"Oregon’s Pioneer Woman Suffrage Advocate is Honored," Oregon Journal, October 23, 1912, 13.
Oregon’s Pioneer Woman Suffrage Advocate Is Honored
Hundreds at Rally at Which Prominent Leaders Speak
Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway, Who Was Guest of Honor. Men and Women Conspicuous in Business and Professional life Join in Tendering Words of Praise for Aged Woman Who Has Fought Valiantly for the Cause of Votes for Women. Governor West and Mayor Cotterill of Seattle Among Speakers at Representative Gathering.
[Large Photograph of an elderly Duniway]
Seventy-eighth Birthday of Beloved Woman Made Occasion for Expression of Many Kind Words in Recognition of Her Unselfish Devotion to Her Work
Distinctive and unique in the history of Portland was the gathering last evening in the Gipsy Smith auditorium, when thousands of representative men and women of the northwest gathered to pay homage to Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway, pioneer woman suffragist, who yesterday celebrated her seventy-eighth birthday anniversary; also to add a word of encouragement to the cause of suffrage, just now a paramount issue in Oregon. The linking together of a birthday celebration for Mrs. Duniway and a rally for the cause of suffrage was a most happy one, for Mrs. Duniway is the acknowledged leader of the cause of women’s emancipation in the northwest. Her thought and her effort have been concentrated upon this thing for 50 years.
It was indeed an inspiration—the sight of this venerable woman seated upon the platform last night welcoming the happy faces that smiled upon her, the light of affection in her eyes, surrounded by children and grandchildren, friends and neighbors, Oregon flowers and foliage within and a typical Oregon shower without, where she has been given to walk amid the twilight privacies and down lone alleys of delight in serene contemplation and enjoyment, during the sunset of her long and blessed journey.
Stage Beautifully Decorated
In honor of the notable occasion the spacious stage was hung with red, white, and blue tartan and effectively decorated in spruce, fir, Oregon grape, autumn leaves and English Ivy, and directly over Mrs. Duniway’s chair were the significant figures, “78,” wrought in evergreen.
Seated on either side of the honored guest were her sons, W. C. and Ralf Duniway, and their families. Others occupying seats on the stage were: Mrs. Henry Waldo Coe, who presided with her accustomed grace and tact; Mrs. May Arkwright Hutton of Spokane; Miss Elma Buckman, Mrs Helen Miller Senn, Mrs. Frederick Eggert, Mrs. Mary Cartwright, Mrs. M. A. Dalton, Mrs. H. R. Reynolds, Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy, Mrs. Lord, Mrs. Newell, Mrs. Emma Wold, Governor Oswald West, Senator Fulton, Sennator Chamberlain, W. C. Davis, Colonel Robert A. Miller, ex-Governor Geer, H. L. Pittock, A. E. Clark, B. Lee Paget, Father Black, F. V. Holman, F. W. Cuttrell, J. A. Jeffrey, George H. Himes, W. M. Davis, and others.
The program was opened with the singing of the suffrage hymn written by Mrs. Duniway and the music composed by Mrs. A.E. Clark. June Irene Berns Albert sang the song with much spirit and was heartily applauded. Mrs. Clark was at the piano. The first speaker was Frederick V. Holman, representing the Oregon Historical Society. He paid a beautiful tribute to Mrs. Duniway and in the course of his speech traced the evolution of existence in Oregon from the early pioneer days down to the present time.
Woman Brings Greeting
“You pioneers were willing and able to do and dare,” said the speaker, “in order to lay the foundation for what is now one of the greatest states in the union. There are but few of these intrepid pioneers now and we should consider it a privilege to do them honor. Mrs. Duniway, may you live for many more years.” Mrs. Mary Arkwright Hutton of Spokane bought greetings from Spokane saying: “Your labors for nearly half a century for the emancipation of women have borne fruit. You have lived to see the ballot given to the women of six states of the west and ere the tides of November wax and wane your beloved Oregon will be added to the list. You have lived to see women reach progress in many countries; you have seen Portland grown from a frontier village to a great city; here where you have spent your girlhood, your wifehood, and your motherhood, we are gathered tonight to help you in celebrating your birthday. What more fitting could be done and what more fitting place could be found.” In closing Mrs. Hutton presented Mrs. Duniway with a cluster of magnificent chrysanthemums.
Mrs. Mary Cartwright of California said: “I come back to Oregon to bear greetings from California. Although that is my home, my home is in my native state, Oregon. I want to tell you that I am a citizen of the United States, and I have voted three times. Already the women of California are accomplishing things. Sacramento has been practically regenerated and the Sacramento Bee recently said in its editorials, ‘the women did it.’”
