go through at all. But anyway, we started valiantly to do that, and there was a Mr. Hill Montague of Richmond who had the temerity to present the first resolution to amend the Virginia Constitution, giving women the vote, in the session of 1912. The resolution never got out of the House. It was presented in the House, and, as far as I recall, I think it reached the floor that year and got twelve votes out of the hundred members of the House of Delegates. In 1914 we had increased our followers to about fourteen or fifteen votes. I'm not sure of these figures, but they're on record. In 1916 we had forty votes in the House and very good hearing in the Senate. But it never passed the House; it never got through the House of Delegates. By 1918 it was too late to bother with the state Constitution. The federal amendment was almost through the Congress. And in 1919 and in 1920, we worked to get ratification of the amendment. But ratifying a federal amendment on suffrage was extremely difficult. There was a dear old Confederate soldier, a Mr. Young, in the House of Delegates, who had been one of our staunchest supporters. But when we went to him to ask him to vote for ratification of the amendment, he said, "Ladies, you cannot expect me to vote for anything federal. I still bear in my body a wound I received in Chancellorsville, and I would not vote for the federal government to do anything about the electorate." So we lost him. And of course there was the prejudice that still is evident about federal things in many of the southern states. So Virginia did not ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. We were very much hampered by the activities of the Woman's Joint Congressional Union

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that afterward became the Woman's Party, and which was the militant group. In spite of every effort of the National American Suffrage Association, led by Mrs. Catt at that time because Dr. Shaw either had died before 1920 or was inactive (that is, of course, historic record)… But the National American Suffrage Association was proceeding entirely by educational methods and by non-partisan methods. We did have parades and things of that sort, but everything was on a very legal basis. But the Congressional Union and the Woman's Party, which broke away and followed the lead of the militants in England, would do such things as, for instance, in our own city, where we always got permission from the city authorities to hold a street meeting, they came to Richmond and held a meeting without any permission, which just meant going down to the City Hall to get permission and being assigned a place on Broad Street. But they went and held their meetings without permission and then got arrested, and then said they were persecuted. And they did the same sort of thing in Washington, and they unrolled a large paper in Congress saying "Czar Wilson," and that during the World War. And they burned Mr. Wilson in effigy before the White House in Lafayette Square. And naturally that made a number of the Congressmen very indignant. Getting support from southern Congressmen and southern senators was one of the most difficult things in the world. The only man in Congress from Virginia who voted for the federal suffrage amendment was the Republican Bascomb Slemp from the Tenth Congressional District. John Sharp Williams, Senator from Mississippi, was a suffragist and supported us, but he sent word to Mrs. Catt and Dr.

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Shaw and the different other women there that he would not vote for the federal amendment giving women suffrage if women were going to behave as the militants were behaving. And Mrs. Catt and Mrs. Edwards of Indiana and several of the other women went to Alice Paul, the leader of the militant group, and urged her not to do these violent things because we would lose the federal amendment in 1918. They went right on being militant, and we did not get the amendment through till '19.
Now it's a curious thing, and I know I'm being a bit tedious in this, but …


… most of the state legislatures meet in the odd years. Had the suffrage amendment passed in 1918, it would have been ratified in 1919 because there were enough states that already had suffrage to have gotten it through in early 1919, and there would have been women delegates from all over the country at both the Democratic and Republican conventions of '20 for the nomination of President. But as it did not pass until 1919, extra sessions had to be called in almost every state to get the ratification. We went into session in 1920 in Virginia in the legislature, and a handful of states only had ratified. By March of 1920, thirty-four states had ratified, or thirty-five. Virginia could easily have been the thirty-sixth. But it was too late, and so the suffrage amendment was not ratified until August, 1926, and then, I'm glad to say, by a southern state, which was

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in Tennessee. So I feel particularly bitter about the people who are pushing for an object and resort to the militant method when victory is so near at hand by the more conservative educational methods. Because they give an excuse to the people who are going to vote against a thing anyway to carry out their opposition.
At any rate, we did get the suffrage in August of 1920. And in Virginia, under the leadership of Mrs. Valentine and through the cooperation of the University of Virginia, we organized a Citizens' Committee of men and women all over the State of Virginia to educate women for the use of suffrage, mainly to teach them how to vote, the simple mechanics of getting registered and… One of the leaders of the suffrage movement in the Senate of Virginia was George Walter Mapp of Accomac County. And seeing that suffrage was coming and being a very ardent woman's suffragist, Senator Mapp introduced what he called "an enabling act." Incidentally, he had been the father of the state Prohibition movement, and they had had an enabling act. He introduced this enabling act which said if and when the federal suffrage amendment is ratified by thirty-six states, Virginia women will be on the status of the male citizen coming of age. The male citizen coming of age has to pay only one year's poll tax when he registers, instead of the three years next preceding that in which he offers to vote. So women were legally all twenty-one years of age as far as the poll tax was concerned. And we were able to go down and pay our dollar and a half and register. We had to get groups

