Suffragists Oral History Project

Speaker for Suffrage and Petitioner for Peace

Mabel Vernon

With an Introduction by
Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan
Rebecca Hourwich Reyher
Consuelo Reyes-Calderón

An Interview Conducted by
Amelia R. Fry

figure
Mabel Vernon, 1914

© 1976 by The Regents of the University of California

Introductory Materials

Legal Information

The manuscript is thereby made available for research purposes. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the Univeristy of California Berkeley.

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library, and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.


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Preface to Suffragists Oral History Project

The Suffragists Oral History Project was designed to tape record interviews with the leaders of the woman's suffrage movement in order to document their activities in behalf of passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and their continuing careers as leaders of movements for welfare and labor reform, world peace, and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Because the existing documentation of the suffrage struggle indicates a need for additional material on the campaign of the National Woman's Party, the contribution of this small but highly active group has been the major focus of the series.

The project, underwritten by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, enabled the Regional Oral History Office to record first-hand accounts of this early period in the development of women's rights with twelve women representing both the leadership and the rank and file of the movement. Five held important positions in the National Woman's Party. They are Sara Bard Field, Burnita Shelton Matthews, Alice Paul, Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, and Mabel Vernon. Seven interviews are with women who campaigned for suffrage at state and local levels, working with other suffrage organizations. Among this group is Jeannette Rankin, who capped a successful campaign for suffrage in Montana with election to the House of Representatives, the first woman to achieve this distinction. Others are Valeska Bary, Jessie Haver Butler, Miriam Allen de Ford, Ernestine Kettler, Laura Ellsworth Seiler, and Sylvie Thygeson.

Planning for the Suffragists Project and some preliminary interviews had been undertaken prior to receipt of the grant. The age of the women--74 to 104--was a compelling motivation. A number of these interviews were conducted by Sherna Gluck, Director of the Feminist History Research Project in Los Angeles, who has been recording interviews with women active in the suffrage campaigns and the early labor movement. Jacqueline Parker, who was doing post-doctoral research on the history of the social welfare movement, taped interviews with Valeska Bary. A small grant from a local donor permitted Malca Chall to record four sessions with Jeannette Rankin. Both Valeska Bary and Jeannette Rankin died within a few months of their last interviewing session.


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The grant request submitted to the Rockefeller Foundation covered funding both to complete these already-recorded interviews and to broaden the scope and enrich the value of the project by the inclusion of several women not part of the leadership. The grant, made in April, 1973, also provided for the deposit of all the completed interviews in five major manuscript repositories which collect women's history materials.

In the process of research, a conference with Anita Politzer (who served more than three decades in the highest offices of the National Woman's Party, but was not well enough to tape record that story) produced the entire series of Equal Rights and those volumes of the Suffragist missing from Alice Paul's collection; negotiations are currently underway so that these in-party organs can be available to scholars everywhere.

The Suffragists Project as conceived by the Regional Oral History Office is to be the first unit in a series on women in politics. Unit two will focus on interviews with politically active and successful women who are incumbents in elective office today.

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record autobiographical interviews with persons prominent in the history of the West and the nation. The Office is under the administrative supervision of James D. Hart, Director of The Bancroft Library.

Malca Chall, Director, Suffragists Oral History Project Amelia Fry, Interviewer-Editor Willa Baum, Department Head, Regional Oral History Office 2 January 1974

Regional Oral History Office
486 The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley


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Suffragists Oral History Project

BARY, Helen Valeska. Labor Administration and Social Security: A Woman's Life. 1974

MATTHEWS, Burnita Shelton. Pathfinder in the Legal Aspects of Women. 1975

PAUL, Alice. Conversations with Alice Paul: An Autobiography. 1975

RANKIN, Jeannette. Activist for World Peace, Women's Rights, and Democratic Government. 1974

REYHER, Rebecca Hourwich. Search and Struggle for Equality and Independence. 1977

The Suffragists: From Tea-Parties to Prison. 1975 Thygeson, Sylvie, "In the Parlor" Butler, Jessie Haver, "On the Platform" deFord, Miriam Allen, "In the Streets" Seiler, Laura Ellsworth, "On the Soapbox" Kettler, Ernestine, "Behind Bars"

VERNON, Mabel. The Suffrage Campaign, Peace and International Relations. 1975

FIELD, Sara Bard. Poet and Suffragist. 1979


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Introduction: Three Views of Mabel Vernon

1. The remarks of Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan are excerpts from a conversation she had with Mabel Vernon, Consuelo Reyes, and me in Mabel Vernon's apartment on January 21, 1975. An interview taped the following day is in the appendix. The insights of Rebecca Reyher were told to me March 6, 1975. Consuelo Reyes-Calderón jotted down her past and present views of her long-time friend, Mabel Vernon during the early months of 1975. All three women approved this written version of their views. [Ed.]

The view of Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan who worked for suffrage at headquarters of the National Woman's Party, Washington, D.C. from 1916 to 1920.

Mabel was a very quiet personality and very retiring, never pushing herself forward. She was very conciliatory and always managed to bring warring factions together. She never strove to augment herself; she was never a climber. Mabel was dedicated to the cause. She had Quaker influences in her life; and though she may not have been a Quaker, I always thought of her as one.

She was the stand-by of Alice Paul, very firm and dependable. Alice Paul's intuition was very good. She knew that Mabel wouldn't ever "put a foot wrong." Perhaps it was because they had the same Quaker streak.

Mabel was speaking to groups of people all the time, an excellent speaker who was very direct, very convincing. She had a marvelous resonant voice that carried well, before the time of amplifiers. You should have seen her when she spoke to raise money for the Woman's Party. We had big meetings with nationally-known speakers in the Belasco Theatre in Washington. The stage always lovely; A.P. [Alice Paul] was very good at arranging settings. Mabel Vernon, as the last speaker, always wore a white outfit, with white shoes and stockings. After the nationally-known speakers had spoken, Mabel would get up and tell how we needed money. Striding back and forth behind the footlights, Mabel would ask first for a thousand dollars; and she'd get it because someone would be planted to respond that first time. Then she'd say, "Now the next thousand." And the people would begin responding on their own initiative. Before long she'd have $5,000, sometimes $10,000. Then we small-fry would go up and down the aisles to collect silver by the bushel. I never saw a woman bleed an audience as Mabel did. Nobody else could do it. I don't think the Woman's Party ever raised money like that after Mabel became a "peacenik." It always amazed me, because there were other emotional causes for people to support at that time, causes like child health with much more popular appeal.


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But Mabel could always get money for the Woman's Party. I really don't think the Woman's Party could have survived without her fund-raising skills.

There was a trio--Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Mabel Vernon. They were to my mind the dedicated triumvirate of the National Woman's Party.

The view of Rebecca Reyher, who knew Mabel Vernon during the years of working for suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment and later aided her in her Peoples Mandate work for peace.

Mabel was really so completely selfless. She symbolized an inner force working toward a cause, but never gave the impression that she was dedicated to that cause while you were selfish. She was like a wind blowing in a certain direction, making you feel that you wanted to work toward her goal. And with this ability to inspire, she had an ability to organize. She would get my commitment to a task and then call to remind me of what I had promised to do.

When she sent me out to get money for the Woman's Party or for the Peoples Mandate Committee, I always felt it was really she who got the money. Her aura of dedication both inspired me to go ahead and make the request, and also gave the wealthy person a sense of commitment because of the letter he received from Mabel before I arrived. Once she sent me to see the head of the United Fruit Lines. Although I had met him socially, I would never have thought to go to him for money. She wrote him about the organization but told me, " You must go to see him." With Mabel behind me, I was able to ask him for $1000 and get it.

But Mabel never cultivated people just because they had money--never went on a far-fetched journey hoping to get money. She always cultivated people who might have some real interest in the cause.

She had a feel for language and was a perfectionist. Her father had been an editor, and every phrase, every word, had to be just right. She once told me, "You must be sure that every word is right because you can't afford to ruin your message with inaccurate language." This perfectionism carried into everything she did. Every detail of every banquet, every meeting, had to be just right.

In her early days, she always wore suits with a perfectly laundered, white silk blouse. I asked her how she managed to look so immaculate always, and she said, "But I always do my own washing and I like to do the ironing. I do some of my best thinking while I'm ironing." And I could see her moving toward a goal of something she wanted to think out even while she was getting something else important accomplished. Whatever needed to be done, Mabel always did.


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She wasn't a pretty woman. Her mouth was a little large, her nose a little long. But she was a beautiful woman. She had intense, piercing blue eyes, a face framed in a halo of blond curls, and an expression of eagerness, and penetration, and sympathy, and understanding, and awareness of the person she was with, so that her face had an expression that you remembered long after being with her, and her features were blurred and subordinate to the other memory.

There was such unity between Mabel's face and body. Her face as well as her figure gave the impression of dynamism. She moved with determination and rapidity. You got the impression that there was a person whose mind and body were never at rest--and that she enjoyed it. It wasn't a martyr-like exhaustion, but a joy in doing the things that she believed in.

For years, whenever she had an important meeting, she would always have beautiful hats that Florence Bayard Hilles gave her. Mabel always chose a hat that was on an angle, up on one end, down on the other. She had an understanding of modern line. As she faced an audience to give them an expression of movement and goal, she would take a stance where the head was slanted, one foot was forward, and her whole body was projected toward the audience. It was a subconscious understanding of how she could visually get her idea and feelings across to people.

Mabel just never bought clothes for herself. She took practically no money for her work. She did have a black evening dress for speaking, but it was very starkly black. She felt that if she only had a brooch it would liven the dress. Within three months, I found in our incinerator a really lovely brooch, though it had two stones gone. I remembered that on Thirty-eighth Street I had seen a shop that would replace stones. For less than a dollar the stones were replaced, the whole thing polished, and it was very lovely. When I took it to Mabel and told her how much it had cost, it was even more pleasurable to her than something really valuable.

She had so much personal warmth for people--particularly for children. There was a little Spanish boy, the son of someone working at the Spanish embassy in Washington. He was a leukemia victim. Mabel's face was just transfixed with love for that little boy when his mother brought him to visit. Though I thought him a nuisance, Mabel was endlessly patient. She always had such love for my daughter, Faith. As a distinguished alumna of Swarthmore, she wrote to the college, when Faith was a little girl, and said she would like to have Faith put on the list of potential students, to be considered as her own daughter. I want to emphasize that she was always thinking of doing lovely things for other people, whatever was in her power to do. Though she was dedicated to causes, she was never oblivious to the wants and needs of her friends.

Mabel knew how to help. One of the women who worked for both suffrage and peace was an alcoholic. When she went on a bender, she would be apt to turn up in another city as an absolute tramp. There was only one person she


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ever notified where she was--a man here in New York. Mabel didn't like him; but when she didn't know where the woman was, she would have to get in touch with the man. The woman had a chance to teach on a faculty in the South; she was a brilliant woman. When she wasn't available the night before her interview, Mabel contacted a newspaperman she knew the woman drank with. Mabel insisted that he take her to every place the woman might be drinking. Finally, she found her. Mabel walked the woman in the night air until she was relatively sober. Then she took her home and gave her coffee until she was clear headed. When the woman felt that she could never go to the interview, Mabel encouraged her, stayed with her. She did go to the interview, got the job, and held it. No one would ever think that Mabel Vernon knew exactly what to do for a drunk. She did. And her sympathy and understanding transcended her friend's weakness.

Unlike many women in the feminist movement, Mabel was never animated by bitter hostility, but rather by a deep love and understanding of every kind of person, and a desire to widen the opportunities of women, to give them opportunity and fulfillment. She had good humor. She loved pretty clothes and liked to look well, but she always made do with what she had. She always had hope, always had a feeling that things were worth striving for because eventually they would be achieved. In all the years I've known her, I've never heard her say one mean, bitter thing about anyone. If I got mad, as I sometimes would, she would say, "Now, Becky"--not in a school-marmish way, but in a way that indicated, "Oh, Becky, that feeling isn't worthy of you." And "Now, Becky," would be followed by a laugh. She is always above petty things; they just never penetrate. That's why she has always been able to move on to the next thing.

In our telephone conversations through the years, as soon as we exchanged affection, Mabel would launch into something she felt very strongly about although it was likely to be going on in some distant part of the world. For years she listened to Eric Severeid. When he was very much for the Korean War, she said "Eric has disappointed me." It was as though she were talking about her own son. Then when Eric Severeid was against the Vietnam war, it was as though a wandering son had returned. She has always had that warm, personal sense of identity with people and the things they stand for.


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The view of Consuelo Reyes-Calderón, who met Mabel Vernon two weeks after coming to the United States from Costa Rica in 1942, began to work with her on the Peoples Mandate in 1943, and has shared an apartment with her since 1951.

Miss Vernon never has had an appetite for food. In her view, meals and business do not combine. You could never see a cup of tea or coffee on her desk. When she had a piece of work to be done, she concentrated entirely on it regardless of anything else. Her assistants could not mention meals because she did not like it. Sometimes they questioned her, using her own words: "Mabel, is there anything obscene about meals?" She went hour after hour at work without eating anything, until she felt faint. This has continued through the years. Only sudden lack of sight makes her turn to a meal until her strength returns.

As a perfectionist she worked over and over on a paper and was never satisfied with what she had done. The booklets she published for the Peoples Mandate Committee represent endless time consumed by night on reading proofs until the form and the contents were exactly right.

"There Must Be No Bitterness," edited by Rebecca Hourwich Reyher. Washington, D.C., 1943.

Pan American Principles Fundamental to World Cooperation, by Florence Brewer Boeckel. Washington, D.C., 1944. On file at The Bancroft Library.

United American Action for Lasting Peace. Washington, D.C., 1944. On file at The Bancroft Library.

Peoples Mandate Committee at the Paris Peace Conference: World Statesmen Support Declaration of Principles. Washington, D.C., 1946 . See appendix.

Writing never came to her as naturally as speaking, and so she never enjoyed it as much.

She has always been able to bring people of all kinds, all different educational levels, together and find something for them to talk about in common. She, herself, on her travels, would always talk with taxi drivers, hotel clerks, everybody. A friend once said, "I wouldn't be the least surprised to hear that Mabel had married a taxi driver."

She does not like parties where nobody can talk about anything of real interest and where there is nothing of import that is left on the minds and hearts of the people conversing. She wants her parties to be different, where


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you always have at least one person who speaks well and who will tell you something that makes you think, leaving aside the trivialities of life.

When minded, she listens with unusual attention to the smallest detail of a story. Then she asks the most pertinent and intelligent question. It makes you feel thankful for her interest in something that you felt nobody else cared about.

In social gatherings, she likes to have everyone listen to everyone else. She calls you by your own name even if she has just learned it. Mabel has shown a marvelous memory for foreign names. Particularly among Latin American ladies, this caused great admiration and charmed them.

As chairman of a meeting, she was very strict. Nobody could speak more than necessary and no one should speak while another person was talking. A matter had to be brought clearly to the point.

During the years she was working on the Peoples Mandate Committee for peace, there was much talk and fear of communism. One of her best workers, Ana del Pulgar de Burke, who was the wife of a State Department official, wrote to Mabel Vernon that she would have to leave the committee so that she would not be suspected of communism. Although very hurt, Mabel never blamed her. Mabel Vernon was always a loyal friend.

As chairman of the Peoples Mandate, she fought with officials in the State Department with the greatest determination. She sometimes felt they didn't know what they were doing and told them so.

Although she is a kind and open-minded woman, she has always been a woman of principles. When confronted by a person of high rank with an opinion contrary to her own, she would never give in if the issue concerned a principle in which she deeply believed.


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Interview History

Although Mabel Vernon and I had met during my visit to Washington, D.C. in 1967, it was four years and many visits later before we actually taped these interviews. So many obstacles plagued the project that today the actual existence of this volume seems like some great cosmic miracle. There was the demon of distance and the poverty of budget. Mabel was three thousand miles away and there were no funds for travel, manuscript processing or, for that matter, the researcher/interviewer. A further obstacle--understandable but frustrating--was Mabel's reluctance to record anything short of a formal script written and polished beforehand, similar to her work as narrator for the slide-sound shows on National Woman's Party history that her younger, live-in companion, Consuelo Reyes, was producing.

It is true that Mabel had taped a very limited session with me January 4, 1968, shortly after we met. But this was limited to a four-month episode of her life, was not a richly productive interview, and was not to be transcribed since it was only to supplement my personal research for a saga I was writing for American West. In the following transcript, Mabel does not dwell on the story, since publication of the article in 1969 relegated it to a position of lower priority for the interview.

3.  Fry, Amelia R., “Along the Suffrage Trail, ” American West, January, 1969 .

The story was of an incredible coast-to-coast suffrage campaign in the fall of 1915 entirely by automobile. Alice Paul had sent Mabel ahead by train to organize every city from San Francisco to Boston and finally Washington, D.C., where a suffrage petition four miles long was presented to President Wilson. She arranged parades, bands, autocades, governors' and mayors' receptions, and publicity. In city after city the stage was set when the banner-bedecked little car rattled onto the scene and NWP's speaker Sara Bard Field cast her eloquence upon the throngs that Mabel unfailingly gathered.

The sources for background research were rich in those days. The library in the National Woman's Party headquarters at Belmont House in Washington had old clippings scrapbooks, all the weekly issues of The Suffragist, numerous articles and books, and boxes of uncatalogued papers; permission was readily given by Alice Paul to delve into other suffrage records which were "on loan" in the Library of Congress manuscripts room.

That mother lode had evaporated for all scholarly purposes by the time of our first recorded session on November 14, 1972. That session did, in fact, just "happen." There was still no funding available for suffragist oral


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histories, I was in Washington for an entirely different project, and our efforts in that city to organize a few eager research people into a volunteer brigade for a "Significant Suffragists Oral History Program" had fizzled. When we decided on our date for tea (which had become a hallowed tradition of my Washington trips by this time) Consuelo quietly suggested that I bring the tape recorder, that she thought Mabel "would talk to us perhaps." I had two days to brush up on National Woman's Party history at the headquarters library.

Elation turned to disbelief and then horror when I called the NWP and was told that no one could use the library, for pre-interview research or anything else. Nor would I be allowed to see one of the copies of Inez Irwin's 1921 book, The Story of The Woman's Party.

4. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.

This news represented a double loss, for Alice Paul had just moved into semi-retirement in Connecticut, and had agreed to start an oral history also.

A check at the Library of Congress across the street showed that most issues of The Suffragist and Equal Rights were lost but perhaps they could be traced in about thirty days. NWP also denied access to the party papers in the Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress. The only cheering thought was that an interview with Mabel Vernon would have substantial historic value under any conditions; also, the portion on her girlhood would be impossible to research anyhow.

The "interview" was close to a conspiracy between Consuelo and myself, embarrassingly close because Mabel was well aware of our game but chose to go along. Consuelo of Costa Rica, this gentle, creative little woman (most North American women tower over her) served our tea and explained to her beloved friend that we needed a full story for her sound productions and for The Bancroft Library's archives. Mabel suggested I ask her questions and take a few notes. I countered that the small, harmless-looking cassette could do that more accurately and leave me free to enjoy my tea and her story. I turned on the recorder and we talked of her childhood, drinking our tea slowly. Consuelo stretched the recording into Swarthmore memories by serving more tea and cookies, then tea with ice cream, then, still later, tea with pound cake. It was a filling afternoon both gastronomically and historically.

Although Mabel was well aware she was being recorded, we could not trust our good luck to continue, and so the microphone was laid discreetly on my tray, unflaunted. With each new serving, Consuelo, as an agonized sound technician, would nudge my tray and chair a bit closer to Mabel. Soon we were talking knee-to-knee. At any moment this experienced executive might well decide our informal conversation was far below her trademark of the cello voice and winning rhetoric; the read-a-script plan could confront us at any moment. Suffrage scholars should be forever grateful to Consuelo's agile


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footwork as she carried tea trays over cords, notebooks, and cassette packets. But now our precedent apparently was well-established, and the taping of the rest of Mabel Vernon's autobiography could proceed. As I left, Consuelo, with Mabel's concurrence, invited me back for another session two days later. To compensate for our difficulties, they loaned me books and some pamphlets which could supplement my chronology of the suffrage battles.

At all times Mabel was in control of the interviews. She said no more than she wished to say; she adroitly pushed aside questions which seemed to her too personal for comment; she embellished on matters which she agreed were of true historic import. She looked fragile, sitting deep in the sofa, but her eyebrows were raised in attention, and her power to assess a situation and move along the task at hand--whether suffrage, peace, or a recorded interview--was apparent. In a living room lighted with the low winter sun after a rain, she wove her answers from her memory, lacing them now and then with loving concern for her questioner. ("But Chita dear, your hair is so wet from the rain!") Mabel did not talk with her hands: her mind, her words, and her shining blue eyes did it all. Her voice reflected that strength that always had sprung from its richness of tone and her unfaltering language. It must have swayed many a voter. In her earlier tapes narrating Consuelo Reyes' slide-sound productions, Mabel's voice carries even more strength and beauty.

The third session, held two days later, was even more in earnest, but we were both on new ground: Mabel's peace activities and the Woman's Party in later years. Mabel and I had a rapport born of personal concern for each other and also of political convictions that did not always match the consensus at Belmont House. It seemed that for years Mabel and I had shared a desire for the Vietnam War to end; now Nixon had been re-elected twelve days before our session, and before taping we confided that impeachment would be necessary, that clouds would continue to gather from the budding Watergate episode. Mabel realized, as I sensed, that her pre-World War II peace mobilization was especially relevant.

The tapes from these three sessions were duly filed in the Regional Oral History Office in a limbo caused by a dearth of money and hope for getting them transcribed.

Then, suddenly, like a miraculous harbinger of spring, a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation made everything possible. We began the transcribing in Berkeley, and in April (1973) Mabel and I were at work in Washington on a fourth and final session. It was actually a recapitulation, for in the intervening months many questions had been gathered from research in Alice Paul's personal library in Ridgefield, Connecticut, from her friends in New York, and from Mabel's own correspondence with her Nevada friend Anne Martin, in the latter's collection in The Bancroft Library. (The NWP library at Belmont House was still inexplicably closed.) A bright red and white spring dress had just been sent to Mabel by Rebecca Hourwich Reyher in New York, who


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frequently shopped for her long-time friend. We had a trying-on-and-modeling session, with tea, then went to work diligently over the tape recorder. The afternoon sun warmed the room, and unfortunately the open windows brought in the roar of continual buses on Massachusetts Avenue. Although she knew these sounds were rendering the tape impossible for her to use as narrative material for her slides, Consuelo again provided back-up pamphlets and papers when needed. We were all buoyed by the knowledge that transcriptions and final manuscripts would be forthcoming.

As the rough transcriptions were checked over and emended somewhat here at the Regional Oral History Office, it became obvious that great amounts of inaudible spaces could be filled in only by Mabel. Some topics still needed expansion that Mabel could give too. It was at this point that the process entered its next phase: manuscript work by Consuelo, Mabel, and Fern Ingersoll, the talented interviewer-editor in Washington who agreed to take on the task. At least Mabel had become willing to see this through; Consuelo's gentle persuasion, backed up by a good supply of tea in the pantry, had accomplished that.

Amelia R. Fry
Interviewer-Editor 12 November 1975

Regional Oral History Office

486 The Bancroft Library

University of California at Berkeley


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The Editing

Soon after I began to edit the transcript of the Mabel Vernon memoirs in March 1974 her health became so frail that she no longer left her apartment, and frequently during the year in which we worked together on this project, she had bouts of illness, the most severe of which has confined her to bed for the past six months.

During the preliminary editing of the manuscript I developed chapter titles and subheadings and reviewed sources in order to clarify, correct and check on spelling, dates, names, and places. There were, however, sections of the tape which could not be heard clearly, because when Amelia Fry had recorded the interviews in the late hours of several warm afternoons, the sounds of commuter traffic, picked up through the windows opening onto Massachusetts Avenue, were often louder than Miss Vernon's voice. When it came time for Miss Vernon to review the edited transcript, her eyes, once so accustomed to proofreading for her father's newspaper and later for the Peoples Mandate brochures which she published, were not up to the strain of reading the manuscript. Nor was she strong enough to write in the missing and unclear segments or any additional information she wanted to include. She felt that her companion, Consuelo Reyes-Calderón, already called away from her own creative activities with sight-and-sound productions

5. These creations which combine slides, music, and narration are on such diverse subjects as Chopin on Majorica, the rosary as it is sung and recited around the world, the beauties of Costa Rica and Guatemala, and the early years of the suffrage movement. In the past, Mabel Vernon narrated Consuelo Reyes' productions.

to look after the needs of "Miss Vernita," should not be asked to take on this task. Because I had been meeting with Miss Vernon from time to time during the initial editing phase, I was able to assist with this final review.

The solution, which we both enjoyed, was for me to read the unclear passages to her. Together we clarified them. Later I read to her the rewritten passages for her final approval. Sometimes, as I read the manuscript to her she remembered additional details. She might also recall other incidents of significance to the memoir. Since, however, she was so conscious of the loss of her once beautifully resonant and commanding voice, the making of an additional tape was distasteful to her. But because both of us wanted her recollections to be as complete and accurate as possible, I agreed to take careful notes as she dictated the new material. When these supplemental passages fit into the context already recorded I simply inserted them; when there was no


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obvious context or an insertion would cause confusion, I set them in a footnote. Except for these revisions which have clarified and enriched this oral history, the transcript follows the sequence of the interviews originally recorded by Amelia Fry.

Miss Vernon said repeatedly that she wished she had kept a diary. This would have been an excellent resource for aid in checking out the many facts in her long, active, and varied career, for the oral history and for students who have been doing research on suffrage and the history of the Equal Rights Amendment. Very fine source material which I was able to use is, however, available; other sources, not now available, will eventually be open to scholars. Unfortunately some very important material seems to have been lost.

Mabel Vernon's papers related to her efforts for peace are all in the Peace Collection of the library at Swarthmore College, her alma mater. Bernice B. Nichols, curator of the collection, welcomes those who want to use them. To assist with research, she has provided for the appendix to this volume, a checklist of the Peoples Mandate materials. Mabel Vernon's pictures and papers related to her work with the Woman's Party are difficult to locate. They are not at Swarthmore. Mrs. Elizabeth Chittig, present chairman of the Woman's Party, says that all of the Woman's Party material related to suffrage has been given to the manuscripts division of the Library of Congress. Using the Library of Congress checklist to the suffrage collection, I searched the most likely trays for pictures of and correspondence by Mabel Vernon, but I found none.

While taping her interviews, Miss Vernon was constantly frustrated because she could not refresh her memory by reading copies of the Suffragist and Equal Rights. In 1974-1975 these journals were still not available because the National Woman's Party library remains closed. Although the Suffragist (1913-1921) is now available on microfilm at the Library of Congress, the microfilming process destroyed the original issues. Early volumes of Equal Rights (1923-1926) have been microfilmed, but the original issues have also been destroyed. The later volumes (1927-1954) were still on the shelves in 1975 but could not be borrowed.

When I went to the stacks and the microfilm department of the Library of Congress to check the availability of this material for future researchers, I also looked into the 1917 volume of the Suffragist and the 1927-1930 volumes of Equal Rights to add, in footnotes, details which Mabel Vernon had sought. In these volumes references to her work are numerous. Her speeches for suffrage and equal rights seemed so persuasive that I included some of them in footnotes. I read them to Miss Vernon at the time when Consuelo Reyes was in the hospital and when Mabel Vernon herself was very weak. Although she could no longer remember the exact occasions on which she had delivered some of the speeches, she remembered that many such events had occurred. She leaned forward and her eyes brightened, as she recalled how important she had felt it was to get her points across for suffrage and for equal rights.


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That Mabel Vernon did get her points across, and that she developed many strong friendships among her contemporaries, a special following among today's younger generation of feminists, and recognition among political leaders for her historical significance, became apparent to me during the time I worked so closely with her.

6. See appendix for greetings from President and Mrs. Nixon, and Theodore Friend, president of Swarthmore College, recognizing Mabel Vernon's achievements at the time of her ninetieth birthday in September, 1973.

On several occasions she invited me to share visits with friends from suffrage days who came to see her when they were in Washington. In this way I met Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan, who now lives in England, but whose special responsibility, during the American suffrage campaign, was to keep the watch fires burning in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Mrs. Hallinan, making one of her occasional brief visits to the United States, was staying at the headquarters of the Woman's Party. She had recently been with Alice Paul on the latter's ninetieth birthday and had brought pictures and a newspaper clipping to share with Mabel Vernon. We were in the living room; it was the first time I had seen Mabel out of her bay-window bed in many weeks, but this was an occasion. Smartly dressed in a black suit and bright blue scarf, Hazel Hallinan sat on the couch close beside her old friend. In two business-filled days, she would return to her home in London; this hour seemed precious to them both.

With me, Mabel Vernon had once wondered just how her friend had gotten into the Woman's Party, and as Mrs. Hallinan recalled the details of 1916, and the road from Billings, Montana, to Colorado Springs, to San Francisco, and then to headquarters of the Woman's Party in Washington, D.C., Mabel Vernon's eyes sparkled as she said, "I'm so glad to know all that."

Then Mrs. Hallinan recalled, with admiration, the times she had heard Mabel Vernon speak to raise money, as no one else could, for the Woman's Party. Mabel Vernon smiled--remembering, agreeing. When Consuelo Reyes added an admiring story about Miss Vernon's speaking ability, Mabel urged, "Oh, but let Hazel talk and tell about what she's doing now."

At another time in Mabel Vernon's apartment, I enjoyed an hour of tea and conversation with Rebecca Hourwich Reyher, visiting in Washington briefly from her home in New York City. She had worked with Miss Vernon both for suffrage and for peace. Miss Vernon had been very concerned that her friend's almost around-the-clock care of her paralyzed sister was making it impossible for "Becky" to work with me to finish reviewing the edited transcript of an oral history interview which she too had taped with Amelia Fry in 1972 for the Suffragist Oral History Project.


xvii

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to share these visits with Miss Vernon and her long-time close friends because they were moving and significant, and also because they have provided me with insights into several of the dominant women leaders of the past and their relationships. I was struck by the strong feelings shared by them--bonds of friendship and loyalty--special emotional ties which these women, who worked for suffrage, have had for each other throughout the years. On Alice Paul's birthday, I sent Mabel Vernon's message, "From your oldest friend."

I met Mabel Vernon's younger admirers too. I was invited at the time Melanie Maholick came to show Miss Vernon "The Emerging Woman," a documentary in which she included scenes of Mabel Vernon commenting on the past and present situation of women.

On New Year's Day, 1975, when I took her downstairs to the lobby of Boston House to see the Christmas tree, Mabel Vernon sat musing over the past. She recalled very vividly her use of Wilson's own words when she spoke to him for suffrage, and she said, "I think that was probably the most important thing I ever did." She may be correct as regards a high-water mark of dramatic confrontation, but a reading of these interviews about her long and active life is likely to leave most readers with the impression that her greatest contribution was widely distributed among innumerable less spectacular achievements of organizing, inspiring, and giving passionate voice to the causes of women's rights and peace.

Fern Ingersoll Editor 3 June 1975

Washington, D.C.


xviii

A Partial Chronology--Mabel Vernon

  • 1883
  •     Born in Wilmington, Delaware, September 10.
  • 1901
  •     Graduated from Wilmington Friends School.
  • l906
  •     B.A., Swarthmore College.
  • 1906-1913
  •     Taught Latin and German at Radnor High School, Wayne, Pennsylvania.
  • 1913-1914
  •     Joined Alice Paul's efforts on the Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association; spoke and organized for suffrage in many parts of the country.
  • 1914
  •     Anne Martin's assistant in Nevada in that state's successful suffrage referendum.
  • 1915
  •     Cross-country auto campaign for suffrage, September-December.
  • 1916
  •     First militant act for suffrage: interruption of Wilson's speech; unfurling suffrage banner in Congress.
  • 1917
  •     Met with Wilson; led pickets, served sentence; spoke throughout middle western states to explain picketing.
  • 1918
  •     Managed campaign of Anne Martin for U.S. Senate.
  • 1919
  •     Continued to raise funds and speak for the National Woman's Party.
  • 1920
  •     Campaign manager again for Anne Martin; work for suffrage amendment in Georgia; trip to Europe to talk with women. Upon return, was superintendent and speaker for the Swarthmore chautauqua program.
  • 1923
  •     M.A., Columbia University.
  • 1924
  •     Crossed U.S. speaking for the Women-for-Congress campaign.
  • 1926-1930
  •     Executive director of National Woman's Party.
  • 1930-1935
  •     Campaign director of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: cross-country trip for disarmament petitions (1931); Disarmament Envoys tour (1933); U.S. representative at the League Congress in Zurich (1934) and Geneva (1935).

  • xix
  • 1935-1955
  •     Director, and later chairman, of the Peoples Mandate Committee for Inter-American Peace and Cooperation: led delegation to Buenos Aires conference (1936); spoke before Lima conference (1938); organized Latin American good-will tour of the U.S. (1939); headed inter-American delegation at the conference for organizing the U.S. (1945); carried an "Appeal to the Pan American Nations" to the Inter-American conference in Bogota (1948); organized delegations to the president and other high officials of nearly every American republic.
  • 1944
  •     Received the "Al Merito" from the Republic of Ecuador in recognition of "distinguished service to justice and international cooperation. "

1

Interview I, November 14, 1972

1. I Family and Schooling

figure
“Mabel Vernon, 91, Leader In Women's Suffrage Drive ” ( Washington Post, 4 September 1975 )

figure
“Mabel Vernon, 91, Dies, Pioneered Women's Vote ” ( The Washington Star, 4 September 1975 )

figure
“Mabel Vernon, 92, Suffrage Fighter ” ( Wilmington Morning News, 3 September 1975 )

Independence: Taught by Mother

Fry

What gave your mother the idea of raising you to be an independent young lady, able to take care of yourself?


Vernon

I don't know. [Looking at a picture of her mother] Do you see some of the same things about us?


Fry

Stop smiling and let me look. Yes, I do. You have your hair kind of parted in the middle like hers. I can see the similarities there. Yes. Well, was she a Quaker?


Vernon

No. I must say this about her. I'm not sure, but Alice Paul, who is a Quaker, you know, from Moorestown, New Jersey, is sure there must be a family relationship between us. My mother came from Gloucester, which is right near Moorestown; and there was in Moorestown what was called the Mary Hooten farm. Well, that was my mother's name--Mary H-o-o-t-e-n, Huten, they pronounce it. And Alice Paul's family lived on the Mary Hooten farm. Now we are going to trace this down some day.


Fry

Oh, that's funny.


Vernon

And Alice Paul's brother lived in Moorestown in what was called the Mary Hooten house. That was on the Mary Hooten farm, I think.


Fry

And your mother's name was Mary Hooten?


Vernon

Yes, but that was, of course--


Fry

A later generation. Do you have your genealogy anywhere?


Vernon

I don't have my mother's. I have my father's. But this is something Alice and I have been intending to do a little research on. But then did you ever hear of Elizabeth Hooten? There was a book called Rebel


2
Saints.
I think it's out of print now. It was written by Molly Best, if you can find it in your library. One of her rebel saints was Elizabeth Hooten. Now we think that Elizabeth--don't do that to your hair, darling.


Fry

It's wet. [Laughter]


Vernon

Shall I get you a comb?


Fry

No. That doesn't help. It's past redemption.


Vernon

If you combed it, it might dry better. [Laughter] Well, Elizabeth Hooten was one of George Fox's preachers. Do you know about George Fox?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Oh, you don't. Your Quaker history is bad, darling.


Fry

It is, it's very poor.


Vernon

Oh, I'm sorry for that. George Fox was a founder of the Quakers.


Fry

Oh, I thought that was William Penn.


Vernon

Oh no. He came later, after George Fox. Well, at any rate, I must find those dates. I must know when George Fox founded the Quakers, the Society of Friends. That's its real name. "Quakers" was given to it in a derogatory way. It was Friends, and I never call them Quakers. I always call them Friends.

Well, George Fox's first woman preacher was Elizabeth Hooten, rebel saint. And she came to this country, well it was the time of the Puritans. I wish I could get my dates better. William Penn came in 1682, I think; but Elizabeth was before all of this.


Fry

I see. Well, you don't have family records that tell you who your mother and grandmother was or anything like that.


Vernon

No. We would have to do that by a little bit of research.


Fry

That would be very interesting to know. I guess we could check on the records we have in those townships probably.


Vernon

That's what we thought. That was my thought. Alice said we could find it if we went to the Library of Congress. She is very anxious to prove that we're cousins or something.


Fry

That's right. It might be right here in the Library of Congress.



3
Vernon

Yes. She thinks so, I think.


Fry

Well, if we get our grant maybe we'll have time to research that for you.


Vernon

Oh, that would be wonderful. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Well, now, I'll tell you the story that Consuelo likes.

7. Consuelo Reyes-Calderón is the companion of Mabel Vernon.

My mother lived down near Gloucester, which is near Morrestown; and she had a sister who married a southern New Jersey oyster man.


Fry

An oyster man? Is that his name or his occupation?


Vernon

That was his occupation. And he lived down in Newport, New Jersey. It's down below Bridgeton; does that name mean anything to you?


Fry

No. Now you've lost me with Bridgeton.


Vernon

Newport, New Jersey, is about twelve miles or so from Bridgeton. My aunt lived down there, and she would come up and spend a little while in Wilmington with us. I don't know how she got there--maybe my mother went for her; but when it came time for her to return to Newport from Wilmington, my mother sent me to take her. We got on the train in Wilmington--the Pennsylvania Railroad--and went to Philadelphia, Broad Street Station. I'm afraid that's gone now, I don't know. And then we crossed the city to go to the Camden Ferry that was at the end of Market Street. We took the ferry to Camden where she got a train to Bridgeton. Well, I took her to the Camden Station, which was at the end of the ferry line; and then I went back home. I was nine years old.


Fry

And that was two years after your mother sent you to school, and your first day--you were seven years old.

8. Mabel Vernon told the following story before the tape recorder was turned on. She repeated it June 17, 1974: "My mother called me on Wednesday morning, September 10, and said, 'I want you to go down to Miss Bigger's school. And you tell her I sent you down.' I was just seven and a little late for starting the term."

How many blocks did you count up that you walked to school?


Vernon

Ten.


Fry

Ten blocks. When you got to school and told the school mistress that your mother told you to come to school that day, did she--


Vernon

She didn't inquire how I got there. [Laughter]


Fry

She just took you at your word and went ahead and put you in school.



4

Quaker Influence: Father's Family and Wilmington Friends School

Fry

Well, now did you tell me that you were not a member of Friends as you were growing up?


Vernon

My father's family was altogether Quaker. I do have all of his genealogy--it's quite interesting.

9. Mabel Vernon's father was named George Washington Vernon. His grandson, Harvey Vernon, using earlier work on the family genealogy as well as the knowledge of living family members, compiled the Vernon Family History and Genealogy: Following the Line of George Washington Vernon 1820-1901, and distributed it in mimeographed form in 1961.

His ancestors came to this country around 1782 or 1783, about the same time William Penn first came. And my father's ancestors were Quakers, if you insist on using that name.


Fry

Oh, no, I use "Friends." I prefer "Friends" too, and actually in the West that is what we call them. We don't call them Quakers.


Vernon

But, at any rate, I date the family from 1683; I could verify that. And they were all Friends; they had been weavers, I think, in Wales. The family came originally from France, Vernon, V-e-r-n-o-n. And there is a little town in France called Vernon; I don't know just where, but I learned about it at the time of the war.


Fry

That may be the town of your family.


Vernon

And they went with William the Conqueror, I think, to England. When my father's ancestors came to this country, there were three brothers. My ancestor was Randall Vernon. When they came, they were leaders in the Friends' meeting. Often they had meetings in their home. That was my father's family. But he didn't remain a Quaker as he grew up.


Fry

He did not remain a Friend?


Vernon

He did not. He didn't go to the Friends' meeting, although we used to have relatives come visit us who used to use the plain language--you know the plain language?


Fry

The vowels and the--yes.


Vernon

Although they weren't very correct. They didn't say "thou," they said "thee. "



5
Fry

Well, at any rate, what I am really wondering is if you experienced any direct influence on your life by the Friends and their philosophy.


Vernon

I went to Wilmington Friends School.

I had gone to Miss Bigger's School from the time I was seven until I was fourteen, I think it was. That was just a small private school.


Fry

That was the one with just the two rooms and very few students.


Vernon

But we used to have teachers come from outside who taught German. That's where I got my first German. And Latin--Mr. Heath, the reverend, used to come and teach us that.


Fry

That must have taken you up into something comparable to our junior highs today.


Vernon

When I graduated from Miss Bigger's School, Reverend Keigwin [Albert], who was the minister of the Presbyterian church where my family and I went, gave the commencement address. I was the only student graduating at that time. I didn't know where I was going to go to school next. We were going downtown to my father's office in a surrey. I can remember it so well. Mr. Keigwin came up to talk to us, leaning against the surrey. He highly recommended that I go to Friends School. We went there almost immediately to enroll me; and that made such a difference in my life.

Well, then I went to Friends School, Wilmington branch, which is really an admirable school and that was only a block from my house. And there we had all the Friendly influences. We went to meetings every fifth day--you know what the fifth day is?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday--


Fry

Oh, Thursday?


Vernon

We went to meeting, at eleven o'clock, I think it was, every Thursday, every fifth day. We always used the plain language with the teachers and friends who were Friends. There were some who weren't. And there are all my influences.


Fry

You really got into the whole philosophy of peaceful coexistence there, I guess.


Vernon

Yes. And then I went to Swarthmore, which is a Friends' college. Of course, with associations like that, all of my friends were Friends--almost all of them--although I used to be very religious when I was young, and I went to the Presbyterian church.



6
Fry

That was while you were in Miss--


Vernon

In Friends School.


Fry

Why didn't you go to the Friends' church?


Vernon

I don't know. I guess because my family went to the Presbyterian church. And we loved the pastor of that church. He had a great influence.


Fry

What kind of a person was your mother? It intrigues me that she would bring her daughter up to get her out on her own at the age of seven and things like this. Really, she must have been unusual.


Vernon

I think she was; she was unusual. She was very capable and self-reliant. My father was married twice. She married my father when the children of his first wife were still very small. Maybe two years old or something like that. I've forgotten. But she was a wonderful mother.


Fry

And then she had you--


Vernon

Oh, she had many before me. She had seven children who lived, and I think there were a couple who died. Can you imagine? And through it all she remained so calm and even-tempered. She really was a wonderful woman.


