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IWA. Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission records.

Known as “The Mother of Woman Suffrage in Iowa,” Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall paid tribute to the sacrifices of Susan B. Anthony in a 1906 Des Moines Political Equality Club memorial. Five years later, Coggeshall died without realizing her goal of equal suffrage.

Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall (1836 - 1911)

Despite unrealized goals, suffragists seemed to be optimistic that victory was right around the corner. In an 1898 suffrage report for the Iowa Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), Martha Callanan wrote, “...it would seem as if public sentiment would not much longer tolerate the withholding of this justice to one half the people.”

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IWA. Margaret Atherton Bonney papers.

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IWA. Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission records.

By 1915, the Iowa legislature had approved a ballot measure to amend the Iowa constitution and grant women full suffrage. In June 1916 the referendum failed, and IESA women continued to hope for an end to the “wait full of woe.”