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(suffrage icon)1921

Lake Michigan Shore Bluffs 1877

The association effected by the Milwaukee convention of 1860 began at once to organize local units and to draw together into a single association those interested in this unpopular cause. Early suffrage organizations are known to have been formed at Fond du Lac, Richland Center, Baraboo, Evansville, Boscobel, and Union Grove. At a meeting in the latter place the press reporter stated of one of the speakers that "while her address was extremely refined and eloquent it was what might be termed a 'pulverizer' and we only regret that there were not more of the opponents of woman suffrage present to be 'pulverized.'" In March, 1870, a state convention was held at Janesville, at which Mrs. Stanton was present. Miss Peckham and the Reverend H. D. Maxon were the local speakers at this "large and enthusiastic meeting."16

Emma C. Bascom

No other state convention is known to have been held during the entire decade of the seventies. Education was the great need, and the public lyceums gave splendid opportunity for woman suffrage lectures. Many such lectures were given around the state, and many women were thereby inspired to take up suffrage work and did in fact become suffrage leaders. Early speakers in our state included Mrs. Livermore, Mrs. Stanton, Miss Anthony, and Phoebe Cousins. When Mrs. Stanton lectured in Milwaukee in 1877 she was entertained by the leaders of social affairs and gained many adherents for the cause.17 Suffrage literature was distributed, suffrage petitions were circulated, money was collected to help in the support of national work, and delegates were sent from Wisconsin to the national conventions in Washington. So suffrage work done in the beginning was of substantially the same character as in later years. Among new leaders who arose during this period were Mrs. Marion V. Dudley and Mrs. Emma Bascom, wife of President Bascom of the state university. An Equal Suffrage Association was formed at Madison in 1878 with Mrs. Bascom as president. Marathon County was organized and sponsored organizations at Grand Rapids, Mrs. Stella Baker, secretary, and at Mosinee, Kate Fellows, secretary. Berlin and Mukwonago were organized by 1880. In the latter place dwelt Dr. W. P. Collins, who as early as 1858 supported woman suffrage and prophesied that women would be enfranchised within ten years.

John Bascom

16 History of the Suffrage Movement in Wisconsin," by Dr. Laura RossWolcott, in Husted and Anthony, History, III, 638-48.

17 Marion V. Dudley, Suffrage for Woman. A Plea in Its Behalf (Madison, 1880). Pamphlet copy of speech delivered before the Senate Committee on State Affairs, March 2, 1880.