Fry

So you had two half sisters and brothers and four full sisters and brothers? Is that right?


Vernon

Well, I don't see how you measure that. I think there were four half brothers and one half sister--five all together. And then my own sisters and brothers. I had five brothers and one sister. We had a wonderful family. But of course my father's first family was older. They married and had set up establishments of their own by the time I was growing up. But they all lived in Wilmington.


Father: Editor of Wilmington Daily Republican

Fry

What did your father do for a living?


Vernon

You didn't know? He was an editor and publisher. He used to write his editorials at my nursery table. He wrote on one side, while I sat reading across from him. My mother would sit reading too. He ran the Wilmington Daily Republican.


Fry

I never knew that. The Daily Republican!


Vernon

The Daily Republican. You said it like a native.



7
Fry

Oh, I just can't imagine you living in a family with Republicans. [Laughter]


Vernon

My father was a strong Republican. He would be horrified if he thought that I was the independent that I am. But he was a Lincoln Republican. He belonged to that era of the Republican party. He did much to establish the Republican party.


Fry

I see. It just hit me. Of course, that's when the whole thing got started.


Vernon

And he lived in a Democratic state, and he lived in a state that was partly a slave state. It took courage, what he did.


Fry

Did you ever work with him on his paper or anything? Did he have you setting the ads or something?


Vernon

Well, it was quite a paper by this time, darling. We used to sit down in the front office, and what he saw was everybody who came into that newspaper office. He died the year that I graduated from Friends. Oh, he was so proud of me because I had written an essay on Martin Luther, of all people; and when my graduation time came at Friends--June, 1901--I was selected to speak for my class by delivering an oration. And my father was there. He was always very kind about coming to things where I was going to participate, and he took the essay down to the paper and printed it the next day in its entirety.


Fry

Oh, really. How wonderful. I wonder if we can still get hold of that in the old files.


Vernon

What do they call those? They are produced on movies.


Fry

Oh, microfilmed.


Vernon

That's what I wanted to say--microfilm.


Fry

That would probably be at the Library of Congress also.


Vernon

I don't know about that, but it is in the Wilmington Library. I should have shown you that piece that Bill Frank wrote. You see, my father's paper merged with the [Wilmington] Evening Journal after he died. I must say his sons were not as clever newspaper men as he was. And he died in 1901, shortly after I graduated from Friends. I think he died in July; I graduated in June. But he had the satisfaction of seeing me graduate and deliver the graduation essay, et cetera, et cetera.


Fry

And what article is that you are talking about?


Vernon

Oh, yes. Bill Frank of the Evening Journal came down here, when was it,


8
darling?--well, I have a copy of the paper. I am not as careful about saving these things as I should be. But Bill Frank wrote, "After seventy years, Mabel Vernon is" et cetera. "And she is still going strong." He wrote quite an article, didn't he, darling?


Fry

Oh, I would like to see that.


Vernon

Well, I probably have it there. I'm sure I have it some place.

10. Although at the time of editing Mabel Vernon no longer had this article, Bill Frank sent copies, which are on file at The Bancroft Library. There are two articles: “She's Fought for Women's Rights Since 1913 ” in the April 13, 1972, issue of the Wilmington Evening Journal and “No Generation Gap on Women's Rights ” in the November 2, 1973, issue.


Fry

We can make copies of that too. Enough for you to have some extra ones to show to the public that comes to you for these things and one for me to take back.


Vernon

They wouldn't be interested in this ancient history.


Fry

Well, now they are. That woman you mentioned will probably come to you wanting your views on present women's lib and all that sort of thing.


Early Language Study and Influential Teachers

Fry

Let's see. I was going to ask you if you remember any other special things you were interested in in your childhood. What were your favorite subjects in school?


Vernon

Oh, I specialized. I kept on specializing in German and Latin.


Fry

Right from your earlier German courses in the grammar school?


Vernon

I don't know what you mean by the grammar school.


Fry

Miss Bigger's School. You said you had some German there. Did you like that?


Vernon

Oh, of course; that's the reason I kept going.


Fry

How did they teach there with kids in different age groups in the same room?



9
Vernon

Well, I was almost always in a class by myself.


Fry

That's a true statement, Mabel! [Laughter] That lasted the rest of your life.


Vernon

I was the only person in the class. I can still remember mental arithmetic; have you ever heard of mental arithmetic?


Fry

Oh, I've heard of mental arithmetic, oh yes.


Vernon

It was wonderful. Miss Bigger herself taught me.


Fry

You are not supposed to use pencil and paper.


Vernon

Oh, no. You do it in your head.


Fry

That freezes me to even think about it.


Vernon

Are you taping this?


Fry

I am taping it so we can type it out at our office. Then I will send you a copy. It's easier that way than to try to write down all your words.


Vernon

Is it right there?


Fry

It's just right here in the little black box.


Vernon

Oh, I never saw such an inoffensive one.


Fry

I could be a spy. [Laughter]


Vernon

Have you tried?


Fry

No, not yet. But I thought about it before the election [November, 1972].


Vernon

Mr. Nixon [Richard M.] would just pounce upon you.


Fry

I think the Democrats needed me; the Republicans seem to be doing all right. [Laughter]


Vernon

I wasn't aware of that kind of a tape recorder at all. It's marvelous.


Fry

It's a wonderful way to take notes, and I've gotten to rely on this so much that I almost can't take comprehensible notes anymore, in my handwriting. I can't write fast enough and reduce it all to summary form the way I used to be able to do in college. So this is marvelous 'cause I get down the whole story and then I can go back to my office--



10
Vernon

Let me tell you about my studies.


Fry

You were about to tell me.


Vernon

Well, then when I went to Friends School I had a marvelous teacher--Carolyn Ladd Crew. And she was a very superior poet, highly educated, from Smith. I guess that's the reason I first went to Smith. I didn't tell you that I first went to Smith. But I didn't stay long. I got out and was so glad that I had changed. I would much rather be a graduate of Swarthmore. I love Swarthmore. Do you know anything about Swarthmore?


Fry

Well, I know some current things about it, but I don't know what it was like when you were there.


Vernon

Have you ever been on the campus?


Fry

No, but I know I would have liked that school.


Vernon

Have you heard about it?


Fry

Yes, I have heard about it. They had a marvelous honors program for quite a while, didn't they?


Vernon

Yes. Frank Aydelotte, whom I admired very greatly, started the honors program--not that he was there when I was there.

Well, I will go back to telling about Friends School and Carolyn Ladd Crew. She was a German teacher and she was excellent. After I graduated from Friends in 1901, I went back again, because I went to Smith and then came home and I didn't know what I was going to do. I went back to Friends to do postgraduate work. And I studied German. I studied Goethe's Hermann und Dorothea for a long time. I still remember "Mignon's Lied." Do you know any German?


Fry

No. You and I just don't know the same things, do we? You know all the towns in New Jersey, and you know German. [Laughter]

This article says, then, that your postgraduate work at Friends School gave you extra credits at Swarthmore.

11.  “Mabel Vernon Still Works for Rights, ” Wilmington Friends School Bulletin, Spring 1969. p. 9 . See appendix.


Vernon

That's right. I finished there in three years.


Fry

Now, why didn't you stay at Smith? I'll bet there is a good story there.



11
Vernon

I don't know whether there is or not. I lived in a little place; I didn't live on the campus. I lived with Miss Scorp, as I remember her name. My mother was ill, and I guess I was homesick. But, at any rate, I remember wiring to my mother: "Since you are ill, I am coming home." That was about a month after I had gotten there. I didn't give it a fair try.


Fry

Oh, I see.


Vernon

But I think there must have been a destiny about it too, darling. Do you think there was?


Fry

Well, your destiny seems to have worked out, looking at it from this end.


Vernon

Well, the first year I was in Swarthmore I met Alice [Paul]. All of this would not have happened if I had stayed at Smith.


Fry

Well, probably not. How did you meet Alice?


Vernon

Well, that's a story. I had graduated from Friends in 1901. I entered Swarthmore in September, 1903.


Fry

You were at home then with your mother.


Vernon

Yes. I was going to tell you about reading proof down at--


Fry

At your father's paper?


Vernon

Yes. He had died, and my brothers were trying to run the paper. And I went down to read proof I guess one summer, and I just continued for about a year. I was a good proof-reader. My brother-in-law, Arthur Davies, of whom I was very fond--he's dead now--was the city editor, and he taught me a lot, oh, about the numbers that you put on the headlines and so forth. Do you know anything about reading proof?


Fry

I've never done it.


Vernon

Well, I think it's a fascinating business. I am so critical of present day proof reading.


Fry

I don't think they have proof readers; it doesn't look like it.


Vernon

They aren't good. I know a man on the New York Times who lives up near Berlin, New York, in the summertime, and I asked him, "What is the matter


12
with the proof reading in the New York Times?" And he said it was mainly time.

12. 

"I always spent the summer with Alma Lutz, who has written splendid biographies of women in the women's movement. Alma had a summer home near Berlin, New York. I haven't gone since Alma died two years ago."
Mabel Vernon, untaped interview with Amelia R. Fry, June 20, 1974. Untaped conversation with Mabel Vernon, June 20, 1974.


Fry

Oh, really. Everything is faster these days. Well, how did you do proof? Did you have to look at every letter? It must take a very, very acute perception.


Vernon

It takes a good eye. And I think I am still a good proof reader. But here the other day on one of Consuelo's slides of St. Matthew's Cathedral, we found a word that I'd not seen before. The choir master, Mr. Stewart, who came to see us, immediately saw on one of the slides, "Shepherds." But how did I, with my proof-reading eye, not see that?


Fry

Oh, you missed it. Well, you have been retired as a proof reader now for quite a while. [Laughter]


Vernon

But I still have a good proof-reading eye, I think.


Fry

Well, Mabel, you will have a chance to vindicate yourself when I send you my typing back. You will have a big proofing job to do there.


Vernon

I love to read proof.


Fry

So you worked there for quite a while. Then what made you decide to go back [to studying]?


Vernon

Oh, my Miss Crew, my teacher. And Mr. Norris. I haven't told you about Herschel Norris. He is mentioned in this article in the Wilmington Friends School Bulletin about me.


Fry

Yes, he is. What did he teach?


Vernon

He was the principal of the school, Herschel Norris. He could teach anything, but he taught Latin wonderfully. That accounts for it, you see. Miss Crew and Mr. Norris. German and Latin.

And I can remember this about Mr. Norris. I never will forget it. I took Greek for, I guess, two years. But the first month I had Greek with a new teacher who had just come out of Princeton, George Gordon (I remember his name), I failed. And I went to Mr. Norris. I loved


13
Mr. Norris and he liked me. I showed him the paper and said, Norris, what does this mean?" And Mr. Norris--there were only five of us, I think, in the Greek class--said, "Come in after school." And he took the five of us for about an hour, three or four days a week, to teach us Greek. He just apparently put Gordon aside entirely. We had the regular work with Gordon, but this extra work with Mr. Norris. And we took an examination at the end of that month. I got everything perfect except one accent. That's the kind of teacher he was. Of course, Norris could teach me anything.

I guess I will have to go.


Fry

Do you want me to move your tray?


Vernon

Oh, that's all right. I think that I had better finish that. [To Consuelo Reyes] Darling, I want my milk. Now don't forget, I wash the dishes. That is my great contribution.


Fry

Oh, you're the dish washer.


Vernon

I'm a good one.


Fry

You'll have to come and visit me more often.


Vernon

What do you do with your dishes?


Fry

I have a machine to put them in! But still somebody has to load them into the machine, and this is where the system breaks down.


Vernon

There you are, darling. I think I'm through.


Fry

[After Mabel Vernon's return] Well, let me see. We were talking about Herschel Norris and how he managed to teach you Greek when the Princeton man didn't.


Vernon

I can hear Mr. Norris saying, "Mabel, this is not like thy work" when he looked at that paper. And then he took us. And I went on with Greek for two years, but I didn't continue it after I went to college.


Swarthmore College, 1903-1906: Meeting with Alice Paul

Fry

As you look back on it, was there a lot of talk and influence in the air then, about egalitarianism for all people?


Vernon

Oh, no. I don't remember. Well, I went to Swarthmore in the fall. Miss Crew and Mr. Norris had both come to see me after I went back to Friends School from Smith, and they persisted in the idea that I must


14
go to college. They truly were very good friends, weren't they?


Fry

Yes, they were. They really had an interest in you.


Vernon

They really had an interest. And I can remember going down to see Mr. Norris at his home; and he said, "Mabel, if you need help"--or "thee," as he called me--"in going to college, I am sure William Bancroft would help thee." William Bancroft was a wonderful Friend. I remember him. He was president or something of the great Bancroft mills in Wilmington, and he was a respected man. And so I went out to see William Bancroft, and he said he would help me. And I got a scholarship at Swarthmore; they gave out scholarships. I think it was a hundred dollars a year or something like that. Maybe it was my tuition, I've forgotten; but at any rate, I got a scholarship and William Bancroft gave me enough money to pay the other expenses. I calculated how much I would need. I went to Swarthmore, and there at Swarthmore I met Alice. My whole future was affected, although I didn't know it at the time.


Fry

You were about to tell me, a while ago, how you met Alice.


Vernon

I think it was in the spring of my freshman year, we had extemp speaking contests. I wanted to enter and you had to pass a preliminary (I guess that is what they were called). Do you know about extemp speaking contests?


Fry

Yes, I remember those; we used to have them. You were given a topic and you had to speak extemporaneously on it, right?


Vernon

Yes. Well, Alice and I both entered that same speaking contest. After the trials were over, Alice said, "Come on, will you go down with me for a walk near the Crum?" The "Crum" is the Crum Creek that goes along the edge of the Swarthmore campus. And so Alice and I went down. And this is very characteristic. She was so certain that she wasn't going to make the prelims, she wasn't going to be chosen for the finals. She was sure I would be chosen for the finals, but that she wouldn't. I think that feeling continues in her, don't you think it does?


Fry

Always a gloomier prediction than necessary?


Vernon

Well, self-disparaging in some way.


Fry

Oh, I see. You mean not confident in her own abilities. Yes. I don't know, Mabel, because you know her a lot better than I do. See, I've just come into Alice's life kind of on the edges.


Vernon

That was a surprising remark: that she thought I was sure to be chosen for the finals but that she wouldn't. Well, she was. But I got a


15
prize and she didn't, I will say that, in the finals. You have to appear before the whole college in the finals. They are held in Collection Hall. Collection Hall [laughter], that was our assembly room.


Fry

Sounds like the fund-raising center.


Vernon

Does it? [Laughter] Well, but I had luck in that. I was given some topic, take whatever topic appeals to you, or something like that; and I took the Negro. I had been doing considerable work on the equality of the Negro. There was the first--I had deep feelings about that.


Fry

And that was your first real activity that would manifest this deep feeling; is that what you mean?


Vernon

But I didn't carry on. That was the topic of my extemp speaking contest and I got a prize; I got first prize--$25 or something.


Fry

And Alice? What did she get?


Vernon

I don't remember.


Fry

But, if I understand you, she made the finals also.


Vernon

Oh, yes. She made the finals.


Fry

I see.


Vernon

But she didn't get a prize.


Fry

Oh. And you got first prize. Well, you must have inherited some of your father's editorializing ability.


Vernon

I don't know. I never was a writer, darling. I have no ability in writing at all.


Fry

But you can organize your ideas to persuade people.


Vernon

Well, that is a nice way of putting it, isn't it? [Picking up a journal] Speaking of persuading people, I didn't like the start of this article.

13.  Lynne Cheney, “How Alice Paul Became the Most Militant Feminist of Them All, ” Smithsonian, November, 1972. pp. 94-100 . On file at The Bancroft Library. The article opens with a description of suffragists and young feminists who met together at a tea at Alva Belmont House in 1972.

Did you like it?



16
Fry

Oh, no. I didn't. And I knew Alice Paul would be most unhappy with it too.


Vernon

Well, this reference to my "rhetorical techniques"--the same ones that I had used on the street corner to persuade the other women--


Fry

Oh, yes.


Vernon

I will acknowledge that there was sort of a disturbance that day and I exerted myself a little bit to command attention. I wanted those people who were down there making the noise to be quiet. It was schoolteachers. This was at the tea. Did you notice the disturbance at the beginning?


Fry

Yes, I did notice it, but I was trying to recreate in my mind what it was you said there.


Vernon

Well, I couldn't get it either entirely, but I know that I objected to the noise. Didn't give us a very good position, did they?

Such a silly way to start. "Mabel Vernon was there," (Don't you think it was silly?) "lecturing the younger women who were gathered around her, using the same rhetorical techniques to educate them that she once used on anti-suffrage crowds." I don't think that's good.


Fry

This must be a popular magazine and they feel it has to be journalistic.


Vernon

Well, this girl is a free-lance.


Fry

A free-lance journalist.


Vernon

She is not a member of their staff. But why they accepted the article, I don't know. We had a girl come to see us about pictures--what was her name? Gossert or something. I asked her about this lady, Cheney, and we got the impression from her that they weren't going to use the article. She said that she wasn't on their staff and that she was just a free-lance. Well.


Fry

Well, I think Smithsonian is a popular thing sent out by the Smithsonian to anyone who buys its memberships and that therefore--


Vernon

You say this is a popular magazine.


Fry

I think it is. It seems to be what they distribute to people who buy a membership into the Smithsonian Society, and so their articles are aimed at catching people's interest and they feel they have to be more journalistic. I think that distorted that one on Alice Paul.


Vernon

But they didn't take any responsibility for the article. I said to that Gossert girl, "Has this been submitted to Miss Paul?" She didn't know.



17
Fry

I'll bet it wasn't.


Vernon

And when Alice sees this picture, I don't know.


Fry

Well, let's see now. We got you in Swarthmore. What else did you do besides extemporize? [Laughter]


Vernon

Oh, I went into oratorical contests. That's the reason Alice is so impressed with my speaking ability.


Fry

What was Alice like in Swarthmore? Did you already talk to her at that point about women's equality?


Vernon

No, and the strange thing of it is, dear, I graduated in 1906. Susan B. Anthony died in 1906. I scarcely knew the name of Susan B. Anthony. She never was invited to Swarthmore. Now the only women I could remember who were invited to speak were, first, Baroness Bertha von Suttner. I don't suppose that name means anything to you. Well, she was a woman who wrote a book called Die Waffen Nieder (Down With Your Arms). It was a book about disarmament. It must have been a wonderful book. And she came, I remember her. Florence Kelley, I remember her as coming to speak at our assemblies. But no Susan B. Anthony. And we were the college of Lucretia Mott. Just think of that. Lucretia Mott helped to found Swarthmore.

14. 

"We had a beautiful picture of Lucretia Mott hanging in the girls' parlor at Swarthmore. One of the last things I did before I left the college was to take it to Philadelphia to have it appropriately framed. I don't think I asked anyone's permission; I just went ahead and did it. It's a beautiful picture."
Mabel Vernon, untaped interview with Amelia R. Fry, June 20, 1974. Untaped conversation with Mabel Vernon, June 20, 1974.

She was one of those who insisted that it should be coeducational. Of course, the Friends would insist on its being that way. But Lucretia insisted even more that it must be a coeducational college. But--


Fry

So nothing on women's rights. But you later worked for world understanding and world cooperation between nations and so forth. Did that have any groundings in your work at Swarthmore?


Vernon

I don't know, darling; I don't know.


Fry

It's hard to look back and say, "Yes, this influence was later brought to bear when I went to Europe to work on the--"


Vernon

Well, I do know that I now wonder why, with those two famous women who were invited there, Susan B. Anthony wasn't invited. I wish she had been.


Fry

Was Alice Paul getting interested in the suffrage movement there?



18
Vernon

No. That's what I'm telling you; there wasn't anything in our college about suffrage, that I know of, that could have influenced her life. She graduated the year before I did--1905.


Fry

Then she went on to England, didn't she?


Vernon

I don't know where she went--to the University of Pennsylvania, I think. I am not very familiar--


Fry

I think that is when she came back from England, maybe.


Vernon

I think that when she came out of Swarthmore she went to the University of Pennsylvania for a year or something. I don't have that straight.


Fry

Maybe I will have a chance to talk to her about it.


Teaching and Earliest Suffrage Interest

Fry

After you finished Swarthmore in three years, did you immediately start teaching Latin and German at Radnor High School?


Vernon

Yes. At Radnor High School. I certainly struck pleasant places. Radnor High School was a delightful place.


Fry

Oh, it was? Was that a public high school?


Vernon

It was a public high school but in a very favored community. Do you know the main line of the Pennsylvania [Railroad] at all? Do you know Haverford, Bryn Mawr?


Fry

Oh, no.


Vernon

That part of the country means nothing to you, you are so very western.


Fry

I have gone across Pennsylvania.


Vernon

Well, right outside Philadelphia, on what is called the main line of the Pennsylvania, there's beautiful, beautiful country, select residential country. That's where Bryn Mawr College is, that's where Haverford College is; ever hear of Haverford?


Fry

I've heard of both of the colleges. I just wouldn't be able to hitch-hike to them because I would never make it.


Vernon

And then you go on up the line a little bit and you come to Radnor. That was the name of the township; that explains the school. That rail


19
line goes through St. Davids, Wayne, Devon and Paoli. As I tell you, it [Wayne] is really a favored community.


Fry

You mean economically and educationally?


Vernon

Every way. Its people are very, I think, exceptional. They are so nice. And the kind of kids--well, of course, I didn't teach all the millionaire kids. But all the kids I taught were extremely nice--small classes. I taught there seven years; never went anyplace else.


Fry

Where did you live? Did you live with a family?


Vernon

That was another place in which I was extremely fortunate. I lived with a lovely family. It was the Conkle family, and Mary Conkle is still a friend of mine. I must telephone her. I haven't heard from her in a long time.


Fry

So they must have been a young couple, just your age.


Vernon

No. Mary Conkle was the youngest daughter of the family.


Fry

I could go on and on and on. But the strain is on you. So why don't we stop. Let's finish whatever else you want to say about your schoolteaching days here, and then let's stop and let you relax.


Vernon

Well, I don't know whether I can say a great deal more about the schoolteaching days.


Fry

You were not working with the down-and-out laboring people of the world or anything like that.


Vernon

Not at all, darling. I don't mean to say, just as I said before, that they were all the children of favored families, because they represented all types. But they were all nice.


Fry

Were you in touch with Alice Paul or any other Swarthmore friends at this point?


Vernon

I didn't see anything [more] of Alice until--I think it was in 1910 or something like that--I was interested in suffrage. I had become interested in suffrage.


Fry

Oh, you did?


Vernon

Oh, sure. We had the Radnor Township Society, and I was active in the suffrage movement from about 1910, I think it must have been; Alice would know. Alice came to Philadelphia and organized a meeting down in Independence Square; that was a wonderful idea, wasn't it? And they had very well-known suffragists there. I don't know whether Mrs. Blatch [Harriot S.] was there, but I remember Inez [Milholland] was there.


20
And of course we people from Wayne all went in to take part, to be in the audience at any rate. I didn't see Alice there.

And then in 1912 the National American Woman Suffrage Association met.

15. See description in Mabel Vernon, “A Suffragist Recounts the Hard-Won Victory, ” AAUW Journal, April 1972. p. 27 . Appendix.


Fry

I want to write down those names of the people that were at the Independence Square meeting.


Vernon

Well, you know them very well. Harriot Stanton Blatch [who was] Elizabeth Cady Stanton's daughter.


Fry

I know that one, but I think there was another one.


Vernon

Inez Milholland.


Fry

Oh, Inez. In my western ways I have read her name and in my mind I always pronounced it Inéz.


Vernon

No. You mustn't do that, darling. "Ee-nez." Vida corrected me on that, I think. Inez used to have a sister, Vida, who was a very dear friend of mine; and I think I used to call her Inéz, and I got corrected by Vida. Ée-nez.


Fry

All right.


Reception by Woodrow Wilson: Plan for Pickets, 1917

Vernon

What this girl says [in article appearing in Smithsonian, previously discussed] about our being received, I have just got to say this while I think of it. I would like you to ask Sara [Bard Field] about this too, this thing Miss Cheney says in her article--do you ever see Sara?


Fry

Yes. I drop in on her and we visit.


Vernon

Well, this girl--and I wish you would ask Sara--this girl said that Wilson gave us a very cold reception. It is not my memory at all. Sara was the one who spoke that day. Well, do you want me to say what this girl says, darling?



21
Fry

I remember. She said that you got short-shrift from Wilson and that--


Vernon

And perhaps he acted that way because the principal orator on that occasion had mentioned the name of Hughes [Charles Evans]. I don't know where she got that. I want to find out.


Fry

I read that and I thought, well, that must be a previous meeting that they had with Wilson, that I hadn't been aware of.


Vernon

It was the one where Sara told--


Fry

In 1915.


Vernon

'17.


Fry

Not 1915, 1917. Oh! "A cold reception" is not according to what I read about that. At the time of the presentation of resolutions passed at memorials held in commemoration of Inez Milholland, the women thought that Wilson really was coming around a little bit, right?

16.  Inez Irwin, Up Hill With Banners Flying, Second edition, pp. 192 ff., p. 202 .

Was that your memory of that?


Vernon

Well, I don't remember what we thought. But of course we had a plan all made before we ever went to see him. We were going to have the pickets, and we knew that Mrs. Blatch was going to propose just what she did propose and so on; that was all planned. But no matter how he had received us [laughter], we would have gone ahead with that. But she [Miss Cheney] makes it appear--


Fry

Oh, that your picketing was the result of his--


Vernon

--was the result of his cold reception. She quotes Alice Paul or something and Alice is capable of doing a thing like that, you know: making it appear that it was all rather spontaneous.


Fry

Well, I think we should rewrite the whole article and resubmit it to the Smithsonian. [Laughter]


Vernon

Yes. I think I will have to call up the girl and ask her to come and see me; I'd like to talk to her about a few things. Do you think I should? I don't know if she ever did come to see me or not. I know that she--


Fry

Well, when I was here a few months back, I think the girl had just talked to Alice Paul, and Alice was very upset that she had tried to


22
question her at that time.


Vernon

Well, I would like to correct that idea about Wilson. It is sort of silly that he would be affected by the fact that Sara had mentioned Hughes.

17. Cf. Inez Irwin, Up Hill With Banners Flying, p. 195 , quoting Maud Younger's “Revelations of a Woman Lobbyist ” in McCall's Magazine.

Wilson was--I have a high regard for Wilson, you know.


Fry

Yes. I do too.


Vernon

I'm sure Alice has too.


Fry

Well, things like that might also affect the exhibits in the Smithsonian.


Vernon

Well, I wonder.


Fry

I don't know whether--


Vernon

Well, somebody asked me if I wanted to go down and see an exhibit they are having now, I believe.


Fry

That's what I heard. I thought I might try to make that and see what it's like. Apparently they do have something in there about the National Woman's Party.



23

Interview II, November 16, 1972

2. II Campaigning for Suffrage

figure
Mrs. Anna Lowenburg (Philadelphia), Mrs. William Colt (New York), Miss Mabel Vernon, Mrs. John Rogers, and Mrs. Florence Bayard Hilles (all from Wilmington, Deleware) after dropping the banner over the railing of the House of Representatives while President Wilson read his message to Congress, December 4, 1916.

figure
Mabel Vernon carrying banner and being escorted by policemen, August 1917.

figure
Mabel Vernon and Sara Bard Field in the automoble in which Sara crossed the country, 1915.

figure
Woodrow Wilson's war words used for suffrage, a cartoon in the Suffragist, 1917.

Speaking for Suffrage, 1913: East Coast Resorts, Washington, D.C., and Delaware

Fry

Where is your [tape] box? I want to read on to my tape what yours is about. "Donald Stevens, son of Frank Stevens, noted single taxer and suffrage advocater, talks with Mabel Vernon in connection with the suffrage campaign in Delaware."


Vernon

Well, it was really about my friend, Frank Stevens. I can tell you the story, very briefly, and then you can hear the tape if you want to.


Fry

Okay, Mabel, want to just tell me something about this?


Vernon

Have you heard of Arden, darling?


Fry

Why do you always ask me these things?


Vernon

Well, Arden is a single-tax colony or it was, I guess. Do you know about the single tax?


Fry

I know about the single tax, yes. I can say "yes" to that question.


Vernon

Well, a great advocate of the single tax was Frank Stevens. And he, with the help of Joseph and Mary Bells, founded the colony of Arden, a single-tax colony in Delaware. And it's still there, about eight miles from Wilmington. Consuelo has driven me out there. Chaney--my nephew, Chandler Davis--has driven us around there.

Well, at any rate, I went to Delaware in 1913 to work for woman suffrage. I guess I was the first organizer of the Woman's Party; I think that's correct. And I was sent to the state of Delaware because we thought it offered an opportunity to get suffrage through without a referendum to the people. A great disadvantage, you know, these referendums were. [Where a referendum was necessary] it [the legislation] had to be submitted to the people, and that's just endless work. But


24
in Delaware it could be passed by the legislature. And it was my state. So I went to Delaware, and one of the things that I had to do was to go out on the street corner at Fifth and Market Streets--that was the proverbial place for street-corner meetings--everybody spoke there. The Salvation Army held forth there every night, I think. But I would wait until the Salvation Army had finished and then [laughter] I would hold forth.


Fry

You mean that you would start out "Now that you have all assembled here--" [Laughter] Would you use the same audience?


Vernon

Well, sometimes. The audience would go from one corner to the other corner. If the Salvation Army were assembled on the southwest corner, I would take the northeast corner. But I could get many of the same people. And, of course, I just seized upon everybody I could get to come and speak. And I asked Frank Stevens, who was a lovely person and a fine speaker, if he would come down from Arden and speak at one of our street-corner meetings; and Frank said, "of course."

We piled into Mrs. Paul Du Pont's automobile. Some of those Du Pont women, and Jean particularly, were very helpful. Jean Du Pont still lives. I wish I could be in touch with her. She is Florence Bayard Hilles' cousin.

But at any rate, I called up Frank and he said he would come. And Mrs. Du Pont sent her car and we used that as our stand. When it came time to stop there at the corner of Fifth and Market, I just could not get up my nerve to speak. I was to introduce Frank, but I couldn't get up my nerve to rise up. And so I told the driver, "Will you please, Fred," or whatever his name was, "drive around the block once more," and we came back to the corner and I still felt the same. So I said, "Go around once more, please." And as we were going around the second or third time, Frank put his hand on me and said, "My dear child. Let a friend speak. Don't you know that every gospel has been preached on the street corner?" And I got up and spoke.


Fry

And that did it. You got out of the car and--


Vernon

Oh, no. You don't get out. Oh, no. Certainly not. The car is your stand, darling.


Fry

Oh, that's your podium.


Vernon

Sure.


Fry

You stand up on the car?


Vernon

You stand up on the back seat or the front seat or whatever.



25
Fry

Oh, it was an open car--what we would call a convertible.


Vernon

I guess. There were more open cars than--


Fry

Closed. I have to remember that. That's right. That was the day of the elegant automobile hat, wasn't it?


Vernon

That's right. And I tell that. The conversation on that tape was for an anniversary, in commemoration of Frank. Does it say, darling, what it was?


Fry

No. And [in 1913] Frank Stevens spoke also for the campaign. Was this a repeated effort of yours? Did you speak there more than one night?


Vernon

Oh, I spoke there almost every night.


Fry

Through the whole campaign?


Vernon

As long as the weather permitted. I went there in the fall. I don't remember the winter of 1913. I guess we were down in Dover at the legislature, but I've forgotten.


Fry

This street-corner campaign was to get people to write to their legislators and support the--


Vernon

Yes. It was to agitate for the national suffrage amendment. Directed toward the Delaware legislature, incidentally.


Fry

Were you also used to lobby the legislature?


Vernon

Oh, mercy yes.


Fry

Did you already know a lot of legislators in Delaware?


Vernon

No. We had to get acquainted with them, darling.


Fry

I thought maybe because your father had been an important newspaper publisher that your family just naturally knew a lot of them.


Vernon

He had died twelve years before. This was 1913. He died in 1901. The newspaper had been consolidated with the Evening Journal. I must say that I was aided greatly in publicity because not only did I know the newspaper people, but my brother-in-law [Arthur Davies] was the news editor of the Journal.


Fry

He still was?


Vernon

He had nothing to do with the paper when my father lived because he worked on the Republican. But the Republican, after my father's death,


26
was consolidated with the Journal and then Arth went to work for the consolidated paper.


Fry

And that was the one that you were the proof reader for?


Vernon

No. I was with the old Republican.


Fry

Did they cover any of your street-corner appearances?


Vernon

Oh, of course. They loved it. Every morning I would take down what I had said the night before. [Laughter]


Fry

Take it down to the newspaper?


Vernon

Of course. And Arth would see to it that it got in.


Fry

Well, how did that campaign turn out?


Vernon

Not so well.


Fry

I thought we lost it.


Vernon

We did. Delaware was, as Florence Hilles used to say, an ignorant little state. [Laughter]


Fry

What made woman suffrage lose in Delaware? What other issues were mixed up? Anything?


Vernon

I don't know.


Fry

Did you feel that you were having pretty good luck with the legislators whom you talked to?


Vernon

No, we never felt it.


Fry

They were opposed to women having the right to vote. Or was it something else.


Vernon

I don't know.


Fry

Was this your first time--it must have been your first time--to talk like that on street corners?


Vernon

Well, I had, during the summer--you don't know my history for the Woman's Party?


Fry

No, I don't, Mabel.



27
Vernon

The way I started was--did you read the article that was in the AAUW Journal[American Association of University Women Journal]?

18.  Mabel Vernon, “A Suffragist Recounts the Hard-Won Victory, ” in AAUW Journal, April 1972 , pp. 26-28. Excerpted from talk given October 18, 1971. See appendix.

Have you ever seen that?


Fry

Yes, I read that.


Vernon

In that article, I tell all about that first campaign. I'm sure I told that--how we went down through the summer resorts in New Jersey. Well, I had done a lot of speaking standing up in wheel chairs and places like that. That's a real good article, darling.


Fry

Okay. I'm sure I have a copy of that in my file. So that's something we can use then, and you think it is fairly accurate.


Vernon

Well, I said it.


Fry

Is that the one you wrote?


Vernon

Well, I didn't write it; I delivered it. And then the AAUW sent me the copies and I edited them. I had a reputation with the AAUW of being a very good editor.


Fry

According to that article, Alice Paul sent a letter to you at Radnor High School where you were teaching in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and asked you to be a suffrage organizer, and you mentioned that you had been doing some suffrage work in Radnor and that you had gone to the NAWSA convention the previous fall--1912, I guess.

I thought maybe you could tell me more about your work in Wayne and in Radnor Township.


Vernon

Oh, it was just as a public school teacher would take part in some community. We had a small committee of some of those nice people I told you lived in Wayne. I have forgotten their names. Mrs. Choat, which is quite a well-known name in Wayne, was the chairman. We had meetings at her house.


Fry

Was this a part of NAWSA?


Vernon

I suppose it was.


Fry

And is that how you happened to go to the convention?



28
Vernon

Yes. I was interested. I did actually go to the national convention in Philadelphia. W. E. B. DuBois came. Well, that was at a big Sunday afternoon meeting in Philadelphia. It was in the Hammerstein Theatre there, the opera house. Do you know anything about Philadelphia?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Well, the old Academy of Music was a traditional meeting place; but this was in the new Hammerstein Opera House. I don't know whether it still exists or not. But that's where the convention was. That's where the Sunday afternoon mass meeting was held.


Fry

Did this have any really special effects on you? Did you come away fired up and inspired, or did you meet people there who later on were important in your work?


Vernon

Well, of course, people like Jane Addams and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. I don't remember others.


Fry

Jane Addams presided according to the book I read.


Vernon

I don't know whether she presided at that particular--I guess she did. She was elected chairman, I guess, at that convention. I have forgotten the details. But, of course, I met people whom I met again afterwards, people like Dr. Shaw, Mrs. Cannon.


Fry

Well, you said it was in June of 1913, then, when you came down to talk to Alice.


Vernon

Came down to talk to Alice, that's right.

19. In an interview with Melanie Maholick taped in 1974 and broadcast on the Feminist Radio Network, Washington, on February 25, 1975, Mabel Vernon said,

"When I got to Washington, Alice invited me to come out to sit on a bench in Lafayette Park. She asked me how much I would need to live, and I calculated $60 a month."
Mable Vernon interviewed by Melanie Maholick [1974], broadcast by Feminist Radio Network, Washington, D.C., February 25, 1975


Fry

You must have come to Washington just as the amendment had been voted out onto the floor of the Senate because it was voted out on June 13. This was the first one in twenty-one years, and they had voted it out of committee onto the floor of the Senate.


Vernon

Well, you see at the time they had to get expressions from all parts of the country. I don't remember what the situation was in Congress particularly, but we were having delegations from all parts of the country and gathering an immense petition. Edith Marsden--I think she was a


29
teacher; she didn't continue in the suffrage movement--and I went on an expedition. I guess we met in Atlantic City right after school was out in June. I had seen Alice before that. Do you know anything about the Jersey coast?


Fry

No. [Laughter]


Vernon

Well, we were to make a tour of the resort places, and we began at Atlantic City. That's where we stood up in wheel chairs. Do you know the character of the place at all?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, it's very easy to gather a crowd on the boardwalk. All you have to do is say "Ladies and Gentlemen," and they will flock around you. We had to go to the mayor to get permission. I made a friend of him and he gave me $5 when I left, as a contribution to the cause. Ritter, I think his name was.


Fry

I thought that you might be going up with fear and trembling to ask the mayor if you could speak on the boardwalk and he would feel it was too undignified.


Vernon

Oh, no, he liked the idea. And so we had our meetings. I don't know how long we stayed at Atlantic City, but then we went on--Ocean City, Wildwood; that's about the way those resorts go. Then, after we'd been down the coast to the resorts, we cut in pretty soon to go to Maryland. (I don't remember stopping at Wilmington on that expedition, but I guess I did. I wouldn't tell about that because I don't remember very much.)


Fry

Were you just trying to get people acquainted with the suffrage issue or were you trying to get petitions?


Vernon

We had a big petition, darling; that was the point. We were bringing it to Washington. And we were the delegation to gather petitions from New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland--that was our route, you see.

20. Inez Irwin in Up Hill With Banners Flying writes:

"A summer campaign, carried on by Mabel Vernon and Edith Marsden, covered the resort regions of New Jersey, Long Island, and Rhode Island, and extended into the South."
Inez Irwin, Up Hill With Banners Flying When asked if this was correct, Mabel Vernon replied, "Someone else must have covered Long Island, Rhode Island, and the South. We didn't." Untaped interview with Mabel Vernon, June 24, 1974.

Then we got to Maryland, the whole delegation from various parts of the country--



30
Fry

Who were doing this same thing--


Vernon

Who were doing the same thing, gathered out at Hyattsville. Have I told you about that?


Fry

Well, that was mentioned and you had a big something.


Vernon

Oh, yes. It was a wonderful demonstration out there with senators from the suffrage states coming out to speak to us, senators who were leading the fight for the amendment; and then we got in to automobiles, and there was a big automobile procession into the capital. You see, Alice always had the idea--processions.


Fry

Irwin [Inez] wrote that your meeting in Hyattsville was at the village grandstand, and members of the Senate committee addressed your crowd. That's in Irwin's book.


Vernon

At the village what?


Fry

Grandstand.


Vernon

It was more like a stadium of some kind, darling. It wasn't in the center of town. It was like a ball park, or someplace like that. Alice would probably know.


Fry

At any rate, the biggest gathering place in the little town of Hyattsville, I guess. And she said you got the key to the town.


Vernon

Well, I have forgotten the details of it.


Fry

But then you motorcaded into the capital, and then--


Vernon

And then we were received in the reception room of the Senate. And all of our senators came. Then we called upon the senators to present the petition.


Fry

That meant that you went to the New Jersey senator?


Vernon

No. I was from Delaware. There undoubtedly were women there from New Jersey.


Fry

I wanted to ask you about the National Council of Women Voters. It met here the following month, and I guess that was a council made up of women from voting states.


Vernon

That's right. It was.


Fry

And Jane Addams was the national vice-president. I wondered if you could explain to me their role and their comparative functioning role


31
in the whole movement.


Vernon

Well, Dr. Cora Smith King was at the meeting. She lived here [Washington, D.C.]. Do you have her name?


Fry

Yes, and I also have Emma Smith Devoe, the national president of the council.


Vernon

That's right. She came from Oregon or some place like that. But they were the heads of it. And we had a big mass meeting for them; I guess I insisted on getting up the mass meeting. And it was down at the Belasco Theatre or maybe the Columbia Theatre; we had so many meetings I have forgotten.


Fry

Well, Irwin writes it is Belasco, so your memory must be matching hers.


Vernon

Well, I am not sure that it was there, although Irwin is good, Irwin's detailed.


Fry

Well, she wrote The Story of the Woman's Party fairly soon after the amendment.


Vernon

I guess she wrote it around '21 or '22, didn't she?


Fry

Yes--1921.


Vernon

She told me once that she put more in about me because I wrote better reports from the states. [Laughter] She could find them in the Suffragist.


Fry

And she could quote from you without worrying about the prose. Well, I'm awfully glad she did. Yes, and at that mass meeting did you raise any money or anything?


Vernon

I didn't on that occasion, but I soon began my money-raising activities. That used to be my role.


Fry

There was a lot of activity in Congress that fall, with the congressmen.


Vernon

Oh, for sure. And activity in Washington. We used to go down to Seventh and Pennsylvania Avenue practically every night and hold forth there from an automobile.

21.  "We had spoken on Seventh and Pennsylvania during the summer of 1913 too. Ethel Brewster, whom I had known at Swarthmore, came to help me; and so did Mary Conkle. We lived in Elsie Hill's apartment for the summer. Elsie Hill, whose father was Congressman Ebeneezer Hill, was a great worker for suffrage." Untaped conversation with Mabel Vernon, June 17, 1974.

We have pictures of that, haven't we,
32
Consuelo?


Reyes

Yes [not now available].


Vernon

[Looking at another photo] Oh, that was much later, darling. That came in, I guess, in a meeting in Philadelphia where a man got up when I said, "Who will give a thousand dollars?" The man laughed out loud, and immediately Mary Winsor got up and said, "I will give a thousand dollars." Now Anita Pollitzer was my right hand on these occasions. I can see it now; I never speak of raising money, but what I see Anita, looking up at me at that time. Do you know Anita at all?