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together and teach them the registration methods of what they had to say [unknown].
Out of that citizens' committee grew the efforts toward organizing the League of Women Voters in Virginia. It was in September or perhaps early in November that we planned the last meeting of the Equal Suffrage League. Mrs. Maude Wood Park came down to tell us the efforts that were being made to organize a League of Women Voters nationally. And I remember that Mrs. John H. Lewis, Elizabeth Langen Lewis, whom I mentioned in the earlier comments about women who had organized the Suffrage League, was our Vice President. Mrs. Valentine was very ill, and so Mrs. Lewis presided over the last suffrage meeting. It was very interesting to note the change of atmosphere [Laughter] in the politicians after we had got the vote. The Governor of Virginia during the last year of our suffrage efforts was Westmoreland Davis, and he really was very much interested in woman's suffrage and probably would have come out and urged the adoption of the ratification of the amendment but for the extraordinarily vicious opposition of most of the political people in Virginia. So I cannot say that Mr. Davis made any right about-face, because he had been very friendly all during the ratification efforts. However, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor, as well as the Governor, permitted us, of all things, to hold the last convention of the Equal Suffrage League in the Capitol of Virginia. And we met in the House of Delegates and had all of our speakers there. Mrs. Park spoke, and we at that meeting

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adopted a resolution that we would meet shortly afterward and organize the state League of Women Voters. Now I think it's already in most of the history books how the League of Women Voters came into being, but it may be interesting to note here that the League was the brainchild of Mrs. Catt, and the last convention of the National American Suffrage Association in 1919 had had representatives from both the already enfranchised states and the states which were unenfranchised. I'm sorry to say, as a southerner, that the little black spot on the map of the United States which indicated in all of our propaganda the non-suffrage states, that the South was always pretty black, and some of the other states were speckled and cross-barred, showing that they had municipal suffrage or school suffrage, or white if they had full suffrage. Mrs. Catt had thought that the Suffrage Association would disintegrate after almost three-fourths of the states had already obtained suffrage statewise. So she thought of forming a League of Women Voters, and at the last national convention of the Suffrage Association there were two houses, the Enfranchised House and the Unenfranchised House. The delegates from Virginia—I'm sorry to say I was not one of them—of course sat in the lower house of the unenfranchised. But they came back with all of the principles of the League of Women Voters. So as a question of sentiment, we decided to organize the League of Women Voters as near as possible to the anniversary of the formation of the Equal Suffrage League. And the League was organized in the Capitol of Virginia in November, 1920, almost on the date that the Suffrage League had been organized in 1909. Again we were allowed

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to meet in the Capitol, and the League of Women Voters was organized in the Senate of Virginia. We had a number of very distinguished men speakers as well as women speakers, and one of the first things we did was to decide to elect Mrs. Valentine as Honorary President of the League. She was always a woman of quite delicate health and was very ill at the time. In fact, she did not live till 1921. She was never able to vote, but she was registered as a voter. So she was elected the Honorary President, and I was elected President of the Virginia League, almost again by default because so few people were willing to take it.
And Mrs. Beverly Munford, who had led the movement to have women have a coordinate college at the University of Virginia, was one of the Vice Presidents. Mrs. Townsend of Norfolk. Mrs. Lewis of Lynchburg. And Dr. [Kate Waller?] Barrett. And we had a board of directors from all over the state. And we started out on a clip, adopting a budget based largely upon what we had thought that the Suffrage League had operated on, not realizing that a number of rather wealthy women had given things to the Suffrage League and it [Laughter] hadn't been duly worked out in the budget, and also because that once women had the vote that they would rush toward supporting the League of Women Voters. And Mrs. Munford, I remember, said, "Well, if we don't get very far, we'll at least have a handsome funeral," so we adopted a rather large budget and even had the enthusiasm to pledge to the University of Virginia somewhere between six hundred dollars or a thousand dollars a year for half of the salary of a citizenship educator in the extension department of the University. She was a Miss Elizabeth

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Pidgeon, who is now living in Washington. We decided to have an Executive Secretary and a Headquarters Secretary. We had had quarters for the Suffrage League, and we rented those, and we started off thinking that we were going to get contributions from all over the state and that we would enroll all of the suffrage leagues. But membership in the Suffrage League had been non-dues-paying, we were so glad to get members to have the large number of names. So the first year of the League was a dreadful difficulty of meeting the obligations, with an Organization Secretary, Miss Roberta Wellford, who went all over the state organizing leagues, with our obligation to the University of Virginia for the citizenship education group, and with a Headquarters Secretary and an Executive and Press Secretary shared expenses with the Richmond League of Women Voters. But by the end of a year or two we had to curtail everything financially, because we did not get the financial support that we had expected. I was wondering whether… It's so difficult on a thing like this not to find your mind jumping back to something else …
Go right ahead.
… and if I may run back to the April of 1920, directly after we had realized that the Amendment was not going to be ratified by the legislature, Mrs. Valentine had asked Dr. Alderman of the University to let us hold a citizenship meeting for women at the University of Virginia. We thought at that time that a sufficient number of states would have ratified, so that we would go to the University as enfranchised women. But when we got up to the University, the meeting having been agreed to by Dr. Alderman and promoted largely

