Click to magnify
IWA. Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission records.

The Iowa Suffrage Memorial Commission began its work in 1922, but the actual memorial at the Iowa State Capitol was not dedicated until 1936 because of conflicting visions and fundraising difficulties.

Nellie Verne Walker, a nationally renowned artist from Iowa, designed the bas-relief in bronze. It depicts a procession of women dressed in Greek-style costume and bearing symbols of progress. The original proposal was to honor fifty Iowa suffragists by name, but the final product symbolized both the progression of the movement and the long chain of unrecognized suffragists.

Mary Ankeny Hunter led the campaign for a suffrage memorial. She married into a pioneer suffrage family in 1892 and joined many women’s clubs, including the Unity Circle of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines. The club and the church were both active in the 1908 Boone suffrage parade.

Fellow Des Moines Universalist Rev. Mary Safford was nationally known in Unitarian circles and played a pivotal part in the spread of the denomination and the spread of suffrage work in Iowa. When Safford died in 1927, she donated $5,000 for the creation of an Iowa suffrage memorial.

Click to magnifyIWA. League of Women Voters of Iowa records.