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The Story of a Pioneer
Recent campaigns

The interval between the winning of Idaho and Utah in 1896 and that of Washington in 1910 seemed very long to lovers of the Cause.  We were working as hard as ever--harder, indeed, for the opposition against us was growing stronger as our opponents realized what triumphant woman suffrage would mean to the underworld, the grafters, and the whited sepulchers in public office.  But in 1910 we were cheered by our Washington victory, followed the next year by the winning of California. Then, with our splendid banner year of 1912 came the winning of three states--Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon--preceded by a campaign so full of vim and interest that it must have its brief chronicle here. To begin, we conducted in 1912 the largest number of campaigns we had ever undertaken, working in six states in which constitutional amendments were pending--Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Arizona, and Kansas.  Personally, I began my work in Ohio in August, with the modest aspiration of speaking in each of the principal towns in every one of these states.  In Michigan I had the invaluable assistance of Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, of Philadelphia, and I visited at this time the region of my old home, greatly changed since the days of my girlhood, and talked to the old friends and neighbors who had turned out in force to welcome me.  They showed their further interest in the most satisfactory way, by carrying the amendment in their part of the state.

At least four and five speeches a day were expected, and as usual we traveled in every sort of conveyance, from freight-cars to eighty horse-power French automobiles.  In Eau Clair, Wisconsin, I spoke at the races immediately after the passing of a procession of cattle.  At the end of the procession rode a woman in an ox-cart, to represent pioneer days.  She wore a calico gown and a sunbonnet, and drove her ox-team with genuine skill; and the last touch to the picture she made was furnished by the presence of a beautiful biplane which whirred lightly in the air above her.  The obvious comparison was too good to ignore, so I told my hearers that their women to-day were still riding in ox-teams while the men soared in the air, and that women's work in the world's service could be properly done only when they too were allowed to fly. In Oregon we were joined by Miss Lucy Anthony. There, at Pendleton, I spoke during the great "round up,'' holding the meeting at night on the street, in which thousands of horsemen--cowboys, Indians, and ranchmen--were riding up and down, blowing horns, shouting, and singing.  It seemed impossible to interest an audience under such conditions, but evidently the men liked variety, for when we began to speak they quieted down and closed around us until we had an audience that filled the streets in every direction and as far as our voices could reach.  Never have we had more courteous or enthusiastic listeners than those wild and happy horsemen.  Best of all, they not only cheered our sentiments, but they followed up their cheers with their votes.  I spoke from an automobile, and when I had finished one of the cowboys rode close to me and asked for my New York address.  "You will hear from me later,'' he said, when he had made a note of it.  In time I received a great linen banner, on which he had made a superb pen-and-ink sketch of himself and his horse, and in every corner sketches of scenes in the different states where women voted, together with drawings of all the details of cowboy equipment.  Over these were drawn the words:


The banner hangs to-day in the National Head-quarters.

In California Mr. Edwards presented me with the money to purchase the diamond in Miss Anthony's flag pin representing the victory of his state the preceding year; and in Arizona one of the highlights of the campaign was the splendid effort of Mrs. Frances Munds, the state president, and Mrs. Alice Park, of Palo Alto, California, who were carrying on the work in their headquarters with tremendous courage, and, as it seemed to me, almost unaided.  Mrs. Park's specialty was the distribution of suffrage literature, which she circulated with remarkable judgment.  The Governor of Arizona was in favor of our Cause, but there were so few active workers available that to me, at least, the winning of the state was a happy surprise.  

In Kansas we stole some of the prestige of Champ Clark, who was making political speeches in the same region.  At one station a brass-band and a great gathering were waiting for Mr. Clark's train just as our train drew in; so the local suffragists persuaded the band to play for us, too, and I made a speech to the inspiring accompaniment of "Hail to the Chief.''  The passengers on our train were greatly impressed, thinking it was all for us; the crowd at the station were glad to be amused until the great man came, and I was glad of the opportunity to talk to so many representative men--so we were all happy. In the Soldiers' Home at Leavenworth I told the old men of the days when my father and brothers left us in the wilderness, and my mother and I cared for the home while they fought at the front--and I have always believed that much of the large vote we received at Leavenworth was cast by those old soldiers.

No one who knows the conditions doubts that we really won Michigan that year as well as the three other states, but strange things were done in the count.  For example, in one precinct in Detroit forty more votes were counted against our amendment than there were voters in the district.  In other districts there were seven or eight more votes than voters.  Under these conditions it is not surprising that, after the vigorous recounting following the first wide-spread reports of our success, Michigan was declared lost to us.

