Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Alice Lloyd, and a Recipe for Ham

Kristen Dawson's picture

Hi everyone! It’s the end of another week and so its time for another blog update. Research continued this week, and I had a few really interesting finds. The first was a speech by Madeline McDowell Breckinridge given before the House of Representatives’ Committee of Rules regarding the Committee on Woman Suffrage. During a hearing that lasted from December 3-5, 1913, Breckinridge and other leaders of the movement from around the country, including Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt, spoke to lend their support to the suffrage cause. Though in a national setting, Breckinridge centered her speech around what was happening in Kentucky, appealing both to a sense of justice and the political expediency of giving women the vote. I found something she said in the speech particularly interesting: “If Kentucky is to right herself, is to assume her old prominence of leadership, if she is to be again the pioneer intellectually as she was geographically, we must not have one-half of the people working for Kentucky, but all the people working together.” To me, this was an eloquent way to describe the conditions in Kentucky in terms of woman suffrage, and whether or not it convinced the House Committee, it drew me to Madeline Breckinridge’s side.

I also discovered this week that there were multiple Alice Lloyds living in Kentucky during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Previously, I had noticed that many authors had quoted a letter between Laura Clay and Alice Lloyd. As someone interested in Appalachian history, my mind immediately jumped to Alice Lloyd, the founder of a school in Knott County, Kentucky that is now known as Alice Lloyd College. It did not seem totally out of the ordinary for someone interested in social reform, like Knott County's Lloyd, to also be interested in suffrage. Linda Neville serves as a prime example of this dual interest, being interested not only in helping those suffering from eye issues like trachoma in Eastern Kentucky, but also campaigning for woman suffrage. But in reading The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky edited by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool, I discovered that an Alice Lloyd from Germantown in Mason County, Kentucky was described as someone interested in suffrage and a friend of Laura Clay’s. After a little more digging, I found that this was in fact true, and that she has been confused with the Alice Lloyd of Knott County in the past. While the Knott Countian may have had an interest in suffrage, it seems that the native of Mason County is the Alice Lloyd more connected with the suffrage movement. This was definitely a reminder to be careful in research, and always double check!

My final interesting discovery this week is a little more light-hearted, as I ran across The Suffrage Cookbook. This was a fun find, and brought the Madeline McDowell Breckinridge story for the week full circle in some ways. I started out reading her speech to a House Committee, and came back around to reading her husband's recipe for "A Baked Ham" that gave its reader “the real way Kentucky housekeepers cook Kentucky ham.” Once again, I am reminded of the fact that the suffragists were complex and dynamic people. I’m not sure what can top the fun of a baked ham recipe, but I’m excited to see what the future will bring!

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