Fry

No. I haven't been able to find her.


Vernon

She is in New York.


Fry

Oh, is she?


Vernon

Of course. But I'll tell you about her. I said to Anita, "How did Mary happen to give that thousand dollars?" And Anita said, "Because that man laughed. She wasn't going to have any man laughing at the idea of a woman giving a thousand dollars."

But that came considerably later. I don't think that was in the suffrage campaign at all; I think it was in the Women-for-Congress campaign. That comes later in 1924. I would like to speak more about that. But that comes very much later.


Fry

Well, in 1913 the other major events which you may have taken part in or known about were, first of all--


Vernon

I can remember 1913 fairly well, darling.


Fry

That was your freshman year in this. Well, on November 17 a delegation of seventy-three New Jersey women came to talk to President Wilson.


Vernon

That's the reason I said that there were undoubtedly New Jersey women in that delegation that came to present those petitions. I thought immediately of Mrs. Feickert. She was the president of the association in New Jersey, and she was one of those who came on that very early occasion. Were there seventy-three?


Fry

Yes, and I guess the story is that Alice Paul tried to get an appointment with the President, and he kept not saying yes, and not saying no. Finally Alice Paul said, "Well, the women are coming over."


Vernon

This was to his office. Yes. I remember. I'm familiar with the story that Irwin tells. I wasn't here [Washington] then. I had to go on to Delaware.



34
Fry

Oh. What were you doing in Delaware?


Vernon

I was to be the organizer of the congressional movement--we were going to start the congressional movement, in Delaware. I think I told you something about that, that Delaware was a state where we found out that the suffrage amendment could be passed by the legislature, and wouldn't have to be submitted to the voters. Of course, that was our big objection all along, through the campaign of the National American [National American Woman Suffrage Association--NAWSA] that after they would get it through the legislature, it had to be submitted to the voters. That's what the action of the legislature meant. But in Delaware the legislature could have done it, but it didn't.


Fry

And that was the occasion of your street-corner talks there.


Vernon

Oh, yes. We had many kinds of meetings in Delaware.


Fry

When was your first experience at street-corner speaking? Was that in New Jersey?


Vernon

Well, of course, we had this street-corner speaking there. That's practically what the expedition, the talking on the boardwalk, was. The resort stops were just in place of street corners.


Fry

Yes. That's what I mean; was that your first experience there, Mabel? Just standing up and starting to talk to a crowd?


Vernon

Well, I never did it before I got into the suffrage campaign. [Laughter]


Fry

I'm trying to get the sequence straight here. You--


Vernon

Well, I had never done street-corner speaking or any kind of speaking practically until I got into the suffrage campaign, darling. But I did plenty of it afterwards.


Fry

Well, I thought maybe your first experience was here on the streets of Washington, but it wasn't.


Vernon

It was among my first, but I had spoken at Atlantic City and Wildwood, New Jersey.


Fry

On your wheel chairs! [Laughter] What kind of response did you get in the resorts?


Vernon

Oh, excellent. Always friendly, interested, so far as I can remember.


Fry

Were you able to raise money, too?


Vernon

Oh, we didn't try. I guess we always took up a collection. I am sure


35
we did, because that was the practice of the Congressional Committee from the very first, all of our street-corner meetings down at Seventh and Pennsylvania [1913].

Oh, I know--do you know who Benton Mackaye was, darling?


Fry

Benton Mackaye? No.


Vernon

Well, Benton Mackaye tells the story of money-raising on a Washington street corner. He was in the Forest Service and married Jessie Hardy who worked in the Woman's Party. Benton Mackaye was the brother of Hazel Mackaye who arranged the pageants for the Women's Party. Does her name mean anything to you? You still have a lot of education to get.


Fry

I'm learning at your knee.


Vernon

Well, at any rate, Benton Mackaye used to come to the street-corner meetings, and Benton's role was, at a certain point in the meeting, to raise his hand and say, "What can the men of the District do for you?" And that was my cue, of course. "You can give your money. Now will you please pass the hat." Oh, I love Benton's telling that, and it's true. Benton would be present at every meeting.


Fry

And it was so much better for a man to say that, than for a woman to.


Vernon

"What can the men of the District" because, of course, the men of the District didn't vote, darling. Only now [1972] are they nearing that. So that's where their money came in. Men in the District couldn't be of any help to us in getting the amendment through as far as voting was concerned. But they could give their money. So we always took up a collection at those street-corner meetings.


Relationship among the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the Congressional Committee, and the Congressional Union, 1913-1914

Fry

And you were still just a congressional committee at this time, and in December of 1913, at the Columbia Theatre, NAWSA had its forty-fifth annual convention.


Vernon

Well, it wasn't at the Columbia Theatre. That was just one meeting. I think we met at the Masons--what do you call it?


Fry

Oh, the Masonic Hall?


Vernon

Yes. That is down on Twelfth Street. But we had the Sunday afternoon


36
meeting at the Columbia; we were strong on Sunday afternoons.


Fry

Oh, so you opened at the Columbia?


Vernon

Well, I don't know. At any rate, we had a Sunday afternoon at the Columbia Theatre. What were you going to say about that?


Fry

Well, I just wanted to know how NAWSA felt at that time about the activities--of the Congressional Committee, because in March of that year, just the day before Wilson was inaugurated, Alice Paul and her girls had marched.


Vernon

I don't follow you, darling. She had been appointed before that.


Fry

She had been appointed before that, but this was the first national meeting of NAWSA after Alice Paul's strategy became clear.


Vernon

Yes. That was the first national convention.


Fry

And Alice Paul's strategy of a more--what would you use? I don't want to say militant, but in other words, the parades and things like this--


Vernon

Well, her strategy was to concentrate on the national amendment. It wasn't on methods like that; it was on--


Fry

Well, I'm talking about her tactic of staging the parades and the demonstrations and things like that, to which NAWSA later objected. Now did that come up as an issue, do you remember?


Vernon

I'm sure--Alice probably wouldn't remember this, or if she did, she probably would deny it--I am sure I heard Carrie Chapman Catt say, "Are we listening to the report of a committee or the report of a rival organization?" Because they had formed a congressional union to support the work in Congress.

22. Mabel Vernon further explained in an untaped interview on June 24, 1974,

"Carrie Chapman Catt's remark was made when Lucy Burns was reporting. Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Crystal Eastman and the others on the Congressional Committee had formed the Congressional Union of people who believed that the time had come to concentrate on the national amendment rather than devoting themselves to state work."
From untaped interview with Mabel Vernon, June 24, 1974.

Inez Irwin [ Up Hill With Banners Flying, p. 38 ] makes this all very clear.


Fry

I think that was a year later?



37
Vernon

It was that convention, I am sure. Yes. [Mabel Vernon speaks on telephone with someone]


Fry

Yes, in my notes here I have that the Congressional Union was formed on April 7, 1913. So your memory is correct. It was formed as the Congressional Union in 1913.


Vernon

It was all rather a loose organization.


Fry

It was new.


Vernon

It just was formed as the supporters of the national suffrage amendment.


Fry

Then I think it was stated in a report that the Union had raised and spent $27,000 and had many mass meetings and a summer campaign.

It seems to me that this was the crucial point in the relationship between NAWSA and the Congressional Union, because early in the year 1914 the Congressional Union resigned from the NAW--


Vernon

But it didn't, darling. It wasn't that way; I'll have to check with Alice about some of the details, but they made some new arrangement in the National Association of being an affiliated member--affiliated organization or--has Inez said anything about that?


Fry

Yes. She says both. In one place she says that the Congressional Union resigned early in 1914 [Irwin, 2nd ed., p. 48], and then in another place she says that the Congressional Union became an affiliate of NAWSA.


Vernon

But it didn't; I am sure it didn't.


Fry

It did not become an affiliate?


Vernon

I think we had to pay a hundred dollars, and we just decided we weren't going to do that. Alice will have to straighten this out because--my only memory of it is Alice was sick at the time. Have you ever heard the story of that illness when Alice was sick?


Fry

No. I just ran across something on that last night and I thought, my goodness, what on earth is this illness? It must have been very serious.


Vernon

Where did you run across a reference to it?


Fry

It was mentioned in one line in Irwin.


Vernon

It was.


Fry

What on earth was she sick with?



38
Vernon

The same Dr. Cora Smith King was her physician. And I don't know whether she sent the wrong specimen to a laboratory or if the report was faulty. The diagnosis came out that Alice had practically a fatal kidney disease or something like that. And Alice was in Dr. King's private hospital. I have forgotten all the harrowing details. But I can remember, here in Washington, my going to see her, and this action [of NAWSA] was taken, and Alice regretted very greatly that they hadn't accepted our application, or whatever it was [to be an associated body]. She thought we all ought to remain together. And I said I thought that it was a good thing that we weren't accepted--that if we had these different ideas, in order to concentrate, let's go ahead and do it.


Fry

I thought maybe--


Vernon

It is incorrect to say that we resigned; maybe we resigned as a national committee.


Fry

And became just an affiliated body, but independent--


Vernon

Well, I don't know what we were, but we weren't a part of it [NAWSA].


Fry

Now, Alice told me, when I asked her about this, four or five years ago, she said, "Well, most of the same people were members of both."


Vernon

Sure, they were. These people who joined the Congressional Union for 25 cents a membership were all members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, most of them were, at any rate.


Fry

But the leadership was quite different.


Vernon

I can remember Dr. Anna Howard Shaw; this must have been in July of 1913--something like that. Dr. Shaw was here [Washington] , and we had had that conference with her. Alice and I took her to the Pennsylvania Station for her to take a train to New York. I can always remember her as she left: "God bless you, children." And that was her parting to us. She was wonderfully appreciative. She had probably been down here speaking before a committee of Congress or something like that. She was most grateful for what this committee [the Congressional Committee] was doing. And that was another thing I didn't like in the Cheney article: it gave the idea that we had separated.


Fry

Yes. Well, that separation isn't clear at all. Probably one reason that it's not clear is that so many people remained involved.



39

Organizing in the South and West

Fry

Let me see, Mabel, in early 1914--


Vernon

That's when I started for Nevada.


Fry

And on your way you were organizing the southwestern states. This was again when Congress was not in session and you were trying to get popular support.


Vernon

Well, I will tell you when it was, darling. We were going to have a demonstration on May 2.

23. In this interview and in interview IV, Mabel Vernon, though not completely sure of the dates of the demonstrations, consistently used May 9 as the date of the demonstrations throughout the country and May 14 as the date of the great Washington, D.C., demonstration. Inez Haynes Irwin dates the nationwide demonstrations as May 2 and the large Washington demonstration as May 9. In her talk before the International Institute of Women Studies in 1971, Mabel Vernon used the dates May 2 and May 9. I have, therefore, changed the dates in this interview and in interview IV to May 2 and May 9. [Ed.]

We were going to have a big demonstration in practically every city in the country, if we could get people to have a demonstration. In hamlets, cities--all these places where they could get something together, they were to have demonstrations on the second; and then they were to send their petitions and their delegations, if they could, to Washington for May 9.

We would have the big delegation in Washington, and my business was to stop in those towns--the little towns that I stopped in were amazing--on my way to Reno to get them to have some sort of demonstration on May 2 where they could send a petition and a delegation to Congress, to take part in the May 9 demonstration. That's the reason I stopped in all those places.


Fry

And my impression is that you went to a number of states in the Southwest.


Vernon

Oh, I did. All the places I would have to travel through to get to Nevada by a round-about route.


Fry

Did you find that suffrage was a new issue to some?


Vernon

Well, you see, I was going to see the heads of the organizations. For


40
instance, I went to Fairmont, West Virginia, because the president of the West Virginia suffrage organization lived there. I went to some little town in Mississippi--Yazoo City--because the president of the Mississippi organization lived there. I went to San Antonio, Texas, which was one of the notable stops on my route--never will I forget it; it was wonderful.


Fry

How?


Vernon

Well, all that I wanted to say was that they were wonderfully responsive, the women of the [San Antonio] suffrage organization. There was a national convention of men being held there in the principal hotel, and I had to stand up on a chair in the lobby and address that convention just as the men were gathered around in the lobby. Miss Eleanor Brackenridge stood beside me. She knew how scared I was to do it, and she held my hand. A wonderful old lady. Just a wonderful old lady. Some years later, someone who was a great admirer of hers formed the Eleanor Brackenridge Club here in Washington.

The Brackenridge family was famous in San Antonio. Miss Eleanor had a brother, George. Mr. George said they were going on a trip to Panama and asked me if I couldn't give up my trip to Nevada and go with them. I must say I never considered it seriously.


Fry

How did those Texas men accept you? My impression of Texans--


Vernon

I don't know that they were Texas men. It was some national convention. They came from all over, I guess.


Fry

Well, how did they accept you?


Vernon

Oh, very well. They liked me, [laughing] standing up there in the lobby with Miss Eleanor.


Fry

Then you went on across New Mexico and Arizona, I guess.


Vernon

Well, I have forgotten where I stopped.


Fry

And made it to Nevada.


Vernon

Well, I came into California through the south, of course. I came in from that part. And I don't remember where I stopped there. But I stopped in San Francisco, of course.


Fry

Oh!


Vernon

Oh, of course, darling.


Fry

Well, that's on the other side of Nevada. I thought that you were going


41
to Nevada.


Vernon

Well, I was going there by way of San Francisco.


Fry

I admit that is the logical way. One should always go to San Francisco, when one can.


Vernon

Well, I went there, that's the way--I guess I made my own itinerary. Gail Laughlin was there; don't forget Gail Laughlin.


Fry

Absolutely.


Vernon

I didn't meet Sara [Bard Field] in San Francisco. I met her in Nevada.


Nevada Campaigns: Suffrage, 1914; Anne Martin for Senate, 1918, 1920.

Fry

Sara worked in that Nevada suffrage campaign, too. Were you and she working together at all in the campaign, or were you fairly independent of each other?


Vernon

Oh, no. We worked together, but Sara didn't spend a great deal of time that I can remember in Nevada.


Fry

No, she did mostly some little mining towns around in the eastern and central part. Was this the first time you met Sara?


Vernon

Oh, yes. Notable meeting.


Fry

And Anne Martin was the head of the campaign.


Vernon

Yes. She was the president of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society.

When asked in an interview January 14, 1975, how she first met Anne Martin, Mabel Vernon said, "Alice [Paul] promised to send a worker to Nevada to push for suffrage. Anne asked for me because she knew about my work. I don't think I knew her personally before that. If I did, I can't remember.

There is a very lengthy and interesting correspondence between Alice Paul and Anne Martin from March 3, 1914, to November 7, 1914, which brings out the importance Anne Martin attached to Mabel Vernon's assistance in the Nevada campaign and the growing urgency that Alice Paul felt, as the fall election campaign developed, to have Mabel Vernon go elsewhere--Delaware, Arizona--to push for the federal suffrage amendment. Anne Martin mentions Mabel Vernon's ability to

"hold an audience in her hand."
Unidentified letter from Anne Martin to Alice Paul. On July 29, 1914, Anne Martin wrote to Alice Paul:
"If you could only find an organizer to do the Delaware work, I would make very great sacrifices to keep Miss Vernon until the end of our campaign. We work well together. I value her sturdy honesty and reliability. She is popular with all her audiences and makes votes for us, and I feel that she should be kept in Nevada by all means until election, if such a thing is humanly possible in view of your own arrangements."
Anne Martin to Alice Paul, July 29, 1914.

The night letters in the appendix of this volume give some indication of the trend of the correspondence. Telegrams and letters, numbering some eighteen pieces, are in the Library of Congress, manuscripts division, papers of the National Woman's Party, tray 5, box 4 (Nevada Correspondence, 1914). They are probably also with the Anne Martin papers in The Bancroft Library. For a sampling, see Appendix. (Ed.)



42
Fry

So you were killing two birds with one stone in Nevada. Is that right? You were helping their referendum for suffrage--


Vernon

With the hope that we would add another state; that was the whole idea.


Fry

And you were successful.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

To what would you attribute your success in Nevada?


Vernon

To the character of the people.


Fry

Were the women able to help you very much there?


Vernon

Oh, yes. Lots of those women who lived in states like Idaho, where they voted, didn't like the women of Nevada being deprived of the vote.


Fry

What did you think of Anne Martin?


Vernon

Well, have you any knowledge of Anne Martin?


Fry

Very little. Just what Sara has told me.


Vernon

I wonder what Sara has told you, darling.


Fry

You know, I can't remember. It was so long ago. But I have the impression that she was a dynamo. Is that wrong?


Vernon

Well, she was an extremely able woman. I don't think she was appreciated in the National Woman's Party. I shouldn't say that because when we


43
organized the National Woman's Party Anne was elected chairman, you know.


Fry

Oh, of the whole party. I had forgotten that.


Vernon

Well, we organized the National Woman's Party in Chicago. It wasn't amalgamated with anything. It was the Woman's Party. And Anne was elected the chairman and I was the secretary; because after we got suffrage in Nevada, I became a Nevada citizen. So you see, I was a woman voter too. Inez has it all, about the organization of the Woman's Party.


Fry

In the meantime, Anne Martin had become a congresswoman, hadn't she?


Vernon

Oh, no. Where did you get the idea that Anne was ever in Congress?


Fry

Well, I have her mixed up with somebody.


Vernon

Anne ran for the Senate in 1918 and again in 1920.I don't know whether she did it with my full approval, but I was very fond of Anne, very partial to her. She thought it was the thing to run for the Senate. We got suffrage in 1914 in Nevada, and that was the first chance she had with a vacancy in the Senate. I consented to help her. I left the campaign for the national suffrage amendment and worked for Anne as her campaign manager. I knew every inch of Nevada by that time, you know.

Anne and I were driven all over the state, in the 1918 campaign, by Dr. Margaret Long, who was a medical doctor from Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her father was John D. Long, who was a former governor of Massachusetts and had been secretary of the navy at the time of the Spanish American War. Both Anne and I spoke at each place we stopped. Dr. Long had the car all fixed up so that Anne and I could sleep on the seats at night. We never thought it was anything out of the ordinary.

In that campaign she ran as an independent, which I suppose was an impossible situation. She should have gotten the endorsement, I suppose. I don't know. I never was--well, I always had my hesitations about her running.


Fry

Oh. What were your reservations?


Vernon

Well, my reservations were that we should keep on working as a whole for the national suffrage amendment, and shouldn't go off and try these things. Jeannette Rankin, of course, had been elected in 1916; and she had won suffrage in Montana in 1914 just the same as we did. We didn't know Jeannette intimately in those days.

In 1914 when our national speakers would come out to Nevada they would often times go on to Montana. Or the other way around: they


44
would go to speak in Montana and then come to speak in Nevada. But we didn't have so much help from the National [NAWSA]. I remember I made myself very unpopular in the national convention in Nashville in 1914, by getting up and saying on the floor at one time, "If you think so much of these states, why don't you help us more in Nevada." And Antoinette Funk, she was one of the several magnificent phones--that was her name, Antoinette--she said. "Miss Vernon must remember how I went into these mining camps and slept all night on the floor." Very dramatic. But that showed how much they had done for Nevada.

But it was people like Sara who gave the real help, not the national organizers. But Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, she was a good sport. She came and spoke in the theater in Reno, and then we took her up to Virginia City. She spoke at a theater there too. Do you know Virginia City?


Fry

Yes, I do know Virginia City. [laughter]


Vernon

I didn't catch you that time, did I?


Fry

Well, now we are in the West; I feel more comfortable.


Vernon

We took her up to Virginia City. And I can remember coming down what we called the Geiger Grade from Virginia City, which is quite a precipitous ride at midnight, so Dr. Shaw could catch the train in Reno to come back East. But she was a good sport through it all. She was an elderly woman by that time, so Dr. Shaw helped. She was the president--marvelous orator, darling.


Fry

Well, did her coming out there really impress those people in Nevada?


Vernon

Oh, of course. She impressed them; it wasn't her coming out there. She was a marvelous orator. The people in Reno were quite sophisticated, you know. And up in Virginia City, those are the only two places that she spoke that I can remember. She was marvelous.

Does Sara remember taking part in the Nevada campaign?


Fry

Well, some. But she also was doing some free-lance articles on mining camps at the same time, and I think that the reason she was there was that she was getting her divorce and she had to remain there and then live out a residency requirement.


Vernon

I don't think I knew that at the time.


Fry

I think that's what it was.


Vernon

But coming back to Anne Martin, Anne was a little difficult at first for me to get along with because she was very able and quite a perfectionist. I lived at her house. They had a beautiful old house down on


45
157 Mill Street. I lived there with Anne, and she and her mother both were wonderfully kind to me. But Anne was a rather rigid sort of person to start with. I can remember Sara consoling me, because I was a little bit--you know.


Fry

You weren't going to be pushed around.


Vernon

Well, I don't know. Maybe I wouldn't arrive at the office at a certain hour, or I wouldn't take that proof to the paper at a certain time. She was a little bit more systematic than I, probably. But we got along all right. We became fast friends. Well, you can tell that we were if I left the National Woman's Party to be her campaign manager. I think that is what Elsie Hill told you about with some critical attitude.


Fry

Oh, she felt that you should have stayed with the suffrage campaign?


Vernon

Till suffrage was won, which I probably should have. But I had wanted to do it. I was very personal about it. I liked Anne. I wanted to do the thing that would help her. I don't think I was so bad.


Fry

Well, I wonder what the attitude was toward having a woman on the floor of Congress, for instance. It seems as though that might have helped.


Vernon

You think the Woman's Party might have considered that?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, maybe they might. But the leaders of the Congressional Union, which later became the National Woman's Party, were--I don't need to tell you--they were single-minded. When they sent me out to Nevada in 1914, it was because they felt that if the women got suffrage in Nevada they could then use their strength to help get the national amendment. Then when I decided to work for Anne's campaign in 1918, the leaders of the Woman's Party wanted me to retain my relationship with the party to do whatever was necessary in the national campaign. Actually, Anne felt she would be aiding the cause of women by being elected.

The Woman's Party paid all of my expenses in Nevada. Of course, they weren't heavy because of Anne's putting me up in her house.


Fry

Well, that must have been a big state campaign because my figures on it said you traveled about 3,000 miles around Nevada that summer [1914].


Vernon

I'm sure we did.


Fry

Knowing Nevada, I'd say that's an awful lot of sagebrush.


Vernon

I started by traveling on the train to those committees that Anne had organized over the years. I guess she had worked for three or four


46
years getting committees organized in all of the county seats, and I traveled by train to all of the county seats, going down through--well, you don't know Nevada.


Fry

I know a little bit.


Vernon

Well, I made Fallon and Caliente and Goldfield. There's not a town you can mention that I didn't go to. Some of the places were county seats. Anne had formed committees and I met with them. That was my first trip around Nevada. And then Anne and I went later in the summer in an automobile.


Fry

Oh, I was going to ask you what you did when there were no railroad tracks.


Vernon

I went plenty of places.


Fry

Right. Just rabbit tracks.


Vernon

I love Nevada.


Fry

Was Las Vegas very much in evidence then?


Vernon

Well, it was in evidence as a junction on the Southern Pacific, you know. It was a county seat, but it was very different from the gambling place that it became. I don't remember gambling in Nevada.

And I went to such county seats as Lovelock and Winnemucca.


Fry

All of those are up there near Reno.


Vernon

Well, you might say Reno, but they weren't so near in those days. If you wanted to get from Elko to Reno, you had to take the midnight train. All the trains left at midnight, it seems.


Fry

I guess that's because if they left at a convenient hour from San Francisco, they were getting into Reno at midnight.


Vernon

But I can remember how to get to Fallon--did you ever hear of Fallon?


Fry

Yes. I've actually been through it.


Vernon

I think that is where Pat Nixon [Mrs. Richard] lived or right near there.


Fry

Oh, I missed that.


Vernon

Her father was a miner in Fallon.


47

Well, at any rate, you would go on a little branch railroad in a train with only one car up to Wells; and there you would sit in the railroad station at midnight to wait for the train to come through that would take you to Reno. Oh, I have spent many an hour in those railroad stations.


Fry

What did people think about your traveling alone?


Vernon

Oh, they didn't pay attention.


Fry

But in young ladies' finishing schools then I'm sure that you were taught never to travel alone. [Laughter]


Vernon

But don't forget what kind of mother I had.


Fry

If you could do it at age seven, I guess you could do it later for the suffrage campaign.


Vernon

I was about--what was I in '14? I was born in 1883, that would be seventeen years plus thirteen--thirty. I was thirty when I went to Nevada.


Fry

Well, while all this was taking place the policy to oppose the party-in-power, as long as they did not fight for woman suffrage, was developing.


Vernon

That policy developed, you know. Of course, it was always in Alice's mind because she had worked in England where the party-in-power--


Fry

Was held responsible.


Vernon

It was a new phrase in our language, "the party in power." But sure enough, it was "in power." There was Wilson in the White House with a majority in Congress. It was the party-in-power. And a party that listened to Wilson as the head.


Fry

Then, let me see what else we have in 1914. You have that campaign against the congressmen in the West.


Vernon

Well, it didn't amount to much in '14, darling. It was in '16 that we made our national campaign. But in '14 I was hardly aware of what they were doing. The Woman's Party campaigned in the states that already had suffrage, but our test only came in November when we won suffrage in Nevada.


Fry

Well, they did campaign in those suffrage states.


Vernon

As I say, I was in Nevada and I wasn't conscious of it.



48
Fry

Were you basically a Democrat then or a Republican?


Vernon

Oh, mercy. Didn't I ever tell you my father was a Republican editor of the only Republican newspaper in Delaware--that he practically made the Republican party in Delaware?


Fry

So at this time you were a Republican?


Vernon

I don't know. I wasn't anything.


Fry

Because some of the women who were strong Democrats at this time must have had to swallow hard to follow--


Vernon

I don't think in '14.


Fry

But in '14 or in '16 it must have been hard for the women who were Democrats to go ahead and campaign against the Democratic congressmen.

You don't remember having to work on that in 1914?


Vernon

I don't know anything about the 1914 campaign. And I don't think it amounted to much. But in 1916, which was a national election, we made a national issue out of it. I remember 1916 all right.


Fry

I think the results were kind of ambiguous in 1914.


Vernon

I don't think there were any results worth speaking about.


Cross-Country Envoys, 1915: Advance Planning

Fry

In 1915, that was the year of the great trip across the country. The great automobile trip.


Vernon

You see, we had the [Women Voters'] Convention in San Francisco.


Fry

With the Panama Pacific [International Exposition].


Vernon

At the Panama. That was supposed to be a convention of women voters. Don't forget that. Voting women.


Fry

Now that happened in September. Am I skipping anything from the early part of 1915?


Vernon

Oh, I was organizing in various parts of the West. I had been in Washington and Oregon and Idaho. I don't remember the dates that I was there, but finally I made my way to San Francisco for the convention.


49
And from the convention, Sara and I set forth.


Fry

Mabel, when did you first know that you were going to be the appointed advance man for that automobile campaign?


Vernon

Oh, I don't know when I first knew. I guess Alice had me picked out long before we started.


Fry

The plans were announced at the advisory council meeting of March 31 of that year.


Vernon

But not for me.


Fry

But not for a big trip. It just said, "delegates will be appointed to go to Washington, D.C. when Congress opens in December," which sounds fairly innocuous. You can imagine a couple of women enjoying a pleasant train ride across the country.


Vernon

Probably the announcement of the arrival in San Francisco of the Swedes who were going to buy an automobile to get across the country had something to do with it. Alice Paul, darling, the fact of her picking those two Swedes [laughter]--


Fry

Well, I mentioned in my article that one of them was a little bit mad and kept threatening to kill Sara.

25.  Amelia Fry, “Along the Suffrage Trail, ” The American West, January, 1969. pp. 16-25 .


Vernon

I didn't know it was quite that bad, darling. I knew that Ingeborg [Kindstedt]--I think that's what her name was. One was very nice--Kindberg [Maria]; that was the driver.


Fry

And it was the mechanician that felt slighted. Felt she was not--


Vernon

She was jealous.


Fry

Okay. We've got Sara's story down on that, but now we need yours because you were the one who really did have to do the organizing. And you had to go ahead and get the majors all lined up and the bands and everything.


Vernon

Oh, there is no doubt about that, darling.


Fry

Well, you started back in Nevada for some of your first stops. So I guess it was easy for you to arrange for Reno since you knew everybody


50
there.


Vernon

Oh, sure, sure. I didn't have to do anything in Reno practically. But that was one of many stops, darling.


Fry

I know. Then you went to Utah as I remember and--


Vernon

That was wonderful. Never will I ever forget that meeting; I don't think Sara will either. The meeting was at the capitol--do you know Salt Lake City? Do you know where the capitol is? The people at the meeting looked out over that city at sunset. The meeting was right at the front door of the capitol--on the steps.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, I did about a hundred of those meetings. I wonder how many.


Fry

Oh, there must have been a hundred. And just zigzagging up and down, north and south, clear across the United States.


Vernon

That's the way we went. I know because I made the itinerary.


Fry

Now you always went ahead. How did you manage to go into a town cold and find a band and get the newspaper organized, and the--


Vernon

Oh, well, I just did it, that's all. Of course, in most towns I had some names of some people who were friendly or could be interested or something.


Fry

Had Alice Paul furnished you with very much information before you left?


Vernon

I don't remember, darling. She couldn't have, because I don't think there was a great deal of information to furnish.


Fry

There certainly wasn't information on roads, because I've gone through map collections and I can't find any evidence that there was a road map of the United States at that year. So I know there wasn't road information.


Vernon

Well, I was thinking more of the people.


Fry

Yes. Personal contacts.


Vernon

But when I got there I found out who had been to suffrage meetings; or if they hadn't had any meetings beforehand, I got names of interested people when I arrived.


Fry

But, Mabel, where did you go to get the names?



51
Vernon

Oh, there are newspapers and there are interested people who will tell you. Newspapers are a great fund of information. And I like newspapers and they like me.


Fry

That was your heritage. Well, did you ever have to hold a crowd because Sara was late?


Vernon

Oh, sure. You tell about that in the article.


Fry

I thought there was a place; I can't remember where it was--Kansas?


Vernon

Yes. I can remember Topeka, the capital of Kansas; but that is all in your article, darling.


Fry

Well, I must not have said much about it, because I don't remember the details of it.


Vernon

I don't either, but I think Sara was late then. But Governor Arthur Capper was a friend of ours, and I knew we had to hold the crowd for a reception with the governor; and we did.


Fry

You didn't have much time to organize these receptions.


Vernon

Of course not. We had to get there and get on.


Fry

That must have taken some quick cookie baking on the part of the governor's wife, or someone.


Vernon

I don't remember how long that trip lasted; how long was it?


Fry

Well, I think you left about September 16 or somewhere around there and you got into Washington, D.C. about December 5.


Vernon

Yes, that's what I thought. I wonder how we did it.


Fry

Oh, Mabel, I was going to ask you if you could give us any little anecdotes about that trip, something that happened in the major cities like Chicago or with Big Bill Thompson. Did you have any difficulties anywhere organizing anything?


Vernon

Oh, I expect we did. I don't remember in particular. In Chicago there was a famous reception. I think you tell about that.


Fry

Well, my information on Chicago came from the Suffragist and Sara's report.


Vernon

And the information in the Suffragist came from me, probably.


Fry

Probably, at the time. Big Bill Thompson was the man in charge at


52
Chicago. You weren't in the mud-hole incident, were you, in Kansas? You were on trains. And Cleveland had a snow storm.

26. The tape at this point is blurred. Mabel Vernon seems to have mentioned a Lucy Baker, but when questioned later had no recollection of such a person. She also said that it could not have been Lucy Branham. [Ed.]

And then in Syracuse you had the broken axle.


Vernon

Oh, that was a marvelous reception. I don't remember about the broken axle, but I remember about Mrs. Dora Hazard. She had organized a wonderful reception for us. "Hazard" was a powerful name in Syracuse. She isn't mentioned there? Sara wouldn't be as much impressed with that as I would be.


Fry

I had to cut an awful lot of this.


Vernon

You did?


Fry

Yes. We went through and cut this article down twice, so there's quite a lot cut out; and I had to cut out a lot of the political background.

After Syracuse you went to Utica and then to Albany; and New York State had just voted down woman suffrage again.


Vernon

What was the governor's name? He was a very good person.


Fry

The governor, I guess he will be forever anonymous, because I don't give his name in my article [laughter], but he's mentioned in the Suffragist reports of course.


Vernon

It was Governor Whitman [Charles S.]. He received Sara, didn't he, darling? I think it is there some place.


Fry

Yes, he did. And they had a big reception in the executive mansion.


Vernon

Yes, that's what I remember.


Fry

And the fact that he was going against the popular vote in his state was kind of interesting.


Vernon

I don't think I had much to do with that. I don't know how it worked out. I don't remember.


Fry

Then [from Providence, R.I.] they--you floated the car down [by boat] to Washington, didn't you?


Vernon

You see, this part I didn't have much to do with. We had branches all


53
through the East, you see: New Jersey, for instance. So those people could start to look after things. I don't remember these places.


Fry

I think Sara just rode the train to Washington or something.


Vernon

I don't think she did, darling.


Fry

No, she didn't because--let's see.


Vernon

Because I remember her--


Fry

"She endured parades and speeches," I say, "in Newark, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore."


Vernon

I remember her coming into Wilmington; I was there. I had arranged the reception there. My blessed Florence Bayard Hilles, a very prominent woman in Delaware, came out on the steps of the courthouse and received Sara. Florence's father, Thomas F. Bayard, had been senator from Delaware for many years and was President Cleveland's first secretary of state. He was our first ambassador to Great Britain--we'd only had ministers before that. So Florence was "tops" in Delaware. She later became chairman of the National Woman's Party.

Let me tell you what happened in Massachusetts during that auto trip. We were being received in the State House.


Fry

You and Sara?


Vernon

Yes. I was standing up beside Governor Walsh while Sara was holding forth, and Walsh kept muttering to me, "Don't ask me to sign the petition; don't ask me to sign the petition."


Fry

Oh, yes. Under his breath while you were standing up there in front of everybody.


Vernon

And I was alongside of him and could hear it--"Don't ask me to sign the petition." Did I tell that?


Fry

I know you told that to me. Now, let me see if it is cut out of my article because if it is then you ought to go ahead and tell what happened. Let me see, "Governor Walsh--"


Vernon

It was Governor Walsh. I guess he was also a senator later.


Fry

Yes. "He offered his letter of personal endorsement of the amendment" is what I have in my article "but during Sara's ringing speech he whispered to Mabel Vernon, 'Don't ask me to sign the petition, don't ask me to sign.'" Is that right?



54
Vernon

That's right. I remember that very well.


Fry

I wonder, where is that petition now? I wonder if it's saved?


Vernon

Somewhere in the archives of Congress, darling.


Fry

Is it in that Library of Congress collection?


Vernon

You see, we presented it to Congress, darling. That petition passed out of our hands. It's in the archives of Congress, if it is any place.


Fry

Well, they may not have saved it. I was thinking what a great exhibit that would be, if the Smithsonian wants something to illustrate the fight for suffrage. That petition would make a marvelous display. In Washington, did you go in with them to see President Wilson and all the pageantry?


Vernon

Oh, of course I did. That was an immense delegation. Why wouldn't I be there?


Fry

Well, I thought maybe you were busy behind scenes for the next act.


Vernon

Oh, this had been done before I ever arrived in Washington. That is the reason that I object to the Cheney article, the way it describes Wilson's response [in 1917]. I would like to check with Sara sometime.


Fry

Well, according to what Wilson said, there was some ice broken in that meeting. And Sara says that the women went out jubilant after that meeting, because Sara had told him that she knew that he was a great man and could change his mind.


Vernon

That's what I wanted to refer to. I always remember that. And he was pleased.


Fry

He was very pleased, and he said, "This visit of yours will remain in my mind not only as a delightful compliment, but also as a very impressive thing which undoubtedly will make it necessary for all of us to consider very carefully what is right for us to do."


Vernon

You see, now that's the reason that I object to that girl [Lynne Cheney].


Fry

Well, then everyone thought that he was going to back the amendment, right away then, but he didn't. But they did see this as a turning point in his attitude.


Vernon

Sara was superb that day in the way that she spoke to him. You know, Sara has that ability to be very personal, just like telling him that


55
she knew that he was a great man and as a great man he would have the ability to change his mind. Of course he was pleased.


Fry

Well, and then you had that great big petition by that time because you'd been gathering signatures, both at the exposition in San Francisco and all across the country.


Vernon

Well, that's the petition we presented--


Fry

To him.


Vernon

No, we presented it to Congress first.


Fry

Yes. Did you work in the booth any in San Francisco?


Vernon

In the booth, no. Doris [Stevens] was in charge there.


Nevada Campaign, 1916: Opposing the Party in Power

Fry

Then you had that big 1916 campaign. What was your role in that? In 1916?


Vernon

I was in Nevada, you see. I had gone back to Nevada. Anne and I both were in Nevada in 1916, to campaign against Key Pittman, our Friend. What was it he told Mary Walsh one time? "I think Miss Vernon opposed me politically but she liked me personally." [Laughter] But we had to campaign against Pittman who had been a friend of suffrage. It is as you say: it was extremely difficult.


Fry

Yes, because this was where I guess some of the women questioned the tactic as to the wisdom of campaigning against all Democrats whether they had supported suffrage or not.


Vernon

The campaign had logic to it, I think; it had validity. But I was never terribly enthusiastic about it--I was never enthusiastic about the results of it. I don't know. I guess what Inez [Irwin] says about it is as fair a summary as any.


Fry

Well, you know, what do you think of it just being a psychological threat to the Democrats as a party?


Vernon

I don't know that it was a sufficient psychological threat. Was it?


Fry

I don't know. I did read of a reaction in a committee where a couple of committee members in the Senate suffrage committee were hostile toward Alice as a result of being anti-Democratic in their campaign.


56
That sounds as though they at least noticed.


Vernon

Inez Irwin writes about all of this very well.


Fry

Yes, she gives you a good outline of all the ins and outs of going through the committees and out on the floor--


Vernon

And many of the things they said--they're all in Inez Irwin's book. I have read them recently.


Fry

Did you stay then in Nevada for that entire 1916 campaign?


Vernon

Well, that ended you see, with the election.


Woman's Party Convention, 1916

Fry

The National Woman's Party was formed in Chicago that summer, is that right?


Vernon

Well, whenever the convention was.


Fry

Along with the other political conventions.


Vernon

Oh, yes, I was there. I'll tell you a story about that that I always remember. This was in the Blackstone Theatre in Chicago. I was there getting ready for the mass meeting we were going to have. Anne [Martin] was going to be the chairman, and I was to make a collection speech there. But I was organizing before. I can remember very well. I had an elegant dress that I was going to put on for the mass meeting, and I put it down in a ladies' dressing room while I attended to all of my chores. When I went back to get it, it was gone. And I had a white suit on, I think, but I didn't have the dress that I was going to wear at the mass meeting. At any rate, Dudley Field Malone came to speak for the Democrats.


Fry

Oh, really?


Vernon

Yes. Alma [Lutz] tells this story in the book she wrote with Harriot Blatch, Challenging Years.

27.  Harriot Stanton Blatch and Alma Lutz, Challenging Years: The Memoirs of Harriot Stanton Blatch. New York: Putnam's, 1940. Pp. 261-264 .

Dudley Field Malone came to appeal to the
57
women to support the Democrats and Dudley was superb, you know. Dudley was a great orator--an Irishman with all the great--well, a finished speaker. And I went up to Anne, who was the chairman, and said, "I can't speak after Dudley," and I said, "I have asked Mrs. Blatch who is up on the platform" (I whispered all of this to Anne) "so don't call on me, call on Mrs. Blatch." I had gone to Mrs. Blatch and arranged this all with her. And, by gum, she did. Dudley tells about it someplace--that Mrs. Blatch took his audience away from him. She was superb too. I always gave myself credit for knowing that I couldn't come up against Dudley, but Mrs. Blatch could.


Fry

He was trying to convince the Party to support the Democrats, is that it?


Vernon

Oh, sure.


Fry

And Mrs. Blatch was able to answer him, why you were not going to support the Democrats.


Vernon

Well, I would have to look at Mrs. Blatch's book to know just what she said. Darling [to Consuelo Reyes-Calderón], you just put these things out there and I will wash the dishes.


Fry

I think I ought to be the dishwasher this time.


Vernon

Oh, no, darling, I have a system and nobody is permitted, even Consuelo. [Laughter] Is it getting cold in here? How do you feel, darling?


Fry

I feel fine. How do you feel; are you getting tired of answering questions and dredging up stories? Would you like to take a break and then go on, or would you like to call it a day?


Vernon

How do you feel, darling?


Fry

Mabel, I want to go on and on and on.


Vernon

Now you should like Alice.


Reyes

I will get you a cup of tea.


Fry

Fine.


Reyes

So then you will have a little recess.


Fry

I wanted you to explain why I sounded like Alice.


Vernon

Because when Alice says anything like that, "Do you want to go on," she says it always in threes, "I want to go on and on and on."



58

Notes and Memories of Events in 1916

Meeting with Woodrow Wilson, Kansas; "Suffrage Special"; "Suffrage First" Luncheon

Vernon

I remember that in early 1916 President Wilson made a "Preparedness Tour" which included Kansas. I was there. It was the first time since his inauguration that he had visited a suffrage state. Kansas was the first. I think Inez tells this [cf. Irwin, 2nd ed., pp. 150-151].


Fry

You met Tumulty [Joseph] in Kansas?


Vernon

Oh, we met the President, you just wait, darling.


Fry

This must have been during his 1916 campaign.


Vernon

[Reading from her notes]

28. The following notes, which are no longer available, are from Inez Irwin's and Harriot Stanton Blatch's books combined with Mabel Vernon's memories of events.

"1916, February. Presidential speaking trip on his preparedness campaign. And I had gone out to Kansas ahead. When Secretary Tumulty alighted from the train in Topeka, M.V. carried a note from Kansas women asking the President to see them for five minutes. And Tumulty said to telephone him at the house of Governor Capper, a strong suffragist, the next day or something like that."


Fry

And M.V. was you.


Vernon

Well, I am sure. "It was finally arranged that the delegation should come to the governor's house at twenty minutes to one. The women waited for an hour in the snow."--I can remember that; there was snow on the ground--"with the temperature at 0 degree. Lila Day Monroe, a leading woman in Kansas, made a short speech and led the women in double file up the steps to the President. The President murmured, 'Pleased to meet you' repeatedly as they filed by. They gave no expression of opinion."