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by Mr. Charles G. Maphis, one of the most liberal and broadminded men at the University of Virginia and head of the extension department, we got up to hold our citizenship meeting and found out that the alumni were protesting violently with Dr. Alderman and asking him to call the meeting off. In fact, we were a half hour late getting started because of long distance telephone messages coming from the president of the alumni association, Mr. Epper Huntin, urging that we not be allowed to meet. The University published a very interesting bulletin on that meeting which contains, among other things, a statement from Dr. Lyle, who was head of the Law Department of the University, on the legal status of women in Virginia. That is a matter of record, so I won't bother to go into that. But we also had the attorney general of the state, who spoke to the woman suffragists. And I remember one of our ladies said it was the most remarkable thing that he'd talked to the group of fifty or sixty women as if each one of them had been sitting alone next to him on a sofa. But we did have two or three days of discussion, and that was the launching of what I mentioned before, the citizenship committee teaching the women how to register.
And registration in Virginia is tricky more than very difficult. Unless the register wishes to ask people questions, it's fairly simple. You have to give your name and age and date of birth and residence and various things of that sort, not much more difficult than registering for a motor vehicle license. But then, if the registrar wants to ask you questions about interpreting the Constitution, he may do so. I don't remember that we had much trouble with that.

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Our rural women had a lot of trouble running all over the county trying to catch the registrars, who were out plowing or fishing or doing various things. But in the towns we nearly always had registration offices. The colored women had the most trouble with registering. There had been so much of that sort of thing: "If you get the vote, what about the Negro woman?" But we had some wonderful Negro leaders, and there was one in Richmond named Ora Stokes, the wife of a colored clergyman. And she organized the colored women and taught them to register. But the City Hall here in Richmond registered the colored women separately from the white, down in the basement. And they worked out all sorts of things of having their hours shorter than the white women. We white women had a big fight with the electoral board, insisting on their giving the Negro women the same privilege of hours for election. Our newspapers were perfectly terrific about the Negro woman voting. They brought out everything that they could of Reconstruction days, and they wrote outrageous editorials. My very intimate friend Lenora Houston, who was an artist—and she and I had a studio together—decided that we could not let this terrible race condition occur. I've jumped back now to the fall of 1920. Lenora and I decided that we had to do something to meet the colored women, because we were really afraid there'd be riots of sorts. And, as we didn't dare ask them to the Equal Suffrage League—this was before the League of Women Voters was organized—because we would have been accused of trying to get the Negro vote out, we took advantage of being artists (always considered a little erratic). So we had a group of the colored women come to

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our studio one night to talk over the whole situation with them, and to tell them that the men had been just as much afraid of our voting as they had been of their voting, but we wanted to assure them of our friendship. Ora Stokes and a Mrs. Lillian Payne and several other leading Negro women, whose names we had got from a Mrs. Walter MacNeill, a sister-in-law of Mrs. Valentine's who had done interracial work. She told us who to call, and we had called these colored women, and they came to our studio and we talked over the whole situation with them. And it was decided that on the election day that several of us white women would take automobiles and visit all the Negro registration places to see whether any violence was breaking out. There was a very able woman leader here, a Miss Catherine Halls, who was most active with YWCA work. She lent her car. Mrs. Houston's mother rented a car for us, and I don't remember who else had automobiles at her disposal, but there were about four of us who started off at sunrise on the election day and visited all the Negro polling places just to see if everything was going quietly. And everything went quite quietly; in spite of the fact that there had been threats of bloodshed and riot and everything else, there wasn't any rioting. The Negro women went up quietly and voted, but I think they were very much heartened by the fact that there were four or five white women that went to the polls to give them their backing. And so that went through. But we never had the nerve to enroll the Negro women in the League of Women Voters. I've always regretted it, but we just couldn't bring

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the middle-of-the-road thinkers to the point of bringing the Negro women in. A number of us, especially Lucy Mason, went to groups—Negro clubs and all—and talked to the Negro women about civic affairs. And we made as much contact with them as possible. But we couldn't do very much about it because we were afraid of being accused of being carpetbaggers, so that we [Laughter] had to stay out of it to a certain extent.
Now I don't know just what is significant in the development of this work, except it occurs to me that in 1921, in preparation for the 1922 General Assembly, that one of the most significant pieces of work that women did in Virginia occurred. The national League of Women Voters held a regional meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to which the presidents of all the southern leagues were invited, and as many delegates as could go. And at that meeting in Atlanta, as President of the Virginia League, I attended the conference. And in talking to one of the women from Chicago, one of the women lawyers, we were advised to organize a Children's Code Commission, if possible, because there were so many laws that were unfair to children. We had no child labor laws, no compulsory education laws. We were very backward, particularly the question of juvenile courts and that sort of thing. And we were advised to organize a Code Commission to study what was necessary about the laws about women and children, particularly about children, rather than try to get a number of bills through separately. That meeting was held either in the early spring or the very late winter of 1921; I'd have to look at the records to make sure. But when I came back

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to the meeting of the board of the Virginia League of Women Voters, I found that Mrs. Houston, who was the Legislative Chairman for the League, told me that she had been to see the Commissioner of the Board of Charities and Corrections, now the Board of Welfare, a Dr. Maston. And he had advocated our having a Children's Code Commission to look over the whole field. Mrs. Louis Branlow, the wife of Louis Branlow in Washington who was a very distinguished liberal leader (he was at that time the City Manager of Petersburg), was our Child Welfare Chairman. And she came to the board with the urgent recommendation that we organize a Children's Code Commission. So from three different angles, we decided that was our best course to pursue for the 1922 General Assembly. And we went down and asked Governor Davis if he would appoint a Children's Code Commission, and he was perfectly willing to do it, but he said there was no money set up to finance the Commission. So he very generously arranged to assign Mr. Morrissette, who is now our State Tax Commissioner and who was then the head of the Committee on Legislative Drafting, as a member of the Commission. He assigned a Dr. Bryden, who was on the staff of the Health Commissioner and a state employee, to the Commission. He appointed Judge Ricks, who was the Judge of our Juvenile Court in Richmond, and Judge Royster in Norfolk. There were four state officials, and I've forgotten for the moment the fifth, but he assigned five state officials and relieved them of their work so that they could serve for the necessary time on the Code Commission. And then he appointed four volunteer women: a Mrs. King of Staunton; Mrs. Houston, who was the Legislative Chairman; and two other women. I'm sorry that