Judge Lowell’s Letter Read
A letter from Judge Stephen A. Lowell of Pendleton was read by B. Lon Paget. It was in part: “I am heartily in accord with the spirit of the occasion—the celebration of the birthday anniversary of Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway, and the advancement of the cause of suffrage. I want to hereby renew my pledges to the cause of suffrage and to place the token of my deepest regard and respect at the feet of Oregon’s most distinguished woman. Her place in history will be alongside that of Elizabeth Katy Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other such women. A great vote for suffrage on the fifth of November will be the greatest tribute Oregon can pay her.”
A telegram from Jonathan Borne was read in which he expressed his sincere regrets at his inability to be present and pay tribute to a great champion of a great cause. A message from Governor Hawley of Idaho was also read in which he expressed his appreciation of the wonderful work done by Mrs. Duniway for suffrage, a movement in which he had always been interested and for which he had voted for ten years. In a message of congratulations and good wishes Governor Joseph Caray of Wyoming told of the splendid success of woman suffrage in that state.
[Suffrage hymn lyrics listed]
God of our fathers, by whose guiding hand,
We all were led to this Pacific land,
To raise on high the standard of the free,
We women bow with reverence unto Thee.
Good men and women came together here,
With strenuous effort and courageous cheer,
They toiled and builded on the Western shore
An empire that shall last forevermore.
God of our fathers, we are half the race,
By men forgotten till this year of grace,
When they in majesty arise and say,
“All shall be free in an approaching day”
The next speaker was B. Lee Paget who expressed the wish that the honored guest might live to cast a ballot, thus realizing the fondest dreams of her life-time. “I am proud of the fact,” said Mr. Paget, “that the Prohibition party which I represent was the first to put a suffrage plank in its platform.” The ‘goody-goody’ man who refuses to dabble in the dirty pool of politics and the woman who refuses to exercise her right as a voter after she has it are practically in the same class and I won’t tell you what I think of that class.”
A.E. Clark said, “Great movements need great leaders, those who can face defeat and with courage rally their forces and press forward again. Such a woman is Mrs. Duniway whom we meet tonight to pay tribute to. She never turned from the foe. It takes courage to fight when day after day your best sentiments are trampled in the dust, but on the fifth of next November she is going to witness the fruition of her labor. All progress may be traced to the personality of the people and so we expect great things in Oregon when our noble women are given the ballot.”
Seattle’s Mayor Pays Tribute
Mayor Cotterill of Seattle paid a splendid tribute to suffrage and to Mrs. Duniway, saying: “Twenty-eight years ago in the then new city of Tacoma I first heard Mrs. Duniway speak and I never forgot that address, although my belief in suffrage dates from the time I made the acquaintance of my mother. The men of Washington are heartily in accord with suffrage and I believe you suffrage advocates of Oregon will win at the forthcoming election and thus pay tribute to Mrs. Duniway and her great work. After all it is sentiment that counts in the affairs of life and we do ourselves honor in gathering here to pay respect to one who has done such a wonderful thing.”
Governor West said in part: “Thirty tears when I was a small boy the first speech I ever heard was on suffrage and it was delivered by Mrs. Duniway. When I learned to think for myself I became a suffrage advocate and I have been such ever since. I hope and believe suffrage will win at the election next month. Women will have a much higher sense of honor than men and are just as capable.”
“Did you even notice that women are always cleaning up; they are either cleaning the house, cleaning up the baby or cleaning up after their husbands. Well when they get the ballot I think we have every reason to think they will help clean up politics, and conditions generally in their state, country, and city. If suffrage carries my first proclamation will be written in the home of Mrs. Duniway and will then be presented to her and then I will go to Salem and write another.”
Senator Fulton said: “Mrs. Duniway is essentially a pioneer not only in the development of the northwest but in the great world of thought and human endeavor. She is a splendid representative of her sex and has been a valiant supporter of the equality of sex, and now we trust she will live to see her efforts crowned with success. No greater heroism could be displayed than that shown by the pioneer women of Oregon. And I would like to see erected on some historical spot in the state a monument of pure white marble to the pioneer women of the state. I don’t know what our women are going to do with the ballot, but it makes no difference: it is their right and they should have it. And when they do get it they should exercise it”
Suggests New Bill
“I would like sometime to introduce a bill making it an offense for a voter to refuse to exercise his or her right punishable with disenfranchisement for a period of years and for a second offense by permanent disenfranchisement.”
The closing address was delivered by Colonel Robert A. Miller, who, representing the native sons and daughters of Oregon.
A score or more of young women, prominent in the suffrage movement, dressed in white with yellow scarfs, acted as ushers. They were: Mrs. William F. Amos, Mrs. G. A. Johnson, Mrs. Taylor, Misses Lana, Catherine Therkelsen, Clen Nickerson, Florence Hoffman, Raebel Reston, Helen Wilson, Elma Rudkman, Frances Dayton, Helen Gillespie, Elizabeth Wagner, Amanda Oatfield, Grace Gliber, Bessie Grant, Elizabeth Watters, Mabel Hines, Lillian Hackelman, and Bertha Carroll.
1912 October Permalink