Fry

Did anyone make an effort to propose Wilson's support for the suffrage amendment at that time?


Vernon

Well, that was the point of Lila Day Monroe's speech.


Fry

That was her speech. I see. That came to naught then. Do you know where these notes were taken from?


Vernon

My head.



59
Fry

This was in preparation for the program you were going to tape record with Consuelo, right?


Vernon

It was for when I worked with Alice writing the history of the Woman's Party from 1912 to 1920. I didn't realize that I had this much done.


Fry

Well, I'm glad you went on into 1916 because that's where we are. [Laughter]

There was a meeting of the national and state officers and the Advisory Council of the Congressional Union on April 8 and 9 of 1916 in which they decided to meet in Chicago in June to form a woman's party. Were you there?


Vernon

No, I wasn't on the Advisory Council.


Fry

What were your feelings about forming a new party?


Vernon

I was all for it. I think most of the women were.


Fry

After the meeting, the train called the "Suffrage Special" carried envoys to the suffrage states. Inez Irwin [2nd ed., p. 155] says that "Ahead of them went the organizers." Did you have anything to do with organizing for this?


Vernon

Just the places where I was when they stopped. I was in Reno, and it seems to me I was in Chicago. But I don't remember why I would have been in Chicago or the meeting there.


Fry

Do you remember the Reno meeting?


Vernon

Probably we had a meeting in the theatre in Reno. I remember that we all went down to Carson City and were received by Governor Boyle [Emmet D.] at the capitol. Afterwards he took us all to lunch at the governor's mansion.


Fry

And you were at the convention in Chicago when the Woman's Party was formed, weren't you?


Vernon

Yes, that was where my dress got stolen and I arranged for Mrs. Blatch to speak against Dudley Field Malone.


Fry

At that convention, you were made secretary of the new National Woman's Party. What did that office entail?


Vernon

Nothing very special--whatever a secretary usually does. I continued with the work I had been doing--organizing in Nevada.


Fry

Inez Irwin writes that the convention appointed women representing


60
the Woman's Party to speak at the Republican, Democratic, and Progressive conventions. Were you by any chance one of these speakers?


Vernon

I don't remember whether I was or not, but it was a common thing for me to speak at conventions.


Fry

Were you at the "Suffrage First" luncheon that was held just after the convention forming the new National Woman's Party?


Vernon

[Reading from notes and interpreting remarks] "'Suffrage First' luncheon in Chicago. First speaker, Helen Keller. Inez--that would be Inez Milholland--Crystal Eastman, and Rheta Childe Dorr." I spoke too, as I remember, to raise money, because I remember how nobly Inez came to my aid when I got bogged down. She said, "Let's have a dollar shower," and she took off her big hat, and her big hat went around to everybody for a dollar.

There was a monstrous parade of women at the time of the Republican convention, and it rained; but it was a great procession and it ended up with that luncheon at the Auditorium, I guess it was--the Auditorium Hotel. Do you know Chicago?


Fry

Oh, yes. I know Chicago.


Vernon

Well, we had our luncheon there, and that's where those women spoke whose names I was reading. Helen Keller--that was wonderful, wasn't it?


Fry

Yes. Quite a stroke of genius to get her there.


Vernon

And Inez Milholland was wonderful.


Fry

She must have been very beautiful.


Vernon

She was.


Fry

Everything I've read about her mentions her beauty.


Vernon

Not only beautiful, but brilliant. She was a graduate of Vassar; you know that, I think.

You ought to hear Dorothy Gruening's tape some time; did you ever hear Mrs. Gruening's tape?


Fry

I have heard Mrs. Gruening on one of your tapes. Is that the one?



61
Vernon

She tells the story of the meeting up at Vassar.

29. Mabel Vernon told the story on July 8, 1974, as she remembered it from Dorothy Gruening: "Dorothy Smith and Inez Milholland were in college together. I think Dorothy was in the class of 1908 and Inez in the class of 1909. In 1908, I believe, a group of Vassar women wanted to hold a suffrage meeting at the college, but President Taylor said no. Right across a wall from Vassar, there was a graveyard. So the women said, 'If we can't have it here on campus, what about in the graveyard?' So they had their meeting sitting on the gravestones. Dorothy Smith married Mr. Ernest Gruening, governor and Senator free Alaska."


Fry

Yes. In the graveyard at Vassar. I thought that was marvelous. Because they wouldn't let them talk about it on campus.


Vernon

[Reading from notes] "August 1, 1916 is the date. Hughes [Charles Evans] sent a telegram to Senator Sutherland [of Utah] declaring himself in favor of the federal suffrage amendment. The first time that any presidential candidate of either party had publicly declared a federal amendment a part of his policy." This must all come from Inez [Irwin, 2nd ed., p. 165].


Fry

That is interesting about Hughes because he had been a hold-out up to that time, as I remember. Did you ever have anything to do with putting pressure on Hughes?


Vernon

When I was in Nevada and he came there, we had a delegation to him. I don't remember anything else about it.


Interruption of Woodrow Wilson's July 4 Speech

Vernon

I put a note on that August 1 incident, but I should have mentioned it a little later because I want to put this in--[reading from notes] "July 4, 1916, President Wilson was laying the cornerstone of the Labor Temple [of the American Federation of Labor] in Washington--" well, you know that story well enough, don't you?


Fry

No.


Vernon

You don't? Oh, you must. It's a threadbare story--how I interrupted Wilson at a meeting.


Fry

Oh, I didn't know that he was laying a cornerstone.



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Vernon

The Labor Temple in Washington.


Fry

And that was the first act of militancy by any suffragist during Wilson's administration?


Vernon

I think maybe that is true.


Fry

Well, I think you ought to tell me the story as though I didn't even know it.


Vernon

As though you didn't know it. Well, I was in Wilmington, spending the Fourth of July, I thought; and I had a telephone call from Lucy Burns asking me if I would come back immediately to Washington. This must have been the day before. She said to be there at such and such an hour in the morning. "We want you to help with a demonstration." So I said I would come, of course. And I went, and Alice and Lucy met me at the railroad station. We went immediately to, I think it is, Ninth Street and Massachusetts Avenue, or something like that, where the Labor Temple is.

It is a good story. I think Inez must tell it very well.


Fry

It must have been outdoors, and were people--


Vernon

Yes, there was a great assembly with the President speaking to a crowd. We had gotten tickets from some congressman or someone to admit us to the platform. As the President was speaking, at the appropriate moment I lifted my voice and said, "Mr. President, if you consider it necessary to forward the interests of all the people, why do you oppose the national suffrage amendment?" And of course, there wasn't any answer. Then a little while later I said, "Answer, Mr. President."


Fry

What was the reaction of your audience when you did that?


Vernon

There was no reaction that I know about. The President was very good about that kind of thing. He was very bland; he just went right on as if he hadn't heard anything. I am sure I spoke in loud tones. But then, after the first time I spoke, I think, a secret service man made his way to us and said, "Now you mustn't do this again." And I said, "I won't unless it seems necessary." [Laughter] And then I spoke up again. He took me by the arm and very kindly and gently assisted me down from the platform. I was always amused because the secret service man said to me, "What makes you act this way?" and Joy Webster, with whom I lived, said to me afterwards, "Why didn't you say, ' She does.'"


Fry

Meaning Alice?



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Vernon

I had to use my judgment about those things because Alice would say, no matter what the President would say, "Do it now, do it now, do it now." And I thought that I had to wait till he said the proper thing for me to pick up. And I did. I had self-control on that. I have forgotten what he had said, but something to the effect that all the people must be consulted; and at that moment I asked "Why do you--"


Fry

Oh, I see. So you could pick this up and say, "If you believe that, then why don't you--"


Vernon

Yes. "What about the women? Why do you oppose the national suffrage amendment?" My note here says page 166, so that must have come from Inez Irwin [1st ed.].


Fry

Well, you have given us a lot more detail, I'm sure, than would have been found in Inez Irwin's book.


Vernon

I went right home to Delaware after the cornerstone laying. When I got there, my mother, who seldom made a remark about what I did, said, "I don't think that was very polite to the President." And I made a speech to her on politeness and principle. Later, when I was put in jail, she came right down to Washington to see if she could help.

[Reading notes from Irwin] "July 24, 1916. Deputation from Democratic women to the President. Mrs. Blatch and Helen Todd."


Fry

Did you have anything to do with the deputation of Democratic women who went to see President Wilson at that time?


Vernon

No, I don't think I was there.


Fry

Your notes mention Harriot Stanton Blatch. Did you know her?


Vernon

Yes, I did. We were very friendly. I liked her; we got along. She was the leader of the New York group when they were working for a state suffrage movement.


Fry

Did you know Helen Todd?


Vernon

Yes, but I didn't know she was a Democrat. She had worked in the New York campaign too.



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Colorado Springs: Campaigns against Party in Power

Vernon

[Reading notes from Irwin and interjecting remarks] "Newly formed National Woman's Party held a conference to formulate a policy." Colorado Springs--oh, I remember that conference. Anne [Martin] and I together got up that conference in Colorado Springs in August of 1916 at the Antlers Hotel. And Alice Paul came out. That was our first National Woman's Party conference, "to formulate a policy for the coming presidential campaign."


Fry

I see. Would that be like a platform committee?


Vernon

Well, it was a conference, just as it says.


Fry

You already had your platform, I guess. You knew that.


Vernon

Resolution: "Resolved that the National Woman's Party... pledges itself to use its best efforts in the twelve states where women vote for President to defeat the Democratic candidate for President; and in the states where women vote for members of Congress, to defeat the candidates of the Democratic Party for Congress." That's from Inez, too.


Fry

I guess that is the party-in-power theory again.


Vernon

Oh, it was. It was the 1916 campaign, you see. I can remember this campaign of the newly enfranchised again. "Stream of organizers started for western states, to prepare the way for national speakers." [Irwin, 2nd ed., p. 177]

Inez Milholland was a special speaker. You know she married Jean Boissevain.

30. In a later conversation, Mabel Vernon was asked if she knew Jean Boissevain. She answered, "Only by reputation. After Inez died he married Edna St. Vincent Millay. Just think--a man married to those two great women."

Well, she was the "special flying envoy." I have that quote from Inez.


Fry

Special flying envoy?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

She was the one who was free to move around rapidly.



65
Vernon

Yes. She made a regular tour. I can remember very well when she got to Reno: we had a beautiful meeting for her in the National Theater in Reno--just Anne and Inez on the stage. And some of our Reno women had arranged a beautiful bouquet of American Beauty roses. And it happened that both Anne and Inez were dressed in white. After the meeting, Senator Newlands [Francis G.], who was there--he was a very fine person, a Democrat, who was a senator from Nevada for many years--said, "I see there are reasons for having women, besides the political reasons. They add beauty to the scene." I can remember his saying that. It pleased me so to be able to tell Anne that. She was a great friend of Senator Newlands, and she and Inez were both charming and beautiful. And the American Beauty roses. Anne did the introduction and Inez spoke. It was very simple.


Fry

Was that one of the meetings that you helped set up?


Vernon

I did it. I was the organizer in Nevada, darling.


Fry

Okay. Just wanted to get this down.


Vernon

I probably did the principal organizing for it, but we had help in Nevada. We had won suffrage. We had still the women who had worked for suffrage in Nevada. I don't know that they all helped in this campaign, but some of them did.


Fry

Well, if you were the organizer, you would have borne the brunt of convincing the women that they should vote against their own party to establish suffrage.


Vernon

Well, I was one.


Fry

I thought you might have some stories or examples of how you managed to convince the women to do this.


Vernon

I don't. Remember this was 1916.


Fry

Yes. And Wilson was in and the Democrats were going to win again. It seems as though it would be a really tough job to go out and talk to Democratic women.


Vernon

Well, I can remember one street-corner meeting in Reno when Anne was away. Anne was out of town, but Mrs. Martin came and stood beside me. She was in this work too. Well, I held that street-corner meeting standing up on a chair; and a drunken woman--she must have been drunk--had a banner in her hand for Wilson, and she would keep poking that banner out at me saying, "He kept us out of war." Remember this was 1916.


Fry

Yes. That was his motto.



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Vernon

That was his great appeal: he kept us out of war. That woman kept shouting this; she would poke the banner in my face and shout, "He kept us out of war, he kept us out of war." And finally the chief of police arrived, and he begged me to stop speaking, to get down off of that chair and go home. And he appealed to Mrs. Martin, "Won't you take her home?" Well, I don't know how long it was; but I finally got off the chair. And I guess we went home.

And I can remember another street meeting where Dudley Field Malone comes into the picture. He came to Reno and was speaking at the movie theatre there, right down on the main street, and of course for Wilson--he was a great Wilson advocate. I stood as near the theatre as I could get on the other side of the street. It was almost directly across, and when I began to speak I got the people as they came out of the theatre. But Dudley told me afterwards--Dudley was quite a friend of mine--Dudley told me afterwards, "How could I go to sleep that night, Mabel"--he went to the Riverside Hotel--"with you down on the street corner shouting?" [Laughter] I used to have a powerful voice. So he heard me even though I was across the Truckee River bridge about a block away from the Riverside Hotel.

31. During the taped interview, Mabel Vernon told the stories of the drunk woman who opposed her speech and of her speech at which she drew Dudley Field Malone's crowd, as though they occurred on a single evening. When going over the tapescript she felt strongly that they were two separate occasions. "Anne Martin would never have been away if Dudley Field Malone were to speak," Mabel Vernon asserted.


Fry

Isn't he the same one who came to your aid when the girls were really having problems in the Occoquan Workhouse?


Vernon

Oh, very decidedly. You see, he was in love with Doris, whom he offered to marry. He divorced his wife and got married to Doris. I don't know how long he stayed married to her, but he did marry her. And he did come to our aid: he went to Wilson [1917]. Inez Irwin has a masterly discussion of it. She's got more details there than I could ever have.

We went down, Lucy Burns and I--I don't know where Alice was at that time--Lucy Burns and I went down to Occoquan to see the sixteen women who were there who were afterwards pardoned [1917]. Women like Eunice Dana Brannan, whose father was editor of the New York Sun; and Florence Bayard Hilles; and Elizabeth Rogers--oh, notable women, you know, who were down there. And we went down to see them to see how they were getting along. Dudley and Gilson Gardner--Mrs. Gilson Gardner was one of them--Gilson Gardner was a noted Washington cor


67
respondent for the Scripps newspapers. And we went down to Occoquan, and then Dudley went to the White House to see the President. Inez Irwin tells a thrilling story about how Dudley talked to the President and the President pardoned the women. And Dudley resigned.


Fry

Yes. A very eloquent letter of resignation.


Vernon

Yes, that is all in Inez. I had never known of anything like this [the wording of the letter of resignation] until I read it in Inez.


Fry

Really? I thought the newspapers would have been full of his resignation--port commissioner in New York.


Vernon

Yes, he was. I doubt that the newspapers gave that letter. I don't know.


Fry

Well, let's see then; back to 1916.


Vernon

I guess I stopped there with Nevada, darling.


Fry

The only other thing that I was kind of wondering about was if you had any groups that were good allies during the 1916 campaign? If there were any other political groups or special interest groups that you felt were good allies.


Vernon

I don't know, darling.


Fry

Like labor groups; something like that.


Vernon

Well, you see, I was in Nevada during all of the campaign. Alice would know more about that than I. I really know very little about that campaign, just what we did in Nevada.


Fry

Where were you when the results of the election came in in November? In Nevada?


Vernon

I judge. I would stay there for the election.


Unfurling Suffrage Banner in Congress

Fry

Consuelo was telling me about a time when you unfurled a banner in Congress when Wilson was speaking.



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Vernon

Yes, that was 1916 [December 4].

32. In the interview with Melanie Maholick, Mabel Vernon said: "Newspaper people did take up my interruption of the President on the Fourth of July, but we decided that interruptions were not really very effective. And that's what led to our dropping the banner."

But Inez has that; she has a very good description of that.


Fry

You know, what isn't clear in Inez, as I remember, is exactly where you were, Mabel. Was this in the Senate chamber?


Vernon

Now, this was a joint session of Congress. It was in the House. All joint sessions are held in the House of Representatives.


Fry

Yes. It is the only one with enough chairs, I guess.


Vernon

We had gotten tickets from congressmen beforehand so that we were allowed into the gallery. We were in the gallery immediately in front of the Speaker's desk from where the President speaks.


Fry

Oh, yes. I know where that is. And you were down next to the rail, right?


Vernon

That's right. We had gone up very early. It may have been a mistake to have gone, but we had to be the first in line. I had the banner on my hips, and Mary Gertrude [Fendall] was my guard, was my attendant. Mary Gertrude and I must have gotten up there at seven o'clock because I remember standing out on the--well, those great places alongside of the Capitol, you know, where you go out and look over the city--we walked around those.


Fry

Oh, those parapets up there, yes.


Vernon

Well, we walked around those.


Fry

How did you keep the banner from slipping down?


Vernon

That's what I was going to tell you. Florence Hilles--was she one of the women? I guess not, but she was assisting--Florence Hilles was down here [Washington, D.C.] She had a great big coat--Florence was quite a big woman--and I was to wear the coat. Mary Gertrude had a big belt pin, if you know what belt pins were; they were very ornate, you know, and quite large--


Fry

Oh, it is like a brooch, you know, only you wear it on your belt?


Vernon

I don't


69
remember. But at any rate, Mary Gertrude's belt pin was the principal pin to hold the banner on my hips. I guess we had several pins, but Mary Gertrude's was the mainstay; and the banner was folded very neatly to my--whatever my underpinning was. [Laughter] And then Florence's coat covered me--a brown coat. Florence said it made me look very much like a pregnant woman. [Laughter] Mary Gertrude and I arrived in the gallery, and the doors still weren't open. I can remember that, when I approached looking like a pregnant woman, the guard got up and gave me his chair--most unusual thing. [Laughter] So I sat until it was time.


Fry

That is unusual. If those guards are like they are now, that is very unusual.


Vernon

Well, Inez tells the names of the women: there were five of us, and we were seated down in the front row. And at the appointed moment--again I had to wait until I thought it would be appropriate for our banner to be displayed--I took Mary Gertrude's belt pin off and spread the banner. I can see myself doing it now, feel myself doing it. There were two women on each side of me.


Fry

And they passed the ends down to each other, I guess.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

And spread it out.


Vernon

Yes. I took hold and it went this way [gestures to indicate how banner fell]. It had strings on it; and at a given signal, when I thought the appropriate moment had come, we lifted it up and put it over.


Fry

The rail.


Vernon

The rail, yes. "Mr. President what will you do for woman suffrage?" was printed on the banner. I think he had been talking about suffrage for Puerto Ricans when we dropped it. And suddenly we felt a yank--Inez tells about this too, I think--and the banner was snatched out of our hands. Gilson Gardner said that I got up and looked over the gallery as if to say, "Who stole my candy?" He was up in the press gallery.


Fry

It was a yank from below?


Vernon

From the floor. I don't think Inez tells it quite correctly. We learned about it afterwards: a page boy had stood up on the shoulders of some one of the attendants in the House and had snatched the banner away from us.

I think I


70
nez says that I regretted afterwards that those strings that attached the banner were quite so long. I did regret it.


Fry

What do you have here, Consuelo?


Reyes

A picture of them after they dropped the banner.


Fry

Oh, my. It's a black-and-white slide of all you banner holders. One, two, three, four, five are in the picture. Okay, we will have to have that to illustrate this part of the transcript.


Vernon

Inez has their names; I have forgotten them. I remember Dr. Spencer from Colorado Springs, and Mrs. Lowenburg from Philadelphia.

Inez Irwin writes that the five women in the front row were: Mrs. John Rogers, Jr.; Mrs. Harry Lowenburg; Dr. Caroline Spencer; Florence Bayard Hilles; Mabel Vernon.

"In a casual manner, other members of the Union seated themselves behind them and on the gallery steps beside them: Lucy Burns; Elizabeth Papandre; Mildred Gilbert, Mrs. William L. Colt; Mrs. Townsend Scott."
From Inez Irwin, Up Hill With Banners Flying [2nd ed., p. 184]

In a picture of five women taken after the dropping of the banner, however, Mrs. William L. Colt appears rather than Dr. Caroline Spencer.

Mabel Vernon cannot see the pictures but she says that the names of those who dropped the banner are correct as they appear in Irwin. [Ed.]


Events of 1917

Woodrow Wilson's War Words Used for Suffrage

Fry

And as the amendment went in committees, and was stalled in committees and came out for votes and didn't make it through '16, and '17 and '18 and '19, and World War I started, what I wanted to ask you was did you get involved in any of the antiwar movement in World War I?


Vernon

No.


Fry

You stuck with suffrage all the time?


Vernon

Oh, yes. I remember we had a meeting at Cameron House at one time to decide whether we would throw in our lot with the war effort, but we decided we would have to stick to getting suffrage, absolutely.


71

I remember well that once I used the President's own words concerning our purposes in the war, for suffrage. Mr. J. A. H. Hopkins, the husband of Allison Hopkins who was so active in the Woman's Party, wanted to arrange a meeting with President Wilson so people could tell him how they felt about his policies. Mr. Hopkins had supported Wilson strongly during the last election. Out at the Hopkins' beautiful country home in New Jersey, about seven of us planned the interview and then, on the appointed day [May 14, 1917], went to the White House. Those of us who went were J. A. H. Hopkins; Dr. Edward Rumely, editor of the New York Mail; John Spargo, a Socialist; Virgil Hinshaw, a Prohibitionist; and myself.

When the President came in, Mr. Hopkins said, "Mr. President, how long may we have?" And Wilson answered, "All the time you want. That's why I'm here." He was so nice. I don't really see how we had the nerve to oppose him; but we did, on the one issue of support for suffrage.

I said, "Mr. President, when you spoke before the Congress the other day and asked for a declaration of war [April 2, 1917], you said you would fight for the things we hold closest to our hearts, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own government. You exactly express the feelings of the women of this country in asking you to support the national suffrage amendment.

A cartoon in the Suffragist shows a young woman behind a sign bearing the President's words.

In the May 19, 1917, issue of the Suffragist, there is a picture of Mabel Vernon with others in the group and an article on their visit to President Wilson. This article's lengthier quote from Mabel Vernon's remarks to the President show them to have been more persuasive than her memory of them now. Mabel Vernon's statement to President Wilson, May 14, 1917:

"Mr. President, the feelings of many women in this country are best expressed in your own words in your war message to Congress when you said: We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts, for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments.

"To every woman who reads that message must come at once the question: If the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments is so sacred in the case of foreign peoples as to constitute a reason for entering upon an international war in its defense, will you not, Mr. President, give immediate aid to the measure before Congress, extending self-government to the women of this country?"

This same issue of the Suffragist has an account of Mabel Vernon's remarks before the Judiciary Committee on May 15. In these remarks she again used the President's war words for suffrage. [Ed.]


72

The men who were there with me said he was deeply moved. When I reported to our group afterwards, Mrs. Kent said, "The President was deeply moved by his own words."


Picketing, Arrest, Trial, Jail, and Publicity

Fry

Were you mostly right here in Washington during 1917, or did you continue to work in Nevada?


Vernon

I would have to think where I was. In 1917 I was managing the pickets. That was my job.


Fry

Oh, you were at the White House?


Vernon

Of course. Didn't you know I organized the pickets and led the first ones out? [January]. [Laughter] Then I was with the first ones who were sent to jail [June].


Fry

I remember you were one of the first ones who got arrested.


Vernon

Yes. Well, I was the first one who went to jail. There were six of us, I guess, who went to jail. Now, that was all in '17. That's where I was.

And then we started out sending speakers throughout the country to tell about what was happening in Washington, because the pickets were greatly misunderstood, you know.


Fry

Oh, yes.


Vernon

And so we sent speakers out, and I went out to speak in various places.


73
I can't remember all the places I went. I suppose the Suffragist would tell.

The Suffragist, October 6, 1917, contains an article about Woman's Party members who were telling the pickets' story:

"Miss Mabel Vernon has already spoken to a rousing meeting of the first national conference of the Farmers' Non-Partisan League in St. Paul"...."Mrs. Lawrence Lewis and Miss Mabel Vernon will interpret the picket in the North and Middle West."
From unidentified article in Suffragist, October 6, 1917. According to this article, plans were being made for Mrs. Lewis and Miss Vernon to speak in Duluth, as well as St. Paul, Minnesota; Detroit, Battle Creek, and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Milwaukee, Ford du Lac, Richland Center, Oshkosh, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A second article, appearing in the same issue and entitled "Mabel Vernon Speaks at Great Farmers' Conference," gives a more detailed account of Mabel Vernon's speech on September 19 to the members of the Farmers' Non-Partisan League at their "consumers and producers conference," and description of audience response:

"'The President has defined the democracy for which we fight. He has not left the definition of this ideal to the mind of any citizen or the loose interpretation of any newspaper. He has said it is the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their governments. What about American women? On what ground does the President consistently deny them a voice in their own government? Do they not submit to authority? I, who have served time in prison because I carried a banner in the streets of Washington appealing to the President for democracy, know that they do.' The audience burst into applause, as if those men who are fighting for industrial freedom wanted to cheer on the women who are so courageously waging their own battle for democracy.

"'You have demonstrated you have power to help yourselves,' concluded Mabel Vernon. 'Use that same power to help win freedom for all the people of this land. Send word immediately to the President and Congress that we cannot postpone justice any longer in these United States.'

"'We will, we will!' came back the answer from many voices as the prolonged applause indicated that the members of the Non-Partisan League are in the fight for democracy at home." Speech delivered by Mabel Vernon on September 19, 1917, as quoted in “Mabel Vernon Speaks at Great Farmers' Conference, ” Suffragist, October 6, 1917.

I ought to read the Suffragist more before going into this, because Inez doesn't go into details like this about the speakers. I think she does tell how the country was divided up into sections and various speakers took various sections; she tells that.



74
Fry

Yes. She tells that but that's about all, and she does not go into detail about the sort of public attitudes with which you had to cope. And I thought maybe you could explain more of that. But I guess the attitude was that you were harming your cause by being unladylike. And I got the idea that the roughing-up that went on, when the police--


Vernon

That didn't come until much later.

36. In a later conversation, February 1975, Mabel Vernon explained a photograph in which she was carrying a banner and being escorted by a policeman. The photograph was marked "August 1917."

"I remember that incident very clearly. I was up in Anne Martin's office. She was congressional chairman." [Anne Martin was elected vice-chairman of the National Woman's Party on March 2, 1917, according to Irwin, but Mabel Vernon was quite sure Miss Martin was congressional chairman at the time of this incident.] "I heard shouting outside and I knew what it was. I remember saying, 'They're attacking our girls! Come with me!' Lillian Krantz, who was Anne's secretary, and I both grabbed banners and went out. As the men came up, I said, 'Keep away from me,' and a policeman walked beside me and said, 'Keep away from her.'"
Mabel Vernon in a conversation with Amelia Fry, February 1975.


Fry

That was later, so this was not something to explain then. Because that seemed to have been misunderstood later on by the public.


Vernon

Well, that is why we put out some banners that were inflammatory, like "President Kaiser Wilson."

37. In a later conversation, Miss Vernon said,

"I never approved of the Kaiser Wilson banner. That was going too far."
Mabel Vernon in a conversation with Amelia Fry [1975].


Fry

The Kaiser Wilson banner.


Vernon

I think Inez is pretty good on this, darling.


Fry

As I read about that first arrest, last night, you were your own attorney in that.


Vernon

Oh, where did you get that? From Inez?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

That's true. We all were. We didn't have attorneys.


Fry

I wondered what sort of legal aid you were able to get.


Vernon

We didn't try for any legal aid. We didn't want it to be legal.


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Our business was to make a suffrage speech. You never heard of Lavinia Dock?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Well, Lavinia Dock was a very famous woman in the Red Cross, and she was a nurse from Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, She was a wonderful woman, and she was in the first group that was arrested. There were Virginia Arnold and Katherine Morey and Lavinia; there were Maud Jamison and Annie Arniel and I. There were six of us, I guess.

We had a meeting at Cameron House the night before, and we had arranged exactly how we were going to conduct the trial, the next day. I was to be the chief advocate, I guess. When it came time for Lavinia to testify, she began, "And now, your Honor." She gave her name and address, and as she was told to do. "And now, your Honor, I would like to say a few words as to why women should vote." That is the way Lavinia spoke. And the judge said, "But madam, madam, not now; this is not the time." "Very well, your Honor." And in a little while she would say, "Now, your Honor, I would like to say a few words as to why women should vote." [Laughter] I don't remember how the others did, but I always remember Lavinia. And we were sent over to the district jail.


Fry

How was your treatment in the district jail?


Vernon

Very, very good. Of course, it was harder on some than on others. Katherine Morey was in the cell right next to mine. I heard her, in the middle of the night, call to me, "Mabel, are you asleep?" I answered, "Yes." Her reply was, "How can you sleep?" Poor child. That was where the matron allowed me to play the organ for the girls to sing, “"God Be With You."”


Fry

Oh, it was.


Vernon

Sure.


Fry

Well, start over and tell me from the beginning about that--how the whole thing came up.


Vernon

Well, we were in jail only two nights, I guess--three days; that would be two nights, wouldn't it? And the second night one of the girls among the inmates already there when we arrived asked the matron if we could be allowed to go into the corridor. There was a corridor right outside the cells, and it wasn't a very forbidding place. She asked the matron if we could be allowed to have some music on the organ, and the matron said she thought so. And so the girls asked us, "Can anybody here play the organ?" And I said I could play hymns a little bit. So the matron said that would be


76
all right. And the girls went out of their cells. They were mostly black as I remember. I asked, "What would you like me to play?" They said, "Ask Evelyn what she would like." Evelyn was a quiet girl who was there for drug addiction, I think. And we asked Evelyn, and she said, “"God Be With You Till We Meet Again." ” So we proceeded to sing “"God Be With You Till We Meet Again."”

And just as we were in the midst of it, the door opened into the main part of the jail, and the warden came in with a newspaperman. He was a Hearst man. And I know a little while later I had a letter from Mrs. William Kent [Elizabeth] in Kentfield [California]. Do you know where Kentfield is? Right at the foot of Mount Tamalpais.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

I had a letter from Mrs. Kent in Kentfield enclosing the column from the Hearst paper. I guess it was the Herald, was it?


Fry

In San Francisco?


Vernon

Yes. The Hearst newspaper told all this in detail: how the suffragists were singing “"God Be With You Till We Meet Again" ” while the warden and the newspaper man stood there. It made wonderful publicity. I guess it hit all the newspapers.


Fry

Are you sure you didn't arrange that, Mabel? [Laughter]


Vernon

No. That was providence.


Religious and Political Orientations

Fry

That brings up a question that I meant to ask you yesterday when we were talking about your childhood, and I failed to. What church did you and your parents go to?


Vernon

Oh, the Presbyterian church. I think we belonged--my mother and I, and my sisters; but I don't think my father did. But he used to go and sit on the end of our pew and take notes to appear in the paper the next morning.


Fry

Oh, I see.


Vernon

Reverend Keigwin [Albert] was delighted to have him attend his church.


Fry

He got his sermons summarized in the paper.



77
Vernon

My father used to wear a high silk hat every time he went to church.


Fry

Oh, how elegant.


Vernon

How elegant. And what do you call those coats? Prince Albert coats?


Fry

Oh, yes.


Vernon

My mother dressed him up, believe me.


Fry

What did you girls wear?


Vernon

Oh, we were very nicely dressed.


Fry

I'll bet you had your Sunday dresses.


Vernon

Oh, yes.


Reyes

Did you tell her that you read the Bible?


Vernon

Every night. Every day.


Fry

In your home?


Vernon

No, I personally.


Reyes

The Psalms.


Vernon

Oh, of course.


Fry

Was that what you especially liked?


Vernon

The Psalms. Well, I liked the poetry of them, I think.


Fry

Did you remain in the Presbyterian church all during the suffrage campaign?


Vernon

Well, you see, I went to Swarthmore, and I think my ideas about religion probably changed somewhat. We studied Bible lit. and--


Fry

And approached it, probably, in a more scholarly way.


Vernon

Yes, yes.


Fry

Were you ever actually a member of the Friends church?


Vernon

No, no. I have thought about it many times. I probably never will be now.



78
Fry

Was Alice active as a Friend during the time you knew her?


Vernon

Was she active?


Fry

As a Friend, a Quaker?


Vernon

I don't know. I had no knowledge of her life in Moorestown. Well, of course we had to go to Friends meeting on Sunday at Swarthmore. I don't mean that it was required, but we just naturally did. The meeting house was on the campus and most of us--and I presume Alice went; I don't know. But I went home oftentimes for weekends.


Fry

Well, by the time you got suffrage in 1920, did you feel an allegiance to any particular political party? Or were you still independent?


Vernon

No. I was independent. Always have been, since we have had suffrage.


Fry

And it is hard for me to think of you as ever voting for a Republican presidential candidate.


Vernon

Well, I didn't. I didn't vote very many times.

When asked in a later untaped interview why she hadn't voted very many times after she had worked so hard for woman suffrage, Mabel Vernon replied,

"Oh, I guess I wasn't very interested. I was busy with other things. I was out of the country sometimes." Consuelo Reyes added, "And often she didn't like the candidates."
Mabel Vernon and Consuelo Reyes in an untaped interview with Amelia R. Fry. Mabel Vernon would not confirm or deny this. She only smiled.

Also, much of her work was in the District of Columbia where residents could not vote. [Ed.]

The time that I distinctly remember voting was for Adlai Stevenson. I went to Delaware to vote for Adlai.


Fry

I was thinking about that today. That is probably the last campaign that people had very strong desires. Maybe the Kennedys.


Peace Delegation to Adlai Stevenson, 1952

Vernon

I thought Adlai Stevenson was wonderful. Do you know anything about him, darling?


Fry

Yes. I was in Illinois at the time.


Vernon

And we went out--shall I tell you about Adlai?



79
Fry

Oh, yes.


Vernon

I was with the peace people, and we went out to see Adlai [October 20, 1952]. We had a small delegation of six.

In Uphill for Peace: Quaker Impact on Congress, E. Raymond Wilson writes of this interview:

"John H. Ferguson, professor of government at Penn State University, represented the FCNL [Friends Committee on National Legislation]. Other members of the delegation were Charles F. Boss, Jr., Harold A. Bosley, Elsie Picon, Mabel Vernon and Mrs. Milton Epstein."
From E. Raymond Wilson, Uphill for Peace: Quaker Impact on Congress

Wilson outlines the thrust of the presentation of the committee members and adds:

"Mabel Vernon commented that she had read addresses made by Governor Stevenson before his nomination and had found in several of them the assertion that we must end the arms race before it ends us and that we must pursue disarmament with all the intensity and purposefulness with which we build armaments. In the speeches she had read since his nomination, and she had followed them carefully, she had seen only two references to disarmament, one in the San Francisco address on foreign policy and one in the address on atomic energy at Hartford."
From E. Raymond Wilson, Uphill for Peace: Quaker Impact on Congress

Wilson indicates that Mabel Vernon's and Charles Boss' interpretation of the governor's response to their requests was somewhat more optimistic than the interpretations of the other members of the group.

Wilson also describes the parallel interview with General Eisenhower at the Hotel Commodore in New York City on September 30. Mabel Vernon was a member of the delegation and spoke urging Eisenhower to speak out in favor of disarmament. Pp. 325-331.

Adlai was governor. We went down to Springfield [Illinois], with an appointment, of course, made by Bill Blair who was an extremely nice person. You know William McCormick Blair. He is now [1972] the general director of the Kennedy Center. And after the delegation had presented its formal case for disarmament, world disarmament--we sure were ahead of our time, weren't we?--but that is what we were talking to Adlai about--I went up to him and I said, "Now, Governor, this is probably aside from the business of the delegation, but I want to tell you about a friend of mine with whom I live in Washington. She is Catholic, and every day she goes to the cathedral and she prays, 'God, give life to Adlai.'" And he laughed, and he put his head back and he said, "Bless her dear heart." I was always so glad I could tell him about Consuelo. He was a wonderful person, darling.



80
Fry

Yes. He was certainly a different governor for Illinois because I guess he was the first one who was ever really able to clean house.


Vernon

Did he?


Fry

Yes, he did. Very much. To appreciate Adlai you have to know what went on before him, and it was an amazing change,


Vernon

Wasn't it a pity he had to come up against Eisenhower?


Fry

Yes. Probably the strongest political candidate of the century.


Vernon

Yes. Absolutely unbeatable.


Fry

But when you talked to him on world disarmament, what seemed to be his attitude on that?


Vernon

Oh, he was very sympathetic. But then I can remember that the men were a little bit perturbed, I think. When I asked Adlai directly, "Well, Governor, why don't you talk about disarmament more; why don't you mention it more?"--which is a very good point, you know--the men in our delegation said only a woman could have said that to him!



81

Interview III, November 18, 1972

3. III Post-Suffrage Activities

Talks With European Women, 1920

Fry

I want, too, to get anything you can tell me about your trip to Europe right after suffrage was won.


Vernon

Anne and I went together.


Fry

You and Anne Martin! That must have been a ball.


Vernon

We went not as sightseers, you know, not as tourists or anything like that. We really went to talk to women whom we knew and whom we aimed to become acquainted with in Europe. Anne had become interested in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and was very friendly with Jane Addams, who was the president of the League, you know. You did know that, didn't you?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

And Jane had given her certain names of women in Europe whom she wanted her to see.


Fry

Mabel, did you formally join the Women's International League after suffrage was won?


Vernon

No, no. I don't remember having very much to do with it until 1930.


Fry

Well, who supported your trip over there?


Vernon

We did.


Fry

You just took it out of your own pockets and went.


Vernon

Anne sold some stock, and I've forgotten what I did. I guess I had an insurance policy or something like that. But at any rate, we went over there under our own steam. We went over the same way I had gone


82
in 1910; we took a slow boat that went from New York to Naples. It was a long journey but a delightful one. We went to Naples, then up to Rome, and the same old course that Consuelo took.


Fry

Oh, you went that way too, Consuelo?


Vernon

Later, when she went by plane. You never did get to Naples, did you? But from Rome on up, you followed the same course.


Fry

Well, in Italy did you talk to women?


Vernon

I don't remember Italy particularly. I don't think we did. Don't remember Geneva on that trip. I would have to think a little about the trip. What I remember particularly is Germany. We went particularly to see Alida Heymann [Gustava] and Anita Augsburgh who lived in Munich. They had helped to form the Women's International League in 1915 and had been devoted members. Do you know much about this history?


Fry

No, it's fascinating.


Vernon

Well, you know, the WIL was formed in wartime with the idea that the neutral powers could make peace. And they could have if they had fully applied themselves to it.

Well, we went to see Anita Augsburgh and Alida Heymann in Munich, and they had really suffered during the war. They had a little country place outside of Munich, and they went there and lived on potatoes principally. These were women who knew what war was; they were wonderful women. And I can remember we asked them what we could do for them that they would like. We wanted to take them to dinner. So we asked where they would like to go to dinner and then what they would like to do after dinner and what they wanted to see. They wanted to see "Der Rosenkavalier." Wasn't that lovely? So we went to the opera and we went to dinner.


Fry

Did you have a specific mission to help set up?


Vernon

Oh, no, we just went as stragglers, as tourists. We were particularly interested in meeting women who had had war experiences.

When we were on the train to Berlin, we met a woman who suggested we go to see a noted pianist in Berlin. We met her and took her out to dinner. A friend of ours who was, I think, in the American embassy in Berlin, asked us afterwards, "Who was the lady you were with? She has been starved, hasn't she?"

40. In the original interview, Miss Vernon said that the embassy employee had seen and referred to Anita Augsburgh and Alida Heymann in Munich; later she remembered that the incident occurred in Berlin where he was referring to the pianist.


83

And in Berlin, we met Gertrude Bauer, who was a member of the Reichstag. It was also in Berlin that we ran into Mr. Villard--Oswald Garrison Villard; he was a friend of ours. He was so interested in our meetings with these women. When he heard that we had met the pianist, he said that his mother had sponsored her concert when she played in the U.S.


Fry

Was he with the Nation when you met him in Berlin?


Vernon

Oh sure. He was the publisher. Ernest Gruening was actually the editor at the time we were in Berlin; but it was all under Mr. Villard's direction.


Fry

Back that far. Did he write up this visit at all, Mabel?


Vernon

I don't know.


Fry

I wondered if we'd be able to find anything about it in the old Nation.


Vernon

I don't remember. I was trying to think what he was doing independent of the Nation. I don't remember. Ernest Gruening could probably tell me, because he had just taken over as the editor of the Nation when we got back from Europe. He, Anne, and I were in New York together.

41. In a later untaped conversation, Mabel Vernon added,

"When Anne got back from Europe, some time after I did, I went to New York to meet her. Mr. Villard invited us to a luncheon at a restaurant on Vesey Street with all the people on the staff of the Nation. Ernest Gruening asked Anne if she would write the story of Nevada for the book These United States which he was editing. The book was published later. Anne's piece was in the second volume. He had some very distinguished people who wrote chapters on the states."
Mabel Vernon in an untaped conversation with Amelia Fry.


Fry

Did you go to France during the trip in Europe?


Vernon

Yes, but I don't remember--I don't know if the name of Camille Drevet means anything to you? We became acquainted with her there. She was prominent in the League too.

42. During the 1920s, Camille Drevet was the deputy secretary of the French section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

I don't remember other women in France. And then we went to London. Anne belonged to a very hoity-toity club
84
of women; I don't remember the name of it. Maybe you know it--


Fry

In London? Not a chance.


Vernon

It was an international club of some kind. People like Lady Pethick-Lawrence [Emmeline]--she wasn't "lady" then--belonged to it, and it was supposed to be a great honor to be invited to belong to that club. Anne had--you don't know Anne's history at all?


Fry

No, I don't.


Vernon

She had been in the [English] movement too; it is very interesting about Anne. And when she was arrested, Herbert Hoover, who was a friend of hers and was in London, marched down promptly and bailed her out--which he had no right to do. That was against the rules of the organization, to get bailed out. But Herbert Hoover bailed her out. Anne had been a member of the same sorority to which Hoover's wife belonged at Stanford.


Fry

This was the same time that Alice Paul was doing her work in London?


