Recordings

This oral history interview with Alice Paul, conducted by Amelia Roberts Fry from 1972 to 1973, is provided for researchers in its entirety. For your reference, the section numbers, denoted at the top of each section, correspond to the original folder numbers listed on the full transcript of the interview, which can be found here.

The audio files are made available here with permission from the Oral History Center of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. Requests to quote from or otherwise use this interview should be directed to The Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley.

Click on “Transcript” to show or hide a detailed list of the information included in each audio section.

Track: I-B [55:40]

To Swarthmore in 1901 [0:00]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 17-18

  • When picking her major, a lot of women were choosing English and Latin, which Alice already had a strong grasp on. She decided to study Biology, which was mainly filled by men. 

  • Alice does not recall having a plan for a career following college. She thought she might want to be a teacher her senior year.

To New York School of Philanthropy [2:30]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 18-20

  • Alice went to a College Settlement in New York. College Settlements were a program devised by Jane Adams.

  • Alice attended the School of Philanthropy (now part of Columbia University).  It was a good school with a good reputation and provided lectures, placed people in the field, and organized tours of institutions.

  • Alice eventually realized she did not want to be a social worker because she wanted to help people before they needed social work.

Charity Organization Society, Summer of 1906 [7:53]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 20-21

  • In New York, Alice joined the Charity Organization Society after attending the School of Philanthropy. She spent the summer in NYC working, for very little money, with independent welfare groups to get aid to people in need because there was no coordinated government aid. 

To the University of Pennsylvania, Fall of 1906 [10:47]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 21-23

  • Alice enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. She majored in sociology and then minored in political science and economics. She notes that female students were only enrolled in graduate programs.

  • Alice speaks about being awarded a scholarship to attend a Quaker school in Woodbrook, England

More About Friends and Activities Swarthmore [16:30]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 23-31

  • Alice met friends Mabel Vernon, Amelia Himes, and Clara Louise at Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania. 

  • Recounting her time at Swarthmore, Alice shares stories about being chosen as the Ivy Poet, participating in sports, social hours, and supper proceedings.

  • She recalls interactions between male and female students at Swarthmore; socialization and engagements. Alice generalizes her impression of why both the men and women were attending Swarthmore, and their plans for their future using their education.

The University of Birmingham and Woodbrook, England, 1907 [39:23]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 31-34

  • Alice talks about getting involved with political reform movements. While she was at the University of Birmingham continuing to study economics, she went to a public meeting set up by the college on votes for women with Christabel Pankhurst as a main speaker. While giving her speech, Christabel was shouted off the stage, but she was later invited back to deliver her speech again because of the displeasure of the administration at the actions of the students.

Social Work in the Dalston District, 1908 [51:03]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 34-35

  • Alice was asked to work as an assistant at a Dalston charity organization.

Cycling in France [51:55]

  • Tape 1, Side A, Pages 35-37

  • Alice talks about her time cycling through France during the summer of 1908 with Dutch friends she had made. She found that bicycling was a key transportation method in England, and she subsequently brought her bicycle with her to France. She traveled to France before returning to Dalston to work in social work.

Track: I-C [54:13]

The First Suffrage Procession [0:00]

  • Tape 1, Side A-Tape 2, Side A, Pages 37-39

  • Alice meets Lady Pethick-Lawrence, a women’s activist and the principal speaker of the march, at her first suffrage procession. Her involvement with the Women’s Social and Political Union. 

  • Alice talks about her involvement in social work before she went to stay at a Quaker youth hostel near the London School of Economics.

London School of Economics and the Pankhurst Movement [4:25]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 41-44

  • Alice speaks about attending the London School of Economics and the various courses she took while there, including a class on the history of marriage. She talks about professors she had. She did not take classes in the pursuit of a degree.

  • She mentions her trip to Germany in the summer of 1907 before she went to Woodbrook.

First Suffrage tasks and the Clerkenwell Settlement [15:300

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 44-46

  • Alice recalls her first tasks for the suffrage movement in 1908. She tried selling Votes for Women papers and describes the process of becoming a speaker which she began by giving speeches outdoors on street corners, in parks, and railroad stations. 

  • She mentions a Mrs. Gardner, Miss Rachal Barrett

Personal Risk: Arrest in the Pankhurst Movement [20:36]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 46-49

  • Alice describes her time at Clerkenwell, the Quaker headquarters. 

  • She attends a deputation hosted by the Women’s Social and Political Union, led by Mrs. Pankhurst.

  • Alice talks about being arrested in Berwick-upon-Tweed. She was not charged, and released.

