Monday, September 28, 2015

Tribute to Florence Brooks Whitehouse

Tomorrow we leave for Wyoming. I'm excited about that, in part because my great-grandmother, Florence Brooks Whitehouse, was there in the fall of 1916 on suffrage business, and had a great time. Alice Paul had hired her to travel to Wyoming from Maine to persuade women and men to vote against the Democrats in the upcoming elections, on the grounds that they hadn't done enough to push the federal suffrage amendment through Congress. This was a campaign the Congressional Union launched throughout the 12 western states where roughly 4 million women already had the vote, trying to use their political muscle to force swifter action on national suffrage. It was a bold move, and a controversial one.

It was researching Florence's activities that got me interested in suffrage history in the first place, and she's the subject of my book Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine's Fight for Woman Suffrage. Her story had been lost over the years, in part because her more conservative colleagues basically wrote her out of Maine's suffrage history because of "radical" actions like her trip to Wyoming. She also picketed President Wilson on the same trip...

A few people had asked me how I got interested in suffrage history, and I realized I was remiss in connecting those dots. All due to Florence!


  1. Interesting connection. I'd heard of Florence before. Now, i want to buy your book.

  2. Your Mom used to talk about this, she was very proud of this part of family history.