Vernon

I don't know what the dates were that Alice was active in London. Anne was there a little bit before Alice, I think. I wouldn't know.


Fry

But it was in the Pankhurst movement?


Vernon

Oh, of course. That's where they were being arrested, jailed and fined.


Fry

So she knew both the jails and the hoity-toity clubs in London? I assume you chose the hoity-toity clubs when you went back to London.


Vernon

That's where we stayed. Down on the green. I should remember the name, but I don't remember women in London very much. Then Anne went to Dublin to the meeting of the International Dames League there. I couldn't go; I had to come back and go to "chautauqua." That was my business; it was going to be my business. It must have been the second or third season I had been on chautauqua.


Fry

So Anne went to Ireland and you came back. Did you come back on the same kind of a slow boat?


Vernon

No, I came back on an English boat. I went to Southampton and then came back to New York. Isn't it funny how these things will fade from your mind--but I remember the boat trip by myself, a short trip.



85

Superintendent Of Swarthmore Chautauqua: Lectures on Feminism

Fry

Well, then you came on over for the chautauqua. Where did you go to start your chautauqua work?


Vernon

Do you know anything about the chautauquas?


Fry

I know there were the big tents; I have an image in my mind of that.


Vernon

Well, there were many chautauquas; but Swarthmore chautauqua was one that Dr. Pearson--that was Drew's father, Paul Pearson--had started. He used to do it in connection with his work as a professor at Swarthmore. He wasn't entirely devoted to the chautauqua; he had his job at Swarthmore. His principal job with the chautauqua was in the summertime when he was free. He had superintendents--managers--running the chautauqua during fall and spring seasons. I guess I started with the summer chautauqua and continued for a while in the fall. Do you know the system at all? I told about the chautauqua in that article--


Fry

In the AAUW article [AAUW Journal, April 1972].


Vernon

And you know they almost cut the part about the chautauquas out of that article. But when I found that people said, "Oh, I remember the chautauqua. I used to go to it"--Miss Kerwin [neighbor at Boston House] I think was one who told me that she used to go to it in her town--I decided to leave it in.


Fry

Yes, it was quite a movement, wasn't it?


Vernon

Yes, and I think it really did something; it had decided educational value.


Fry

It was the adult education of the day, wasn't it?


Vernon

Yes, it was. Of course, when it came to the larger towns it stayed seven days; in the smaller towns it stayed for five days. It depended on what people in a town could afford, because they had to guarantee it, you know. Before the chautauqua would come, it had to be guaranteed. There was a board of guarantors who sold the tickets.


Fry

In each town?


Vernon

In each town. A well-run affair, I think. And some of the lecturers were very good.


Fry

What did you do, Mabel?



86
Vernon

Well, I was what they called a superintendent, and that means that I stayed in town for the five days or the seven days, whichever it happened to be, and I had to take charge. I had to see that the lecturers were met when they came and that they were properly introduced. I was the master of ceremonies in this. Three afternoons a week I gave a lecture, and I lectured on “What is Feminism? ” I must have told something about that in the AAUW article.


Fry

You did mention that you lectured on “What is Feminism. ” What did this consist of? Was this a sociological lecture, or basically political?


Vernon

I don't remember whether it was sociological or political. I just told them something about women and the interest women took through the years in social issues and legislation like child labor and child-labor laws. I had been interested in that principally through Anne. Anne was quite a writer; she wrote for Good Housekeeping. And her writing had interested me in that aspect. I think you can see why I left the suffrage campaign and went to take charge of Anne Martin's campaign. She was interesting--much more interesting than any of the suffragists were then or some of the workers for equal rights for women are today.


Fry

She was interested in what suffrage could bring about.


Vernon

Yes, and that interested me, of course. So I remember bringing that kind of talk heavily into the chautauqua lectures. They weren't long; I think they lasted about twenty minutes--something like that.


Fry

Then, did you go right on into Columbia University?


Vernon

I was a little bit late in getting my degree because Professor Shepherd [William R.] made a mistake. Shepherd was my major professor. He thought I hadn't handed in a major piece of work. I should have had the degree awarded in June '23, I think. I was in New York in '23. But I talked to Professor Shepherd and got it straightened out. So I got my M.A. in political science later in 1923.


Fry

And did you go to school full time or did you do something else on the side?


Vernon

Oh, no, I just went to Columbia. I concentrated there until I got enough credits for my degree. I have forgotten how many there were.


Fry

What made you decide to go back and get another degree?


Vernon

Well, I thought that I would probably want to teach again, and I didn't think I could get back into teaching without having something. I think that was the way I reasoned. And after I had gone to Columbia


87
and gotten a degree, I did consider taking a teaching position at a girls' school near Philadelphia called the Ogantz School.


Return to the Woman's Party: Executive Secretary, 1926-1930

Vernon

And I came down here [Washington, D.C.] and talked to Alice [Paul]. I can remember it was Alice. And I said I was considering that position, and she said, "Why don't you come back?" I have forgotten what she wanted to do. Study or something. She wanted me to come back and take charge of the Woman's Party while she did this. That was a mistake, probably; Alice never really wants anybody to take charge.


Fry

Did Alice go out of the country then?


Vernon

Well, she may have been out of the country or she may have gone to school some place. I've forgotten what she did. But she was in touch more or less, directing things. We had the national campaign to win for President Hoover in 1928. And Alice was so anxious to repeat what we had done in 1916 [support a presidential candidate to make a cause an issue] practically, that she persuaded me and I persuaded other people that the thing to do was to support Mr. Hoover in this campaign. And my memory is not clear enough about this (I oughtn't to speak about it without consulting Alice), but my memory is that we had had a delegation to Hoover--this was before he was president in 1928--and that he hadn't made a straight-out declaration for the equal rights amendment. I've forgotten what he did say; must be in Equal Rights some place, but it wasn't a straight-out declaration. We equivocated, I think, and decided to support him. I can remember some of our members objecting. Emma Wold particularly. And Anne and I had to explain to her that it was so necessary to make ERA a political issue that we would have to try to get Hoover's declaration and then support him. I guess that was Alice's reasoning with me. I don't know how effective we were.


Fry

The Woman's Party must have focused on the equal rights amendment just as you came back to work with it.


Vernon

Oh, from the very beginning. That's what it was formed for, darling.


Fry

Well, I mean after suffrage; it didn't submit an amendment until 1923. And that is about the time that you came back to work with it.


Vernon

No, I came back later than that, darling; it was more like 1925 or something like that.



88
Fry

Oh. Well, you got your degree in 1923 and you came straight from there into the Woman's Party, is that right?


Vernon

No. I promptly went back to the chautauqua.


Fry

And then after a year or two, you came to the Woman's Party.


Vernon

Yes. I think that's the way it was.


Fry

Well, this says that you served as the executive secretary of the Woman's Party from 1926 to 1930.


Vernon

That's what I called it, did I? Executive secretary.


Fry

That's what you called it in the Wilmington Friends School Bulletin story [spring, 1969].


Vernon

I said '26?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, that's about right.


Fry

So that the main push then was to get the equal rights amendment through just as you had gotten the suffrage amendment through.

43. As executive secretary of the National Woman's Party, one of Mabel Vernon's achievements, not discussed in these interviews, was the directing of arrangements for the national convention at Colorado Springs, July 7-10, 1920. See appendix for her statement on equal rights which was the focus of this convention.


Women-For-Congress Campaign, 1924: Reminder of 1915 Motor Trip

Vernon

I didn't tell you about supporting the--that's where I was in 1923-24. We ran a woman for Congress. Did you know about that?


Fry

Oh, yes. Now that is what I understood: that you had a year there where you tried to get women in Congress.


Vernon

Yes. It was a very laudable thing to do. I wish we had pushed harder. I wish we had continued onward. I don't know why we didn't. But


89
there was a woman running in Meadville, Pennsylvania. And I went out to assist in her campaign. Mrs. Culbertson [Elizabeth]. What she was I don't remember.


Fry

Democrat or Republican?


Vernon

I don't know whether she had any party or not; perhaps she was an independent. But at any rate, I went out to assist in her campaign, and Lucy Branham was with me part of the time. We ran a good campaign. I remember Zona Gale; well, did you ever hear of Zona Gale?


Fry

Oh, yes.


Vernon

Well, Zona Gale came down to speak to a banquet we had in Erie or Meadville. Lovely person.


Fry

Did Anne Martin do anything political in '24?


Vernon

No. She didn't assist in that campaign. I don't remember what Anne was doing. I didn't campaign for any other woman. And then Margaret Whittemore and I ran a trip. Did you hear about that trip?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Well, Margaret was an expert driver and she had a little car which she called Lucretia Mott. And we started off. I met her in Indianapolis. That must have been in the--sorry, I don't remember the dates, but it was in the spring of 1924--must have been '24.


Fry

This campaign was for women for Congress and you [had] a big sign on your car--


Vernon

Saying "Women for Congress." I don't remember all the places we stopped; but it was extensive, following that southern route to the West. You see, Margaret lived in Santa Barbara. And we were making toward Santa Barbara. San Diego, that is the only time I had stopped in San Diego. And on up to Santa Barbara.


Fry

Did you go back through Kansas City and Omaha?


Vernon

I think we started in Indianapolis. Wonderful gatherings there; wonderful women there.


Fry

Were you again the advance man as you had been before?


Vernon

No, I was sitting in the car. I was the chief speaker. It was just we two. We didn't have anyone in advance of us that I remember. Just Margaret and I; and we had had our meetings prepared for us, I guess, by good scouts--good members of the Woman's Party. I don't remember


90
many other places. I do remember Indianapolis. I remember getting stuck in a flood down in Arizona.


Fry

How did you get out, do you remember?


Vernon

No. Just drove Liz again. A Ford it was.


Fry

I guess you didn't have petitions for people to sign this time, did you?


Vernon

No, we just had to support the idea of women for Congress and there weren't any individual women that I know about except my candidate. I don't remember. But forwarding the idea was my objective.


Fry

This wasn't in time to try to get women to run, was it? It was too late in the election year for that?


Vernon

I don't remember.


Fry

What did you do in San Diego?


Vernon

Oh, just held meetings and held forth.


Fry

Then you went on up to Santa Barbara.


Vernon

There we had marvelous meetings. That was Margaret's home town, you see; at least it was her adopted town--she came from Detroit.


Fry

Did you get on up to San Francisco?


Vernon

Yes, but I don't remember it.


Fry

Well, that could be found in the papers there if we get the dates from here.


Vernon

I don't remember getting back from that trip either. I don't remember where it was--came back to Washington, I guess.


Fry

And then that was another presidential election year.


Vernon

I probably made this trip across the country before I went to Meadville [Pennsylvania], et cetera, to campaign. Because I know that from the campaign in Meadville I went to a big mass meeting we had in Philadelphia. That's where the man laughed. We had a big mass meeting in Philadelphia all about women in Congress. This was to be the finale of that campaign. Frank Walsh came. He had been the chairman of the industrial commission at the time of the war. Oh, Sara [Bard Field] and I could tell you tales about Frank--because


91
he was a Kansas City lawyer and he helped us so in Kansas City when Sara and I were coming there [1915].


Fry

What did Frank Walsh do [1915]?


Vernon

Well, he provided the automobile for me to go to speak in advance of their arrival, you know. I got into Kansas City probably a week ahead, and I went to speak every night down on the street corner. And Frank and his chauffeur would provide the automobile. The chauffeur would stand there beside me to protect me from the crowd.


Fry

What do you mean, protect you from the crowd?


Vernon

Well, he thought--this was ignorance on his part, darling--that he needed to be there to see that nothing happened to me. Very nice boy, Walter. I remember him.


Fry

The only other person I have any information on in that Kansas episode was William Allen White.


Vernon

Oh, yes. We went to see him, at least I went to see him.


Fry

Yes, and I guess he--


Vernon

Maybe that was another campaign stop that I had in Kansas.


Fry

Emporia.


Vernon

Emporia, that's right. But Kansas City was where I first met Malvina Lindsey. She had just become head of the woman's department on the Kansas City Post; and so Frank sent me down to Malvina to give her a story. In later years she had a column in the Washington Post. She became a friend of ours. She lived here [Boston House, Washington, D.C.] recently.


Fry

Now, was this on Sara's trip?


Vernon

Yes. On Sara's trip. 1915. So I am running ahead.

I know what made me think of Frank Walsh. He came to speak at the Philadelphia meeting, and I can remember when I was raising money Frank gallantly stepped forward and pledged a hundred dollars. He was a good scout. He made a splendid speech at the Philadelphia meeting. And it was while I was raising that money that the man laughed, when I said, "Who will give a thousand dollars?" And Mary Winsor immediately piped up, "I will give it." That's the story you recall, isn't it?


Fry

And she just did it in reaction to that man.



92
Vernon

I said to Anita, "Why did Mary--how did Mary happen to give a thousand dollars?" She was very well-off, but she wasn't so wealthy. Well, that was all in 1924.


Fry

Then it was after that that you took over as executive secretary of the Woman's Party. Did you work right with Alice then or did you--


Vernon

I don't remember seeing much of her. She came and went, as I remember.


Fry

Well, Alice got involved in her work in Europe in the late '20s, didn't she?


Vernon

I don't know when she began that. You mean in Geneva?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

That's where we need the Suffragist. We need the Suffragist because Alice on dates is not so good.


Fry

I hope we can get hold of some. Maybe we could if Alice were here.


Vernon

We need to get hold of them. I don't know when she began that work.


Equal Rights Amendment: Hoover Campaign, 1928

Fry

Well, then in the 1928 election your emphasis was on Hoover, is that right?

Equal Rights issues of June and July 1928 report that Mabel Vernon led delegations to both the Republican and Democratic conventions and spoke for equal rights before the resolutions committee of each. Mabel Vernon's speech to the resolutions committee of the Republican convention, June 12, 1928, from Equal Rights, June 23, 1928:

"The fight for Equal Rights is just as certain of success as was the fight for votes for women, for education for women, and every other fight to free women from unnatural and unbearable restrictions. The members of this committee know that no matter what their individual sentiments may be, we are bound to reach the goal for which we are striving of equality in every part of life.

Your action at this convention will affect the length of time that will be required for the immediate work of putting women on an equal plane with men before the law. The question you will decide today is whether you will waste your strength in trying to stay the inevitable advance of women or will use your power to pass the amendment, thus speeding the time when men and women as human beings will have Equal Rights, equal privileges and equal responsibilities in all pursuits of life.

We believe your wisdom, experience and love of fair play will lead you to decide to give us your help." Mabel Vernon speaking to the resolutions committee of the Republican convention, June 12, 1928, as quoted in Equal Rights (June 12, 1928).

The cover of the June 30 issue features “"Our Speakers at the Republican Convention." ” Mabel Vernon is at the center of the group. Her stance is not like that of any of the other women; it is the dynamically angular one described by Rebecca Reyher in her introduction to this volume. [Ed.]



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Vernon

That was it; we were supporting Hoover.


Fry

What was Al Smith's attitude on equal rights?


Vernon

I don't know that he had one. We never got a good clear one from him that I remember. I was in New York for part of that campaign. It was pretty rough.

45. A picture of Mabel Vernon and two colleagues about to open the New York office for the Hoover campaign appears on the October 20, 1928 issue of Equal Rights with the caption “"Off to the Front." ” [Ed.]

I never understood Alice on this campaign very well because, as I say, I was in New York trying to get support for Hoover, and Mary Moss Wellborn was there too. She was a southern girl who was just--well, I thought she was wonderful. And Mary Moss had gotten us a store, a vacant store, on Fifth Avenue; we had a display of Hoover material, of women's rights material there and so on. And we arranged to go to a demonstration for Al Smith in a car with a banner supporting Hoover. And they tried to upset our automobile.


Fry

Who?


Vernon

Well, the crowd of Smith supporters. That was a little bit risky. Elizabeth Rogers [Mrs. John, Jr.] was in the car. Seems like I was standing up in the front seat speaking and Mrs. Rogers was in the back. Well, this caused quite a story. And Alice said something that I never understood (she may not have said it; it may have been a false report); namely, that the Republicans wouldn't want the women campaigning for them again, or something like that. Something critical of our efforts.


Fry

That the Republicans would not want the women?


Vernon

Yes, if


94
this was the kind of support they gave, with the crowd attacking their speakers and things like that. She may not have said it; it came to me indirectly, via Maud Younger or somebody like that. Ever hear of Maud Younger?


Fry

Sure. Was she working in New York at that time?


Vernon

I guess she was in Washington. Did Sara ever talk to you about Maud?


Fry

Yes, she did. She and Maud were very close friends there for a while.


Vernon

They had worked in California together.


Fry

When Hoover won, what happened with the Equal Rights Amendment?


Vernon

Nothing, that I remember.


Fry

When did you first decide that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to back Hoover?


Vernon

That it wasn't?


Fry

Yes. You told me that you thought that maybe it wasn't a good idea.


Vernon

I said that some of our members felt that because Hoover hadn't made an out and out commitment we shouldn't support him. I've already mentioned Emma Wold. Great friend of Sara's. Sara called her Thelma. That was the name Emma's sisters called her, and I think Thelma is the equivalent of Emma in Norwegian. Well, Sara and Emma had known each other in Oregon. I think Emma was the first one who said to me that she didn't see how we could consistently support Hoover when he had made such an equivocal statement. And I explained to her, I don't know how clearly, that it was Alice's idea that the issue had to be made political, and we could do it by introducing it into the national campaign. Emma said, "Well, Mabel, I will go along with you if you think this is the right course." We were very good friends; she trusted my judgment, which I don't think was necessarily good. [Laughter]


Fry

You mean as you look back on it now?


Vernon

No, I think I felt it at the time. I never felt a great conviction because I think I felt much the same as Emma. But it was politically expedient. I suppose that was it; I don't know.

In Equal Rights, September 22, 1928, an editorial makes the point that the vice-presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, Senator Charles Curtis, had introduced the Equal Rights Amendment. Thus, in an election where it was important to interest the voters in the issue of equal rights, it seemed better to support a ticket on which at least one member was a strong supporter. Mabel Vernon also made a statement In Equal Rights to this effect.

When I mentioned this editorial and her statement to Mabel Vernon, she remembered that the position of Senator Curtis had been important in gaining the support of the Woman's Party for the Republican candidates. [Ed.]


95

But I'm interested in what Burnita [Judge Matthews] talked about.


Tenth Congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, 1926: Speech for the Woman's Party

Fry

Judge Matthews just remembered that there was a great congress.


Vernon

There was a meeting in Paris, which I will tell you about because I was very much identified with that.

47. The New York Times Index for 1926, p. 317, documents this conference extensively. It was held in late May and early June. [Ed.]


Fry

Well, why don't we go on into your meeting in Paris, then. That's in the thirties, right?


Vernon

No, that was earlier than that. I think it was 1928 [1926--Ed.]. It was the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. Did Burnita remember that?


Fry

Yes. That's the one.


Vernon

We had decided--Alice had decided that we should vie as the Woman's Party for admission. So we had a big delegation--Florence Bayard Hilles and several women of that calibre. There were twenty-eight of us in all, something like that.


Fry

My goodness.


Vernon

We had decided--I guess Alice and the council all had decided--that Doris Stevens and I should be co-chairmen of the delegation. The idea all along was that I was to be sent as a delegate and as co-chairman principally because I could speak to the conference; my proverbial [laughter] speaking ability was to be called upon. As I have told Alice many times, she never paid any attention to what I said at all because I said it in a loud voice. [Laughter]


Fry

Well, at


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this particular time, was your language ability necessary too?


Vernon

The meeting was at the Sorbonne, and I don't remember using anything but English. When we got to Paris and it came time for us to speak, for some reason there was a great discussion among the members of the delegation as to whether I should be the one to speak or Doris should be the one to speak. And Anne [Martin] was on this delegation too. The meeting was held up in the room Anne and I shared, in--what was the name of the hotel on the Left Bank? It is the name of Napoleon's mother [Letizia]. That's where Anne and I had headquarters. Anita [Pollitzer] had gone ahead and made all the arrangements. And the meeting was up in our room to decide who should speak to the Sorbonne meeting the next day. Mrs. Corbett Ashby of England was the chairman of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance and was presiding at the Sorbonne meeting. It was finally decided that I should be the one to make the speech.

Well, then they all cleared out of our room to give us a chance, and Anita and Anne and I worked until about three or four in the morning to write the speech that I was to make the next day. And I can remember; I can see Anita on that bed. I think I told her, "This is a night I will never forget." She asked me a little while ago, "What was it that night that you will never forget?" Anita, with all sorts of press releases that had come to her from Florence Boeckel, would look over those things and say, "Here, Mabel, here is something good!" [Laughter] And then she would give me something from one of those statements that Florence Boeckel had written. Florence was extremely able, I can't tell you. Boeckel--you must have heard her name.


Fry

Boeckel, B-o-e-c-k-e-l, right?


Vernon

But you pronounce it "Bokel."


Fry

And I do realize that she was extremely able because of the articles here in the Suffragist that she wrote.


Vernon

Well, Anita would pick some gem out of Florence's writing, and I would make note of it and prepare for what I was to say the next morning. Now this is really unbelievable. I spoke the next morning, and we didn't get admitted; but I spoke there at the Sorbonne, and our delegation approved mightily of my speaking. After we came back [to the U.S.], I can remember sitting in the garden of the Woman's Party, and Alice told me about the approval that she had had from all members of the delegation. And she said, "Mabel, it was the time for you to have died." [Laughter] Do you know that I reminded her of that a little while ago and she remembered it. [Laughter] I never thought she would acknowledge it, but she remembered it and did acknowledge it. That's all I know. I think Consuelo was there probably when I told her. That was probably the meeting that Burnita [Matthews] was talking about. We did have a wonderful delegation there, and I think they--I was trying to think of some of the English


97
women there--Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence was there, Lady Rhondda, Anne Archbold--no, her name is not Anne, but something Archbold.

48. Anne Archbold was an officer of the Woman's Party from Maine. It seems likely that Mabel Vernon meant Helen Alexander Archdale was a noted British feminist whose visits to the United States were mentioned in Equal Rights in the late 1920s [Ed.].


Fry

Archboll?


Vernon

B-o-l-d. She was a great friend of Lady Rhondda's; worked with her. And they were all pulling for us.


Fry

Well, I don't understand why you didn't get admitted.


Vernon

I don't either.


Fry

Because this was the international organization to provide all kinds of--


Vernon

Well, of course, the National American Woman Suffrage Association was really the big suffrage organization in this country. There is no doubt about that.


Fry

And at that time had they turned into the League of Women Voters?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Did they get admitted?


Vernon

Oh, they always had been members. They were among the original members. I don't know what the situation was in regard to the old suffrage association and the League of Women Voters, but we weren't admitted.


Fry

Do you think that they were saying it was because now your efforts were devoted to equal rights for women or anything like that?


Vernon

No, I don't think so. Just the character of the organization, I think.


Fry

Well, you had certainly shown your willingness to participate by taking over such a large delegation. Wasn't that unusually large?


Vernon

Yes, unusually large, I would think. And some of the women were very distinguished, like Florence Bayard Hilles. I can't remember. Crystal Eastman


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was in Paris at that time. I don't know whether she went with us or not. Stunning women, you know. Doris Stevens and Crystal Eastman.


Fry

Who was head of the League of Women Voters?


Vernon

I don't know about the League of Women Voters, but Mrs. Corbett Ashby was the English woman who headed the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

Do you want to give us a cup of tea, darling? [To Consuelo Reyes.]


Reyes

Yes, I was going to serve a cup of tea.


Fry

Well, did you go to any other countries or do anything else while you were there? See any of your old friends?


Vernon

No, I don't think we did.


Nationality of Women and Children, Hague Conference, 1930: Work for Appointment of a Woman to Delegation

Fry

There was a later conference, the one on consultation of nationalities.


Vernon

I am not sure whether it was '30 or '31. Maybe Burnita [Matthews] went to that conference after she went to Paris; I have forgotten. Burnita was there, I think.

49. Judge Burnita Matthews says that she did not attend the Hague conference concerning nationalities. It was held about April 4-13, 1930, and was part of the Hague Conference on Codification of International Law. The banning of American women and other events of this conference are well documented in the New York Times Index, 1930. [Ed.]


Fry

And that's what Alice got so involved in in the '30s. She worked in Geneva for equal rights for the mother in deciding the child's nationality. What was the main issue there, on nationality?


Vernon

What do you mean, the main issue?


Fry

Well, I wonder if I understand it correctly that, as things stood then, if a man lived in a country in Europe that had, for instance, in the Treaty of Versailles, become another country, such as part of Germany was given to Belgium, and he was German he could choose whether he wanted to be German or Belgian.



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Vernon

Yes, I think so. You will have to talk to Alice about this. But his wife had to take whatever nationality he chose, and then a minor child had to take whatever nationality the parents chose. So it meant that if the mother were Belgian she could not retain her Belgian citizenship if he chose German, and they had to move back to Germany too. So that in some cases--Alice will be the explainer of that, darling.


Fry

And it meant that the child always had the nationality of the father, I guess.


Vernon

But our part of this was that we voted in the council to send a representative to this conference and if possible to get a Woman's Party woman appointed to the United States delegation. And we chose Emma Wold,

50. In a 1927 issue of Equal Rights, Emma Wold wrote an article entitled “The Nationality of Women at Home and Abroad. ” The editor's note to this article describes Miss Wold as

"a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar and of the Legal Research Department of the National Woman's Party."
Editor's note to “The Nationality of Women at Home and Abroad ” by Emma Wold, Equal Rights, 1927. She is further described as
"perhaps the most outstanding authority on this complex subject."
Editor's note to “The Nationality of Women at Home and Abroad ” by Emma Wold, Equal Rights, 1927. [Ed.]

who had been a student of nationality, to be our representative, the one that we would support. Well, I took this at its face value, so I proceeded to help, or at least try, to get Emma appointed.

And we had an undersecretary of state at that time whom I remember now; I took a particular liking to him--Cotton, C-o-t-t-o-n. I guess his name was Joseph, but I think I may be mixed with the movie actor. [Laughter] But at any rate, his name was Cotton.

51. Referred to as J. P. Cotton in the New York Times Index, 1930.

And we established very nice relations with Mr. Cotton. Mary Moss [Wellborn] had a lot to do with that. Mary Moss was one of these ingratiating southerners that you have met. Talking about accent, hers was Mississippi. So you could see what that did to the English language. But at any rate, she got along with all those State Department men very well and with senators too.

I could always remember this story. The information came through that they weren't going to appoint anybody outside of the department. It was to be a departmental--I think was the term they used, a departmental delegation.


Fry

The State Department, you mean?



100
Vernon

Yes, the State Department. Mary Moss had picked this up over at the Senate. So I sent her down to see Cotton about this to find out whether this was correct or not, and he met her right at the door. She told him this, and he said, "Where did you get that?" And Mary Moss said, "From a newspaperman." And when she came back, I said, "But Mary Moss, we got that report from Senator Capper [Arthur]"--Senator Capper of Kansas. And Mary Moss said, "Yes, Miss Vernon, I know; but he's a newspaperman." [Laughter] That's the kind of girl she was; and sure enough, he was!


Fry

Very shrewd.


Vernon

Yes, very shrewd it was. Well, at any rate, they did appoint Emma then. It was a departmental delegation. Ruth Shipley, who was head of the passport division, and a friend of ours, went as a member of the delegation; and Emma was appointed an advisor (I think that was the term) to the delegation.

I don't know what happened in the Woman's Party at that time. I hesitate to speak about this, but apparently the endorsement of Emma Wold was not entirely satisfactory to some people, I don't know, and they began to start a campaign for Doris Stevens. One of our friends down at the State Department called us up one day--Green Hackworth. I don't know if his name means anything to you; he was afterwards appointed to the World Court as the United States representative. He called us up and said to Mary Moss, "I thought maybe I should tell you that Miss Paul and Mrs. Rogers of New York have just been down here advocating the appointment of Doris Stevens." I never talked to Alice about this. I ought to do it, the way I talked about my dying; but I never have. But that came from Green Hackworth; I never understood why. And, of course, nothing came of it. Doris went at the head of a large party.


Fry

She did go?


Vernon

She did go to the Hague.


Fry

Well, what happened to Emma Wold?


Vernon

She was appointed as a consultant. She was appointed just as Cotton told us she would be. He greatly valued Emma's work.


Fry

So Emma--


Vernon

Emma was the consultant to the United States delegation. It was a position that carried some prestige. And Doris went just as the head of a delegation of women.


Fry

Was that at all a delegation of the Woman's Party?



101
Vernon

Oh, of course, darling. Alice and I have never talked about it.


Fry

What was the outcome of that conference?


Vernon

I would have to talk to Alice about that.


Fry

Well, did you go?


Vernon

No, my business was to get Emma there and I did. As a consultant. It wasn't all that we had wanted, but it was better than nothing. And it was true, it was a departmental delegation.

That was my last--shortly after that I left the Woman's Party.


Fry

Oh, now what--


Vernon

Now I can't tell you why I left. [Laughter] Maybe Alice can.


Fry

And you at that point went to work where?


Vernon

At the Women's International League. It took me a little while to make up my mind. I went home to Wilmington for a while. But I can't tell you what happened in the Woman's Party.


Fry

Did you ever feel waylayed by offers to marry and settle down?


Vernon

Oh, mercy no! [Laughter]


Fry

Just thought I'd ask.


Vernon

Did you?


Fry

Yes, I did. I have three sons to prove it. But I don't want to tape record my life here; I want to tape record yours.


Campaign Director for Women's International League: Transcontinental Peace Caravan, 1931

Fry

What about giving us a view of what you did in your first years working for the International League for Peace and Freedom.


Vernon

Oh, darling, that's a long story. I'd have to take a--we had a trip across the country, you know. I've been thinking about this a little bit. It was very similar to the 1915 trip across the country. Sara--bless her dear heart--came down to Hollywood. We were having a WIL


102
convention in Hollywood--has she ever told you about this?


Fry

No, I knew that she worked some for WIL, but she hasn't told me about anything specific.


Vernon

We had a convention, and there we planned a delegation across the country; and we set off just as we had in San Francisco, you know, from a big meeting. A big meeting was held I have forgotten where--some stadium in Hollywood--and Sara came down and made the speech to send them off. Whenever I wanted a good speaker, I sent for Sara. And Sara came. Erskine Scott Wood, her husband, came with her.


Fry

Oh, how nice.


Vernon

Yes, that was nice. And Sara made a rousing speech such as the WIL--well, I think they appreciated it--I'm sure they did; they hadn't had many speeches of that kind.


Fry

This would have been in the thirties, I guess; is that right?


Vernon

Well, the petition that we were gathering across the country was to be sent to the World Disarmament Conference that was to be held in Geneva, I think it was 1932; is that the date?


Fry

We can look that up and check on the exact date, now that we know what the conference was.

52. 1932 is correct. [Ed.]

And this petition was to gather signatures for the United States--


Vernon

Oh, they had a--I think they called it the Golden Book. They presented there a mighty petition. From all over the world, you know, all over the world that petition came.


Fry

For disarmament all over the world.


Vernon

Yes, for world disarmament, which is the only sane kind of disarmament.


Fry

Well, along about this time--you go ahead and tell about your trip. I was going to ask you another question.


Vernon

Well, I'd rather you'd ask the question. The trip would be quite a long tale. We got here [Washington, D.C.] and Jane Addams and other leaders in the WIL met us here--I guess it was about a two-months trip.


Fry

Was Sara with you on this trip?



103
Vernon

No.


Fry

Who was with you?


Vernon

Oh, we had various members. Hannah Clothier Hull. Did you ever meet Mrs. Hull, darling? Her husband [William Isaac Hull] was a professor at my college. I remember when I went to see Mrs. Hull when I first started with the WIL. Dr. Hull received me, "My old friend and student." I can hear him saying that yet. He taught me history at Swarthmore.


Fry

When you got here to Washington, what did you do with the petition?


Vernon

We took it to President Hoover. Jane Addams was a powerful name, darling. We had a big meeting at the Belasco [Theatre]. See, I was using my Woman's Party experience, modeling it on the same lines.


Fry

And as you did with Sara, did you try to get governors' signatures in the--


Vernon

Yes, as we went along.


Fry

In the top of the political establishment in each state?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Then that petition was taken to Europe, was it? To the conference?


Vernon

You see, every country that had any disarmament at all was sending petitions. And this one called the Golden Book, as I told you, was presented to the disarmament conference.


Fry

Do you know who went over to that conference? Did you go?


Vernon

I went later. I didn't go to the conference. I can't remember, darling. The WIL records would have that, if we were interested in it.


Fry

Did you ever take time off and rest, Mabel?


Vernon

Yes, I'll tell you what I did. I left the "caravan," as we called it, I think at Minneapolis and went up to Duluth and took a boat and went down to--where would I land?--someplace in Michigan. I went to Mackinaw for a while and stayed there--I think this was all in about ten days. But that was a wonderful idea to have that trip down the lake.


Fry

Because I wondered how you just kept going and going.


Vernon

I didn't.



104
Fry

Because I remember how very difficult Sara's trip was physically in 1915.


Vernon

Well, I didn't take any time off on that trip, but on this trip I did.


Fry

You were getting wiser, weren't you?


Vernon

Well, I was traveling more with the caravan this time, you see. We had a Goucher College student; I think she had curvature of the spine, or something like that. She was driving the car. Dorothy Cook.


Fry

It must have been a marvelous experience for her, as a student.


Vernon

It was. I think her mother was that same Joseph Cotton's secretary. I think I can remember telling Mrs. Cook when I met her what a wonderful secretary she was; and she said, "Yes, Mr. Cotton told me when I came here, 'You can make me or break me, Mrs. Cook."' And I said, "There's no question which you did." She was Dorothy's mother; Dorothy was the one who worked hard, that girl, at the wheel--an excellent driver.


Fry

The question I was going to ask you was, since this was the time when Hitler was beginning to be at the height of his power in Germany, did you have any chapters in Germany at that time that were working with you on this that you knew of?


Vernon

No. This was a little early for Hitler.


Fry

Well, '32 and '33 he was pretty much in power.


Vernon

Was he? I thought he came along in '37.


Fry

No, I think he was in by '32, but was not recognized too much as a threat. So that's why I was curious as to whether the disarmament movement had extended to Germany at that time.


Vernon

I guess we didn't have much to do with Germany at that time. I don't think we did. I don't remember.


Fry

What were your primary nations?


Vernon

For world disarmament? Well, of course, I was principally concerned with the United States.



105

Peoples Mandate Committee, 1935-1955: Use of Suffrage Campaign Techniques for Peace

Fry

Did you have any serious opposition here in the United States at your efforts for disarmament?


Vernon

I don't know where it came from.


Fry

I was wondering what form it would take. You know it could be anything from just ignoring you to actually campaigning against you.

Later on Roosevelt's [Franklin D.] national defense policy began to increase the armament movement in this country. Remember?


Vernon

We got along very well with Roosevelt.


Fry

You did?


Vernon

That came into the [Peoples] Mandate Committee. We had had more contact with Roosevelt in the Mandate Committee than anywhere else. But I started the Mandate Committee in 1935. By the way, did you know that Mary Woolley was the chairman of the Peoples Mandate? Do you know the name of Mary Woolley at all? Mt. Holyoke, the president of Mt. Holyoke?


Fry

A marvelous woman educator.


Vernon

Well, she was the chairman of the Peoples Mandate. But I was thinking of some of the meetings we had with Roosevelt, face to face meetings which came more in the peoples mandate campaign than it did in the WIL. That's another story that begins with 1935, darling. I left the WIL in 1935.

The appendix contains a letter from Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, May 10, 1935, containing her early thoughts about the possibilities for a mandate campaign. It also contains an indication of the difficulties she faced working within the WIL.

A letter of August 3 indicates that there was more difficulty than the May letter anticipated in launching the European campaign:

"Miss Balch wrote Mrs. Hull that much of my plan was 'impracticable' and that the 'stunt aspects' of it were 'alien' to her and 'all the rest of us over here.'"
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, August 3, 1935, Anne Martin collection, The Bancroft Library

Other correspondence between Mabel Vernon and Anne Martin, and between Anne Martin and WIL officers, gives further indication that a creative campaign director faced problems in the WIL at that time. This correspondence is in the Anne Martin collection, The Bancroft Library.

A mimeographed letter from Mabel Vernon (August 27, 1935) details the plans for an international radio hook-up between Europe and the United States on September 6 to launch the Peoples Mandate. When I [Ed.] asked Mabel Vernon if this hook-up had occurred, she said, "I'm sure it must have."

Mabel Vernon remembers going to Geneva to meet with an international group to begin the mandate campaign. A letter dates this meeting September 12, 1935.

A list of the organizations in the United States which secured signatures to the mandate gives some indication of the scope and method of Mabel Vernon's work.


106

We had started the Peoples Mandate before I left there, to get this petition all over the world to end war. That was its name in the beginning; "Peoples Mandate to End War."


Fry

And was that connected with WILPF later, or was it independent?


Vernon

It became independent. It started as a mandate committee, and it was semi-independent then. We had headquarters down at the Willard Hotel, and the WIL had headquarters on Seventeenth Street. It was semi-independent because we were raising money for the mandate campaign.


Meeting with Roosevelt Before the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, 1936.

Fry

Well, tell me about your meetings with Roosevelt. That would be most interesting.


Vernon

Oh, they are marvelous stories.

I admired him greatly. I was trying to think of the first one we had. Ahh, Mr. Welles, too, comes into this picture, doesn't he, darling? He was our powerful friend, Sumner Welles.


Fry

Oh, Sumner Welles.



107
Vernon

Who was the undersecretary of state. When did I make friends with Sumner? Pretty far back, wasn't it?


Reyes

Tommy [Thomas Burke] too.


Vernon

Oh, no, no. Tommy was entirely subsidiary. We made friends with Tommy because of Sumner.

54. At a later interview (December 13, 1974) Mabel Vernon explained:

"Tommy Burke had a fairly high position in the State Department. The Peoples Mandate Committee had a dinner for Sumner in New York after the Buenos Aires conference (1936). Before the dinner Sumner telephoned us from Washington and asked if he could bring a friend. That was our first contact with Tom Burke. He was very handsome. Sometimes he was called the most handsome man in Washington. He helped very much with the work of the Peoples Mandate Committee. He was the husband of Ana del Pulgar de Burke, who was later our chairman for Latin America."
Mabel Vernon in an interview with Amelia R. Fry, December 13, 1974.

But I can't remember when I made the first contact with Sumner. But it was a contact that rapidly developed, darling. And that helped us greatly with Roosevelt. For instance, we wanted to take a delegation up to Hyde Park to see the President during--I have forgotten which year this was; but at any rate, Mr. Welles arranged it. Well, Mrs. O'Day [helped arrange it.] Does the name Carolyn O'Day mean anything, darling?

She was a member of Congress from Rye, New York. Carolyn O'Day, marvelous woman. Well, she was a member of our committee and a great friend of Eleanor Roosevelt's. And of the President too. This must have been around 1935 because we were getting ready to go to Buenos Aires in 1936.

55. One of these meetings occurred in August, 1936. Mabel Vernon wrote to Anne Martin, August 29, 1936,

"The interview at Hyde Park last Sunday was fine--most impressive."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, August 29, 1936. [Anne Martin collection, The Bancroft Library.] She noted that publicity on the interview appeared in the New York Times.

We soon directed our attention upon the Americas. The War [World War II] was coming on and that's where we had to center our attention. There was to be a conference for the "maintenance of peace." That was its name, the official name of the conference; wonderful name, isn't it? The Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace. It was held in Buenos Aires in December of 1936. The Peoples Mandate had just been started, so we immediately prepared to send a delegation to the inter-American conference.

56. A summary of the points in the petition and of the activities of the Peoples Mandate Committee appear in the brochure entitled Peoples Mandate Committee at the Paris Peace Conference: World Statesmen Support Declaration of Principles (pp. 9-11). See appendix.

It again
108
was a wonderful delegation. Mrs. O'Day went on it, and to have a member of Congress was something.

So we went down to Miami and boarded a--oh, that was a very wonderful send-off that we had from here. We flew down to Miami and Mrs. Roosevelt sent flowers to be presented to, I guess, Mrs. O'Day who was the head of the delegation. We have pictures of that--they're all at Swarthmore--Ray Clapper's little girl, Janet, presenting roses to Mrs. O'Day as she left for Miami. Raymond Clapper was chief correspondent of the United Press, and his wife, Olive Clapper, was secretary of the Peoples Mandate Committee.

And we stopped then in--well, you had to stop every night when you flew to South America in those days, and so we landed in Baranquilla, darling. That's the port in Columbia. And we spent the first night there; and we went on and spent the second night in Guayaquil, the port in Equador. And we stopped someplace else before we got to Lima. These were marvelous receptions, too, that we got there. We went from Lima to Santiago, Chile, and then across the Andes, no stop across the Andes. That's where I was supposed to have called to the pilot, "Go a little higher, Captain!" [Laughter]


Fry

Yes, I hear that's a breathtaking flight across the Andes.


Vernon

Well, I thought we were a little too close to those peaks. Well, I think that is a what-do-you-call-it story. An apocryphal one.


Fry

Well, it sounds very Mabel Vernonish.


Vernon

Well, we had made friends with the captain by that time. Miller, I think his name was. So I may have. "Go a little higher."


Reyes

Mrs. Musser [Elise] was with you.


Vernon

Musser? Oh, darling, she was a member of the United States delegation. She was in Buenos Aires. That's where we became very well-acquainted with her.


Fry

You met her in Buenos Aires?


Vernon

No. We met her before that. I'll tell you how that happened. Do you know that name of Elise Musser, darling?


Fry

No. You had better identify her.


Vernon

Well, she was a member of the United States delegation, but I will tell you a story about her getting appointed. We went to see President Roosevelt about appointing a woman to the United States delegation to Buenos Aires. I don't know who went to see him. We had Mrs.


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O'Day in mind. The President said to us, "Who is that woman who lives out in Utah or someplace like that and speaks many languages. And we said we didn't know who she was, but we immediately proceeded to find out who she was. And it was Elise Musser. She was a good Democrat. She had been a Democratic member of the legislature. The President was inclined to appoint her, and he did appoint her.

And then when she came to Washington to stop off on the delegation, we gave a great luncheon for her, down at the Willard Hotel. Olive Clapper, who afterwards became so prominent in CARE, presided at the luncheon.


Fry

Was this a delegation for the consulate or the embassy down there or the delegation for the conference?