  • Alice Paul is arrested during the protest march to Parliament led by Pankurst. It was in jail during this arrest that she first met Lucy Burns, a fellow American suffrage activist whom she would work closely with in the future. Following this incident, she would get a letter asking her to participate in any future suffrage efforts.

  • Alice and Lucy were sent to Dundee to do suffrage work there.

First Imprisonment [30:45]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 50

  • Alice outlines her first sentence given when she was arrested in Bermondsey, London in protest of Lloyd George. She received a sentence of two weeks to a month in prison. London police had arrested speakers who walked to the stage before they were able to speak.

  • Alice jokes that once she realized she would be arrested before she actually had to deliver her speech, she instantly felt relieved that she did not have to speak to a large crowd.

To Scotland with Mrs. Pankhurst [33:10]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Pages 51-52

  • Alice and Lucy went to Scotland with Mrs. Pankhurst. Alice remarks on how unusual it was to have a female chauffeur. 

Interrupting Sir Edward Grey, Winston Churchill, and Lord Crewe [40:36]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Pages 52-56

  • The purpose of sending Alice and Lucy to Scotland was to emphasize the disenfranchisement of women and to start the suffrage movement there by holding and attending meetings. They were both arrested as soon as they began speaking about a suffrage movement in Scotland.

London, the Annual Meeting of the Lord Mayor, November 9, 1909: Alice as a Chairwoman

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 56

  • Alice and Nurse Brown snuck into a meeting of the Lord Mayor of London as charwoman (maid) and hid in a loft all day. They were there to yell down at the meeting about the suffrage movement while Lucy Burns was placed inside the meeting as a guest at the event. They were arrested as soon as they revealed themselves and started yelling about the suffrage movement.

  • After their release from Dundee prison, Alice and Lucy were invited to convalesce at Abbeythune, the private home of Mrs. MacGregor outside of the town of Dundee. Alice and Lucy states for 2-3 weeks.

Forced Feeding in Prison [48:53]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Pages 56-59

  • Alice talks about when force feedings began. It was a policy she believes took effect after her imprisonment in Dundee. The policy was if you were to be arrested for being politically active in the suffrage movement for the Women’s Political and Social Union, then you would go on a hunger strike while in prison.

Track: II-A [22:19]

From Suffragette to Suffragist [0:00]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Pages 60-62

  • Alice talks about her return to the USA, and her involvement in the Philadelphia suffrage movement. She was invited to speak at a meeting, and she would later become a chairwoman of a suffrage committee. She was also invited to meetings and conventions because of her involvement in the movement in Britain, including a meeting organized by Mrs. Howard Shaw.

  • Alice talks about traveling to Washington, D.C. for the first time. 

A Ph.D at the University of Pennsylvania [6:40]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 62-63

  • Alice talks about her master’s and doctor’s thesis. Her master’s thesis was about women’s equality in Pennsylvania, and her doctor’s thesis was about women’s equality in the USA.

Appointment as Congressional Chairman, National American Woman Suffragist Convention [7:47]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 63-65

  • Alice and Lucy were appointed as the Congressional Chairman by Miss Jane Adams to take part in the suffragist movement. They were strictly instructed to use only money they raised themselves.

  • Alice speaks about the beginning of her involvement in working for the federal amendment for women’s suffrage, which began with a visit to Lucy Burns.

  • She mentions working as an assistant for Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, who organized meetings.

Getting Set Up In Washington, D.C. [15:03]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 65-69

  • In Washington, D.C., Alice and Lucy work to build a base of officers and supporters, and on raising money to fund the D.C. office.

  • She mentions Miss Emma Gillette, Ellen Spencer, and Crystal Eastman.

  • Alice begins telling the story of planning the 1913 procession before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson.

  • She talks briefly about pursuing a law degree.

Track: II-B [28:17]

  • Tape 2 Side A-Tape 3 Side A, Page 69-81

  • Once established in Washington, they held their first meeting in January 1913. 

  • Alice met with Ms. William Kent. 

  • She speaks about Elise Hill, daughter of Congressman Ebenezer J. Hill, who was an influential acquaintance in the parade development. She galvanized her college suffrage group to march in the parade, and addressed the trouble of setting up a march in only two months’ time. 

  • Some of the planning problems included getting approved for the march on Pennsylvania Avenue as women, the low police presence, the need for the cavalry for protection and crowd control, the march attendance to see the women’s movement as a spectacle, and her lack of awareness of any harassment of marchers. 

  • Alice talks about the Washington Post’s news coverage of the event, and monetary donations to the movement from a variety of sources.