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I don't remember them, but this is all recorded history. And they began a study of the laws in Virginia with regard to women and children, particularly with regard to children. They worked assiduously without pay till the fall of 1921, just giving them time to print their report. And they brought in a recommended twenty-six laws. Believe it or not, we got about twenty of them enacted in the General Assembly of 1922. They comprised a very good child labor law; a compulsory education law that was very weak, but at least it was a camel's foot in the tent; a law that registered maternity homes; a statewide juvenile courts system. These are the things we got through. Laws about the registration of infants in hospitals, the infants of unmarried mothers. It's rather appalling to me now, when the discussion comes up so much about the aid to dependent children, ADC things that people make such a fuss about and about the illegitimate children, to realize that they didn't even bother whether they were killed at birth. And a great many of them were, as the studies of this Code Commission showed. Because maternity homes were not registered, and a great many of the women who were in great distress over finding themselves unmarried mothers, their children were taken away from them, and in many cases they probably were allowed to die. We found appalling conditions about that sort of thing. Strangely enough, the conditions were a little better among the colored women, because they hadn't had so much of a stigma attached to irregular living, as white women had. But the attitude toward the illegitimate child was pretty awful. But we worked ourselves to death, but we got about eighteen or twenty of those

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laws enacted, including a statewide juvenile courts system, which we felt was one of the triumphs. We got a pretty good child labor bill because the federal child labor bill had not been declared unconstitutional at the time. And so we met most of the standards of the federal child labor bill that afterwards was declared unconstitutional. It had been enacted in '20 or '21 by Congress, and the Supreme Court did not declare it unconstitutional until 1923 or 1924. And then based on the fact that it had been based on the interstate tax system of some sort. Another thing we were able to get enacted that year… We got several election laws improved, but I'd have to look over the record to make any accurate statement. But we did push through the 1922 session a commission to study efficiency in government. And therefore, by 1924 we had brought in a very good recommendation about the reorganization of state government. That was also done with the cooperation of the University of Virginia. I think the men politicians were much more frightened of us in those early days than they've come to be since. They were dreadfully afraid we were going to organize a woman's party. And also they were very much afraid that a number of us were going to become Republicans, which we had, for gratitude, every reason to be, because when the ratification measure had come up in the 1920 session of the legislature, six Republicans and six Dem …


… ocrats had voted for it in the Senate. And I think

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that was the total Republican personnel of the Senate; they had all voted for it. And so we had every reason to be very thankful to the Republicans in Virginia for their efforts. And I think a number of us would have been led by just sheer gratitude to vote the Republican ticket except for the fact that we did get information from states like Vermont and Maine that the Democrats had been equally generous in a strongly Republican state. [Laughter] As a matter of fact, though, the late Judge John Paul who died recently in Harrisonburg got elected to Congress largely through the votes of women in his congressional district (he was a Republican), largely because his Democratic opponent had been a violent anti-suffragist. He was a splendid man, but also a great many normally Democratic women had voted for him, and we was elected to Congress, though he was ruled out and didn't serve except a few months of his whole term. Now these are things I'm just trying to remember at random from our early years as voters.
I would imagine at that time that the present Senator Harry Byrd was then certainly a beginning force in politics, and could you tell me anything of your relations or the suffragette or League of Women Voters' relations with Mr. Byrd or any other prominent people? Specifically, I was thinking in your mentioning the gentleman from Harrisonburg, was there an attempt in the ordinary political way of doing things to reward one's friends and try to vote your enemies out of office? Could you give us anything of the byplay of personality, in other words, from some of the political leaders of the day?
Yes, I'd be very glad to. You've reminded me particularly

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about Senator Harry Byrd of two things. The gentleman I mentioned, George Walter Mapp, who was a suffrage leader in the Senate all during the ratification days, ran for the governorship in 1925 against Harry Byrd. And most of us as suffragists supported Mapp very actively. Now mentioning the Byrds, I think, is rather interesting. When Harry Byrd came to the Senate of Virginia in 1916—his son resembles him very strongly; his son is a state senator now—the undercurrent of political talk in the legislature of Virginia was to call him the crown prince. His father was Speaker of the House, Richard Byrd. His son Richard Evelyn Byrd, who was the [unknown], was named for his father. And Richard Evelyn Byrd was Speaker of the House of Delegates, and Congressman Harold Flood of Appomattox had been Congressman for a long, long time, and they were the pulse of the Virginia machine. And Harry Byrd was called the crown prince [Laughter] when he first came in. He never voted for suffrage. Strangely enough, his father had supported the equal suffrage movement. His father, Richard Evelyn Byrd, had been one of the men who voted for it in 1912 and 1914 when he was Speaker of the House. I don't remember which year he was Speaker, but I know he was in 1912. But his son did not follow in his footsteps on that. But we went to Senator Byrd (then state senator) in 1922 and asked him to be a patron of the Child Labor Bill. Senator Mapp had suggested it, because Senator Byrd was a very strong person in the Senate right from the beginning. And Senator Byrd said that he would be a patron of it. He read the bill, and of course we had exempted children in agriculture, as all child labor bills have done.