Vernon

Oh, she was appointed a member of the United States delegation to the inter-American conference. Secretary Hull [Cordell] was the chairman of the delegation. He was a wonderful person. I had so much more contact with people like that in the Peoples Mandate than I had in the Woman's Party ever--with Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles and people.


Fry

Or more than you had when you were in the Women's International League?


Vernon

Yes, I think so. Because I was the head of the Peoples Mandate Committee after Dr. Woolley. You see, she was the chairman and I was the director. Then when she died--she was a great loss--I became head. And that brought me more into contact with leaders like Sumner. But I took a particular fancy to Sumner and he liked me, so we got along. I have been trying to find a letter of introduction Sumner Welles gave me to the secretary general of the United Nations. In it he wrote something to the effect that he usually didn't give letters of introduction, but he felt I deserved one. Perhaps it's with my papers at Swarthmore.

What are you going to bring us, darling, anything?


Reyes

A picture.


Vernon

What's that, darling?


Fry

Oh, this is a picture of Mrs. Musser being introduced to the governor. Where?



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Reyes

In Buenos Aires.


Fry

I see.


Vernon

Not the governor then, darling. Or was that in Cordova?


Reyes

Mr. Verdipaz [?] introduced Mrs. Musser.


Fry

What was the result of this conference? Was there an agreement between the American nations against war?


Vernon

Well, there were the inter-American treaties for the maintenance of peace. The treaties were formed there. And the next year we sent a delegation around Latin America, 1937--and this campaign really had sense to it. It was to get the ratification of the various states for the treaties of Buenos Aires, the peace treaties. We sent a wonderful delegation. We could show her some of those [pictures].


Fry

Yes, I would like to see them. Not right now, though. Maybe if any copies of them exist, we could put them with the transcript.


Vernon

[Looking at pictures of Swarthmore College] I wish you could go to Swarthmore sometime. For various reasons I'd like to have you go--to see the campus, get a feel of the college (remember, it was Alice's college and mine too) and see some of the papers that we have stored there. But you were talking about the pictures. Can you show her some of the pictures, darling? The photographs.


Fry

I think that when I send you a transcript of this, then Consuelo can look at it and probably can choose some relevant pictures that can be put with it.


Vernon

Well, I just wanted you to get an idea of the women who were in this campaign, like [Senora] Ana [del Pulgar de] Burke [chairman for Latin America], for instance. That came later.


Fry

They must have been terribly able.

You said Sumner Welles managed to get an appointment for your group to see the President at Hyde Park?


Vernon

Well, I don't know that Sumner did it. We wanted to go up to Hyde Park--I have forgotten what the date of this was--to see the President. And through the intercession of Mr. Wells and Mrs. O'Day who was such a friend of the Roosevelts'--not only of Mrs. Roosevelt but of the President, too--we arranged for this delegation to go see


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the President. We all went to Poughkeepsie [New York] and then took cars from there and went out to Hyde Park. And the President was just marvelous. Dr. Woolley spoke to the President; I have forgotten who did speak. We had a rabbi from Buffalo. But the President, of course, couldn't commit himself to anything on disarmament. I can remember when the rabbi spoke to him. "But," he said, "Rabbi, there is another side to this question." But at any rate, we had several delegations to the President at Hyde Park.

I remember one time we took a delegation, and the President looked over the delegation. These delegations were all in his library; and there would be great crowds of us, you know. And he said, "Well, I see the Peoples Mandate Committee is growing. The last time you were here, you had only one man; today you have three." [Laughter]

I liked him. I liked Roosevelt. And that day there were some students. We invited students from colleges round about--of course, this was all in the summer when the President was up there--and there were some students who wanted to come and got there too late. We were still scattered around outside. Mrs. Roosevelt met them and she said, "I presume you want to see the President." They said they did very much. And she arranged to take them into the library. Now you know, the Roosevelts were really awfully nice people.

[To Consuelo Reyes] You liked Mrs. Roosevelt too, didn't you, darling? Consuelo was with the Inter-American Commission of Women. And Mrs. Roosevelt always received them at the White House to tea; and she made it her business to come and sit down beside each one of you, didn't she, darling, for that woman to tell her--


Reyes

About each nation. We had about two or three minutes, all of us, to talk to her.


Fry

Each person?


Reyes

Each one of the women.


Vernon

Well, you see, there was one representative from each Latin American nation.


Inter-American Commission of Women: Banquet Furthering Communications

Fry

And the members of the Inter-American Commission of Women were talking about the status of women?



112
Vernon

Yes. Now that is something we should have told you about, when we were talking about the 1920s in the Woman's Party. One of our members, Katherine Ward Fisher by name, discovered a resolution in one of the Pan-American conferences, Santiago, 1923, I think, in which it said that women should be taken into account in the inter-American system. How Katherine discovered that resolution, I don't know. She has a character--very clever, very well-informed. And she immediately seized upon it--this was around '27--and said, "Why doesn't the Woman's Party do something about this?" And Alice popped up, as she often did at critical moments like this, and said, "Of course, we should." We should send a delegation to the--now this would be the next conference and that was to be held in Havana, 1928. Burnita [Matthews] didn't mention that, did she?


Fry

Yes, I think she did mention one in Havana. But she didn't remember too much about it.


Vernon

Well, that was the inter-American conference, and Doris [Stevens] went to Willie Vanderbilt and got $5,000 to send a delegation down to Havana. The point of that delegation was that we should try to get an equal rights resolution for women through that conference. Well, they tried that and didn't succeed; but they compromised on creating the Inter-American Commission of Women. That's all its name is.


Fry

I see. So you had a working commission from then on.


Vernon

And that has gone on; that still exists. There is a woman regularly appointed representative of each nation of the Organization of American States on that commission. They've had some very good women there, haven't they, darling?


Reyes

Later I will talk about PALCO [Pan-American Liaison Committee of Women's Organizations].


Vernon

I don't think she needs to know about PALCO, does she?


Reyes

Starting that was part of your activities--a very important thing that you did.


Vernon

That happened after you arrived, didn't it? They had a chairman here of the Inter-American Commission of Women--Minerva Bernardino, and she came to me--I was the chairman or the director of the Peoples Mandate Committee--and asked me if I couldn't arrange for a luncheon to be given at the time when the Inter-American Commission of Women was in session. I said that I would. And we got representatives of practically all the organizations of women in town, under the direction of the Peoples Mandate Committee, and had a wonderful--was that


113
your first meeting, Consuelo?--luncheon down at the Mayflower Hotel; there must have been a thousand-and-one women there. Wasn't that right, darling?


Reyes

Yes, one thousand persons were there at that luncheon.


Vernon

Yes. Tables up in the balcony there. That big ballroom has a balcony. And we had tables up in the balcony and Mrs. Cordell Hull was there, bless her heart, and the wives of all the inter-American ambassadors. The wife of the chief justice, Harlan Fiske Stone, presided. Oh, it was a famous luncheon.

After the luncheon, Minerva said, "Now it is a shame to let all of this organization die. You have gotten all these women together--representatives from every women's organization in the city. Keep them together." So we organized what we called the Pan-American Liaison Committee of Women's Organizations. That's right, isn't it?


Fry

Liaison between the mandate--


Vernon

No, this was between the Inter-American Commission of Women and the women's organizations right here in Washington.


Fry

For the purpose of disarmament?


Vernon

For the purpose of inter-American exchange.


Reyes

Like an exchange between American women and Latin American women.


Vernon

You see the Inter-American Commission of Women hadn't been able to carry out that equal rights resolution that the 1928 meeting started with. They were just interested in women's affairs, I guess.


Fry

And you felt that if you could increase the communication and the exchange between the women of the countries--


Vernon

Well, we did it just for inter-American cooperation really; wasn't that it, darling, more than anything?


Reyes

Yes.


Fry

Well, I am interested to know if Roosevelt's stand got any firmer as World War II got under way.


Vernon

I don't know.



114

Delegation to Urge Peace Treaty Support, 1937; Cross-country Trip for Latin American Women, 1939

Fry

What did the Peoples Mandate Committee do, Mabel, as the war clouds gathered over Europe and Hitler marched into Austria and so forth?


Vernon

We devoted ourselves more and more to the Americas. In 1937, we sent the delegation down to the capitals to urge support of the inter-American peace treaties.

"In 1937 Mandate representatives traveled by air to eighteen republics to urge ratification and in every country were received by the President and Foreign Minister, were heard at popular mass meetings and were given front page publicity in the leading newspapers. Ratification by a number of the republics followed this campaign and the part played by the work of the Committee was recognized.

"In the following year a million additional signatures were secured to the Mandate in the Americas and presented to the Eighth Pan American Conference in Lima. Again the Mandate Committee was given official recognition and opportunity to address the Conference." Peoples Mandate Committee For Inter-American Peace and Cooperation, United American Action for Lasting Peace, pp. 6-7 Peoples Mandate Committee For Inter-American Peace and Cooperation, United American Action for Lasting Peace, pp. 6-7.

See appendix: Peoples Mandate Committee at the Paris Peace Conference, p. 10, for a somewhat fuller description of the 1937 Flying Caravan and 1939 Good Will Tour. Although this document does not always bring out her own part in these projects, she confirms that, though others may have been the honorary heads, she planned and directed the Flying Caravan and also organized and conducted the Good Will Tour of the United States.

Rebecca Hourwich Reyher gives a vivid description of the 1937 Flying Caravan in her memoirs recorded by the University of California Regional Oral History Office. Section 9 of Mrs. Reyher's memoirs also gives a description of Mabel Vernon at the time she urged Rebecca Reyher to be a member of the Flying Caravan.

In a conversation December 13, 1974, Mabel Vernon said,

"I've been trying to remember how we financed the Flying Caravan of envoys who went to Latin America to get support for the Buenos Aires treaties. Now I remember that we got businessmen interested. I used to have meetings of them in New York."
Mabel Vernon in a conversation with Amelia R. Fry, December 13, 1974.

A letter from Mabel Vernon dated January 27, 1943, states that Mrs. Bancroft Davis of Washington gave $10,000 to begin the Peoples Mandate in 1935. Letters from Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin during the 1930s indicate that fund raising for the work of the Peoples Mandate Committee was one of her constant concerns. [Ed.]

Then, in 1939, we invited representatives
115
of the Latin American countries in the inter-American organization [to come to the U.S.A.]. We didn't have many; I think we had only five representatives. We had Argentina, Peru, who did come. Consuelo, do you remember them? Well, we had five countries represented. And we took them all over the country [U.S.A.] in a special car. I was following the suffrage practices again. That really was very successful.


Fry

I am groping around here trying to remember what my history book said on our Latin American relations in those years. Was there any State Department policy?


Vernon

Well, there was the Good Neighbor Policy.


Fry

Now, what was your connection with the development of that policy, if anything?


Vernon

Well, I always thought that Summer Welles was the author of the Good Neighbor Policy more than any other person, but Ernest Gruening tells me that he, Ernest, was.


Fry

Well, that is typical in historical research.


Vernon

Well, that was because Ernest was an advisor to the United States delegation to the Montevideo conference. That was in 1933.


Fry

So they probably both had a great deal to do with it.


Vernon

Right.


Fry

And I suppose that you were keeping both men well informed and they were quite aware of--


Vernon

Oh, I didn't have any connection with Ernest then. Ernest has told me this in recent years, hasn't he, darling?


Reyes

Yes.



116
Vernon

Well, and Ernest is writing his autobiography now [1972], by the way, so Mrs. Gruening tells me. And this [Gruening's role as advisor to the U.S. delegation at the Seventh Inter-American Conference, Montevideo] is in a little book that tells about Gruening of Alaska.

58.  Sherwood Ross, Gruening of Alaska, New York: Best Book, 1968. pp. 72-89.

And he tells about his work in the American delegation to Montevideo; that was 1933. And Doris went down there, you know, too. This is Woman's Party history again. I didn't have anything to do with it. But she went down there to get them to adopt a nationality treaty, and they did. I've forgotten just what the sequence was there.


Fry

This would have been in the '30s.


Vernon

That was '32. Was it '32 or '33? Ernest will tell us, he's right there. He's on my windowsill! [Laughter]


Fry

When did you stop work with the Peoples Mandate?


Vernon

Oh, I don't know, and I wish I hadn't. I wish I hadn't, darling. If I had had a leg to walk on, I should have kept it up.


Fry

Did you go on through World War II?


Vernon

When did World War II stop?


Fry

Forty-five.


Vernon

Well, we went beyond that.


Reyes

After Mr. Roosevelt died.


Vernon

Well, we went on till '55, I think.


Fry

Oh, you did. You went through the Korean War, too. What did you do in the Korean War?


Vernon

I don't know.


Reyes

I think that you stopped working on the Peoples Mandate about two years after we came here. [Boston House, Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C.]


Vernon

Well, we came here in '51, darling. But I think I went to San Francisco in '55, around there. They had a Republican national convention or something. That would be '54, wouldn't it? I don't know. But I


117
know that I have felt since these terrible things have occurred, I wish I could raise up my voice and protest.


Fry

Especially now with the Vietnamese situation.


Vernon

Well, especially with the whole south India, west India--


Fry

Oh, you mean Bangladesh?


Vernon

Well, all of it. Don't you call Vietnam Southwest India, darling?


Fry

No. Indonesia maybe.


Vernon

No, no.


Fry

But you are referring to Vietnam?


Vernon

I am referring to Vietnam and the whole--and Cambodia.


Fry

The whole Indo-China conflict.


Vernon

That's what I wanted to say. Indo-China is what I wanted to say, darling.


Fry

Did the Peoples Mandate Committee go on even when you were no longer working with it?


Vernon

No, I'm afraid not.


Fry

Well, Mabel, were you active in anything after Peoples Mandate?


Vernon

Mercy, no. If I had been able to be active in anything, I would have kept on with it, darling.

59. In a later conversation, February 1975, in which Mabel Vernon and I were discussing the importance of the Peoples Mandate Committee, Mabel Vernon remarked wistfully,

"Alice Paul never paid any attention to the Peoples Mandate."
Mabel Vernon in a conversation with Amelia R. Fry, February 1975. [Ed.]


Fry

Where were you living during your work with the Peoples Mandate?


Vernon

Well, I lived with Joy Young, whom I knew from Woman's Party days, and later at the Ontario Apartments.


Fry

Oh, but it was in D.C.



118
Vernon

We had an office here. We had a very attractive office down at the Hay-Adams House, didn't we, darling? Until 1951. We moved here [Boston House] in '51. But that was a wonderful office down there. It was central, right across from the State Department, you know. So easy to run over.


Fry

Yes, to see your friend Sumner.


Vernon

Well, he left in 1943, I am sorry to say.


Fry

I think you've done a heroic job this afternoon. Bolstered with the tea and sweet bites.


United Nations, 1945: Luncheon for Latin American Delegates; Work for Rights Clause in Charter and Against Veto Power

Fry

And you went to San Francisco in 1945?


Vernon

You know what happened then?


Fry

I think we had a United Nations born.


Vernon

That was it. It was the birth of the United Nations. And we went. The Peoples Mandate had an inter-American delegation there. That's when the sisters from Mexico, Alicia and Esther Saavedra, first appeared. Those have remained our friends.

I think one of the first things we did was to have a luncheon in honor of the Latin American delegates to the conference. And, of course, I invited Sara to come down and be the speaker at the luncheon. I guess it was at the St. Francis. I don't remember where it was, but that was more or less headquarters. That was the hotel that I was most familiar with on account of my Nevada experience. That's where Anne [Martin] always stayed. So I was familiar with the St. Francis. And we had a luncheon there, and that's where Adelia spoke too, darling. Adelia Formoso. She was the head--I wonder if she still is--of a women's university. Your friend Dohenia would know her, in Mexico City. She was at the conference for the organization of the United Nations, and she spoke at the luncheon. Well, it was a beautiful luncheon, and Sara spoke beautifully as usual.

I will never forget Sara's speaking, darling.


Fry

What was the purpose of the luncheon? Was this a push to get an equal rights clause written in?



119
Vernon

Oh, no. That came--well, Anita [Pollitzer] came out, and of course Sara helped too. Alice gives Sara great credit because she spoke to Archibald MacLeish. Did you ever hear the story? Alice will tell it to you. I never knew about it much.


Fry

But Anita also helped to get that in? What did she do?


Vernon

Oh, of course. One of the people whom I give the principal credit to for it is Bertha Lutz, who was a member of the Brazilian delegation. Does that name mean anything to you?


Fry

Yes. That sounds familiar.


Vernon

She is a very able woman in Brazil and a member of the Inter-American Commission of Women. I guess she still is, isn't she, darling? I am not in as close touch with the Inter-American Commission as I should be.


Fry

Well--


Vernon

And Minerva [Bernardino]. Minerva was the chairman of the Inter-American Commission, and she came from the Dominican Republic, of all places. But I give those women great credit too. Alice gives all the credit to what we did, and great credit to Sara, because she talked to Archibald MacLeish and Archibald MacLeish talked to somebody. I don't know whether MacLeish was a member of a delegation or an advisor to a delegation, but Alice can tell you about things like that.


Fry

And what were these other women? What positions were they in?


Vernon

What women?


Fry

Bertha Lutz and Minerva Bernardino.


Vernon

Well, Bertha was a member of the Brazilian delegation, and Minerva was a member of the Dominican delegation. They were women from Latin America. I don't remember whether Bertha spoke to the conference or not. I've forgotten.


Fry

Was the luncheon just to get all of you together?


Vernon

Yes, it was in honor of the Latin American delegates, as I remember.


Fry

Did you work with the Human Rights Commission at all?


Vernon

It didn't exist then, darling.



120
Fry

Didn't they have a committee that was working on the wording of the human rights declaration?


Vernon

I don't know. But the Human Rights Commission didn't come into existence for some time.


Fry

Well, I meant a commission or a committee or a group who were trying to work out the tenets.


Vernon

I don't know. If it existed then, I didn't have any connection with it.


Fry

Do you have any memory of what some of your tasks were during that very important period during the formation of the United Nations?


Vernon

What?


Reyes

Miss Vernita, I remember very well that you worked very much against the veto.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

The Security Council veto?


Vernon

That was our principal objective, I think--to defeat the veto. We didn't succeed.


Fry

Who were you working through principally, to get that veto defeated?


Vernon

Well, we worked right there with the delegates. And then when I came back here, I worked with members of the Senate. I can remember Bob La Follette who said, "I can tell you, Miss Vernon, you will never get that through. We wouldn't vote for it [the charter] without the veto."


Fry

So you were having to fight both the U.S. powers and the Russian powers on that veto, weren't you?


Reyes

And I understand the first nation that used the veto was Russia. The first one.


Vernon

Well, darling. I did want you to know that I helped Sara at that time.


Fry

You know, she hardly remembers that at all.


Vernon

Well, it probably was a very small incident.


Fry

In her life. Contacting Archibald MacLeish.



121
Vernon

Oh, I don't know about that. That's Alice's story, darling. Alice has told me, or I have heard her tell other people, that that was the principal thing, which I very much doubt.


Fry

Something like that usually takes the efforts of a number of people. But if you can talk to enough people, you can sort of piece together a picture.


Vernon

And as I remember, the Woman's Party delegation that was principally Mrs. Williams of New York and Anita, didn't appear until quite late--but I don't tell Alice these things. No use in my disparaging the part that the Woman's Party played.


Fry

Well, their duty is to tell the part that they did play.


Vernon

Well, she will tell you that, and then she will probably add that the principal thing was that Sara Bard Field got Archibald--


Fry

To put the equal rights phrase into the human rights--


Vernon

Into the charter. Into the United Nations charter. It's a good thing it's there--a wonderful thing it's there.


Fry

I always marvel at the fact that it got in.

Did you work at all with Adlai Stevenson?


Vernon

On what, darling?


Fry

On anything at the United Nations?


Vernon

You mean after he was appointed?


Fry

No, I mean then--in 1945.


Vernon

No, I don't even remember him in 1945.


Fry

He was there as a part of the American delegation. Well, I really will let you off the hook this time.



122

Interview IV, April 27, 1973

4. IV Additional Thoughts on People and Techniques in Campaigns for Suffrage and Equal Rights

Campaigning for Suffrage in the South and West, 1914

Fry

These are just kind of chatty little letters from you on June 22, 1914, to Anne Martin. You were kind of holding down her office in Reno while she was somewhere else.


Vernon

June 22, 1914--[Looks at letters]


Fry

Can you read them?


Vernon

Oh, yes. [Tape off briefly]


Fry

Who was Pittman [Key] then?


Vernon

Senator from Nevada.


Fry

Oh. Did you have his endorsement for the campaign?


Vernon

Oh, yes. He was a great friend. [Reading from letter]

"I dined with the Belfords yesterday. Mr. Belford was very outspoken in his disapproval of paying any attention to Pittman."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 22, 1914. [From the Anne Martin collection at The Bancroft Library.] [Laughter] That's Belford, Sam Belford. I wonder--[Returns to reading letters]

Here's an interesting thing about Pittman that I didn't know. He didn't vote for the national amendment.

60. The letter being read states,

"I had a letter from Miss Paul this morning in which she says that Mrs. Pittman did her best to induce the Senator to vote for the amendment, but he felt that he had nothing to fear from the women of Nevada in refusing to give it his support."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 22, 1914. [From the Anne Martin collection at The Bancroft Library.] Filed in The Bancroft Library. See appendix.

[Pauses and returns to letters]


123

[Laughter, reading from letter]

"It would be better to sell lemonade at the Thomas Cafe rather than at the park fountain."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 22, 1914. [From the Anne Martin collection at The Bancroft Library.]


Fry

Oh, yes. That looked like just an example of the little, small daily hassles that you had to contend with. [Laughter]


Vernon

Yes. [Reading from letter]

"We had another big street meeting last Saturday night." All those Reno meetings were famous." Mr. and Mrs. Bidwell"--that doesn't mean anything--"and I sallied forth about nine o'clock and did not conclude the meeting until 11:20. So, you can guess that the people were interested and asked a great many questions. These street meetings convince me more and more that we are going to win next November, for the sympathy of the crowd was so evidently in favor of suffrage."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 22, 1914. [From the Anne Martin collection at The Bancroft Library.] But Reno went against it.


Fry

All right. So, it must have been your work in the outlying areas [that brought success].


Vernon

Oh, it was, and we knew that. We knew that all along. We had Mrs. Belford, who was an officer in the Equal Franchise League. She was helpful.


Fry

Mrs. who?


Vernon

Belford. Sam Belford was a prominent politician, a prominent Democrat. He was a lawyer. [Reading from letter]

"There is a chance that we can get the first prize of $75."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 22, 1914. [From the Anne Martin collection at the Bancroft Library.] [Laughter] I wonder if we got it.

[Reading from letter]

"I congratulate you upon obtaining some money for our work!"
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 22, 1914. Mrs. Elizabeth Kent was our big contributor. She was the wife of Representative William Kent of California. He was one of the liberals. Anne had known Mrs. Kent in national suffrage work. So she gave money both to the Nevada suffrage campaign and to Anne's senatorial campaign.


Fry

Were there others from outside Nevada who gave financial support for the suffrage campaign there?


Vernon

Many. In fact, I think most of our financial support came from outside of Nevada. [Reading from letter]

"Miss Anne Martin, Hotel Cecil, Post and Mason Streets."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914. I don't remember the Cecil. I remember the Bellevue.


Fry

That sounds as though she was in San Francisco.


Vernon

Yes, she was. Post and Mason Streets.



124
Fry

What's the date on that letter, Mabel?


Vernon

June 15. I have two letters here, one June 22, the other June 15. The earlier one is June 15.

[Reads from letter]

"Mr. Bidwell stood beside the car and formed an audience of one until I could get a crowd. It did not take long until over two hundred people gathered." [Pause] "The meeting lasted till about 10:45."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914. [From the Anne Martin collection at The Bancroft Library.] We got home early that night!


Fry

Yes!


Vernon

[Reading from letter]

"I missed you terribly yesterday when I was preparing the column for the [Nevada State] Journal. I was utterly destitute of ideas."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914. [Laughter]


Fry

[Laughter] Do you think you really were?


Vernon

[Continues reading]

"I only hope you will approve the one I finally struck. I am enclosing the bulletin for the Journal. "
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914.


Fry

Did you have a regular column that the Journal gave you space for?


Vernon

Apparently. I had forgotten. I wrote articles for both the Nevada State Journal and the Gazette--both Reno papers. [Begins reading from letter]

"I am going to Lovelock tomorrow." [Pause]

[Laughter] "Miss Morrow"--she was the secretary, Nell Morrow--"has advanced to September 1912 of her scrapbook and has used up all the paste."

Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914. [Laughter]


Fry

[Laughter] Yes! So, it had been a long campaign!


Vernon

Yes. [Pause] [Begins reading from letter]

"I would like to have you know that although I have not yet gone to Mrs. Holmes's"--I don't know what that is--"I am eating two square meals every day and therefore am in most vigorous health and spirit."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914.


Fry

Yes. It sounded as though she had been harping on you to eat regularly.


Vernon

Maybe so. [Reads again]

"Don't think about suffrage any more than you can possibly help." [Pause] "Judge Coleman [Ben W.] called at headquarters on Saturday." And then I mention "Suffragette Sam--Mr. Belford, better known as Suffragette Sam."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914.


Fry

Oh! [Laughter] Was he one of your major, major helpers?


Vernon

Oh, yes. And Mrs. Belford was one of our good members, a very good-


125
looking woman. Frances Belford--did you ever hear of her? She was on the Denver Post. She was his sister.


Fry

Oh, she was on the Denver Post?


Vernon

Frances Belford. That's Mr. Belford's sister.

[Begins reading from letter]

"I was very cordial to Judge Coleman." Well, I don't know who he is. "Mr. Belford had rather alarmed Judge Coleman about your letter to Senator Pittman by saying he thought it might antagonize Pittman and his adherents. I showed Judge Coleman both Senator Pittman's letter and your response to it, and he agreed with me that no harm could possibly come from such a fair and courteous reply."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, June 15, 1914. Well, we treated Pittman very well, even though we came to the point in the Wilson campaign (you know, in 1916, after we'd won suffrage in Nevada) where we opposed President Wilson and all Democrats; and that meant we had to oppose the Democrats running for Congress in Nevada. It was very hard to oppose men who had been our friends, good friends.


Fry

And that included Pittman, right?


Vernon

I'm just trying to think whether Pittman was running that year, but it meant opposing Pittman's party.


Fry

Yes. Well, in this letter, which was June of 1914, it sounds as though Pittman was not on your side yet.


Vernon

Was not on our side?


Fry

Was he on your side at the time that letter was written?


Vernon

Yes. He was always on our side in the Nevada campaign.

61. In Mabel Vernon's letter of June 22, 1914 to Anne Martin, she stated that Senator Key Pittman had not voted for the national amendment. However, on the letterhead of that letter he is listed as a member of the advisory board of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society.


Fry

Oh. Are those letters fairly typical of the kind of work that you had to do daily?


Vernon

No.


Fry

No?



126
Vernon

I did a great deal of campaigning. This was only while Anne was away.


Fry

I see.


Vernon

I traveled through the state. The first thing I did when I got to Nevada was to make a tour of all the county seats in Nevada.


Fry

Oh, yes. Was that for the purpose of getting them acquainted with you, or vice versa?


Vernon

It was for the purpose of getting them stirred up for the campaign, which was approaching in the fall. I got there in April or something like that, or May, and they were going to vote in November. These county committees had to be stirred up, or organized where we didn't have one.

You notice I say something about stirring up twelve counties. Of course, they didn't seem to have much suffrage interest up there. Clark was a big county. I think that's where Las Vegas is. There was no Las Vegas then, except a railroad junction and a county seat. Quite different from what it is today!


Fry

[Laughter] Yes, it certainly is! And before the time of Howard Hughes.


Vernon

How well do you know Nevada, darling?


Fry

Not very well.


Vernon

Reno?


Fry

That's about it. Well, I thought you'd like to see that.


Vernon

Oh, I do.


Fry

Let's see. Mabel, I want to pick up a few questions from last time, if I could just ask you a few.


Vernon

All right, darling.


Fry

In 1914, on your way out to Nevada, you took a round-about way to get there and did a lot of organizing in states along the way.


Vernon

Yes, along the way.


Fry

And you described that. You also made the statement that some of those little towns that you passed through were just wonderful, and I wondered if you could enlarge on that. Do you remember any specifically?



127
Vernon

That's what I was wondering when you say that, what little towns I was thinking of.

62. Miss Vernon again recalled Fairmont, West Virginia, and Yazoo City, Mississippi, but without further detail. After the New Orleans stop, she again recalled San Antonio, but with no more detail than previously given. [Ed.]

But the first big town I got to, I guess, was New Orleans. I had a marvelous time there, and I probably introduced open-air meetings. I've forgotten. But I spoke on Canal Street. Do you know New Orleans?


Fry

Oh, yes. Yes, indeed.


Vernon

Well, I spoke down from an automobile down on Canal Street. We had a good branch there.


Fry

You did already?


Vernon

Well, we had a good branch. We had some good women there--active and interested. Then, I remember, they took me to a place where we got frozen daiquiris.


Fry

Oh, of course.


Vernon

It was a famous place. But women weren't allowed to go in. We stood outside and drank. [Laughter]


Fry

Oh, really?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Did the women always do that--stand out on the sidewalk and drink them?


Vernon

I don't know, but they took me there.


Fry

Mabel, before you get to the West, let me ask you about your impressions of the South, because in the notes and papers that you read, the South had peculiar problems about suffrage because they were very sensitive about the Negro vote that would be enlarged in case women's suffrage passed.


Vernon

Well, of course, I saw only a selected few. I don't remember the newspapers.


Fry

Yes. Do you remember having to answer any questions about that?



128
Vernon

I don't remember that. Do you mean in the street crowds, for instance?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

New Orleans. [Pause] Every place I went, I thought the people were friendly, always so friendly.


Fry

Did you ever notice any hostility from the crowds in the South?


Vernon

No, no.


Fry

What about little western towns, as you went on through Texas and New Mexico and so forth?


Vernon

I didn't do much speaking in Texas and New Mexico. I went to Albuquerque but I didn't go into the little towns on my way West.


Fry

Oh. Let's see. You must have gone by train. Is that right?


Vernon

Oh, sure. How else? [Laughter]


Fry

I know. [Laughter] That was all there was, wasn't it?


Vernon

1914!


Fry

Yes. You found that out the next year! [Laughter]


Vernon

That's right, that's right! 1915.


Fry

Well, I just thought you might have some other little memories in your mind about going through those small towns where people rarely saw--


Vernon

Well, I didn't speak in many small towns, darling, as I remember it. You see, my purpose was to get in touch with the women who were going to arrange for these demonstrations on the second of May, or something like that, when we were getting up a petition to Congress and a big delegation. That big delegation was to come on the ninth of May. We had a monstrous celebration/demonstration in Washington, and I was preparing people for that. That was the idea.


Fry

And they were all sending people to Washington for that?


Vernon

That was the idea, to gather petitions for the representatives to carry to Washington.



129

Portrait of Anne Martin

Fry

You mentioned that Anne Martin, when you were working for her, let you live in her house with her and her mother on Mill Street.


Vernon

Oh, not "let me live." I was treated as a--[laughter]--


Fry

As a guest?


Vernon

Oh, certainly, and by Dick, the cook. He was Chinese and very temperamental, but his cooking was very good. And I had a beautiful room, a front room.


Fry

Oh, you did?


Vernon

Oh, yes! A guest room that was beautiful.


Fry

Was that a really beautiful house for Nevada in those days?


Vernon

Oh, yes! I guess her father had built it. I don't remember. He was quite a wealthy man, a banker, in Reno. That was Anne's father. William O'Hara his name was. Anne was very proud of her father, and he was the president of the Washoe County Bank. So, they did have a nice house down on Mill Street.


Fry

Tell me all you can tell me about Anne because we have the papers from her campaign, but what I need are descriptions of what she was like and so forth. Now, if her father's name was O'Hara--


Vernon

She was Irish. She had an Irish semblance too--blue eyes and good coloring.


Fry

Why was her name Martin?


Vernon

Well, that was his name--William O'Hara Martin. I was just giving you his first name.

She was extremely well-educated, traveled, cultivated. You don't know anything about her?


Fry

No, I don't.


Vernon

You never saw a picture of her?


Fry

I did. There's a picture over in the collection at The Bancroft, some of her campaign pictures.



130
Vernon

Very good.


Fry

She looks very healthy.


Vernon

She was. She was very good-looking. She had hair like Consuelo's, but--


Fry

Wavy?


Vernon

Wavy, you know.


Fry

Was it brown?


Vernon

Well, touches of gray were coming--


Fry

When you knew her?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

But it had been brown?


Vernon

Oh, yes.

Well, you know, she lived in England for a long time and was associated with the militants there for a little while. She told a story about going to jail and Herbert Hoover, who was a great friend of hers--did you know that?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Herbert Hoover. She later separated from him, but they were in Stanford [University]. Mrs. Hoover was a member of Anne's fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Herbert came to school at Stanford. I don't think it was for many years, but he was there a year or so, and Anne got acquainted with him there. She knew him before he married Lou. Lou Henry her name was.


Fry

Oh. Do you think she and Hoover dated?


Vernon

Anne and Hoover? Not that I know of. But he became an engineer, you know, who traveled all over. He was in China, and he came to England and was living there at the time that Anne was there. But when Anne was arrested, he came down and bailed her out; and that was against the regulations, of course. You weren't permitted to be bailed out.


Fry

Yes. You were supposed to stay there without bail.



131
Vernon

Oh, yes. So, Herbert violated the rules. He gave Anne jewelry. He liked her. There's no doubt about it. I used to wear a necklace that he selected for her.


Fry

Oh, really?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Well, it does sound like he was very fond of her.


Vernon

Oh, he was, no doubt.


Fry

Did you say that their friendship cooled a little later?


Vernon

Later, later in years.


Fry

Politically?


Vernon

When he came here, you know, as the food administrator, I guess it was. Anne differed with some of his policies, I think.


Fry

In Washington?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Was she a person who had a calm and placid personality and never got excited, or was she vivacious and lively?


Vernon

Well, at times she was lively, but she was a person of great dignity, I think. I wonder if--well, you say you have pictures of her. I was very fond of her, became very fond of her. It was a little difficult for me when I first went to Reno because she was a far more rigid person than I'd been, and Sara helped me greatly there.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Did Sara ever tell you?


Fry

No. You mentioned that when I was here before, that Sara had helped--


Vernon

She helped me understand Anne better and adjust to her better. I was rather unhappy for a little time there because of Anne's strict ideas of what I should do, or something like that. I've forgotten. But I know that Sara, when she found me rather distressed in the toilet one day [laughter], cheered me up.


Fry

Oh, and she was able to kind of explain Anne to you?



132
Vernon

That's it, yes, to show me that these things were surface things.


Fry

Yes. How single-minded was Anne in politics and so forth?


Vernon

I don't know what you mean by "single-minded."


Fry

Well, you know how some people can work at a job, like a political campaign or something like this, and this is their entire life. Other people can do that, but they'll also take time off and have a few side interests.


Vernon

I think she was "single-minded" about political concerns. But when we were in Nevada, she was a horseback rider from time to time. She would go up into the mountains. The first expedition I took with her, I'd never been on a horse, except for an old barn horse out on my father's farm. She took me off on an all-day horseback ride in the mountains, up Mt. Rose. It was something for me, believe me, but I survived!


Fry

Oh, poor Mabel! [Laughter]


Vernon

Poor Mabel! But I survived. I don't think I complained. [Laughter]


Fry

But that was a beautiful ride, I'll bet.


Vernon

Yes. We climbed the mountain. And I think Anne had won a tennis championship before I got to Nevada.


Fry

Was she an easy person to be friendly with? Was she outgoing and what you usually think of as a--?


Vernon

Well, she selected the people she liked.


Fry

She was very socially discriminating in the choice of her own friends?


Vernon

I think so.


Fry

What were her mother and father like?


Vernon

I didn't know her father at all. He had died. But her mother was very helpful to the campaign; and it wasn't easy for her, of course, to take our irregular hours and irregular meals and things like that. We had to try to comply with Mrs. Martin's domestic arrangements and Dick's. She had to consider Dick, the Chinese cook, but she was very nice. Probably had been quite prominent in society in Reno in her time.


133

I may have told you--this was later, 1916, in the Wilson campaign--I was speaking down on Virginia Street, right in the principal street, and a woman began to--well, she was probably drunk. I'm not sure. Didn't I tell you that story?


Fry

Oh, yes, you did.


Vernon

And how she said, "Vote for Wilson. He kept us out of war." And some way, Mrs. Martin got down there I guess she heard that I was being besieged, and down she came to stand beside me. She thought that I was in some danger. Well, that shows what kind she was.

The chief of police came and asked Mrs. Martin if she wouldn't please take me home [laughter], get me to go home. So, I said, "Well, you disperse this crowd, and then I'll go."


Fry

Did he disperse the crowd?


Vernon

I guess so. But I always remembered Mrs. Martin standing there beside me.


Fry

What else did Anne like to do in the way of recreation or enjoyment? I'm trying to ask you things that are not in her papers, because her papers are all political, you know.


Vernon

I'm just trying to think what she did here in Washington. She came and was the original chairman of the Woman's Party. You know that, don't you, darling?


Fry

Yes. That was in 1916.


Vernon

Yes. But before we formed the Woman's Party--when we were just the Congressional Union--Anne conducted the famous--do you know about Maud Younger, darling?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Oh, you don't know about her?


Fry

Well, I do, but I want you to tell me. I know a little bit, not much.


Vernon

I don't know. I can't tell you a great deal about Maud. But when Anne came to Washington and became chairman of the legislative department of the Congressional Union in 1916--a central department to the whole effort--Maud was the chairman of the lobbying committee, which led to some, I guess, collision between the two. They weren't particularly congenial.


134

So, all that I knew about Anne here in Washington was in connection with the work, most of the time.


Fry

Well, Maud Younger had been working for quite a while in the lobbying and had some pretty well-organized files on it, according to some things I read in--


Vernon

Maud didn't organize those files, darling.


Fry

Oh, didn't she?


Vernon

No, of course not. She had worked on the lobbying and probably had some notes scattered all over. She was that kind--disorganized. But it was Anne who organized those files.


Fry

Oh, it was?


Vernon

They became famous.


Fry

Yes, they did.


Vernon

But it was Anne's work more than--that is, the organization of them.


Fry

Yes, organized under the name of each congressman.


Vernon

Yes. Maud did the personal work, that's true.


Fry

You mean going out and visiting the congressmen?


Vernon

Yes. With some congressmen she got along very well, a great friend of Curtis [Senator Charles], for instance.


Fry

Well, is this to say that Anne did not do the actual office-to-office lobbying? She did more--


Vernon

I don't know what you mean by--oh, you mean--


Fry

Anne didn't go over on the Hill as much as Maud Younger. Is that right?


Vernon

No, but she did selected lobbying, Anne did. Alice might tell you a different story about Maud, because she was very partial to Maud.


Fry

Oh, she was?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Well, why did Anne come to Washington?



135
Vernon

She came to be the congressional chairman for the Woman's Party, darling.


Fry

Was she asked to be it?


Vernon

Of, of course.


Fry

I thought maybe she wrote and said, "Now that my campaign's over, I'd like to do something."


Vernon

Oh, no. She was asked. It was some time in '16, wasn't it, that she came? I have notes on it.


Fry

We'll have to look that up.

63. According to Inez Irwin,

"during 1916, the central department of the Congressional Union--the legislative--was in the hands of Anne Martin."
Inez Irwin, Up Hill With Banners Flying, 2nd ed., p. 133ff. Her activities in the early months of 1916 and throughout the year are listed. 2nd ed., p. 133ff.


Vernon

Let's see. We came from Nevada, Anne and I, in December of 1914 and went immediately to the national convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Nashville. That was being held in Nashville. We reported on the Nevada campaign there and then came on to Washington. So, Anne first came--that is, after the Nevada campaign--in December of 1914. I can't say exactly when she became, but it's in Alice's notes, the congressional chairman.


Fry

By Alice's notes, you mean some things that she's put together for this narrative that--


Vernon

That we're going to make. I wish we'd make it, darling.


Fry

Yes. We've got to get you two together to do that. It's hard when Alice is in Connecticut and you're down here.


Vernon

Well, we've been trying to. But we could do it together very quickly and, I think, easily; but we're not together.


Fry

Yes. Well, let's see. Did Anne stay with the Woman's Party, then, all through until suffrage?


Vernon

Yes. And, you know, when the Woman's Party was formed, this was still the Congressional Union until we formed the Woman's Party, until 1916, and Anne was the first chairman of the Woman's Party. I was the


136
secretary. You see, we were women voters in the beginning, when the Woman's Party was organized. Do you know about the organization of the Woman's Party, darling?


Fry

You mean the convention in Chicago?


Vernon

That's right, a women voters' convention, and Anne was elected chairman and I was elected secretary. I've forgotten the rest, but, at any rate, we were at the Blackstone Theatre in Chicago. That was 1916 when the Woman's Party was organized.

Then, when we met--I guess it was in 1917--the Congressional Union decided to merge with--


Fry

The Woman's Party.


Vernon

Yes, with the Woman's Party.


Fry

And you became one. Well, the Woman's Party was made up of voters and you were counted as a voter because you had--


Vernon

Because I had voted in Nevada. I voted in '16, I guess, because I took part in that Wilson campaign.


Fry

You know, some of the books that I've been reading all refer to Alice Paul's very strong administration of the whole organization, including the Congressional Union and the National Woman's Party. I wonder what latitude the chairman had who worked under Alice Paul.


Vernon

I don't understand.


Fry

I wonder how much decision-making a chairman could do who worked under Alice Paul.


Vernon

I know, but that didn't continue after the Woman's Party and the Congressional Union joined. Then Alice became the national chairman.


Fry

Oh, I see.


Vernon

Anne Martin was the chairman of the Woman's Party until the Woman's Party and the Congressional Union consolidated. After they consolidated, Alice was elected chairman.


Fry

Yes. Well, how was it up to that time?


Vernon

Oh, it wasn't long enough to be any conflict.



137

Cross-country Envoys, 1915: Syracuse Stop

Fry

There's just a small item I need from you, Mabel. When we were talking about your campaign trip in the automobile across the country with Sara in 1915, you said that Mrs. Hazard at Syracuse was a marvelous woman.