  • Alice talks about the investigation into the mob that attacked the 1913 procession.

  • She mentioned Mrs. Helen Gardener, Florence Etheridge, and Carrie Chapman Catt.

Track: II-C

The Press Department and Florence Brewer Boeckel [0:00]

  • Tape 2, Side A, Page 81-84

  • Mrs. Helen Gardner, head of publicity, withdrew from the campaign because she was not in support of a Constitutional Amendment for Women’s Suffrage. Ironically, years later Mrs. Gardner would be invited with a group of women to the White House for Wilson’s proclamation of the amendment. Wilson would later give Gardener a position in the civil service commission. 

  • Alice notes that none of the people associated with Alice’s campaign were invited to the signing ceremony, but that all of those who were invited were opponents of their federal campaign. 

  • Florence Boeckel was brought on for publicity in the wake of Mrs. Gardner’s withdrawal. Alice notes that Boeckel built up a splendid press department.

Field Organization and Mabel Vernon [7:45]

  • Tape 3, Side A, Page 84-86

  • Mabel Vernon was the first national organizer. She was a big supporter of the movement, and would later support the ERA in the wake of the suffrage amendment passing. Vernon would become a director on the ERA initiative. Alice praises Mabel for her great oratory skills.

Financial Support for Workers [10:35]

  • Tape 3, Side A, Page 86-89

  • Alice addresses how volunteers were compensated for their work. Some lived off of the funds provided by their families and worked for the movement for free. This is what Alice did at one point, only raising money to reimburse herself and Lucy Burns for their campaign expenses. Alice says she owes a lot to her family for their support in both the abstract and monetarily.

Presidential delegations Begin [ 17:24]

  • Tape 3, Side A, Page 89-94

  • Alice talks about meeting with President Woodrow Wilson and how he was respectable to talk with, though he did not support the amendment movement. Alice spoke with him about the “rightness” of the movement, addressing how unfair and unjust it was to hold a referendum for women’s voting rights when only males could vote. Delegations continued through the years until much of President Woodrow Wilson’s time was being consumed by the war and he was unable to meet with the suffragists.

  • Alice speaks about suffragists beginning their unprecedented picketing of the White House after Wilson stopped meeting with the delegations. She talks about how supporters began to pull away from the National Woman’s Party when NWP members picketed during the early years of World War II. 

  • She talks about the amalgamation of the New York Women’s Political Union into the National Woman’s Party.

  • She speaks briefly about the beginnings of The Suffragist publication.

Track: II-D [57:48]

The Congressional Union Evolves [0:00}

  • Tape 3, Side A-Side B, Page 95-103

  • Alice talks about the protest by NAWSA board members of a convention organized by Alice and her office in 1913, and how she did not realize there were any “rifts” with the national office. Alice mentions Carrie Chapman Catt’s criticism of the work Alice and her office are doing, with specific mention of the publication of a paper for the movement. The infighting continues as supporters of the different approaches (suffrage achieved via state-by-state vs. federal amendment), and Alice speaks about seeing more clearly the divide of women that did and did not support her. 

  • Alice addresses how the Congressional Union of Women’s Suffrage began as a branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which was to proceed with its own fundraising efforts without interfering with the referendum campaign endorsed by NAWSA (state-by-state suffrage). The women Alice brought into the Congressional Union did not have  a previous affiliation to national NAWSA. 

  • NAWSA national asked Alice to cut ties with the Congressional Union and become a committee chairman, but Alice declined the offer. 

  • Alice is delighted that Mrs. McCormick was brought in as chairman.

Congress Faces Two Amendments: March 2, 1914 [17:16]

  • Tape 3, Side B, Page 103-106

  • Alice leaves the committee after a year and returns to her home in her hometown of Moorestown, NJ, and Lucy Burns assumes leadership of the office. While she is away, she receives a letter from Lucy Burns stating Mrs. McCormick introduced the Shafroth-Palmer Bill, a new and different amendment to the Constitution asking for a federal referendum for women’s right to vote. Alice returned to Washington and scheduled a meeting with the national office. 

  • Many active members of the Congressional Union thought they should disband because they could not compete with the larger NAWSA. National office was in support of Mrs. McCormick and her less revolutionary tactics than those led by Alice.

  • Alice speaks about women’s suffrage in other countries

  • Alice mentions:  Mrs. Jane Adams and Mary Beard.

The Separation from NAWSA [26:45]

  • Tape 3, Side B, Page 106-110

  • Alice traveled to meet with the leadership of NAWSA to talk about strategy. 

  • The Congressional Union resigned as an affiliate of NAWSA, and Alice and her colleagues tried to apply for a new membership as a different organization, which was not accepted. 