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Because you couldn't regulate that; they worked on the farms anyway. And Senator Byrd said that he would vote for it if we exempted the work of children in orchards. And we pointed out to him that agriculture covered orchards, and he said probably it did, but he would like that specific amendment made, and Mr. Mapp made no objections so we let orchards be put in, feeling anyway that they fell under the term "agriculture." So with that exception—he being a large orchard grower and not wanting to be embarrassed about the employment of underaged children occasionally in his orchards—he was the sponsor of one of the strongest child labor bills in the South, and one that stayed and has never been contested, although the federal bill was. But Senator Byrd had never voted for suffrage. Now Senator Mapp was one of our leaders. As I mentioned, Senator John Paul of Harrisonburg was a Republican. Senator Swanson, who was our United States Senator, was definitely an anti-suffragist. We never could get him to the point of voting. And I went to see him about a federal bill when I was President of the state League of Women Voters. I think it was around 1925. There was some bill in the Senate of the United States we wanted to talk to him about. He was a very genial man, a very pleasant man, and he said to me, "I'm supporting Harry Byrd for Governor of the state. How do you ladies feel?" And I said, "Well, with Senator Walter Mapp running against him, I'm supporting Senator Mapp, and I think most of the women will." And Senator Swanson said, "I understand thoroughly. If we haven't gratitude in politics, what have we? I wouldn't expect you to do otherwise," which I thought was a wonderful sideline on the

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political attitudes of their day.
That was one thing. But your question has made me think of one other thing that happened before we got the vote. During the extra session of the Virginia legislature in 1919, there was a call to consider some road bill, and, against everybody's wishes, took up the ratification of the Suffrage Amendment, which we as suffragists were trying to keep out of the legislature, knowing that it was a lame duck session and we didn't have any chance of getting it ratified. A very distinguished Virginia congressman, Harry St. George Tucker, came down to Richmond. I think he lived in Lexington, so it was that congressional district. He was a leader of the anti-organization movement in the Democratic Party and a great friend of Governor Westmoreland Davis's. There's always been a conflict between the organization Democrats… If you're a member, it's the organization; if you're opposed to them, it's the machine. And there was always a great conflict between the machine and the anti-machine Democrats. Senator Carter Glass started out as an anti-machine man, and Tucker was an anti-machine man. It was all involved in the Prohibition fight and the Anti-Saloon League and all that sort of thing. But Tucker came down, and he was a violent anti-suffragist. And Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt had come to Richmond to speak for the Suffrage League. One of the men who introduced her was Mr. Roosevelt Page, a very distinguished Virginian whose great-grandfather had been one of the early governors of Virginia and who was the brother of Thomas Nelson Page, who was Ambassador to Italy. Mr. Roosevelt Page introduced Mrs. Catt. The morning that Mrs. Catt

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spoke at the House of Delegates, which was in session at this extra session, there was distributed on every desk in the legislature an anonymous paper with Mrs. Catt's picture, together with the Negro Frederick Douglass of the Reconstruction time. His picture was next to Mrs. Catt's, and underneath that they said that Mrs. Catt was a believer in inter-marriage between Negroes and whites and was quite a visitor to Negro houses, and also that she believed in free love and was a follower of Emma Goldman. Every kind of thing they could say that wasn't true about her. And all these anonymous papers were all over the desks at the legislature when Mrs. Catt spoke. And Mrs. Catt, who was a very effective, beautiful woman, a very brilliant woman, picked up the paper and read off what they had said. She said, "So far as being a believer in free love, I have been married twice and frequently been asked not to use my husband's name att—my maiden name was Chapman—because it's been used against the suffrage movement by cheap slurs." And then she refuted each thing that had been said about what she believed, and she said, "All I can say is that, as this paper is unsigned, there's an anonymous liar in Virginia." And the next day Harry St. George Tucker got permission to speak before the legislature at its recess, and he made the most insulting speech against Mrs. Catt, in which he said in a trembling voice that if women got the vote, when the child came to say its prayers at the knees of its mother before he went to bed that his mother would say, "Today I called my enemy a liar." Oh, it was the most ridiculous, but very effective, speech for people who were opposed to suffrage.