The campaign of 1914, in which we won Montana and Nevada, deserves special mention here.  I must express also my regret that as this book will be on the presses before the campaign of 1915 is ended, I cannot include in these reminiscences the results of our work in New York and other states. As a beginning of the 1914 campaign I spent a day in Chicago, on the way to South Dakota, to take my part in a moving-picture suffrage play.  It was my first experience as an actress, and I found it a taxing one. As a modest beginning I was ordered to make a speech in thirty-three seconds--something of a task, as my usual time allowance for a speech is one hour.  The manager assured me, however, that a speech of thirty-three seconds made twenty-seven  feet of film--enough, he thought, to convert even a lieutenant-governor!

The Dakota campaigns, as usual, resolved themselves largely into feats of physical endurance, in which I was inspired by the fine example of the state presidents--Mrs. John Pyle of South Dakota and Mrs. Clara V. Darrow of North Dakota.  Every day we made speeches from the rear platform of the trains on which we were traveling--sometimes only two or three, sometimes half a dozen.  One day I rode one hundred miles in an automobile and spoke in five different towns.  Another day I had to make a journey in a freight-car.  It was, with a few exceptions, the roughest traveling I had yet known, and it took me six hours to reach my destination.

While I was gathering up hair-pins and pulling myself together to leave the car at the end of the ride I asked the conductor how far we had traveled.

"Forty miles,'' said he, tersely.

"That means forty miles AHEAD,'' I murmured.

"How far up and down?''

"Oh, a hundred miles up and down,'' grinned the conductor, and the exchange of persiflage cheered us both.

Though we did not win, I have very pleasant memories of North Dakota, for Mrs. Darrow accompanied me during the entire campaign, and took every burden from my shoulders so efficiently that I had nothing to do but make speeches.

In Montana our most interesting day was that of the State Fair, which ended with a suffrage parade that I was invited to lead.  On this occasion the suffragists wished me to wear my cap and gown and my doctor's hood, but as I had not brought those garments with me, we borrowed and I proudly wore the cap and gown of the Unitarian minister.  It was a small but really beautiful parade, and all the costumes for it were designed by the state president, Miss Jeannette Rankin, to whose fine work, by the way, combined with the work of her friends, the winning of Montana was largely due.

In Butte the big strike was on, and the town was under martial law.  A large banquet was given us there, and when we drove up to the club-house where this festivity was to be held we were stopped by two armed guards who confronted us with stern faces and fixed bayonets.  The situation seemed so absurd that I burst into happy laughter, and thus deeply offended the earnest young guards who were  grasping the fixed bayonets.  This sad memory was wiped out, however, by the interest of the banquet-- a very delightful affair, attended by the mayor of Butte and other local dignitaries.

In Nevada the most interesting feature of the campaign was the splendid work of the women.  In each of the little towns there was the same spirit of ceaseless activity and determination.  The president of the State Association, Miss Anne Martin, who was at the head of the campaign work, accompanied me one Sunday when we drove seventy miles in a motor and spoke four times, and she was also my companion in a wonderful journey over the mountains.  Miss Martin was a tireless and worthy leader of the fine workers in her state.

In Missouri, under the direction of Mrs. Walter McNabb Miller, and in Nebraska, where Mrs. E. Draper Smith was managing the campaign, we had some inspiring meetings.  At Lincoln Mrs. William Jennings Bryan introduced me to the biggest audience of the year, and the programme took on a special interest from the fact that it included Mrs. Bryan's debut as a speaker for suffrage.  She is a tall and attractive woman with an extremely pleasant voice, and she made an admirable speech--clear, terse, and much to the point, putting herself on record as a strong supporter of the woman-suffrage movement.

There was also an amusing aftermath of this occasion, which Secretary Bryan himself confided to me several months later when I met him in Atlantic City.  He assured me, with the deep sincerity he assumes so well, that for five nights after my speech in Lincoln his wife had kept him awake listening to her report of it--and he added, solemnly, that he now knew it "by heart.''

A less pleasing memory of Nebraska is that I lost my voice there and my activities were sadly interrupted.  But I was taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis A. Brogan, of Omaha, and supplied with a trained nurse, a throat specialist, and such care and comfort that I really enjoyed the enforced rest--knowing, too, that the campaign committee was carrying on our work with great enthusiasm.

In Missouri one of our most significant meetings was in Bowling Green, the home of Champ Clark, Speaker of the House.  Mrs. Clark gave a reception, made a speech, and introduced me at the meeting, as Mrs. Bryan had done in Lincoln.  She is one of the brightest memories of my Missouri experience, for, with few exceptions, she is the most entertaining woman I have ever met.  Subsequently we had an all-day motor journey together, during which Mrs. Clark rarely stopped talking and I even more rarely stopped laughing.

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