  • Alice and Lucy had not yet decided to completely separate from NAWSA. They wanted to keep the movement unified even though they were pushing for separate Amendments. Also, their organization lacked money and was exhausted by the fast paced campaign. 

  • Alice went to NAWSA’s Mississippi Conference to rally support for the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Alice had not been invited to the conference; she was there to speak on behalf of the federal Amendment. Alice recalls being treated like an outcast by other attendees, which she credits to her different point of view on how to achieve suffrage. However, some members of NAWSA withdrew their support and came to the aid of Alice and her strategy.

  • Alice mentions: Mrs. William Kent, Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Jane Adams

An Organization Emerges [37:10]

  • Tape 3, Side B, Page 110-114

  • Support gradually built as Alice traveled around the United States, speaking on behalf of the women’s suffrage movement and the constitutional amendment she supported. She had not set out to create a separate organization. Initially she wanted NAWSA to stop supporting the Shafroth-Palmer Bill. Slowly, membership for their organization was built up until there were branches in all of the states.

  • Alice talks about the importance of suffragist Clara Snell Wolfe in the movement. 

  • In April 1913, the Mondell Amendment for women’s suffrage was introduced to Congress. Alice highlights the confusion over why two suffrage groups were introducing two separate suffrage bills. 

  • To clarify the confusion, Alice’s group changed the name of their bill to the Susan B. Anthony Amendment for recognition, propaganda, and simplification. They wanted women to easily recognize what they were backing, and held pageants and worked to spread the message about Susan B. Anthony. 

  • Alice mentions: Mrs. Hunter

Other 1913 Activities [ 47:38]

  • Tape 3, Side B, Page 114-118

  • Amelia Fry and Alice go over some follow-up questions for Alice concerning 1913. Alice is asked about locating the women across the country, and they talk about the National Council of Women Voters in August 1913 for which delegations came to Washington, D.C., to speak to President Woodrow Wilson about the suffrage movement. A total of 73 delegates from New Jersey attended. 

  • They also speak about a suffrage committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, meeting with a committee in the U.S. Senate, and a motorcade from Hyattsville to the capitol.

  • Alice mentions: Mary Ware Dennett

The Suffrage School [55:52]

  • Tape 3, Side B, 118-119

  • A training program for suffragists was created by Alice’s office. The Suffrage School was designed to keep women across the country engaged with the suffrage movement, to inform, and prepare them for public activism. Alice is unsure if the school happened more than once for several days because of the time commitment to make them successful. A lot of energy had to go towards continuing the campaign. Other people were similarly holding training programs.

Track: II-E [44:10]

Nationwide Demonstration May 2, 1914 [0:00]

  • Tape 3, Side B, Page 119-122

  • Alice recalls the May 2nd Demonstration. First, processions and meetings were held across the country to raise support for the Susan B. Anthony Amendment on May 2, 1914, followed on May 9, 1914 by a large demonstration in Washington, D.C., where a woman from every congressional district traveled to represent their district. (Note:  the amendment is also referred to as the Bristow-Mondell Suffrage Bill)

  • Alice talks about Dame Ethel Smith’s song “March of the Women.” 

  • Alice tells about Crystal Eastman’s trip around the United States to recruit demonstrators to participate in the spring activism campaign.

Policy of Holding Party In Power Responsible [4:15]

  • Tape 3, Side B, Page 122-130

  • Alice speaks about a meeting of the executive board and the national advisory council at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island. She recalls the participation of the women on the advisory council, and their contribution of ideas and effort. The conversation moves to the strategy of holding the party in power responsible, and the efforts to campaign against Democrats when they did not support the enfranchisement of women. 

  • Alice recalls the move to push women in the western states, who had voting rights, to use their votes to support candidates that actively supported women’s enfranchisement. 

  • She talks about the Senate vote in 1918 that did not happen because of the withdrawal of a Senator’s support. They kept the floor open until the Senate adjourned with speeches so there would be no negative effect by the Amendment not passing. 

  • Alice and Amelia discuss the idea that U.S. Congressmen were upset by the movement “poisoning the minds” of women in their state to not support their election or reelection to Congress if the candidate did not support women’s enfranchisement.

Opposition [24:00]

  • Tape 3, Side B – Tape 4, Side B, Page 130-139

  • While talking about opposition, the interviewer Amelia Fry asks questions that highlight issues with the southern states. Alice addresses issues with the southern states, including the general conservatism in that part of the country. Fry is trying to get into the question of white supremacy and the role it played in opposition to the cause. 

