"Suffrage Forces Divide: Portland Woman’s Club to Campaign By Itself," Portland Evening Telegram, March 16, 1912, 3.






Declaring that it was organized “for work and not for contention,” the Campaign Committee of the Portland Woman’s Club in a long communication has withdrawn from the advisory committee organized two weeks ago for the purpose of being a general clearinghouse for the campaign work being carried on by the various equal suffrage leagues in the state and as a result it is probable that the committee will be dissolved and its work taken over by the state central committee.

Friction in the ranks of the suffragists and a disposition to work independently instead of co-operating, as was proposed by the advisory committee, has, it is understood, induced the club’s committee to take the action.

The work planned by the club’s committee will be carried on persistently throughout the campaign. It is asserted, and emphasis will be laid on the help to be secured through the various woman’s clubs. Backed by Eastern funds and the support of the largest club in the state, it was predicted that the club’s campaign committee would be a mighty factor in the coming campaign, although it is not allied with the state association and refuses through non-payment of dues to recognize the state central committee as the political head of the movement. The statement to the advisory committee read at this afternoon’s meeting was as follows:

“At a regular meeting, January 12, the Woman’s Club of Portland, after a stirring address by Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway, one of its charter members, adopted almost unanimously, resolutions indorsing equal suffrage and appointed a suffrage campaign committee to carry on its work for the furtherance of the cause, and voted from its treasury a monthly appropriation for the period of the campaign, the committee pledging itself to finance any expenditure over and above the monthly appropriation.
As soon as headquarters were secured the committee as a body called upon Mrs. Duniway to pay its respects to the veteran leader and advise with …Finding her too ill…depart with best wishes for her speedy recovery.

In the meantime, other groups of women had organized suffrage leagues and for the advancement of the cause and to avoid waste of time, resources, energy and talent by duplication of work, the Woman’s Club campaign committee called together the leaders of these and of the Men’s Equal Suffrage League, for mutual conference, which conference resulted in the organization of a local advisory committee. Mrs. Duniway’s personal representative being present and participating in the proceedings, and the state honorary president herself, making the motion to organize such committee.

“In politics, state central committees welcome the aid and co-operation of county committees, and this Advisory committee was planned with no thought of assuming any executive or authorative [sic] functions, which all will concede, rest with the state body.
“The relation of the Woman’s Club to the suffrage work, and the motives and acts of its campaign committee have been greatly misunderstood, misconstrued, and misrepresented.

“The Woman’s Club is not a suffrage organization, therefore cannot be an auxiliary of any suffrage organization, either state or National, but must do its suffrage work through its own regularly appointed committee in like manner as it does other department lines of work; likewise its committee cannot become auxiliary, but can and is anxious to co-operate and work in harmony with any and every other organization working for the suffrage cause. One of its legitimate fields of labor will be among the Women’s Clubs throughout the state; suffrage as an issue, has never been before the State Federation of Women’s Clubs, but this committee hopes to secure the active espousal of the cause by the majority of the women’s clubs of our state. This and other work which the committee has laid out for itself will be vigorously pursued, whether or not the Advisory committee continues or dissolves.

“Furthermore and finally, since the mission of the Woman’s Club camps on committee is work and not contention, it does hereby withdraw its delegation from the Advisory committee, content to leave the issue with the future.”

1912 March Permalink
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