Vernon

She was.


Fry

And I wanted you to explain what you meant.


Vernon

Mrs. Hazard?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, Mrs. Hazard had been a member of Mrs. Blatch's society.


Fry

Oh, Harriot Stanton Blatch?


Vernon

Harriot Stanton. You know, she organized all through the United States and Mrs. Hazard had been one of her members. So, when we got to Syracuse, we had this very good organization. Mrs. Hazard took us to her home. Did I tell anything about it?


Fry

No.


Vernon

A beautiful home. He was the head of some works--chemical or something like that--that were very famous in Syracuse. They had a beautiful home on the edge of town and that's where we stayed while we were in Syracuse.


Fry

Oh, how nice.


Vernon

I don't remember what we did in Syracuse.


Fry

It sounds like she was probably pretty influential too.


Vernon

Oh, she was, of course. I've had contact with her daughter until the last, I guess, ten years--Mrs. Foster Hunt of Providence. She was Mrs. Hazard's daughter and her name was Dorothy Hazard Thompson. I wish I still had contact with her. She gave us lots of money in her time, Dorothy did.


Fry

Oh, her daughter?


Vernon

She continued to support the Peoples Mandate Committee up to the very end.


138

Did you learn anything from Anne's papers about the Peoples Mandate Committee?


Fry

Yes. And when we get to that, I have some things to show you. I got some good stuff on it.


Vernon

We found a good bit of stuff. [Speaking to another person] Well, you should show Chita some of the pamphlets of the Peoples Mandate Committee. I think she'd be interested.


Fry

Oh, I certainly would.


Vernon

Do you have any questions on that?


Fry

Yes. Let's wait. I want to run down these.


Vernon

All right, honey, you go ahead.


Shafroth-Palmer Amendment, 1914: Confusion Caused

Fry

Do you remember the Shafroth-Palmer amendment that Senator Shafroth [John Franklin] put up?


Vernon

Oh, of course, darling. You know about the Shafroth-Palmer?


Fry

I know it caused a lot of confusion because weren't there two suffrage amendments in Congress at the same time?


Vernon

Well, you see, when we were working so diligently and with absolute concentration on the national suffrage--I won't call it the Susan B. Anthony amendment, I don't think that's fair, darling--


Fry

Oh, really?


Vernon

It wasn't--I notice a book I have, written by Susan B. Anthony's great niece. They speak about the "Susan B. Anthony amendment." Well, it should never have been called that, of course, because it wasn't she who worded that amendment. It was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I think Alma [Lutz] has pretty well established that, and I agree with her.

64.  Harriot Stanton Blatch and Alma Lutz, Challenging Years: The Memoirs of Harriot Stanton Blatch. New York: Putnam's, 1940. Pp. 248-249 .

But calling it the Susan B. Anthony amendment was Alice
139
Paul's idea, you see, apparently without Alice's knowing how much Elizabeth Cady Stanton had had to do with it. We were concentrating on the so-called Susan B. Anthony amendment and the National Suffrage Association [National Woman Suffrage Association], I guess, felt that it was being cut out of this campaign. And Ruth Hanna McCormick--does that name mean anything to you?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Well, her father was Mark Hanna.


Fry

Oh, Mark Hanna I know from my days in Ohio. He was the most powerful figure in Ohio.


Vernon

Well, she was his daughter, Ruth was. She married Medill McCormick. What was he? Senator, or something? But, at any rate, she got this idea that they would have another amendment. I may not get all of this straight, but this was an amendment to make it possible for the states to vote on woman suffrage. But we didn't need an amendment of that kind. The states already--I'd have to refresh my memory on the Shafroth-Palmer amendment. But she thought Shafroth--I guess it was Shafroth from Colorado and Palmer--was it possible that Mitchell Palmer was in on this thing? But they introduced it into Congress, the Shafroth-Palmer amendment, and it caused a division of effort in the suffrage ranks.

65. 

"The board of the National American Association endorsed the Shafroth-Palmer Amendment but it was bitterly debated in their 1914 Convention.... Finally in December 1915, at their Washington Convention, the National American Association rescinded the previous year's action on the Shafroth-Palmer Amendment and reendorsed the Bristow-Mondell Amendment."
Harriot Stanton Blatch and Alma Lutz, Challenging Years: The Memoirs of Harriot Stanton Blatch, pp. 246-247. [Blatch and Lutz, op. cit., pp. 246-247.]

We had to fight the Shafroth-Palmer amendment as well as fight the anti-suffragists.


Fry

Yes. It was a big, long amendment. I think the main argument against it was that--


66. The Shafroth-Palmer amendment stated.

"Whenever any number of legal voters of any State to a number exceeding eight per cent of the number of legal voters voting at the last preceding General Election held in such a State shall petition for the submission to the legal voters of said State of the question whether women shall have equal rights with men in respect to voting at all elections to be held in such State, such question shall be so submitted; and if, upon such submission, a majority of the legal voters of the State voting on the question shall vote in favor of granting to women such equal rights, the same shall thereupon be established, anything in the Constitution or laws of such State to the contrary notwithstanding."
Harriot Stanton Blatch and Alma Lutz, Challenging Years: The Memoirs of Harriot Stanton Blatch., p. 246. [Blatch and Lutz, op. cit., p. 246]


140
Vernon

It just made women's getting the vote state by state possible. It was a very, very cumbersome method.


Fry

It didn't add any rights that you didn't already have.


Vernon

No. It gave the right to vote on the amendment if there wasn't--


Fry

And I'm not sure it was an amendment to the Constitution. It was just the right to do it in that one state.


Vernon

I guess so. I've forgotten.


Fry

Yes. Well, at any rate, I wondered, since you were there--


Vernon

I was where?


Fry

In Washington, I mean, here, at the time these two amendments were in Congress. Why, I thought--


Vernon

Well, this continued for quite some time, though. It must have been continued during the whole--


Fry

Congress.


Vernon

Well, I don't know whether it went from convention to convention--the national suffrage amendment--whether they adopted the motion to work on it at a certain convention and then dropped it at the next convention. That I have forgotten. But I know that it diverted us from our work, considerably.


Fry

Yes. Did you do any lobbying on the Hill at this time?


Vernon

On the Hill? Oh, incidentally.


Fry

I wondered if you remembered having to explain to people the difference between them and so forth.


Vernon

You mean explain it in Congress?


Fry

Yes.



141
Vernon

Probably not. I probably had to do a lot of explaining to the public. Maud and Anne were the people who would have to do that kind of thing.


Woman's Party: Three "Generations" of Suffrage Workers

Fry

There was an interesting thing that I found in, I guess, Inez Haynes Irwin on page 124 [lst ed.] about the three generations of organizers in the Woman's Party. I wanted to throw this out to you and see if you agree with it. She said that in the very first generation, the first organizers who came in 1914 and '13 were you and Elsie Hill, Margaret Whittemore, Doris Stevens, Mrs. Sinclair Thompson, and Virginia Arnold.


Vernon

Who's that who came after Stevens?


Fry

Mrs. Sinclair Thompson.


Vernon

Yes, I knew her.


Fry

And Virginia Arnold.


Vernon

Yes. I wouldn't call Virginia a very active organizer. She was more a secretary-treasurer type, I think; but whether she went out organizing very much, I don't remember that.


Fry

That was a new name to me--Virginia Arnold.


Vernon

Oh, it was? She was very valuable.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, she went to jail with me.


Fry

Oh, did she?


Vernon

I think so. We were "trail-blazers."


Fry

And who was Margaret Whittemore?


Vernon

Oh, my dear, my great pal!


Fry

Your great pal? [Laughter]


Vernon

Yes! You never heard about the trip that Margaret and I took to get women elected to Congress?



142
Fry

You mentioned Margaret, and I didn't know which one it was.


Vernon

Margaret Whittemore. She was wonderful, wonderful! I can't tell you! Did it mention her among the first organizers?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

I wouldn't say that. Maybe she did some organizing that I didn't know about. She lived in Birmingham, Michigan, and her family were all very prominent and very active in the suffrage movement--her mother and her sister, Mrs. Nelson Whittemore. But I don't remember Margaret being among the first. That's very strange. Alice would know better than I. But certainly she was not among the first active organizers; she came later.

I know when she became very prominent. It was in the election campaign. She went to Oregon. Margaret went to Oregon to conduct the campaign there, and I think Mary Gertrude [went]--you know who Mary Gertrude is, Mary Gertrude Fendall. Mary Gertrude was our treasurer; but when it came time for that election campaign sign, she went out with Margaret--I think they were the two--to Oregon to conduct the campaign against the Democrats. When was that campaign? 1916?


Fry

Yes. And apparently there was some activity against the Democrats in 1914.


Vernon

1914, yes.


Fry

But the big push was--


Vernon

That's right. The big push came in '16 because, of course, in '14 it was not a presidential election; but there was some activity.


Fry

Yes. I suppose Alice decided who went where.


Vernon

Oh, yes.


Fry

Did she try to send out mostly Republicans when they had to campaign against Democrats?


Vernon

Oh, I don't think there was any thought about that. I don't know enough about their selection.


Fry

Oh. Well, I wondered how partisan some of the women felt. [Laughter]


Vernon

I don't think we were that way at all.



143
Fry

Oh. Doris Stevens was prominent for a long time in the party, as long as you were.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Because she went on through the '20s, at least.


Vernon

Yes, she did. But, you see, in the '20s she became the chairman of the Inter-American Commission of Women. That was 1928, though. That didn't happen till '28.


Fry

Yes. I have a little chronology here that I've worked out, and I do have that that came about in 1928.


Vernon

We went to Paris in 1928, did we?


Fry

1926 was Paris and 1928 was Cuba.


Vernon

Yes, Havana.


Fry

Well, let me try this second generation on you and see what you think about that. Now, I see there are no dates on these generations, but all of this happened between 1914 and 1920, so the generations aren't very long. [Laughter] Iris Calderhead, Vivian Pierce--


Vernon

I don't like this awfully much. Well, go ahead, darling. I don't care so much for this division, but go ahead.


Fry

Oh. Beulah Amidon, Lucy Branham--


Vernon

Beulah Amidon, that's right. Her father was a judge in North Dakota, a name very well-known to me, Beulah Amidon, a beautiful girl. Now, Iris and Beulah--well, go ahead.


Fry

Lucy Branham and Hazel Hunkins.


Vernon

Yes. Hazel came in '16, did she?


Fry

I don't know. It's hard to tell when these women really came, you know.


Vernon

Yes. Well, these names are all right. They were all--


Fry

These were sort of the middle ones, right?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

What was the Hazel Hunkins issue?



144
Vernon

What about Hazel?


Fry

In my notes, I refer to a "Hazel Hunkins issue."


Vernon

Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan. She married Charles Hallinan. Is that what you're trying to say?


Fry

I don't know, because it was not defined.


Vernon

Well, Hazel Hunkins was Hazel Hunkins. She was a Vassar girl. I don't know whether she was in Alma's class, 1912, or maybe a year later. I've forgotten. But, at any rate, Hazel Hunkins came to join us about '16, I think. I said I'd look that date up, didn't I? I don't know how or where she came; but, at any rate, she turned out to be a wonderful worker, organized and beautiful to look at.

When Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan and I [Ed.] had tea with Mabel Vernon, January 21, 1975, we asked her how and when she became involved with the Woman's Party. Her untaped answer was:

"In the summer of 1916, Clara Louise Rowe came to Billings, Montana. She probably had my name from a Vassar friend because Vassar was a hot-bed of people interested in suffrage at that time. I was made Montana state chairman. It didn't last long, though, because Clara Louise Rowe wanted me to go to Colorado Springs where a convention was being held. At Colorado Springs, Mabel Vernon and Alice Paul pushed me into making a speech--from the top of a car, I think--I literally died, right there on my feet, facing a crowd of men. It wasn't an original speech. I guess I just aped you, Mabel.

"Then Alice Paul asked me to go to California, under Doris Stevens' leadership, to the Panama Pacific Exposition. A boy friend of mine in San Francisco, Bill Chrispherson, had a plane. It was one of those very small planes with nothing under you, just the air. We were strapped in separate seats. I was to throw out leaflets holding the Democratic party responsible for holding up in Congress the suffrage amendment and urging people to defeat Woodrow Wilson. I threw the leaflets out over San Francisco. Bill went way up high and dived. He looked as though he were going right into San Francisco Bay. Then he leveled out and we landed in Redding. But that plane was so fragile. I remember I had on a helmet and a black suit. I should have had about a million leaflets instead of a thousand!

"Then A. P. [Alice Paul] asked me to come to Washington, which I did in November [1916] just after the elections." Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan in an untaped interview with Amelia Fry and Mabel Vernon, January 21, 1975.



145
Fry

Well, how did she become an issue?


Vernon

Was she an issue?


Fry

[Laughter] I think so, but I don't know what it was.


Vernon

I don't think she was any "issue."


Fry

[Laughter] You don't know what that would mean? I was hoping you would know.


Vernon

Well, who said she was?


Fry

Mabel, I don't know where I got it and it may be right here in Inez Irwin, if I have time to look through all of the indexes,

68. Not in Irwin, Up Hill With Banners Flying [Ed.]

but I thought this might be something you'd just know off the top of your head. There was something about it.


Vernon

Made her an issue?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

I can't think of anything. She was very active all during the--well, you probably--we have pictures here, I think, of Hazel lighting the fire in front of the White House and scaling the Lafayette monument. She and Julia [Emory] were very congenial; and that's the kind of activity they participated in along around '18 and '19, I guess.

At the meeting with Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan, January 21, 1975, she said she had just that morning looked in Lafayette Park for the urn which she had often filled with wood for the watchfires of the Woman's Party, but couldn't find it.

"As you look northwest from the White House, the urn was in that corner of the park. There aren't nearly as many trees and bushes in the park now as there were then."
Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan in an untaped interview with Amelia Fry and Mabel Vernon, January 21, 1975.

When I [Ed.] called Mrs. Hallinan at the headquarters of the Woman's Party where she was staying on January 22, 1975, just before she left Washington, D.C., to return to England, she said, "I thought you might like to know about some of our stunts that failed. We were always trying to get publicity. Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and I concocted the idea that I would get over the White House fence and start fires on the lawn. Lucy was big and brawny, and she put up her knee to help me climb over the fence. I was little and athletic and had no trouble with that kind of thing. I only got two fires started when a guard appeared. I ran to the fence and Lucy was there with her knee to help me. After I got back over the fence, I ran. Alice and Lucy just sauntered along, because they hadn't done anything. But there was no publicity because I hadn't done enough.

"Another idea we had was to put a rope lying in gasoline all along the curb in front of the White House. It wouldn't have been a big fire, but just a little fire going a long distance. Julia Emory and I started the rope burning, but it didn't work. We concocted these things to keep the story running." Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan in a phone conversation with Amelia Fry, January 22, 1975. [Ed.]


146

Now, she's the one who's in England and I hope you'll meet her if you go to England, darling.


Fry

Yes. Well, and maybe if I talk to Julia Emory in Maryland, I'll be able to find out some more about her.


Vernon

Oh, I could tell you plenty about Hazel, darling, without waiting for Julia.


Fry

Oh, well, tell me, because I'll probably never get to talk to her in England. [Laughter]


Vernon

I hope you'll go to England. Is it really a serious prospect, darling?


Fry

Yes, but she may not be there by the time I get there.


Vernon

Why not?


Fry

Well, how long is she going to stay?


Vernon

Oh, she lives in England.


Fry

Oh, she lives there now? I thought she just--


Vernon

She's lived there for years, darling. She's very proper. You don't know anything about Hazel, really?


Fry

I sure don't.


Vernon

She's very prominent in the British movement. She has been.


Fry

In which British movement, Mabel?



147
Vernon

The women's movement. I don't know whether she's been the head of the Six Point Group. Does that mean anything to you--the Six Point Group?


Fry

All I know is that the woman who was head of the Six Point Group [Viscountess Margaret Rhondda] walked out in support of the National Woman's Party when you were not allowed admission to the International Woman Suffrage Alliance meeting in Paris in 1926.


Vernon

Did she? Well, I didn't know that. Who walked out? It wasn't Lady Rhondda, was it?


Fry

Yes, Lady Rhondda.


Vernon

She walked out? I didn't know that. I was there.


Fry

Yes. And she took her Six Point people with her.


Vernon

I didn't know that. Where did you get that?


Fry

It may have been after you people had to fold your tents and go away. Where did I get that? I think that came from William O'Neill's book on feminism in America.


Vernon

He talks about Paris, does he?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, I was there.


Fry

Well, at any rate, I figured the Six Point movement must have been the feminist movement in England at that time. Is that right?


Vernon

Yes, it was.


Fry

[Laughter] Do you think I could get a grant to go to England immediately?


Vernon

Well, they stood particularly for the rights of the working women, Six Points.

70. In a taped interview with Fern Ingersoll, January 22, 1975, Mrs. Hallinan explained that she became chairman of the Six Point Group after Lady Rhondda retired. The Six Point Group [pamphlet] is on file at The Bancroft Library. Interview in appendix.


148

Hazel has a book. I have a copy. In Her Own Right, that's what she calls it, and it's a compilation of essays, treatises written by British women, which she had put together in a collection. Before you come another time, darling, which I hope will be tomorrow, I will get Hazel's letter because I want you to hear the position to which she has been appointed. She's been appointed to a committee of women, some very distinguished women. I guess she's very much flattered to be on it. Members of Parliament and people like that are on it.

71. In the same interview, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan said that she is now a member of a consultative body made up of parliamentarians and women who are heads of organizations. She explained that the women sound out the public and press and advise the parliamentarians what they should do on issues concerning women.


Fry

Marvelous!


Vernon

I know. She says in a letter, I think to Becky [Reyher], that she hopes she'll be able to do another book along a little different lines, more her own work than just a compilation of work.


Fry

Well, good.


Vernon

Oh, she's an interesting--she's eighty-three, but she looks about sixty-three.


Fry

My goodness!


Vernon

She's so good-looking.


Fry

After I've visited a few of you people, you and Alice Paul and Hazel Hunkins, I've decided that having been a worker for suffrage means that you get younger as you grow older! [Laughter]


Vernon

[Laughter] I'm very interested to have you meet Anita, darling, but I'm very much concerned about Anita's health.


Fry

Yes, I am too.


Vernon

But Hazel Hunkins--she worked with us, I guess, until '20 or something like that. But she married Charles Hallinan, who was a United Press man. He was shortly appointed head of the United Press Bureau in London, and they went to London.

72. Mrs. Hallinan explained in the taped interview that her husband had gone to London as a free-lance writer. He became head of the United Press Bureau later.

Well, that must have been in the
149
'20s some time, and she's lived there ever since.


Fry

I see. Well, let me throw out another name to you here. Who was Iris Calderhead?


Vernon

Well, her father had been a congressman from Kansas. Where did Iris go to college? I guess she went to Bryn Mawr. I think so. I knew her quite well, but my memory of her is very dim. I don't know how she came to us or anything about it.


Fry

How about Vivian Pierce?


Vernon

Oh, I knew Vivian very well. She was a California girl, a writer; but how they joined up, I don't know. Can we find anything in Inez [Irwin] about it?


Fry

I'm sure we can.


Vernon

I'm sure we can. But she was a writer who afterwards became editor of the Suffragist. She was a writer and an editor of the Suffragist more than an organizer. If she did any organizing, it was very incidental.


Fry

I see. It seemed to me that Inez Haynes Irwin was using the word "organizer'' for everybody who worked.


Vernon

Well, then there was this: Alice, you know, would press a person into service. If there was some particular emergency, she'd say, "Well, Vivian could go do something," but she [that girl] really wasn't an organizer.

I don't know how much Iris did. I worked with Iris, but I don't know how much. She said [Inez Irwin] there were three generations. Was this the latest?


Fry

This is still the middle one we're on.


Vernon

Now, who was the latest?


Fry

There are a lot more in the middle one. I'll just run down the other names. Clara Louise Rowe--


Vernon

Oh, yes.


Fry

Do you know her?


Vernon

Oh, yes, very well. She stuck by me for a good many years, helped us in the Peoples Mandate.



150
Fry

Oh, is that right?


Vernon

Yes. Well, she was one of Mrs. Hazard's proteges, I think. I think the first time we met her was probably when I came through Syracuse with Sara.


Fry

And you met her on that trip?


Vernon

I'm not sure, but I think so. But, at any rate, she came to us highly recommended by Mrs. Hazard.


Fry

What about Joy Young?


Vernon

Joy Young? Oh, she was one of our pickets right here in Washington. We can show you pictures of Joy leading the pickets. She was a girl who worked at headquarters. Her sister, Matilda, is still one of my great friends.


Fry

Oh, did her sister Matilda work also?


Vernon

Oh, yes. Matilda was a picket. I think she was our youngest picket.


Fry

Where is she now?


Vernon

Right here in Washington?


Fry

Oh, really? Maybe I could run over and talk to her.


Vernon

I'm not sure. I'm not sure how much talking she would do. I can ask her. [Tape off briefly]


Fry

Margery Ross.


Vernon

Oh, dear. That would be a hard one. She came from Wyoming. But I think she's [Inez Irwin] used this ["organizer"] very loosely. How much organizing Margery did, I don't know. She probably went out to Wyoming.


Fry

Mary Gertrude Fendall.


Vernon

Well, did she use her as an organizer?


Fry

Well, a worker. At any rate, she's in this middle generation of workers. She was never an organizer?


Vernon

As I say, she went out to Oregon that time [1916], when we were conducting a campaign against the Democrats--but Mary Gertrude was at headquarters almost all the time.



151
Fry

And Pauline Clarke?


Vernon

Yes. She was with the Suffragist. If you use these as workers, that's all right, but not as organizers.


Fry

Okay.


Vernon

Pauline was one of the editors. She and Vivian together used to edit the Suffragist. Did you get these all from the Story of the Woman's Party, darling?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

And is that the way Inez uses them, as workers?


Fry

Yes. Her main point here was that she divides them into the younger waves that would come into the party as the campaign progressed.


Vernon

Yes. Well, maybe that's all right.


Fry

Let's see. Alice Henkel?


Vernon

She came from Chicago.


Fry

Who were her father and mother? Do you know?


Vernon

Her mother was Margaret Cherdron Henkel. I think the way that we first got in touch with them--I was organizing in Utah, and Margaret Zane Cherdron was a very prominent woman in Salt Lake City. I think she'd been a member of the legislature. And her niece was Alice Henkel. Margaret's sister (who was Alice's mother) had married a very prominent man, Mr. William Henkel, who was with the Illinois Central Bank. I used to go and stay at their house. It was like a second home, in Chicago.


Fry

It sounds as though all of these workers for suffrage come from pretty prominent families.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Rebecca Hourwich?


Vernon

Don't you know Rebecca, darling?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Well, you've missed something. Hasn't she, darling? [To Consuelo]


152
She's our great friend, Rebecca Hourwich Reyher. Does the name "Reyher" mean anything to you?


Fry

Oh.


Vernon

Well, her husband was a writer, I think. Now, Rebecca's name should mean something to you, darling, because she became--[to Consuelo] do you want to tell us something about Rebecca? She became an African! Consuelo's a great friend of Rebecca's too, darling. She's my wonderful--I would count her now my dearest friend, since Mary Gertrude has gone and Vivian [Pierce] has gone.


Fry

Oh. How did you first meet her?


Vernon

At the Woman's Party.


Fry

At the Woman's Party? And what did she do there?


Vernon

Well, Anne [Martin] was speaking up in Boston, and Rebecca had been in the suffrage campaign, or some kind of campaign, in Boston; and Anne got her to come down here to work. That must have been around '17 or '18, I don't know. But Alice wanted her to go to prison and she couldn't go to prison because she was about to be pregnant, or something like that, and I guess Alice never had much opinion of her because she didn't go to prison. [Laughter]


Fry

Was she already pregnant?


Vernon

I really don't think she was.

73. Rebecca Reyher, in her taped memoirs, mentions that she did not join the picket line of August 14, 1917, because she was married on August 13. She mentions being pregnant when a large demonstration was planned for President Woodrow Wilson on his way to Versailles [March 4, 1919]. She did not tell Alice Paul of her pregnancy; and Miss Paul was "disgusted" because, on doctor's orders, Rebecca Reyher refused to join the women in the streets. Alice Paul asked for Rebecca Reyher's help at later dates, however. [Ed.]


Fry

Oh! [Laughter] But she had plans?


Vernon

[Laughter] I don't know how that was. But, at any rate, she's a marvelous speaker. [To Consuelo] Isn't she, darling? We think she's among the best.


Fry

Is she in Washington now?



153
Vernon

No, she's in New York, 14 Washington Place East. I try to talk to her every week. Now, Inez has her in the list of workers, is that it?


Fry

Yes. How long was she with the Woman's Party? Did she stay with it after suffrage?


Vernon

I've been telling these girls who are getting up the article for Ms. that they should go talk to Becky, because she went to Seneca Falls in 1923. She was still with the Woman's Party. She continued with the Woman's Party for--let's see. What was the year I organized the conference at Colorado Springs? 1924, I think. [1927--Ed.] Well, Becky was there. We went up to Rapid City to see Coolidge [President Calvin]. Becky was one of the leaders on that expedition.


Fry

Before suffrage, was she primarily used as a speaker?


Vernon

Oh, she went down to Tennessee. She was an organizer. I think that would do. She was advance woman for Mrs. Gould, who went down there on the automobile trip.


Fry

To Tennessee?


Vernon

Tennessee, I think it was. Becky could tell you about that.

74. Rebecca Reyher later told of this trip to the South with Maud Younger and Mrs. Frank Gould. Mrs. Gould agreed to furnish the car for Rebecca Reyher and Maud Younger, but caused a problem by speaking herself.

Mrs. Gould was married to one of the famous Goulds of that day, but I've forgotten what her own name was. Becky's a very colorful person and she was then.


Fry

How do you mean?


Vernon

Well, she's vivid. She's--what's that, darling? [To Consuelo]


Reyes

Some books.


Fry

Some by Rebecca Hourwich Reyher. Zulu Woman.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

They're all set in Africa.



154
Vernon

That's it.


Fry

I'll be darned.


Vernon

She's had five trips to Africa, hasn't she? My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. [Reading book title]


Fry

Yes. It looks like a children's book.


Vernon

It's a Russian story. She's having a contest with Sesame Street [television program for children] about it right now. She's bringing suit against them. She gave a lawyer, a friend of hers, $5,000 to bring the suit--that's a retaining fee--because they've been using material in Sesame Street from My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman without giving any credit and it's a copyrighted story. But you ought to know Zulu Woman, darling.


Fry

You can probably tell me a lot more about Mary Gertrude Fendall.


Vernon

Oh, I could tell you reams about Mary Gertrude Fendall! As I say, she was the treasurer of the Woman's Party and, during the suffrage campaign, she was almost all the time right at headquarters. But I found Mary Gertrude Fendall one of my principal supports. When we were doing the picketing at the White House, I had to see that there was somebody there every hour of the day--you know, from nine o'clock, or whatever it was in the morning, until the quitting time in the afternoon, which was four or five o'clock. I'd get stuck sometimes and wouldn't have anybody to stand there. Then I'd call up Mary Gertrude's office and say, "Mary Gertrude, I need somebody on the picket line. Could you--?" "Ye-e-es, Mabel,"--she had a drawl and she came from Baltimore--"I think I could come for an hour." She'd never refuse.

She was always that way, wasn't she, darling? [To Consuelo] I mean, as we went through the years, all through the Peoples Mandate campaign, she was marvelous. She would come and take charge of the office when I went away. I knew Mary Gertrude better after suffrage than while we were working for it. When I went to Paris in 1951, Mary Gertrude came and--oh, she didn't go in '51. When was it that she went? But Mary Gertrude went on many of these expeditions. She loved Paris. She loved France. She loved the French and she could speak French quite well. She was invaluable to us in the mandate campaign. But I don't remember her as an organizer for the Woman's Party, except as I tell you.


Fry

How long did she stay with the Woman's Party? Do you know?


Vernon

No, I really don't.



155
Fry

Well, this is interesting meeting all these people. That's the end of the middle generation, and there are just a few here of the ones who came in late in the campaign.


Vernon

For instance?


Fry

She [Inez Irwin] mentions Julia Emory.


Vernon

Came late in the campaign? In the suffrage campaign?


Fry

That's what she said. Julia Emory, Betty Gram, Anita Pollitzer, Mary Dubrow, and Catherine Flanagan were all the third generation.


Vernon

Well, I guess that's right. It seems late to me.


Fry

It was late according to you old-timers who'd come in in 1913, I guess.


Vernon

Julia Emory certainly got in on a lot of activity, darling. They may have been the third generation of organizers, but they got in in time to do some very active work.


Fry

Oh, yes. Those last two years were extremely active, both in picketing and in congressional work, weren't they?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Anita Pollitzer came in to do what? In what function did she come into the Woman's Party?


Vernon

Elsie Hill was down in Charleston, in South Carolina, making a street speech; and Anita heard her there and got in touch with her. I always felt that Elsie discovered Anita. Anita was rare. She was so spontaneous. Everybody liked her. She was a wonderful worker.

I don't know what her first work was in the Women's Party, but she proved to be just a marvelous--well, she was very good with political contacts. She made friends very readily. She was down in Tennessee, you know, in that campaign. You'll get all of this from Anita. I hope she still has the strength to talk.


Fry

Well, that's what I hope too. It may have to be pretty shortened if she's not very strong.

There are two Gram's that I noticed--Betty Gram and--


Vernon

Alice Gram. They were sisters.


Fry

Is one of those the woman who was connected with the Congressional Quarterly?



156
Vernon

Yes. That's Alice.


Fry

I met her a couple of years ago.


Vernon

I think you did.


Fry

Was she never in the suffrage movement?


Vernon

Oh, yes. But I don't remember. You didn't talk to her at that time, darling?


Fry

Yes, I did talk to her for a little while; but I wasn't sure at what point she entered the Woman's Party work, whether it was before or after suffrage.


Vernon

Oh, no. It was during suffrage, I think.


Fry

Well, the Gram that is mentioned here is Betty Gram.


Vernon

She was the one who married Raymond Gram Swing. Don't you know the story of Raymond Gram Swing? He was a radio commentator. When he married Betty, he adopted her name, Gram, as his middle name--Raymond Gram Swing. She became Betty Gram Swing and he became Raymond Gram Swing. But he got divorced from Betty and dropped the "Gram." Let me see. I know Anne [Martin] and I were in Berlin. They were still married then. I guess it was in '23, and Raymond was a correspondent there. He had married Betty and they were living in Berlin at that time. We saw something of them.

Betty was active in--Alice [Paul] could tell you what campaigns Betty was active in.


Fry

Okay. The ones I don't know anything about are Mary Dubrow and Catherine Flanagan.


Vernon

Well, I don't know how much I could tell you about them.


Fry

Well, those are the last two.


Vernon

Mary Dubrow was interested in the labor movement. She was a friend of Becky's. Becky [Reyher] could tell you about her.

See Rebecca Reyher transcript. Rebecca Reyher mentions Mary Dubrow as one who gave her assistance when needed, as a result of the feeling of "sisterhood" between those who had worked together for suffrage. [Ed.]



157
Fry

Oh. Did you say "labor movement?"


Vernon

I think so. And her sister is--Hazel got in touch with Mary's sister--she is one of the organizers for the International Ladies Garment Workers here and a very important lobbyist in Washington, Mary's sister, Evelyn. Hazel wanted to see Mary when she was here, but she didn't. I think she lives out in California some place or other. I have Evelyn's number; we could find out about Mary. [Tape off]


Vernon

[To Consuelo] Darling, did you see the package?


Reyes

Yes.


Vernon

Well, it's my dress. [Opening package] Becky's sending me a dress. That's the kind of girl this Becky Reyher is. She thinks I need a new dress, so she goes out and visits all the thrift shops and about five department stores and finally gets me a dress at Altman's and sends it to me.


Fry

How nice!


Vernon

You've got to meet her, darling.


Fry

She sounds like quite a person.


Vernon

She is.


Fry

Somebody who really cares about people.


Vernon

And now she's giving practically all of her time to her sister who is ill. But I would love you to talk to her. I think she and Anita [Pollitzer] are not particularly congenial, but I don't know. They never telephoned each other. They never see each other. So, I don't know. She's Jewish, and have you detected Alice's antagonism for Jews, darling?


Fry

I thought maybe there was a hint or two there. It was hard for me to tell.


Vernon

Well, and if you say anything--now, for instance, if I say, "Well, Anita is a Jew," [Alice says,] "Yes, but she's different."


Fry

Oh. [Laughter] How does Alice feel about blacks--Negroes?


Vernon

I don't know. She's very nice to individual Negro women. Mary Church


158
Terrill was a friend of hers. What's the lady's name who was on our council--the black lady, darling?


Reyes

Moses?


Vernon

Mrs. Kendrick, I think. Well, at any rate, Alice is very nice to individuals.


Fry

Yes, but as a whole--as a race?


Vernon

As a race, yes. Isn't it too bad she has those prejudices? What do you do about it, darling?


Fry

I don't know. Did that make any difference or have any effect on the way she ran the suffrage campaign, do you think?


Vernon

I don't know. I would think not.


Campaigns of the 1920s: Anne Martin for Senate; Suffrage Amendment in Georgia

Fry

Okay. Well, I'm about to move on to the National Woman's Party in the 1920s.


Vernon

Are you?


Fry

Yes. The first question I have is that there is a little summary written in The Bancroft Library that introduces you to the Anne Martin collection. These are notes from the archivist. In there, they say that you were Anne's campaign manager in 1920.


Vernon

That's right.


Fry

Oh, what was the campaign?


Vernon

Anne was running for the Senate from Nevada. It interfered, I think. Some of the Woman's Party people didn't forgive me because I went to Nevada to be Anne's campaign manager in 1920 before the suffrage amendment was ratified. Didn't Elsie Hill say something to you rather derogatory of me because I'd done that, that I had deserted the suffrage campaign and gone out to Nevada?


Fry

Oh.



159
Vernon

I was very personal about it, I'll admit.

76. When asked later (December 15, 1975) what she had meant by "I was very personal about it," Mabel Vernon replied,

"Anne was a friend of mine, and I was personally devoted to her. I wanted to work for her."
Mabel Vernon in a conversation with Amelia Fry, December 15, 1975


Fry

Oh, I see. I didn't realize that was 1920.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Because you were also on hand for some of the ratification campaigns in 1920 also.


Vernon

I know. I went to Georgia, which was one of the most fruitless things I ever--


Fry

Why was Georgia so difficult?


Vernon

Well, you can imagine, Georgia, and this was to ratify the amendment. This was the first state I tackled to get ratification--the first state anyone tackled. Don't you know what Georgia was like, darling?


Fry

Well, I asked you about the South a while ago. Are you talking about it--


Vernon

I'm talking about ratification.


Fry

Antagonism towards suffrage? Are you talking about its antagonism towards suffrage?


Vernon

I'm talking about its failure to ratify the amendment. There was never anything passed there by the Georgia legislature. And I decided it would be that way, after I'd been there about two or three weeks. Anne came down to join me and she decided, we both decided, that it was just fruitless. And, do you know, after I left there, Alice sent somebody back?


Fry

Back to Georgia?


Vernon

Yes!


Fry

Well, was there anybody in Georgia who was working for it?


Vernon

Not that I discovered.



160
Fry

Oh, Mabel, there was one other little thing I wanted to ask you about 1914 that I forgot a while ago. There was a New York Times letter to the editor, probably, by Mrs. Catt in October of 1914, in which she publicly repudiated the Congressional Union and its tactics. Since this appeared in the New York Times, I wondered if you remembered it? You don't remember anything about that?


Vernon

I was out in Nevada, I guess, at that time.


Fry

Yes, you probably were.


Vernon

I probably never saw it.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

I wonder what its tactics were that she objected to at that time.


Fry

I think it was the advent of fighting the party in power.


Vernon

Yes, that was just beginning. That's right. And, of course, we were concentrating on the national suffrage amendment. I wouldn't think she would object to those tactics. A nasty letter, was it?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Too bad.


Fry

This was kind of at the height of that whole controversy about the Congressional Union and its status within the National Association.


Vernon

Yes. That really came a little later. It came when they had their national convention down here [Washington, D.C.]. Was that 1914?


Fry

Yes, it was. [December 1913--Ed.] In fact, I think this letter was written right after a sort of general agreement that you were going to have to go your separate ways.


Vernon

That might be so. But 1914 seems a little early, darling.


Fry

Yes? Well, it may have been. Maybe I'm a year off in my date. No, I don't think so.


Vernon

I'm trying to think when they had their national convention here at which this was discussed.


Fry

Because, see, this letter was written in October, just before the national elections of that year. Well, anyway, on to the '20s, then.


Vernon

All right.



161

Woman's Party: Relationship to Major Parties, 1921

Fry

I know you were in Europe for a while, but I wondered if you could comment any on some of the things that were considered after suffrage was won that the Woman's Party might do? Was there any thought in the early '20s of joining the existing political parties and actively participating in them?


Vernon

Well, not as an organization, as I can remember.


Fry

Was there any thought of the National Woman's Party becoming an alternative to the major parties?


Vernon

I guess these things were suggested, but the decision was made in the convention we held here--it was in 1923--in which we decided we would go on working for the policies that--I guess that came in 1923, didn't it?


Fry

1921. February 15 was the final convention of the suffrage group, according to my notes, and in that, Jane Addams spoke for merging with WIL [Women's International League]. Do you remember that? You may not have been here then.


Vernon

What is that? Say that again.


Fry

In 1921--were you in Europe then?


Vernon

No.


Fry

It was the final convention of the suffrage organization.


Vernon

The National American Woman's--


Fry

No, the Woman's Party.


Vernon

Was Jane Addams there? That doesn't sound right, darling.


Fry

Really? Yes, Jane Addams was there. Do you think this was National Association?


Vernon

It sounds like it.


Fry

Oh. I could be misreading my notes.


Vernon

AWSA--it sounds like that, but I'm not certain, darling.



162
Fry

Does it? Well, in April of '21, there were a hundred women who went to see President Harding. Were you aware of that?


Vernon

That was in--I don't know. I remember going to see Harding before he was president, in Columbus, I guess it was.


Fry

Oh, well, this was after he was president.


Vernon

And who would be some of these women?


Fry

I don't know. That's all I know about it, just that a hundred women went to see him.


Vernon

And what did they go to see him about?


Fry

I don't know. If you weren't in that group, then we might as well not go into this.

Alva Belmont [Mrs. Oliver Hazard Perry], according to William O'Neill, at first saw the National Woman's Party as an alternative political party to the Republicans and Democrats and Progressives.


Vernon

I guess she always had that idea.


Fry

Oh, did she?


Vernon

I think so. Alice could tell you these things better than I because she was in intimate contact with Mrs. Belmont. What about this William O'Neill? Who is he, darling?


Fry

He's a professor in Connecticut.


Vernon

How much does he know?


Fry

His book is very well documented.


Vernon

Is it?


Fry

Yes. I haven't met him, but I think his book must be one of the best ones out right now on the whole woman movement, the entire movement.


Vernon

There Must Be No Bitterness , or what's it called?


Fry

It's called The Rise and Fall of Feminism in America.


Vernon

No, he has another book, then-- Everyone was Brave . And what is this one?


Fry

Yes, that's the other part of the title--Everyone Was Brave.



163
Vernon

Well, that's been out some time, darling.


Fry

About three or four years.


Vernon

Yes, three or four years. I know some of the things. I don't think I ever read the book, but some of the things I've heard he wrote--things I have kind of focused on--didn't seem to me at all accurate.


Fry

Oh, really?


Vernon

Yes.


Conflict in Suffrage Campaign: Women's Rights vs. Political Results

Fry

Well, I should bring Everyone Was Brave down and get from you these things that are not quite right, because they would be important to know.


Vernon

Well, I wouldn't speak about the book because, as I say, I haven't read it. But just a few things--I was thinking of how he seemed to think that we made such a mistake, in making the fight for suffrage, to emphasize the good things we were going to do, that we didn't emphasize just the right, but that we would emphasize the purity, etc., etc. that we were going to bring. Well, I don't think we did. I don't think there were any number of us who did. Maybe so.


Fry

Yes. That didn't come out in my reading of the Suffragist, and when I read that in O'Neill, I thought he might have been talking about people who were campaigning in [the] National Association.


Vernon

I don't know. Maybe so. But you didn't get that in your reading of the Suffragist?


Fry

No.


Vernon

I don't think we did particularly.


Fry

In other words, you weren't promising pie in the sky forever and all kinds of social reform if women got the vote?


Vernon

No, no. When I started out, I may have emphasized that kind of thing, but I certainly didn't continue.


Fry

You didn't?



164
Vernon

You see, I started out on the campaign down the eastern shore.


Fry

Oh, yes. New Jersey?


Vernon

Yes, down the resort places. I have a friend who was in Wildwood when I was there; and she always reminds me that that was one of the things that I said, and she disagreed with it.

77. Mabel Vernon, in January 1975, identified this friend as Emily LeRoy whom she had known at Swarthmore:

"I was thinking of her just today, and of the way she was critical of what she remembered I said."
Mabel Vernon in an interview with Amelia Fry, January 1975.

She was very doubtful about women's improving politics. I don't know how much I did emphasize it, but that's the thing that sticks in her mind: in one of those first speeches I made, I was talking about the great improvement that would be made if women voted. [Laughter] I don't know.


Fry

The great improvement that would be made if women voted?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Well, then, later on in your speeches, did you stop this theme?


Vernon

I don't remember ever emphasizing that. I was just starting out. I was fresh from the schoolroom--Wayne, Pennsylvania.


Fry

Yes. Well, the other side of that was the theme that suffrage was demanded because it was women's right.


Vernon

Well, that's what we made our principal claim, that it was right that women should--but she [Emily LeRoy] said that I emphasized, and he [O'Neill] said that we made a mistake, as I remember--the thing that I quoted from him--in emphasizing the improvement that it would make, the purity we would bring, etc., etc.

Do you think he's any good? Is this Everyone Was Brave that you said you had read?


Fry

Yes. It's the only book I've found that goes into both suffrage and the equal rights amendment and then all of these other movements that sprang up after 1920. Do you remember all of those different movements for child labor laws and maternal--


Vernon

Well, there had been quite a fight for child labor. That was one of the things that Anne was so interested in, the child labor laws.



165
Fry

Anne Martin?