  • Alice speaks about southern women who supported the suffrage cause and were vital parts of the movement. 

  • Alice talks about the National Association of Colored Women and the involvement of women of color in the NWP’s procession in 1913.

  • Alice addresses the complexity of the situation she faced in planning the 1913 procession, in regards to race and the involvement of women of color. Alice recalls receiving letters sent from white women saying they would not be involved with the march due to the involvement of colored women. 

  • In the end, women of color did march in the procession. They marched next to a group of men who Alice recalls was chosen to provide some protection and comfort for the women. 

  • Fry again addresses the supremacy issue, referencing editorial pieces in The Suffragist. 

  • Alice moves on to talk about the vote for the federal amendment in the House of Representatives and the attempt by Congressman Gard to tack on a seven year ratification requirement, which was shot down. Also, Alice addresses the opposition campaign and the anti-suffragist group led by Mrs. James Wadsworth, a wealthy wife of a Congressman from upstate New York. Alice addresses the variety of reasons people were in opposition, including the states rights issues. People believed votes for women should be decided state by state. This position was supported by NAWSA. Also, liquor interests were against votes for women because they believed women would be temperate towards liquor. 

Track: II-F [22:29]

  • Tape 4, Side B, Page 139-147

  • The conversation focuses on the records of the National Woman’s Party. The chair at the time, Ms. Chittick, was in discussion with the Library of Congress of donating the party’s records. Alice was vehemently against this. She talks about how she tried to stress the importance of keeping the records as a possession of the party. She addresses an exhibit that was shown at the Library of Congress and funded by a WPA grant.  

  • Alice also speaks about opposition to the federal amendment and women’s suffrage from newspaper and media, including The New York Times

Track: II-G [7:13]

  • Tape 4, Side B, Page 147-151

  • Paul and Fry talk about organizing women voters delegates to send to San Francisco for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. They developed the biggest petition yet, and it was organized for it to be brought to Washington D.C., by way of a coast-to-coast automobile campaign. Alice praises the convention and petition as a major accomplishment. 

  • They then talk about trouble with Congressmen over women opposing the Democratic Party. The conversation mentions of Taggert, William Jennings Bryan, and  Phelan.

Track: II-H [34:40]

Working for the Endorsement from the Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives [0:00]

  • Tape 4, Side B, (Page 152-154)

  • Conversation about the conference on April 8th and 9th in Washington D.C. with a meeting of an advisory committee for the 36 disenfranchised states. The meeting was held right before the other party’s conventions. 

  • The Chicago convention was on June 5, 6, and 7. Mrs. Anne Martin was elected president. They made a plan for the coming election to campaign through the states with woman voters. It was a stronger campaign at this point because of the support and money. Men from different political parties came to the convention to recruit the National Woman’s Party support. Alice recalls there being a presentation by every party.

Theodore Roosevelt [5:05]

  • Tape 4, Side B – Tape 5, Side B, Page 154-160

  • The party was trying to get all the various candidates to come out in support of suffrage. Alice talks about how they always regarded Teddy Roosevelt as an ally.

  • Alice moves into a discussion of getting the Republican nominee, Charles Evans Hughes Sr., to come out in support of the suffrage movement. Hughes eventually announced his support for the Amendment in a speech in New York.

  • The Woman’s Party had a hearing before the resolutions committee of each national party in an attempt to get the Amendment added to their platform. The National Woman’s Party was having an issue with getting in to meet with the parties committees. Two different groups were going in to talk with the committees on suffrage. The NWP was going in and talking about enfranchisement of women by a federal suffrage amendment (also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment), and the other woman’s group was still in support of Shafroth-Palmer. All of the major parties included suffrage in their platform, but not the federal suffrage amendment. 

  • Alice mentions: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Alice Carpenter, Mrs. St. George

The Campaign, 1916 [19:15]

  • Tape 5, Side A, Page 160-165

  • Discussing the Colorado Springs planning conference, including whether the conference was focused on planning or planning occurred prior in Chicago. Alice does not recall the conference being as Ms. Fry was coloring it. The planning for the campaign was routed in Chicago. Alice stayed in Chicago for planning, and other women in the movement went out to the suffrage states to win votes against the Democratic Party as part of the NWP’s protest campaign against any party that did not vote in support of women’s suffrage. Alice mentions that Alva Belmont donated $50,000 to fund the protest campaign.

  • Alice highlights that while the Democratic party had not officially come out against the suffrage amendment, they were expecting them to do so, and they had already started planning in Chicago. 

  • Discussion about the National Woman’s Party reporting system and political climate in each district. 

