Friday, August 09, 2013

Suffragettes

Last night I attended a meeting of the Denver Woman's Press Club. I'm going to apply for membership. I've always admired women's organizations and this one has an awesome history. It was founded in 1898. In the presentation, the speakers highlighted some of the accomplishments of the heroic women who breached gender barriers.

The members were active in the suffragette movement.

It's still inconceivable to me that women did not get the vote until 1920. The reasons were complex, but one of the must amusing I heard offered was there was only so much blood in the human body. Thinking about politics was really, really hard and required a great deal of blood to be channeled to the brain. The uterus would then be deprived. If the woman was pregnant, the little baby she was hoping would be a healthy specimen of humanity would most assuredly be sickly when it was born. If it lived at all. There was a good chance it wouldn't.

In short, giving the women the vote would put the nation's children at risk. Men of the late 1800s and early 1900s would be happy to know that nowadays thinking about politics hardly requires any brains at all. The most complex issues have been reduced to sound bites.

The Denver Woman's Press Club was founded by Minnie J. Reynolds and had 19 charter members.


Reynolds was one of the first female political writers for the Rocky Mountain News, and an early stump speaker. She was active in the Populist Party.

The Club’s membership, throughout its history, has included numerous leaders. Among them:
  • Mary Elizabeth Bates, one of the first women doctors in Denver;
  • Mary Florence Lathrop, one of Denver’s first women lawyers;
  • Helen Ring Robinson, Colorado’s first woman state senator;
  • Helen Marie Black, first woman business manager of a major symphony orchestra (she was instrumental in the founding of the Denver Symphony)
  • Mary Coyle Chase, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the play “Harvey”
It's an honor to be asked to join an organization that has contributed so much to culture.

 

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