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So Tucker ran for Governor on the anti-machine ticket, and E. Lee Trenkle, who was an organization man who had been a suffragist, ran against him. And practically every newly enfranchised voter voted for Trenkle because of Tucker's suffrage attitude, although normally we ought to have gone over to the anti-machine group. So that that gives a little idea of the political atmosphere. But it's really almost incredible today to think of the attitude that people had about the woman voter. I've never understood Harry St. George Tucker doing that, and it influenced things very terribly. I think, except for his speech, that Governor Davis probably would have recommended ratification of the amendment. I think a great many things would have been altered except for that political atmosphere that grew up. But we came out. Mrs. Valentine sent for me. She was too ill to do anything, but she asked me to come up to her house and help draft a statement against Mr. Tucker, who had been a lifelong friend of her family's, because of his attitude not only to woman's suffrage but his insult to Mrs. Catt. Because it was perfectly indefensible for him to try to stand behind this anonymous paper. We never did find out who had published the anonymous slur on Mrs. Catt. But after all, Mrs. Catt wasn't calling any particular person a liar. I remember well she said, "There's an anonymous liar in Virginia." Another thing that seems so interesting to me right now in the midst of all of the civil rights and the Negro question was how much that whole Negro question was dragged in to the woman's suffrage question, as it has been in every bit of progress in the South. It's dragged in

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in the Aid to Dependent Children; it's dragged in in compulsory education; it's dragged in on things that it has no particular connection with. Until we can eradicate in the South the tendency to drag in the race question on every possible political question, I don't see how we're ever going to make much progress. It was brought in on everything from university education to kindergartens in the education field, and from the Aid to Dependent Children to any welfare work. It's just dragged in all the time, and I don't really know how we're ever [Laughter] going to quite overcome it.
Two things have occurred to me, particularly in reference to your mention of the episode with Mrs. Catt. In the early days, was there much indignity, and I mean specifically slurs in terms of "These must be immoral women, because otherwise they wouldn't want the vote and get mixed in politics"? Did you have to put up with rumor and ugly jokes and that sort of thing in the campaign against you? This was one area you might comment on if you would. And secondly, in your fight for the vote, were there specific groups that you could generally count on as being friendly, and I have in mind now such things as either associations of ministers or denominational support, or, although it was perhaps early for this, perhaps labor support? Do these things suggest openings for you that you might comment on?
Yes, I could. The last thing you mentioned was about the labor groups. I recall that one of the earliest organized groups who were for woman's suffrage were the labor groups. We had a woman

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whose husband had been very actively associated with the labor movement, a Mrs. Frank Johnson, and she got us hearings on suffrage before all the different labor groups here in Richmond. And at that time it was the American Federation of Labor, largely; there was no CIO. And there were local groups, and there were state groups and all. And we were invited over and over again to talk to labor groups. And I remember someone saying one day when Mrs. Valentine came back from a meeting, she said, "I love blacksmiths and…" Oh, I've forgotten some of the other things. The labor men were always behind us, I presume because they realized what it meant to have the woman vote, but also—and I sound a little not particularly grateful in saying this—minority groups have always been better to a movement [Laughter] being organized. Now we found marvelous support with college presidents. The first man in Virginia who introduced Dr. Anna Howard Shaw when she came and spoke in 1910 or '11 or thereabouts in the early days was Dr. Tyler, who was President of William and Mary and who was the grandson of President Tyler, the President of the United States. And Dr. Tyler, who was for years the President of William and Mary, introduced Anna Howard Shaw at the meeting. Dr. Bullis of Virginia Polytechnic Institute; the President of Radford College, which is still quite a college, Dr. Jarmon of Farmville; we had nearly all the prominent educators behind us. And they were state appointees, too, so it took some courage for them to do that. The labor unions, the college presidents. We had quite a bit of support from several Methodist ministers. I don't know just why the Methodists

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would seem to me more progressive on the suffrage lines, but it's quite true that the Methodist Church in the United States was one of the first to allow women clergy. But I don't know whether it was that or not, but we had a good deal of support from Methodist ministers. We had the support from several… I don't remember an active practicing Baptist minister, but the Baptists like Samuel Childs Mitchell, who was an ordained Baptist minister but who was an educator. He was one of the professors out at Richmond College, and afterwards he was President of a university in Delaware and, I think, in South Carolina. But Dr. Mitchell was one of our early suffragists. Rabbi Kaulisch was one of our early suffragists. And we had a handful of Episcopal ministers, but not quite so many. They were a little on the conservative line, but we did have several outstanding Episcopal ministers through the state who endorsed us. And at the moment I recall only one Catholic priest, a Father Washington, who was a descendant of George Washington's brother, Charles Washington, and he died rather recently. He spoke on the street for us, Father Washington did. But those are the main clergy I recall. And strangely enough, there were very few Presbyterian ministers who came out for us, and yet the Presbyterians today are taking such a very liberal stand on the race question. But it was odd; I don't know that it has any significance, and I don't know how it runs with anything in other states, but that just happened in Virginia. Of course, the pulpits of the Protestant churches are much more open than either the Episcopal pulpit or the Catholic Church. There are very few arrangements made

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with people to speak in Catholic churches. They can speak in parish halls and whatnot. But Mrs. Valentine, Eudora Richardson (who was the daughter of a Baptist minister), and various women were even asked to speak from the platform of churches on woman's suffrage. There was a Dr. Chenault who was a Methodist minister here, and Walter Mapp was a Methodist leader; he wasn't a clergyman. But I don't know just particularly why the Methodists seemed to be a little bit more for woman's suffrage than most of the other church groups. Not that we didn't have some Episcopalians. I was an Episcopalian at the time—I'm now a Catholic—but my own clergyman, Mr. Osgood, out here at the little church just outside Richmond, was an active member of the Suffrage League. And we even had a bishop or two. But by and large there was a little more of a conservative feeling. There was another group you asked about. The labor group; I think I've covered the college presidents and the clergy.
I asked about possible ugly undertones other than the Mrs. Catt's.
The undertones were particularly unpleasant, but they were very much modified in Virginia by the fact that Lila Mead Valentine was not only a woman of great social leadership in her own personally, but her husband was a member of a very distinguished family in Virginia and of a very prominent business firm, the Valentine Meat Juice Company, and the Valentine Museum here was founded by that group. Mrs. Valentine was above even any effort to say anything against her because of her social position and that of her husband. But there was a terrific lot