  • The federal amendment campaign was on a bigger scale in 1916 than 1914 because the movement had managed to grow in the few years.

  • Alice Paul mentions: Elsie Hill, Mrs. Lydia Avery Coonley, Mrs. Susan Look Avery, Mrs. Julius Rosenwald, Hazel Hunkins, Jeanette Rankind, Matilda Hall Gardner

Track: II-I [29:17]

Suffrage Banner Sneaked into Congress [0:00]

  • Tape 5, Side A, Page 166-170

  • A suffrage banner was snuck into Woodrow Wilson’s address to Congress in January 1917. It was very difficult to get tickets to speeches by the President. However, Alice goes into a detailed story of how the tickets were obtained by a NWP member, Mrs. Elizabeth Selden Rogers, whose husband was a doctor that treated a Congressman’s wife for free. In return, he was promised a favor. This favor was collected by Mrs. Rogers in the form of tickets to the address. The group snuck in one large banner and, according to Alice, Mabel Vernon unfurled it over the balcony ledge at the point of Wilson’s speech addressing the suffrage freedom given to the Philippines. The women were then asked to leave.

The Death and Memorial of Inez Milholland [11:13]

  • Tape 5, Side A, Page 170, 173

  • Inez Milholland was a charismatic educated woman with a law degree from New York University (NYU). She worked for the enfranchisement of women, and she advocated the suffrage amendment. She spoke on behalf of the movement, but she collapsed and died while giving a speech at a suffrage meeting in Los Angeles. Her death was attributed to pernicious anemia. 

  • Alice recalls that Maud Younger made the speech at Milholland’s memorial service

The Decision to Picket the White House [18:24]

  • Tape 5, Side A, Page 173-174

  • Since Woodrow Wilson ceased to receive NWP delegations in support of women’s suffrage due to the onset of war, they resolved to take the delegations to the White House in the form of pickets on the sidewalk in front of the White House. Some questions they considered when picketing included: Would it be useful? Could it be carried out? Are there enough people to carry it out? It was important to have a sizable number of people dedicated to the cause because picketing would only be effective if it was long term.

Jeanette Rankin Votes Against War [2204]

  • Tape 5, Side A-Side B, Page 174-177

  • Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Alice and Hazel Hunkins went to talk to Jeannette Rankin. They told her that they were not speaking on behalf of the party, but they did not think she should vote in favor of the war. When it came time for the vote, she did not vote in favor of the war. There were women who wanted Rankin to vote for the war, and they were upset she did not vote in favor of the war.

  • Rankin later was very helpful when it came time for the suffrage amendment.

Track: II-J [53:27]

Working on the Suffragist [0:00]

  • Tape 5, Side B, Page 177-179

  • Alice recalls that she wrote a lot of the editorials in The Suffragist. During the Chicago Campaign in 1916, she also acted as editor of the magazine because there was no one else. She stayed up all night every other night to work on the publication.

Classes of Woman’s Party Members [2:30]

  • Tape 5, Side B, Page 179-189

  • Fry is trying to figure out if there was a certain class base for the movement. Alice begins by addressing the idea that she met all types of women involved in the suffrage cause, elitist and working class. Fry is also trying to figure out if leaders within the movement are primarily college educated women. Alice refutes this idea, and she talks down about the participation of college women at the time. College women were no longer going against the grain as they once had. 

  • Alice talks about appealing to women instead of Congress because it was more important to get the support of women with the vote. 

  • The board tried to have diverse representation by placing those with little representation on the board. Alice returns to the topic of college women in the campaign, and she acknowledges that you may naturally attract people like yourself when working, but she did not care about whether people have experience with college. She wanted to emphasize it was a classless society, and those that did not go to college may have even been more original. What mattered most was enthusiasm for the cause. 

  • At time marker 18:05 Alice recalls her memory of a close working relationship between NWP and the National Association of Colored Women (NASW). She speaks about supporting a woman of color to become chairman of Minnosota’s NWP chapter.

  • Alice mentions: Mary Morris Lockwood

Ages of Members [29:21]

  • Tape 5, Side B – Tape 6, Side A, Page 189-196

  • Alice thinks it is a complete mischaracterization that the movement was primarily led by younger women. She goes on to describe memorable older women involved in the movement.

  • Alice mentions: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs Butler Franklin, Ms. Lavinia Dock, Mrs. Alva Belmont, Anne Martin, Mrs. Florence Bayard Hilles, Mrs. Evelyn Wotherspoon Wainwright, and a Mrs. Forrest.

