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Emma Smith DeVoe promotes women's suffrage to teachers in Snohomish on September 2, 1909.
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On September 2, 1909, women's suffrage leader Emma Smith DeVoe (1848-1927) addresses a crowd of 400 teachers at the Snohomish County Institute in Snohomish on the topic of votes for women. Teachers express interest in taking up the cause.
Votes for Women
By the fall months of 1909, the Washington woman suffrage campaign -- aimed at the 1910 election -- was in full swing. Local suffrage clubs were forming in support of the state effort and national and regional suffrage leaders were booking speaking engagements throughout the state on the topic of suffrage.
One of the most influential of these state leaders was Emma Smith DeVoe, president of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association (WESA). Four hundred teachers gathered at the Snohomish County Institute in the town of Snohomish on September 2, 1909, to hear DeVoe's speech, titled "A Vital Question." DeVoe argued convincingly that women needed the ballot in order to prevent discrimination in salaries on the grounds of sex and stated her belief that the entire teaching community would be stronger when it could triple or quadruple its vote. Both teachers and the mothers of children, she said, needed to have a vote to create better schools.
DeVoe's talk was met with considerable support and, following the lecture, many teachers, both men and women, expressed their interest in working to win the vote for Washington women in 1910.
"Suffrage at Teacher's Institute," Votes for Women Vol. 1, No. 1 (October 1909), p. 6; HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "DeVoe, Emma Smith (1848-1927)" (by Laura Arksey), http://www.historylink.org (accessed August 5, 2008).
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