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of talking about the childless woman, which was exceptionally cruel. They couldn't say anything about Mrs. Valentine's marriage, which was one of the few totally ideal marriages that I've ever seen. She and her husband were not only devoted but very congenial, and he promoted her activities in every way. But she had had one child that had died at birth, and therefore those of us who knew her and knew the tremendous amount of work she had done for the visiting nurses and child welfare, and one of the first mothers' clubs was named for her here because she had promoted kindergarten education, we felt it was particularly cruel that they would start off talking about the childless woman as though she was a frustrated creature who was just doing the… But that was about the only thing they could ever find to say about Mrs. Valentine. A campaign of slander against Mary Johnston was started that was so abominable that she went to Mrs. Valentine and offered to stop speaking for suffrage if she was doing harm. At that time it was such an unmentionable subject that we just went around and said, "Isn't it awful that they're talking so about Mary Johnston?" But I think in these days of open speaking, I might as well tell the story. I don't know whether it's ever been put down; it was just hush-hush at the time, it was so evil. Mary Johnston was a scientist. I don't know how much you know of her background and her writings.
Her writings I know.
When I mean a scientist, I mean she was a very great student of science, and she had a marvelous and interesting mind. When she wrote about something, she tried to get every facet before

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she came to the point. I remember hearing her make a speech one time on psychological matters as it referred to suffrage, and running back to the fact that she'd just been reading some of the works of St. Augustine and found out that in the fifth century he was a psychologist, and so on. She wrote an article for the Atlantic Monthly or Century—I think it was the Atlantic Monthly—and she took up the question of the beginnings of life, all biology and everything, and she spoke of the single cell and the division of cells and all sorts of intricate scientific things. And then to the point where there'd been in society matriarchies and so on. She went through from the early beginnings, scientificially mostly, about the status of woman at the present day. Some way or other in this article—I was too ignorant of scientific things at the time to ever find out how they worked it out—but there were some people who read it who read into that a discussion of biology that led them to come up with a whispering campaign that Mary Johnston was advocating artificial insemination, which of course isn't a very agreeable or pleasant subject today. But at that time, in the 1909's and '10's and '12's and along then, was a totally unmentionable subject. And it is perfectly extraordinary to think how that thing spread. I went with Miss Johnston to a meeting that she was allowed to conduct at one of our department stores here, at which, in lunchtime, the head of the department store had let her speak to the workers there about woman's suffrage. And I did the little caddying of handing out leaflets while Miss Johnston spoke. She was a very lovely, delicate-looking woman and very soft-voiced, and she made the talk to

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them about labor conditions and things of that sort. And she apparently made such a pleasant impression on the head of the department store that she was invited to come back and speak as often as possible to the girls. Particularly she was talking about various economic things and so on. And several weeks or a month later, I came home one day and found an old friend of my mother's, who was a very narrow-minded anti-suffragist. My mother was a member of the Suffrage League, and this lady was saying to my mother that she ought not to let me out with Miss Johnston, that she understood that Miss Johnston had made so vulgar and unpleasant and unspeakable address to the group at this department store that she had been asked to remove her account and never come back to the department store again. And I turned to this friend of my mother's, and I said, "At which store?" So she told me—I believe it was Miller and Rhoads—and she told me the date. And I said, "Well, I was with Miss Johnston and handed out the leaflets. And Miss Johnston made …


…absolutely no reference to moral or immoral questions. She spoke almost entirely about women's educational opportunities and economic opportunities, and the head of the department store came and asked her to come again." So I said, "What you heard was totally untrue." "Oh, no," she said. "You must have either misunderstood, or she must have said these things when you weren't listening, because I understood that she was advising all these girls to have children by artificial

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insemination." I got very angry, and I said, "I think they probably would have preferred knowing how to prevent children if they were irregular in their attitudes," whereupon my mother told me I was very vulgar, and so we stopped the conversation. [Laughter] But that was, to my memory, the most horrible thing, and we've always hesitated even to put it on any record, I suppose for fear that somebody might think that it was some semblance of truth in it. But somebody asked Mrs. Valentine about it at some meeting, and Mrs. Valentine said, "Mary Johnston," who was supposed to be, and perhaps was, a free thinker, "is behaving in a far more Christian attitude than I would have done." I don't remember our even having very many divorcees or others in the League, but if there were of course that was plenty brought out. But the major thing that I recall would be the question of being Negro-lovers.
And Mrs. Munford was very much traduced because of her efforts. She was so active in interracial matters. And her work to get a coordinate college for women at the University. People went around saying that she kept Booker Washington's photograph on her bureau, and there was that sort of very dirty, ugly stuff that was said. And, of course, there was all the cheap stuff about old maids and… My main recollection is, every time we did a thing for child welfare somebody would come out and say that childless women and old maids were the ones that were bothering all this thing. Of course, we did meet with a certain veiled violence in our open meetings. Mrs. Lenora Houston, who was one of the most active suffragists, was making a speech over at one of the parks here in Richmond, and rocks were thrown.

