Kentucky Woman Suffrage
Name of Historic Site:
Phoenix Hotel (no longer standing)
Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:
28th annual Kentucky Equal Rights Association convention was held at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Nov 30-Dec 1, 1917
Years of Importance:
The 28th annual Kentucky Equal Rights Association convention was held at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington November 30 through December 1, 1917.
Tea on Friday was hosted by the Fayette County Equal Rights Association at the Y.M.C.A.; and that night there was a joint meeting with the Eastern Kentucky Educational Association featuring Mrs. Nellie McClung of Canada as the suffrage speaker, introduced by Madeline McDowell Breckinridge. On Saturday after committe work, a luncheon featured Mrs. McClung, as well as the Hon. Jeanette Rankin and Mrs. Breckinridge as speakers. The Central Kentucky Woman’s Club joined with KERA to for their program on Saturday afternoon.
A total of 66 delegates and members of the Board were present – President Christine Bradley South’s report indicated four new clubs formed, Laura Clay and Mrs. Harry Whiteside went to New York and aided in the campaigning there. Letters have been sent from State HQ to every member of the legislature of 1918 as well as personal interviews. “Sentiment is vastly changed and it seems now that this session will look kindly upon suffrage legislation (11).”
Officers for the year are: Christine Bradley South of Frankfort (President), Jessie Leigh Hutchinson of Lexington (First Vice President), Laura Clay of Lexington (Second Vice President), Caroline Leech of Louisville (Third Vice President), Elise Bennett Smith of Richmond (Corresponding Secretary), Virginia Robb McDowell of Louisville (Recording Secretary), Rebecca R. Judah (Treasurer), Mrs. Joseph Alderson of Middlesboro (Auditor), Josephine Post of Paducah (Member of NAWSA Executive Committee), and Julia D. Henning of Louisville (Chairman of Congressional Work). Plans to work for a federal amendment and state amendment granting suffrage are both presented, and the organization ultimately focuses on the federal. At this convention there is also a focus on patriotic work for the "war to end all wars."
Local reports were received from: Clark County, Crittenden County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Grayson County, Hardin County, Irvington, Kenton County, LaRue County, Madison County, Mason County, Middlesboro, Pulaski County, Scott County and Shelby County. In the Fayette ERA report was an interesting strategy combining patriotic work with suffrage campaigning - they printed pencils to be donated the to Red Cross and Y.W.C.A. to be put in the comfort bags for the Army and Navy:
"For the long, long day,
For the taxes we pay,
We want something to say,
VOTES FOR WOMEN."
Reference source of Information:
Reports of the Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine Annual Conventions of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association Held at Lexington, Kentucky, November 30th and December 1st, 1917 and at Louisville, Kentucky, March 11th and 12th, 1919. UK Special Collections, Lexington, KY. https://exploreuk.uky.edu/catalog/xt7w3r0pvw3d_1#page/1/mode/1up