Comparisons with Women’s Liberation [44:50]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 196-198

  • Alice compares the women’s liberation campaign of the 1970s and 1980s to the women’s suffrage campaign. Alice highlights the strong call to serve the disenfranchised and fight for equality.

Born Feminists [47:10]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 198-199

  • Alice discusses “born feminists” that were always willing to support campaigns in their states. She mentions Gloria Steinem and Ms. Magazine, and Steinem’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Track: II-K [21:27]

Loss of Woman’s Journal [0:00]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 200-201

  • The Woman’s Journal in 1917-1918 stopped being produced when Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt started her own suffrage propaganda campaign. This campaign did not help NWP because Mrs. Catt did not support the federal amendment.

Effort to Reunite [3:30]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 202-203

  • A woman Alice cannot recall the name of organized a meeting between Alice and Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt. She wanted to resolve the friction between the two groups because she didn’t think it was advantageous to the movement. Alice recalls herself being very agreeable to whatever changes were to be made, but Mrs. Catt was not as agreeable and walked out of the room.

The Retracted Invitation to the International Suffrage Alliance [7:18]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 203-208

  • The National Woman’s Party was asked to join the International Suffrage Alliance. Alice recalls that the invitation was rescinded because of the influence of Mr. Catt. She was the former president and told the current president the NWP was not a desirable organization to affiliate with, and she would stop donating to the International Suffrage Alliance if they became affiliated with the National Woman’s Party.

  • Alice recalls that Alva Belmont invited Alice to travel to England. Mabel Vernon and Doris Stevens also traveled to Europe.

  • Alice speaks about the food riots in New York where thousands of women rioted in an effort to bring down food prices.

Track: II-J [1:06:35]

Unifying the Part [0:00]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 208-213

  • In 1917 The Congressional Union and the Woman’s Party were meeting to organize together. Alice characterized it as a meeting of leaders instead of a convention. The two organizations were uniting and coordinating. They voted on who would be the leader of this united group.

  • A delegation met with Wilson at the White House, during his second term, but their calling cards were refused

  • Alice Paul mentions: Anne Martin, Mary Jane Patterson of Ohio, Eleanor Baker of Indiana, Alva Belmont, Mrs. William Kent, Mary Darrow Weible of North Dakota, Mrs. J.A.H. Hopkins, Mrs. Florence Bayard Hilles of Delaware

Moment of Decision [8:40]

  • Tape 6, Side A, Page 213-216

  • Alice was informed by the Washington, D.C., police that if suffragists continued to picket, they would be arrested. When they were formally informed they would be arrested for picketing, they made the decision to continue and only send women willing to be arrested. The picketing and arrests were a real turning point towards militancy, but Alice would not characterize holding a banner as militant. Alice mentions an instance of being rushed by a crowd and having the banners torn. She also speaks about carrying a Russian banner

  • The arrests started after World War I began, and Alice recalls the negative reactions other suffrage groups, and some in the National Woman’s Party, had over the decision to picket during war time.

  • Alice Paul mentions: Katherie Morey, Lavinia Dock

The First Arrests [14:44]

  • Tape 6, Side B, Page 216-223

  • Alice discusses the sentencing for the initial picketing arrests. The arrests occurred on June 22, 1917, and the sentencing was held on June 27, 1917. The charges were characterized under obstructing a highway with either a $25.00 fine or three days in jail. There were various incidents of picketing with a variety of different banners, some more inflammatory than others.

The Presidential Pardon [20:55]

  • Tape 6, Side B, Page 223-225

  • Paul and Fry discuss when President Wilson pardoned 16 women that were sentenced to 60 days at the government workhouse Occoquan. Mrs. Hazel Hopkins would not accept the pardon for what she had done because she did not think she did anything wrong. Paul recalls that attorney Dudley Field Malone helped to arrange the pardon of the women.

  • Alice discussed the banners, and how they used Wilson’s own words to support their cause. She also states that she does not remember feeling frightened by the large crowds that would gather around the picketers and sometimes jeer at the suffragists.

Other Consequences [25:14]

  • Tape 6, Side B, Page 225-229

  • There was an investigation of the Occoquan workhouse, but it was a secret hearing instead of a public hearing. Alice recalls that lawmaker Dudley Field Malone refused to participate in the secret investigation into Occoquan. Malone represented many of the suffragists that were arrested. 

  • Alice recalls being arrested on October 30th, 

  • The National Woman’s Party was pushed out of the headquarters because of the member’s arrests. The landlord did not want tenants that were engaged with the police in that way. With the help of Mrs. Dash, the NWP found an office on Lafayette Square. The rent was $1,000 per month, and the landlord wanted a significant amount up front. Mrs. Lawrence Lewis raised $8,000 to secure the office.

