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Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1880s to 1920s (Benchmark 4) - Women's suffrage (Indicator 1) - Women and local elections

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He doesn't like female mayors

He doesn't like female mayors
Date: January 28, 1888
In this newspaper article, the former city marshal of Argonia, Sumner County, Kansas, laments the election of Susanna Salter as mayor, saying that "female mayors are no good." In particular, he was frustrated that she asked him to close his poker room, and she also prevented the local druggist (pharmacist) from keeping alcoholic beverages in stock. He claims that "Mrs. Salter has just killed Argonia." Originally published in the Indianapolis Journal, Indianapolis, Indiana, the article was republished in the Meade County Globe, Meade, Kansas, on January 28, 1888.


Nellie Cline

Nellie Cline
Date: Between 1921 and 1924
Nellie Cline, a native of Larned, Pawnee County, served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1921 to 1924. She is also credited with being the first female lawyer to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court.


Nellie Cline to Lucy Johnston

Nellie Cline to Lucy Johnston
Creator: Cline, Nellie
Date: January 4, 1912
In this letter, Nellie Cline writes to Lucy Johnston regarding Cline's nomination as a representative on the legislative committee of the State Federation of Women's Clubs. Cline did not feel that she was qualified for the position and wanted to speak with Johnston in person. Cline did, however, feel that it was a very important position within the club movement because "now that we women have so nearly attained our suffrage we surely want to show the state, also the other states, that we can make good." Nellie Cline would later be elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and would serve from 1921 to 1924.


Susanna Madora Salter

Susanna Madora Salter
Date: 1880
A formal portrait of Susanna Madora Salter, 1860-1961, and her husband, Lewis Salter in 1880, during the first year of their marriage. Born March 2, 1860, in Belmont County, Ohio, Susanna Madora Kinsey moved to a Kansas farm with her parents in 1872. Eight years later, while attending the Kansas State Agricultural College, she met and married Lewis Salter. The couple soon moved to Argonia where she cared for their young children and became an officer in the local Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Nominated on the Prohibition Party ticket by several Argonia men as a joke, Salter surprised the group and received two-thirds of the votes. She was elected in April 4, 1887, just weeks after Kansas women had gained the right to vote in city elections. The 27-year-old woman knew more about politics than her detractors realized. She was the daughter of the town's first mayor. Her father-in-law, Melville J. Salter, was a former Kansas lieutenant governor. Although she apparently performed her job well, Salter never sought another elected office. Within a few years, the Salters moved to Oklahoma where the nation's first woman mayor died in 1961 at the age of 101.


The women's vote in Kansas

The women's vote in Kansas
Creator: Adams, F. G. (Franklin George), 1824-1899
Date: 1887
Franklin Adams, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, wrote this pamphlet analyzing the votes cast during the April 1887 local election. This was the first election in which women in Kansas could vote in municipal elections, following the passage of a law by the Kansas Legislature in February 1887. These statistics were compiled from local newspaper reports of municipal elections and by members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, who contacted local election officials. The pamphlet contains voting information from over 200 Kansas towns and provides useful statistics including the total population of each town, the total number of voters, and the number of male and female citizens who exercised their right to vote.


To Kansas suffragists!

To Kansas suffragists!
Creator: Amendment Campaign Committee
Date: 1894
This leaflet outlines the work that Kansas suffragists must undertake to win the vote in November 1894. Kansas women were encouraged to donate money and their time to this cause. Women were needed to form suffrage associations or to increase enrollment of those already in existence, to work with their county conventions and draft a suffrage resolution, to speak with members of the press, and to promote suffrage at Farmer's Alliance meetings or other functions (such as those of the Women's Christian Temperance Union). Although this 1894 suffrage amendment failed, Kansas women continued to employ these techniques in other suffrage campaigns, including the successful campaign of 1912.


What the women want

What the women want
Creator: Kansas Good Citizenship League
Date: 1914
This leaflet outlines the voting measures discussed at the April 1914 meeting of the Kansas Good Citizenship League. Women in Kansas won the right to vote in 1912, and with their new voting privileges they hoped to change Kansas society for the better. Among other things, Kansas women were interested in ensuring that all children received equal educational opportunities and in creating a division of child hygiene in the department of the State Board of Health. Most of their concerns revolved around improving the rights of women and children.


William Watson to Dora (Susanna) Salter

William Watson to Dora (Susanna) Salter
Creator: Watson, William H.
Date: April 6, 1887
This brief note, written by William Watson, mayor of Argonia, Sumner County, informed Susanna Salter that she was elected to serve as mayor in the election held two days earlier. Salter was the first elected female mayor in the United States. This is a photographic copy of the original, which was loaned to the Historical Society by Monroe Billington, author of "Susanna Madora Salter, first woman mayor," Kansas Historical Quarterly, autumn 1954, pages 173-183.


Women tired of worn out laws

Women tired of worn out laws
Date: January 30, 1913
This article from an unidentified newspaper describes how, shortly after gaining universal suffrage, Kansas women were eager to use their votes to benefit society. In particular it discusses the latest Women's Kansas Day Club meeting, which had the largest attendance on record. This club, which often met to discuss ways to preserve Kansas's heritage, now spent more time "look[ing] to the present and the future." While men's political meetings focused on parties and affiliations, these women focused on the "humanizing of society," including how they could use their votes to protect the home, reform state laws that treated women unjustly, and provide stronger educational opportunities for children. The article includes summaries of speeches by several leading Kansas women, as well as information about their work for preserving the history of Kansas.


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