Votes for Women League | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Votes for Women League

May 22, 2020

The Votes for Women's League began to establish itself in North Dakota in 1912. Fargo was the first community to form a Votes for Women League on February 4. It grew quickly. Mrs. Clara Darrow was elected president, and many "well known Fargo women ... entered their names on the charter membership list," according to reports.

Mrs. Helen deLendrecie, who was elected treasurer of the group, provided use of a room for headquarters, and the room was to be "open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays" for several hours, "with one of the ladies of the organization in attendance." It was stocked with suffrage literature and staffed, so someone was on hand to talk to anyone who may visit.

Even specific stationary was selected--to be printed on yellow paper, since yellow was the color of the suffragists.

As the organization swiftly grew more established, men and women alike were invited to join the club. Any resident of the state could join through Fargo, until more towns could establish and support their own local societies.

Grand Forks, Dickinson, and a number of other towns established their own local chatpers soon thereafter, as did a number of other communities; the Women's Christian Temperance Union had even established a votes for women committee in their state organization. And by this date in 1912, the Grand Forks chapter was taking steps to establish a state convention for the months-old organization. The Grand Forks Evening Times noted that "the local club believe[d] that there is strength and that the only way to gain this necessary strength is to unite the several local clubs in the state."

Because Fargo was the first city to organize this club, the Grand Forks chapter felt that Fargo should host this first convention, though they agreed to assist. They picked the date of June 13, planned three sessions for their attendees, and arranged to put on a suffrage play, "The Pot and the Kettle," to the public.

This trend would only continue; by the end of September of 1914, one hundred organizations in North Dakota were reported as being "devoted solely to winning votes for women," including two which had men as presidents, seven that were composed of young people, and one that was a township organization of farm women."

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker

Sources:

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Feb 3, 1912, p16

The Evening Times (Grand Forks), Feb .27, 1912 p6

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Feb. 5, 1912, p5

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, May 24, 1912, p5

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Feb. 15, 1912, p5

(Grand Forks) The Evening Times, May 13, 1912, p8

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, May 24, 1912, p5

The Evening Times (Grand Forks) June 3, 1912, p8

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, June 13, 1912, p1 and 8

The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Tuesday Evening, Sept. 22, 1914, p7