On this date in 1912, excitement grew as plans were made for Jane Addams to speak in the state.
Addams was a well-known suffragist, activist, and social reformer. In 1889 she had co-founded Hull House in Chicago, a secular settlement house. She and other residents provided a number of services that were helpful for the community, including kindergarten and day care for working mothers; an employment bureau; an art gallery; libraries; and classes in English, citizenship, theater, music and art.
Among her stops in North Dakota were Jamestown, Fargo, and Grand Forks. She was in fact campaigning for Theodore Roosevelt, saying she was “bringing with her the plea that the American nation adopt the religion outlined in the progressive party’s platform and stand by Colonel Roosevelt in his fight for the people.” However, as she was a suffragist, her visit also stirred great interest among the state’s suffrage clubs. The Grand Forks Evening Times noted her political interest, saying: “Miss Addams is the first woman to come to the state in the interest of a national political party.”
At her stop at the Grand Forks city auditorium, members of the Votes for Women club were invited to sit on the platform during her speech. Upon arrival, they were provided with Vote for Women badges. Twelve girls from the city and ten girls from the University of North Dakota were selected to be ushers at this event. There was also a reception held for Addams by the Roosevelt Club and the Grand Forks Votes for Women League.
In Fargo, Mrs. C.F. Amidon was given great honor when she was chosen by the Progressive club to introduce Addams at the Fargo opera house. She also was in charge of reserved seats, which were held for the Progressive and Suffrage club members ‘til shortly before the talk.
Addams had been in Minneapolis prior to her stint in North Dakota, but she took the wrong train, making her more than an hour late for her appearance in Jamestown, but the local paper reported: “the audience remained good naturedly…until the appearance of the speaker. … During the interim there were short talks by North Dakota women interested in equal suffrage, while several Progressive party battle songs, including the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Dixie Land, and others, were sung.”
Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker
The Evening Times (grand forks) October 28, 1912, p5
The Weekly-Times Record, October 31, 1912, p5
The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Oct. 25, 1912, p6
The Oakes Times, Oct 31, 1912, p2
Jamestown Weekly Alert, Oct 31, 1912, p1