Attack on Headquarters [34:20]

  • Tape 6, Side B, Page 229-230

  • A mob attacked their old headquarters by Lafayette Square in August 1917. There was an instance where they were invaded and shots were fired.

Alice in Prison [36:40]

  • Tape 6, Side B, Page 230-231

  • Fry asks about notes smuggled out of prison, which Alice does not recall. Alice asserts she had never stayed in Occoquan. She recalls being in the psychopathic ward. Alice remembers a Polish immigrant Rose Winslow in the psychopathic ward with her. Alice recalls that Dr. White, the head of St. Elizabeth’s Insane Asylum, did not allow her transfer to his facility.

  • Alice speaks about the hunger strike.

Women in Mental Hospitals [40:35]

  • Tape 6, Side B – Tape 7, Side A, Page 231-234

  • Alice tells a story about a woman from Illinois who was threatened to be sent to an insane asylum. Her husband, of 15 or 20 years, was a judge, and he divorced her. She was trying to take him to court because of the unfair alimony and being pushed out of their home together because he remarried. She was told to drop her pursuits or she would be sent to an asylum, so she came to Washington, D.C. ,for help. She eventually went back for her case. Alice talks about how people were willing to believe women were mentally unstable once they were sent away to asylums.

The Campaigning Goes On [47:35]

  • Tape 7, Side A, Page 234-236

  • Campaigning goes on while Alice was imprisoned. Alice recalls the Suffrage Special and the Prison Special, the publicity trains that traveled the country with women who had been in prison to share their story and gain support for women’s suffrage. 

  • Fry spends a lot of time running through the chronology of the end of 1917. The movement constantly opposed Democrats in the states that already had women’s suffrage because they did not support the federal suffrage amendment.

  • Alice recalls that Mrs. J.A.H. Hopkins spoke with Wilson in support of suffrage as a war measure.

Catt Backs the Federal Amendment, September, 1917  [54:35]

  • Tape 7, Side A, Page 236-238

  • Alice couldn’t recall Mrs. Catt coming out in support of the Suffrage Amendment. Jeannette Rankin got the House to establish a committee of 7 to investigate Occoquan. Congressman Charles Lindbergh (the father of the famous aviator) was the only Congressman, which Alice could recall, to visit the prison when “all this fuss was being made.”

President Wilson Comes Around [58:15]

  • Tape  7, Side A, Page 238-241

  • While Alice was still in prison, on October 25, 1917, President Wilson met with a group of New York suffragists in which he endorsed the suffrage amendment as a war measure

  • Alice recalls suffragist Mary A Nolan of Florida, who she remembers as the oldest picketer on the line.

Track: II-M [31:32]

The Battle in the Senate [0:00]

  • Tape 7, Side A, Page 242-244

  • The NWP started picketing the Senate Office Building instead of the White House. Alice recalls protest events at the Lafayette Statue. There was great pageantry and organization, and it led to the arrest of those involved. 

  • The federal amendment was having trouble making it through the Senate in 1918. A vote was forced on May 19, 1918, but it was postponed because it did not have enough votes. 

Supporters William Boise Thompson and William Randolph Hearst [5:39]

  • Tape 7, Side A, Page 244-246

  • Alice recalls Colonel William Boise Thompson, a man who volunteered to pay $100 for every woman who was imprisoned for picketing. She also remembers William Randolph Hearst who supported her movement because his mother, Phoebe Hearst, was a leader for women’s suffrage. She discusses furniture bought by Mrs. Hilles that was related to Mr. Hearst.

The Last Votes [11:18]

  • Tape 7, Side A, Page 246-247

  • Fry talks with Alice about how the right for women to vote was sent around the Senate in 1919 but some Senators objected to it. Eventually that session closed without passing the suffrage amendment.

The Battle in the House [14:17]

  • Tape 7, Side A, Page 248-252

  • Alice discusses how the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) initially had trouble passing through the House of Representatives, with some states ratifying it more quickly than others. The ERA was given a seven-year deadline to have 38 states ratify the ERA—only thirty-five ratified when the deadline arrived.

Ratification [16:37]

  • Tape 7, Side A – Side B, Page 252-255

  • Fry and Paul discuss the campaign for state ratification for the ERA in Delaware, which was one of the last states needed for the ERA to pass. The Republican governor of Delaware was in favor of suffrage, but the head of the Republican party in Delaware was determined to fight the governor in every political aspect he could. The ERA never passed due in part to Delaware’s lack of action on the amendment.

Sign up for our newsletter