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After Mrs. Houston's death I found in her little box of some of her jewelry the rock that had been thrown at her at the Jefferson Park. Mrs. Valentine was speaking up at Fairfax Court House, and I was an also-ran at that meeting, and somebody got up and sprinkled pepper all over the crowd from the Court House balcony. There were insults sort of hurled at us at state fairs and things of that sort. But there was no open violence. At our street meetings we always had police protection, because we went down and got permission to speak. And I remember when I was making a talk on Broad and Sixth Street one night, and one man called out and said something about women being supported by their husbands and they had no business asking for extra rights, and I said I'd always made my own living and I had worked both as an office woman and as an artist. And the man suddenly hollered out, "If the lady will attend to her domestical duties, I'll support her." And everybody [Laughter] kind of laughed about this street proposal I had had. There were a lot of amusing things of that sort, but I don't, except for the traducing of Mary Johnston, totally unfounded and unjust, and except for a lot of jokes and stuff made… There was a lawyer here who was a great friend of Ben Valentine's, and he introduced Mrs. Valentine at a meeting at our city auditorium; that was before we got the vote. And he said that he was introducing the wife of his old friend Ben Valentine, implying that was the only reason he was introducing her. And then he said, "But my position about woman's suffrage is like the man who was asked did he believe in ghosts, and he said no, he didn't believe in ghosts, but he was afraid of them." He said [Laughter] , "That's

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my attitude to suffrage." And there were lots of cheap jokes during political meetings.
These things, I gather, were used and said to stop the movement, and substantially disappeared after the women got the vote. Would this be correct?
There was a politician here who wouldn't introduce me at a court house. We had a meeting at a court house for suffrage. And a friend of mine told me he had asked him to introduce me and he wouldn't, and the Suffrage League in the little town had an awful lot of trouble in getting somebody to introduce a suffragist. Finally they got a young man who afterwards in the Senate. Then I got the vote, and one of the first things this politician said to me was, "Well, Miss Adele, you remember how we worked for suffrage when you came down and spoke at Tappahannock." And I refrained from saying, "Yes, I heard on definite authority that you cut and ran when they asked you to introduce me." But I wouldn't say it; we had to be tactful. [Laughter] Now you were asking about Senator Byrd. He, as I said, voted against ratification of the federal amendment. During the Al Smith campaign when Senator Byrd was supporting Al Smith, several women, particularly Mrs. John H. Lewis (Elizabeth Langen Lewis), spoke for Mr. Smith. And Mrs. Houston made a speech for Smith. And Senator Byrd came up and talked to both of them after this and said that, after hearing their speeches, he regretted he hadn't followed his father's footsteps in getting the suffrage. He was rather a young man, and the whole of his organization was opposed to suffrage. And Swanson, who was his great friend and

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monitor, was opposed to suffrage. I don't know whether he was as much opposed to suffrage as he was opposed to… He wanted to be on the conservative side. Because he made some wonderful appointments as Governor of women to various boards. And of course the suffrage question hadn't come up particularly during his senatorship.
There's one thing that I thought of in answer to your question about the very ugly and abusive things that happened. During the time that we were working for ratification of the suffrage amendment, either in the 1919 special session or the 1920 regular session of the assembly in Virginia, the old gentleman Mr. Young, whom I mentioned earlier as having been a supporter of the amendment of the state constitution but opposed to anything federal because of his being wounded at Chancellorsville, called Mrs. Houston and me to him one day. And he said, "I want to tell you ladies that there are two men in the assembly here who are threatening that the day this ratification comes up for the vote, if it gets out of committee, or at the committee hearing—whichever they can make it more effective—they're going to get every disreputable Negro woman in Richmond that they can get hold of and pay them, and as many of them drunk as possible, to come down and crowd the galleries and the floor of the legislature and make as much of a rowdy demonstration as they can." And he said, "I have told them that if they do it, I'm going to get up on the floor and denounce them and say how the Negro women came here, but I don't know whether that's going to prevent it. But I want you ladies to be on the lookout for the fact that they are…"

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Both of them were from counties in Virginia that were largely Negro and usually very much opposed to that sort of thing. But they never did it; he evidently scared them off. But I thought it was a significant thing in showing the attitude. And then our contact with Senator Swanson, who was totally opposed to woman's suffrage and could have turned the one vote that was necessary in the Senate of the United States to get the suffrage ratification. And I understood from Mrs. Helen Gardner from Washington, who was one of the national suffrage leaders, that President Wilson had sent for Mr. Swanson and urged him to vote for suffrage. Because Wilson knew who much it meant to the Democratic Party if, under a Democratic administration, woman's suffrage could come in. Swanson was adamant, but he was always most charming and polite and received you in Washington cordially. Now he was already in the Senate, and Westmoreland Davis, the Governor, ran against him. And I think we might have elected Westmoreland Davis to the Senate if he had really come out for suffrage, because the women were still in the mood of supporting a suffragist. Those were just two things that occurred to me along the lines you were talking about.
I certainly appreciate your help and your cooperation, Miss Clark. I think at this point we'll close the interview, and I'll look forward to seeing you on my next trip again to Richmond, and hope to give you some notice of it. Thank you so much now.
Thank you. I'll be glad to see you.