Vernon

Yes. That was one of the things she emphasized. [Tape off for tea and cookies]


Degree from Columbia, 1923: Influential Professors

Fry

When you came back from Europe, did you go to school at Columbia for a while?


Vernon

Yes. I think I took the degree at Columbia in 1923.


Fry

What were you studying? Were you continuing your language?


Vernon

I took a master's degree in political science. I think it was 1922-'23. I think it was. I'm not too certain.


Fry

And before that, up until that time, your academic work had been primarily in languages, hadn't it?


Vernon

I'd been in German and Latin.


Fry

Yes. So, was this any indication of a new direction?


Vernon

I suppose it was, yes. The professors that I wanted--Giddings was in sociology, you know. You know the name of Giddings? And William R. Shepherd? Names like that, I wanted those. I took the degree in December.

Does Ogburn's name mean anything to you?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

William Fielding Ogburn?


Fry

Oh, yes!


Vernon

Now, how do you connect with him?


Fry

Well, he's one of the old-timers, isn't he, in sociology and poly sci?


Vernon

Is he? Well, he was one of the new-timers! [Laughter]


Fry

The new-timers, then? [Laughter] Did you have him too as a professor?



166
Vernon

Most decidedly! I probably knew him better than I knew anybody, because we formed a little club and we asked Mr. Villard to come to speak to us and we asked Harriot Stanton Blatch, and we were very much in touch with Ogburn about getting these meetings together. We asked Mr. Villard to come up and have dinner with us at the faculty club before we had the meeting.


Fry

What was this club for--what subjects?


Vernon

It was the sociology club, as I remember. Just a few of us students specializing in sociology thought that we should have some activities that brought in outside people, like Mr. Villard and like Harriot Stanton Blatch, and we had these meetings in the faculty parlors, as I remember it. They were nice. They were interesting. Those were the only two speakers that I remember, and they were the ones I had gotten because they were friends of mine. We had Mr. Villard for dinner at the faculty club.


Fry

What did you write your thesis on?


Vernon

I've forgotten the title. It was about the change in the government in England. [Laughter]

78. This is not a clear section on the tape and Mabel Vernon no longer remembers the subject of her thesis. Notes taken by Amelia Fry during the interview indicate that the government of India was mentioned. [Ed.]


Fry

Which change?


Vernon

Well, they changed from--


Fry

The current one then?


Vernon

I'd like to read it. I've forgotten. [Laughter]


Fry

Do you mean getting out from under England?


Vernon

I mean Britain getting out from under.


Fry

Well, were you doing any outside activities then?


Vernon

Oh, just incidentally. I wanted a change [from chautauqua travel]. I wanted to see something different.


Fry

So, were you glad that you had taken another degree?



167
Vernon

Oh, yes. I was glad to have the change, to stay in one place for more than one night. [Laughter] I was very fortunate. Did you ever hear the name of Adelaide Nutting, darling?


Fry

No.


Vernon

Well, she was a professor at Teachers College, and she lived right next door to the college in her own home. She had a room in her apartment and she rented me that room. It was wonderful. [Tape off for telephone interruption]


Fry

You were saying that you rented a room.


Vernon

Oh, yes, from Miss Nutting. And right in that same hall, in Lowell, there was the dining room of the faculty club and I could go down there and have my meals.


Fry

Oh, with the faculty?


Vernon

Well, not with the faculty. It was just the faculty club.


Fry

I see.


Vernon

And they had a dining room. I guess I was up on the fifth floor or something like that and the dining room was on the second. So, I lived very comfortably. And Adelaide Nutting was a wonderful woman.


Fry

Who was she?


Vernon

Well, she was the head of the nursing [studies] at Teachers College. She was trying to get degrees for nurses at Teachers College, and she met great opposition from doctors to the idea of awarding degrees to nurses. She had some things to tell about the attitude of doctors. They didn't want the nurses to be well educated and have degrees.


Fry

Was this when the AMA was strong?


Vernon

I guess it was just as strong then as it is now.


Fry

Well, did you remember her talking about opposition from the AMA?


Vernon

She didn't mention the AMA, but she mentioned doctors that she had come in touch with.



168

Equal Rights Amendment

Fry

In July of 1923 was the Seneca Falls conference for kicking off the equal rights--


Vernon

I didn't go to that.


Fry

You missed that?


Vernon

But Becky [Reyher] went to that.


Fry

Oh, did she?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

In December of that year, the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in the House and the Senate for the first time, according to my notes. That was December of 1923. Were you in on that?


Vernon

I must have been down there when the Congress decided to introduce it. You see, I worked in [a] chautauqua too, darling, and I did some work on their fall circuits as well as in their summer. Do you know anything about chautauqua?


Fry

Yes, I know what you told me about it. The only thing I might not know is precisely the subjects that you expounded on.


Vernon

Well, I didn't expound, really, on any subjects.


Fry

You just organized?


Vernon

I was superintendent. That was my position at [the] chautauqua. I had to make a speech about three times a week at the afternoon sections at the chautauqua, and I talked on What is Feminism?


Fry

I see. So, you were continuing your feminist speeches even in the chautauquas then?


Vernon

Oh, that was a great opportunity.



169

Relationship to Women-for-Congress Campaign

Fry

Now, you mentioned to me this campaign in 1924 to get women in Congress.


Vernon

Yes. That was with Margaret. That was Margaret Whittemore, darling.


Fry

What was she?


Vernon

Well, she was the one who was the driver. She'd organized, really, the expedition and she was the driver of the car that conveyed us across the continent. You said I'd mentioned Margaret?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Well, that was Margaret Whittemore. Both Margaret and I spoke at the stops we made across the country.


Fry

I see.


Vernon

She was one of those organizers that you questioned us about.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

That was a famous expedition. It was like 1915 in reverse.


Fry

You went thousands and thousands of miles, right?


Vernon

Well, however many thousand it takes to get across the continent.


Fry

I'm trying to find my notes on that. [Pause]


Vernon

I wish we'd pursued that campaign more zealously, getting women into Congress. We dropped it too soon.


Fry

I wanted to ask you something about the women who were running then.


Vernon

There weren't many. There weren't many. I don't know who there were. The campaign that I finally got strength from was Mrs. Culbertson's in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Fry

And she ran?


Vernon

She ran as an independent.


Fry

Oh, not in a political party?


Vernon

That was a strike against her, I guess, to begin with.



170
Fry

Was your idea to get them into regular parties, into the major parties?


Vernon

Oh, our idea was to get them elected.


Fry

Oh. Well, I think it's William O'Neill who mentions that La Follette's third party, in 1924, picked a Socialist candidate to run, even though Anne Martin had out-polled him in a previous election.

79.  Everyone Was Brave. Quadrangle Paperback Edition, 1971. p. 267 .

Do you know anything about Anne Martin's attempt, or her wanting to run in 1924?


Vernon

I don't know about that. 1924?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

I think I would know something about this, since we were trying to get women elected to Congress. I wonder if he's wrong in his year.


Fry

I wonder too. It may have been a different year. Now, O'Neill mentions that in 1919 Anne Martin was annoyed when the National Conference of Republican Women seemed more interested in the cliches of professional politicians than in her own efforts to organize a specifically feminine program. He implies that she kind of gave up on the Republicans after that.

80.  Everyone Was Brave, p. 266 .

That was in 1919.


Vernon

I don't think she ever had any idea of running with the Republicans. She always wanted to run as an independent. Now, Mr. Milholland--Inez's father, darling--he was a great friend of Anne's and of mine too and a great Republican. He thought Anne made a great mistake not to run as a Republican in Nevada. But the Socialist--who was the Socialist? I don't think I ever heard.


Fry

I don't know, because he didn't give the name of the Socialist candidate, but it was the one that the La Follette party chose.


Vernon

That was in Nevada in '24?


Fry

Yes, and the La Follette party, I guess, backed quite a few.

Let me read you my note. I'll just start at the beginning and read you these few lines. He says that

"by 1924 the Woman's Party had given up its old strategy of attempting to hold the party in
171
power responsible."
Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .

81.  Everyone Was Brave, Quadrangle Paperback, p. 283 .


Vernon

Holding it responsible for what?


Fry

For passing the Equal Rights Amendment, in this case.


Vernon

Go ahead, darling.


Fry

[Continues reading from notes]

"They were trying to get a sufficient number of congresswomen elected and felt that they would guarantee the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment."
Paraphrase of passage from Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .

82. Paraphrase of Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .


Vernon

I don't know that we ever thought that, but we did want to get women elected.


Fry

Well, that didn't have anything to do with your efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment?


Vernon

I don't remember that. But we didn't connect it with holding the party in power responsible.


Fry

Yes, that's what he said. [Continues reading from notes]

"For a time, the Woman's Party planned to support all women candidates, regardless of their position on the Equal Rights Amendment."
Paraphrase of passage from Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .

83. Paraphrase of Everyone Was Brave, p. 283.


Vernon

I don't know that that's true either.


Fry

"And they urged women to vote exclusively for members of their own sex."
Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .


Vernon

I will have to check on all of this, darling, as to whether--


Fry

That was just at first, but

"eventually," he says, "the Woman's Party decided [in this campaign] to support only those women candidates who endorsed the amendment. Five did so."
Paraphrase of passage from Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .


Vernon

But he doesn't mention those five?


Fry

"And those were all either La Follette or minority candidates."
Paraphrase of passage from Everyone Was Brave, p. 283 .


Vernon

And so, none got elected.



172
Fry

They were all beaten.


Vernon

He knows more about the Woman's Party than I do on that occasion.


Fry

I wonder if you remember any discussion about whether to support the women who did not support ERA?


Vernon

I don't know where that discussion would have taken place. I don't remember it. As I say, I was concentrating on Mrs. Culbertson's campaign in Meadville, Pennsylvania.


Fry

Yes. I can see how that would be a dilemma. You know, you'd want the women in Congress; but still, if it was a woman who was against the Equal Rights Amendment, that might be--


Vernon

We'd have to take our choice.


Fry

Yes. It seems as though there would have had to be a decision made.


Vernon

But I don't know where. Now, this is where the magazine would help me.


Fry

The Equal Rights magazine, yes.


Vernon

The Equal Rights magazine.


Fry

Well, when we get all of that microfilming done, we'll all be able to read the Equal Rights.


Endorsement by Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party; Passage in Wisconsin

Fry

Do you remember getting the endorsement of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party?


Vernon

I remember going out there to work for it.


Fry

Oh, did you?


Vernon

When was that, darling?


Fry

This was 1924, about March.


Vernon

I was there.


Fry

Oh, good. There was a woman named Myrtle Cain.



173
Vernon

Yes, a very good friend of mine. She was a good member of the Woman's Party in suffrage days. Well, go ahead.


Fry

Was she a Farmer-Labor member of the state legislature?


Vernon

Well, I don't know about the state legislature, but she was Farmer-Labor.


Fry

She was?


Vernon

Alice could tell you whether she was a member of the legislature. What's O'Neill got to say about her?


Fry

Only that

"the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party endorsed the amendment at its convention in March, 1924, thanks to the efforts of Myrtle Cain."
Paraphrase from Everyone Was Brave Oh, yes, and she was, according to O'Neill, a Farmer-Labor member of the state legislature.


Vernon

Oh, well, she was a member of the Woman's Party, a very good member, very active. When we went to Minnesota, she helped us in every way she could. We tried to get the endorsement, you know, of the Farmer-Labor Party. Alice came there too.


Fry

Alice Paul?


Vernon

Alice Paul.


Fry

Was this at a convention of the party?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

What was your job? How did you go about this?


Vernon

Go about what?


Fry

Getting the endorsement.


Vernon

Oh, just seeing people. Of course, Myrtle knew everybody.


Fry

This is interesting because by 1924 there was a great deal of antagonism between the people in labor who wanted to preserve protective legislation for women and were against the Equal Rights Amendment--


Vernon

I don't think we struck any of that.


Fry

In Minnesota? Why didn't you? It's called the Farmer-Labor Party and there were other labor organizations that were very antagonistic at that time, according to my reading on this.



174
Vernon

I don't know.


Fry

Also next door--Wisconsin. Do you remember Wisconsin?


Vernon

What about Wisconsin?


Fry

Wisconsin had passed the equal rights bill very early.


Vernon

Yes. Mabel Putnam did that.


Fry

Oh, Mabel Putnam?


Vernon

Mabel Raef Putnam. It was her work, I think. That was around 1920 or '21, wasn't it?


Fry

Yes, I think it was '21. It was very early.


Vernon

It was early. But I think she did that. Alice would know.


Fry

Was she a National Woman's Party person?


Vernon

Oh, most decidedly. She was chairman. Her sister was Alice's secretary for years and a very good one. Marguerite Raef her name was. But Mabel was the one, I think, who did that--Mabel Raef Putnam.


Fry

It's amazing how you still remember all of these people.


Vernon

Oh, I knew them very well.


Fry

I keep picking up these little connections, Mabel, between the La Follette party and Wisconsin, and the Equal Rights Amendment work and other efforts in the National Woman's Party. Was this one of those things where the Progressive Party happened to be for the same things that you were for?


Vernon

I guess so.


Misgivings About Role of Woman's Party at Women's Industrial Conference, 1926

Fry

Well, let's see. Here's something I'll bet you remember!


Vernon

What's this, darling?


Fry

Do you remember the Women's Industrial Conference [1926]?



175
Vernon

Here? [Washington, D.C.]


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

And it didn't put the Equal Rights Amendment on its agenda.


Vernon

I know!


Fry

Okay, tell me.


Vernon

I never was particularly proud of--

84. The tape was not clear at this and other points in this section. By the time I asked her about it, Mabel Vernon no longer remembered the incident at all clearly. [Ed.]


Fry

Oh, well, what I know about is that Alice Paul then scheduled a meeting of, I guess, the Woman's Party two days before the Women's Industrial Conference was to take place. Then, when the conference--


Vernon

I don't remember that meeting, but I remember the Industrial Conference.


Fry

Yes. It said you were the floor leader, then, of the group that--


Vernon

Where did you get that? Out of some article?


Fry

I got this from two different places and--


Vernon

It quotes something I said that wasn't particularly--I've forgotten that quote, but I've seen that article.


Fry

No, I didn't see you quoted. I think I saw Gail Laughlin quoted.


Vernon

Was Gail there? I'd forgotten Gail. I remember a speech that Doris [Stevens] made, which I never particularly approved of.


Fry

Well, you did accomplish something there.


Vernon

Did we? What was that?


Fry

You did get a study committee appointed.


Vernon

What?



176
Fry

You did get the Industrial Conference to appoint a study committee.


Vernon

Maybe so. I've forgotten.


Fry

Well, did you expect this shouting match to develop when you went in there?


Vernon

I didn't know what would develop, but I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the way [unclear] and not the results that I wanted to get.


Fry

Let's see. What do I see here in my notes? You did get a debate scheduled for that evening on the Equal Rights Amendment and the conference asked that a study be undertaken.


Vernon

That's what I was uncertain about--"a study was undertaken." And what were the results?


Fry

Well, two years later, the Women's Bureau, which sponsored this, published a report that was very anti-Equal Rights Amendment.


Vernon

Oh, really? I didn't know that.


Fry

In fact, the quotation I have is that "in view of the facts here [in the Women's Bureau report] soberly set down, nobody except a fanatic or a person with an ax to grind will any longer be able to urge the repeal by blanket enactment, of all the special protective labor laws for women on the grounds that they seriously limit women's employment opportunities in general."

85.  “Law and a Living for Women, ” Survey, November 1, 1928. p. 195, in William L. O'Neill, Everyone Was Brave, Quadrangle Paperback, p. 285.


Vernon

Was that in the study? Is that so?


Fry

[Laughter] That was in an issue of the Survey. Henry Raymond Mussey wrote it after reading the report of the study.


Vernon

That's interesting.


Fry

So, your feelings were proved to be right later on in this case. It didn't reform anybody in the Women's Bureau.


Vernon

Apparently not, if that was the results of the study.



177
Fry

Did you have these misgivings about it before you went?


Vernon

Oh, no. I just wanted to take it in my stride.


Fry

Yes. [Laughter]


Vernon

Alice got these ideas about how we ought to press for certain things.


Fry

And how to make it an issue and keep it an issue, I guess.


Vernon

Yes. Now, what year was that, darling?


Fry

That was '26.


Vernon

It was as late as '26?


Fry

Yes.



178

Interview V, April 28, 1973

5. V More on Campaigns for Suffrage and Peace

Suffrage Workers: Married and Unmarried; Directed by Alice Paul

Fry

I wanted to ask you about Doris Stevens and what her main role was in the pre-suffrage years.


Vernon

Well, dear, she's mentioned among the first organizers. I was trying to remember how she came. She came from Dayton, Ohio. She lived there. She was very good-looking. You know that, don't you? Quite the beauty of the Woman's Party, I think.


Fry

Oh!


Vernon

Oh, you didn't know that?


Fry

No.


Vernon

That was one of her great assets, darling. She was so very good-looking. And she married Dudley Field Malone, you know.


Fry

That was later, wasn't it?


Vernon

Oh, yes, considerably later. She'd had time to get acquainted with Dudley. We were in the middle of the picketing period. Doris was one of the women sent to Occoquan; Dudley and other influential men who were friends of President Wilson went to him and protested. Dudley was the collector of the Port of New York, you know?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

And very influential in the administration.


Fry

Was Doris in a position of real leadership in the later years just before suffrage?



179
Vernon

Well, I don't know whether "real" leadership would describe it. We all lead. Alice was really the leader.


Fry

Alice was really the leader all the way, wasn't she?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

That brings up another question. A lot of those women that we talked about seemed to--I think they were single. I wondered if at that time women felt that they had to make a choice between either an active life, such as these workers led, and marriage, or not.


Vernon

I wouldn't know about that.


Fry

Because there have been a number of sociological-type books now written that state that at one time women felt they had to choose between home and a family, or a career.


Vernon

I don't know about that. Alice and Lucy were unmarried. Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, who was one of our very active people, was married and had a son, Shippen Lewis, who was prominent in Philadelphia. She was one of the first to help Alice Paul form the Woman's Party. Her husband had died when she worked with us. I don't think there was any clear delineation between those who were married and those who weren't.


Fry

I was wondering about the general standard, the society standard.


Vernon

Which society?


Fry

Ours. I mean, on whether it was considered acceptable to run a home and be active in suffrage. Was it just the younger ones in the suffrage movement who were unmarried?


Vernon

I don't think there were any firm lines like that.


Fry

Really?


Vernon

There were some women who were very active in our association who were married. Well, what of it?


Fry

Were they the older ones, as you look back on it?


Vernon

No, not necessarily. I'm trying to think of some of the younger ones. Jessie Hardy Stubbs--she was married. Have you ever heard of her? She was quite active. Mrs. Gilson Gardner--she was active. She was married to Gilson Gardner. She had been Mathilda Hall before she married, but we didn't know her then.


180

Lots of women in the National American Woman Suffrage Association were married. Mrs. Catt and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw were married. Harriet Lees Laidlaw--her husband [James Lees Laidlaw] was so active. He formed the Men's League [for Woman Suffrage]. I don't think being married was considered so much. You were or you were not, just as it happened.


Fry

There wasn't any societal attitude, then, that women--


Vernon

No. That probably came later, darling. I don't know.


Fry

I wondered if women then went through any agonizing decision when they got out of college on whether they would marry or have a career?


Vernon

I wouldn't know! [Laughter]


Fry

I ran across a little note that said the flu epidemic of 1918 hit the Woman's Party hard. Anita--


Vernon

Who said a thing like that? I don't know where--


Fry

At least for the organizers. Even if the organizers didn't get sick, the people they were visiting were sick. [Laughter]


Vernon

Who said a thing like that?


Fry

I guess Anita Pollitzer wrote to Alice Paul and said, "I've visited so many sick houses, I feel like Dr. Rosenberg."


Vernon

Who's Rosenberg?


Fry

I guess he was a doctor who was treating a lot of flu patients.


Vernon

1918.


Fry

You remember, that was when so many people died from the flu.


Vernon

I'll have to get '18 fixed in my mind. I can't remember '18. What was that?


Fry

Well, it was during the war, and it was when a lot of congressional activity was going on in the Woman's Party.

My little note here says that "in 1916, Doris Stevens was put in charge of the organizational department," and that was a department which coordinated what the organizers were doing and tried to establish chapters out in the states.



181
Vernon

Oh, that was a perfunctory thing, I think, darling.


Fry

Was it?


Vernon

Alice was always in charge of it. I myself was in charge of it in later years.


Fry

Did you do the same things that Doris did, and did you have the same amount of power she did?


Vernon

Oh! [Laughter] In some ways, more. In some ways, less. The same amount of power? I don't know what power you mean.


Fry

I meant prerogatives in relation to Alice.


Vernon

I don't know what that means, darling.


Fry

Well, you said Alice was really always in charge.


Vernon

Yes, yes.


Fry

And I thought maybe you'd been able to do a little more than Doris had.


Vernon

Over all, about the same, I think. She [Alice Paul] made the plans and we helped carry them out.


Suffrage Organizations

Fry

In organizing out in the states, according to this thesis, there are some letters in the file that say that some of the states resented a second suffrage organization coming into them, that it was very difficult in some states for the Congressional Union to break in.

86.  Loretta Ellen Zimmerman, Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, 1912-1920 (Ph.D. diss., Tulane University, 1964)


Vernon

I don't remember striking anything like that.


Fry

Well, the one I wanted to ask you about especially was Delaware.



182
Vernon

I was just going to say my mind went immediately to Delaware because that's where I started and that's the first state we organized. The state organization welcomed us.


Fry

Well, did you know Mary R. Devoe?


Vernon

Of course!


Fry

Did you know that in January of 1914, she wrote to Alice Paul and said,

"I believe that Delaware is too small a state to support two entirely independent suffrage organizations, or perhaps I should say that conditions do not warrant such a move."
Mary D. Devoe to Alice Paul [January 1914]


Vernon

She wouldn't be so influential.


Fry

Influential?


Vernon

Influential. She was a little bit of a novelty. I remember her very well. She was respected and liked, but a little bit queer.


Fry

I see. So her judgment was not accepted?


Vernon

I don't think it would be. If the judgment--of course, that was 1914. The time I organized in Delaware was 1913. I went to Nevada in April, I think it was. I had been in Delaware shortly before that. Maybe she wrote the thing, I don't know.


Fry

[Laughter] Maybe so!


Vernon

But I think the Delaware organization [NAWSA] welcomed us. Mrs. Martha Cranston was the president of the Delaware State Suffrage Association which was attached to the NAWSA. I was a Delaware woman, you know.


Fry

I know.


Vernon

I had some position in Delaware. My family was a newspaper family. I mean, I had access to newspapers. I could do a great deal more for suffrage than most of the people who had been in the Delaware association.


Fry

Was the National Association very strong in Delaware?


Vernon

Oh, not very strong. Nice women, older women, not very gifted women, but good women, and they continued to work with me, welcomed me.


Fry

Did they?



183
Vernon

[Laughter] It seemed so to me!


Fry

Mabel, could one woman join both organizations?


Vernon

Sure! You mean the Delaware Suffrage Association and the Congressional Union? All you did was pay a quarter in the Congressional Union.


Fry

So, they could belong both to the National Association--


Vernon

Oh, of course!


Fry

Was the Delaware Suffrage Association a part of NAWSA?


Vernon

Certainly.


Fry

As you went through the other states, did you get resistance from the chapters that had already been formed?


Vernon

Well, I don't remember the other states so well. I did very cursory organizing because I was moving on most of the time. But in Delaware, you see, I stayed and I established the headquarters there, down at the corner of Seventh and Shipley streets.

And then another important thing that I did that gave me influence--Florence Bayard Hilles, who was one of the leading women of our state (her family was the leading family, probably, of the state) became our chairman. She was a wonderful asset. And Florence became chairman of the Woman's Party later. That was wonderful.

In a later conversation, Mabel Vernon recounted the following stories about Florence Bayard Hilles:

"At the Delaware State Fair [probably 1913], I was speaking outside a tent on behalf of woman suffrage. As I spoke to the crowd, I noticed that one woman was particularly intent and I spoke directly to her. After I spoke, little cards were turned in saying, 'I believe in woman suffrage' and signed by the listeners. I noticed that the woman who had listened so intently had signed 'Florence Bayard Hilles.' Of course I was familiar with the name because her family was prominent. I called her the next day and asked her to come to our Delaware office where we talked together. That was the beginning of Florence's wonderful service for suffrage. As Florence told me later, she was at the Delaware State Fair showing some prize dogs she raised--West Highlanders. She told me that when she heard me speaking in front of the tent she thought 'this woman is saying the things that I believe.'

"Florence Bayard Hilles went with the Suffrage Special and I used to meet it at various stops. She always liked to have me introduce her because she said I could tell more about her background than anyone else. I can remember standing up on a baggage cart and telling how much she had done for suffrage.

"When Florence was arrested here [Washington] for picketing and was sentenced in Judge Maloney's court, she said, 'I've never been to court, except the court of St. James.'" Mabel Vernon in a conversation with Amelia Fry.



184
Fry

It looks as though the emphasis in 1914 was to organize the western states that had suffrage, to get the Congressional Union in those states. Then, as soon as that was over and the campaign of 1914 was over, attention was turned to try to get Congressional Union societies and chapters in all of the other states.


Vernon

Branches, we called them, not societies. That's entirely too--[Laughter]


Fry

[Laughter] Not very descriptive! Okay.


Vernon

But I don't think--we never felt that the organization was over in those states. You thought it was completed? Oh, we kept on working at it.


Fry

I guess there was always a chance that the women might start working for the National Association [NAWSA] or decide against working for the federal amendment.


Vernon

Decide against working for it?


Fry

If you didn't keep contact with them and keep communication.


Vernon

Oh, yes. That happened with one of our best branches.


Fry

Which one?


Vernon

I don't know. I'd have to think. I just think about the states where I worked, for instance. All those states were all--wherever I went, I found good women. I camped in Idaho for a while to get Borah's [Senator William Edgar] vote because Borah was opposed to the national amendment, you know.


Fry

Oh, Senator Borah?


Vernon

Yes.



185
Fry

Oh, yes. He was very difficult, wasn't he?


Vernon

Of course!


Fry

And he was ambiguous.


Vernon

That's the reason I camped there in Boise.


Fry

Did you have any luck with him?


Vernon

Well, I wouldn't say that we succeeded with him. We never did get his vote, you know, but we landed him. I got him out of the backwoods one day on the long distance telephone to get him to come back to Washington and receive a delegation.


Fry

Oh, you did? [Laughter]


Vernon

He came!


Fry

What did he tell you then?


Vernon

That it should come by state action.


Fry

State action?


Vernon

He was consistent.


Fry

Oh, I wanted to ask you another thing. In the thesis, Zimmerman says that two women were sent to each western state for the 1914 election campaign.


Vernon

Well, they were, but it was in a very desultory manner. Well, go ahead, darling.


Fry

Well, I wondered if that gives a true picture of it. I thought maybe there really were more than two women working.


Vernon

They were sent as the organizers.


Fry

After they got to the states, what did they do?


Vernon

I was in Nevada working for support for the suffrage amendment, but I wouldn't know about anything to do with this. The ordinary procedure, darling, trying to get the women to support the national amendment.



186
Fry

Did they set up state organizations with local women running them?


Vernon

Oh, there was no form of organization of that kind that I remember. If they could get them, well, they would.


Fry

But all in all, you think it was rather desultory?


Vernon

It seems so to me, as I look back at it now. I've forgotten the girls who did it. I'll have to look that up to find out who went to each state. I would know how powerful it was if I knew the girls who went.


Fry

I don't have the names of which ones went to which states.


Vernon

No, but we could get them from the Suffragist, the Suffragist to which we do not have access.


Fry

Yes, we could. One name that we didn't talk about was Alma Lutz.


Vernon

Well, she wasn't active in the national--


Fry

I wondered about that and, yet, I think she was at that famous meeting in August of 1914 at Marble House up in Newport.


Vernon

No, no. Alma wouldn't have been there, darling. What makes you think she was?


Fry

Well, I just read it in this thesis.


Vernon

That Alma was there? Oh, no.


Fry

That she was one of the ones who was present.


Vernon

Oh, no.


Fry

And it sort of surprised--


Vernon

I can tell you quite positively, no.

I'll tell you Alma's history. In North Dakota, where Alma lived, Dr. Shaw [NAWSA] had gone to speak and I think the Lutz family had entertained for her in their house, or something like that. Then, in 1915, when Sara and I were crossing the country, we stopped in Buffalo, New York, where my good friend, Marguerite Smith, lived. Marguerite and Alma had been at Vassar together, and even after college they had remained very good friends. So, Alma was visiting Marguerite's home in Buffalo, and I stayed there. Sara stayed down at the hotel or something like that, and I stayed in Marguerite's house in Buffalo.


187

So, I can tell you Alma remembers very well the open-air meeting there and then she became more interested after that.


Fry

Oh, so that would have been--


Vernon

1915.


Fry

In the fall of 1915.


Vernon

I'm not sure it was fall.


Fry

Did you say it was when you and--


Vernon

Yes, yes. I guess it was. When did we leave?


Fry

September. You left San Francisco.


Vernon

Well, that was in the fall. That was right, then.


Fry

What city was this?


Vernon

Buffalo, New York. That's where Marguerite lived and that's where Alma was visiting. Well, then, she didn't have very much contact with the Woman's Party that I remember during the years we were trying to get suffrage. But she later developed into a most valuable member while we were working for the Equal Rights Amendment.

In the equal rights campaign--it must have been around '22 or '23 or something, maybe a little bit later--I was in Boston and I called up all the people I had on my list of members of the Woman's Party who lived in Boston. One of them was Alma Lutz and when I called her, I said, "Is this the Alma Lutz who was with my friend Marguerite?" She said, "None else," and I said, "Where is Marguerite?" [She said,] "Right here," and they were living in Boston. Alma and Marguerite had an apartment there. Then I got Alma more and more interested. You haven't talked to Alma, have you?


Fry

No, I haven't.


Vernon

Never have seen her?


Fry

No.


Vernon

The girls who are writing the Ms. article for the July issue--they've been--Judy [Gurovitz] has been to see Alma.

88.  Judy Gurovitz, “The Family of Woman: Suffragists Still Going Strong, ” in Ms., vol. II, no. 1 (July 1973), pp. 47-53.



188
Fry

Oh, good. Maybe they'll have a little history there, then, that we can use.


Vernon

I'm not sure. You see, Alma has been more active since suffrage than she was before suffrage.


Resolutions Committees of Major Parties, 1916; Defeat for the Woman's Party

Fry

Yes. I wanted to ask you about the work with the resolutions committees of the political parties in 1916. You know, when all the parties met and the Woman's Party was formed in Chicago.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

And the Woman's Party sent delegations to meet with the resolutions committees of the major political parties.


Vernon

We did this just as a matter of course, just in our stride, darling.


Fry

I know. What I want to ask you about, though, is did you consider their action a defeat for you or a victory for you?


Vernon

I've forgotten what their action was.


Fry

Well, they did put suffrage in their platforms, but they said, "We want it state by state and not a federal amendment."


Vernon

Well, of course, that would be a setback to have that stated, if it was stated like that.


Fry

Yes. Was this an expected thing? Do you remember much about it?


Vernon

I don't remember much about it, although I was in both Chicago and St. Louis.

89. The Republican and Progressive conventions were held in Chicago; the Democratic convention was in St. Louis. [Ed.]

I was out on the corner speaking most of the time.

What does Alice tell you about when she gives you her long dissertations?



189
Fry

Mabel, I couldn't begin to tell you, and I can't even remember now. There's too much. I just try to ask her a lot of questions and then ask you a lot of questions in hopes that we can get all the versions of it. But I think that now that we have information on some of the letters and things like that, we'll be able to tie this down a little bit better.


Vernon

What I need to do is read the Suffragist, darling. These things would all be refreshed. I have to ponder now and say, "I don't remember. I don't remember." If I could read the Suffragist, all of these things would come back.


Fry

Yes. Maybe you could do that, and maybe I could have another visit in a few months.


Vernon

I don't know.


Difficulties in the South, 1917

Fry

You know, yesterday you and I were talking about the South, and I thought you would enjoy this. There is a letter from Beulah Amidon to Alice Paul in April of 1917. The South still hadn't been organized. This was rather late for organizational efforts, but the South apparently lagged behind.


Vernon

We began our picketing in June of 1917 or so.


Fry

January of 1917.


Vernon

It was in January, was it? Well, go ahead, darling. Oh, you said January, 1917? Yes, because we were picketing during the summer. Yes, you're right, darling. I was confused in my--


Fry

Well, Beulah Amidon wrote from Alabama and said--


Vernon

Where in Alabama?


Fry

I don't know. But she was down there organizing, and she said, "If I didn't know that nothing was impossible, I'd certainly say that Alabama was!" [Laughter] That kind of matches with your comments on Georgia from yesterday.


Vernon

Yes. [Laughter]


Fry

Now, Doris Stevens was in Charleston, and she felt the same way about Charleston.



190
Vernon

I never knew that Doris was in Charleston, Anita can tell you about that.


Fry

Yes, I thought I'd ask Anita about that. It's probably one of those little errands that Alice sent her on.

At any rate, according to my information, by the end of 1917, there were branches in all forty-eight states.


Vernon

Of a sort.


Fry

Of a sort. Now, what do you think that statistic really meant?


Vernon

We had very sketchy organizations of many states.


Fry

Well, it sounds like the South was extremely difficult because of the attitude toward carpetbagging, for one thing. They didn't like women coming down from the North telling them what to do.


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

Did you run into any other southern attitudes that made this the last bastion?


Vernon

I'm trying to think what I was doing during those years, '17. You see, I was here organizing the picketing.


Fry

You were busy in Washington in '17, I guess.


Vernon

I certainly was.


Fry

Because I have you down here as being the organizer of all the picketing.


Membership Statistics Evaluated

Fry

I want to follow up that question about the chapters all over the United States and ask you about one more statistic. The National Association repeatedly put out information that it had 98 percent of all the suffragists in its organization.


Vernon

Well, that's probably true.


Fry

I wondered what you all said about that.


Vernon

They had 98 percent. Oh, probably it was true, if you measure things that way.



191
Fry

How important was this comparison of numbers in terms of the way you functioned?


Vernon

You see, we had very active, devoted people. It didn't make any difference whether there were few or many. They were still active and prominent, probably much more active than the women in the Woman Suffrage Association. But understand the old suffrage association was very much respected, bound to be. But their tactics were a little different. What they say in regard to numbers is probably true. I don't have any way of measuring it. Was there a corresponding contrast in the amount of activities in the two organizations?

All I could tell you about were the states in which I organized. When I came in, I generally found people who were suffragists. It didn't make any difference whether they belonged to the National Association, or to the National Woman's Party, or what not. If I was doing something that they thought was worthy of support, I got it. When we planned a delegation to a congressman, for instance--they would join in.


Fry

And did you frequently have women helping you who didn't even belong to the Congressional Union?


Vernon

Oh, I don't remember particularly. But I don't think I would place that much emphasis on membership. What was important was a good woman who would help, whether she'd paid her 25 cents or not.


Fry

I see. [Laughter] So, in other words, there was not a strict division between the two.


Vernon

No.


Fry

That makes that statistic not mean quite so much.


Vernon

That's what I think too.


Delegation to Charles Evans Hughes, 1916

Fry

Mabel, I think Anne Martin and Abby Scott Baker were sent after Charles Evans Hughes in 1916. Do you know anything about that? He came out for suffrage, too.


Vernon

Yes. I didn't remember that those two were sent. I remember his being in Reno and we went to see him. You see, I was stationed in Reno in 1916.



192
Fry

Oh, good!


Vernon

And we went to see him. We had a big delegation of women meeting in the Riverside Hotel, and it seems he was out for the suffrage amendment then. But I don't remember a great deal about the campaign of getting him. They were two good women to go after him, both very attractive women and intelligent women.


Fry

Your old friend Anne Martin.


Vernon

That's what I'm saying.


Fry

But it was interesting, because in coming out for the federal amendment, which he did, he went against the platform of his party, which had come out for states' referenda.


Vernon

For the states. Yes, that was greatly to his credit, wasn't it?


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

But I don't remember any contact with him except that one in Reno that I had personally. I don't remember what Anne had. I would think I would know about any that she had.


Fry

Well, that story is probably buried somewhere in her papers.


Vernon

I doubt it.


Fry

You don't think so? Maybe Alice can tell me something about that.


Vernon

She would know more about Charles Evans Hughes. She probably had a hand in it.


Fry

Do you remember Representative Byrnes [James] from South Carolina calling for an investigation of the lobbying finances of the Congressional Union?


Vernon

No. He did that, did he?


Fry

Yes. [Laughter] I thought maybe that was the first indication that you people were really succeeding! He never did have the investigation, but he wondered how come you had so much money.


Vernon

[Laughter] Where did you get that?


Fry

I got it from the thesis, and she [Loretta Ellen Zimmer] got it from some letters and the documents and so forth. The newspapers picked it up.



193
Vernon

Oh, they did?


Fry

Yes. I thought that was kind of unfortunate for the Congressional Union, because there was a lot of censure of it in the newspapers and then the hearings were never held.


Vernon

I don't have any memory of that.


Campaign Director for Women's International League (1930-1935): Suffrage Techniques Used

Fry

You might start out by telling me how you chose WIL [Woman's International League for Peace and Freedom] to work for.


Vernon

I'm trying to think. I considered several things. I knew I wanted to work for peace.


Fry

Mabel, why did you choose peace over equal rights at this point?


Vernon

Well, I thought it was more critical, I guess. You know, the president of the Women's International League was Hannah Clothier Hull.

90. Hannah Clothier Hull is listed as chairman among the national officers on a 1930 letterhead of the U.S. Section, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She is listed as national president on a 1935 letterhead. [Ed.]

Do you know who she is, darling?


Fry

I just know that she was president, and that's all I know.


Vernon

Well, her husband, William Isaac Hull, was a professor at Swarthmore. He was my professor of history and that, of course, inclined me to Mrs. Hull. I went and talked to Mrs. Hull. She was the daughter of Isaac Clothier, who was a very great patron of Swarthmore. That's why Clothier Memorial, for instance--


Fry

It was named after him?


Vernon

The Clothier family gave the building. It wasn't yet built when I was there, though. They have a big store in Philadelphia now, Strawbridge and Clothier. It was always my mother's favorite store. You don't know Philadelphia, I presume?



194
Fry

I don't shop there. [Laughter]


Vernon

And the Clothiers are very important in Swarthmore history. I can remember going into Mrs. Hull's house, I guess, for the first interview and Professor Hull said, "My old friend and student."


Fry

Oh, that's when he said that?


Vernon

Yes, I think that was it.


Fry

So, they hired you?


Vernon

I became the campaign director. That was the title. And, of course, I carried over a good many of the Woman's Party tactics, as you could tell from that outline.


Fry

Did you?


Vernon

Yes, considerably. I mean, like the trip across the country. One of the first things I did was to get up the disarmament petition to go to the disarmament conference in Geneva. That's all in that outline, certainly, darling.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, United States Section. Outline of Activities 1931-1935, on file in The Bancroft Library.

Mabel Vernon may have directed or been associated with more of the activities on the outline than are discussed in the interviews. Those discussed are the ones which are memorable to her. For information on her participation in other activities during her years as campaign director for WIL, the researcher should consult the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Pertinent papers can be found in WIL, U.S. Section: Mabel Vernon Collection.

I don't think I can tell you about anything I did that isn't there.

Of course, Anne was very active in the WIL. She became one of my principal helpers; more than a helper--she was a leader.


Fry

Was she already active in it before you--


Vernon

Yes, yes. She went to the Dublin conference. We went abroad. I left Anne in London, came home--1923, whenever this was--and Anne went to the Dublin conference of the WIL. So, you see, that far back, she was interested. I've always regretted that I didn't go to that, but I had to come back for chautauqua.



195
Fry

We have here on our outline that WIL in 1931, I guess, worked for the withdrawal of the United States Marines from Nicaragua and from Haiti.


Vernon

Yes. I didn't have anything to do with that. That was work that they had conducted before I got in on my campaign.


Fry

I see. What about the work with the League of Nations representatives and with the State Department to help prevent further American financial domination in Liberia?


Vernon

Oh, I didn't have anything to do with it. Those were the kinds of things that Dorothy Datzer was doing, I guess.


Fry

Oh. Well, now, you must have had something to do with Fair Play for Cuba, the Institute on Cuban-American Affairs in Washington in 1932.


Vernon

No. You see, I was concentrating on the disarmament conference.


Signatures on Disarmament Petition, 1931; Presentation to President, and Farewell to U.S. Delegation to Geneva Disarmament Conference, 1932

Fry

On the disarmament conference? Okay. That was this trans-continental peace caravan in 1931. [Looking at Outline of Activities. ]


Vernon

That's it.


Fry

Didn't you go by train?


Vernon

Oh, no.


Fry

How did you go? By car?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

And this says you toured Los Angeles to Washington and had meetings in 130 cities.

92. The figure on the outline is unclear. It may be 130, but more likely is 150. [Ed.]

That sounds familiar. [Laughter] It does sound like the 1915 suffrage campaign.


Vernon

Yes! [Laughter] It certainly does. It was modeled on that.


Fry

And you got 100,000 signatures for your international disarmament petition.



196
Vernon

To bring it here to Washington. It was a good campaign, darling.


Fry

Did you present this to President Hoover?


Vernon

Well, the WIL did.


Fry

Were you in the delegation?


Vernon

Of course!


Fry

Did you make a speech or anything?


Vernon

I don't remember it.


Fry

What can you tell me about that? What was Hoover's reaction?


Vernon

Was this Hoover? Well, you know that Hoover had made the proposal to the--well, an international body.

93. "The naval treaty of April 22, 1930, signed at the London Naval Conference of 1930, was the outstanding achievement of his [Hoover's] administration in this field. It placed limits on the number of small naval vessels each nation might construct as well as on battleships and cruisers." Encyclopedia American, 1973. vol. 14, p. 365. [Ed.]

Hoover was all for the disarmament proposition.


Fry

Yes, I think I have--let me see if this paper I xeroxed has something to do with that.

94. Memo to state and local branches of the Women's International League, U.S. Section. On file at The Bancroft Library.

[Looks at paper] Yes. In 1930, January 10, there was a notice sent out to the local branches to please hurry up and get all those petitions and resolutions sent to the White House.


Vernon

Is that so?


Fry

Yes. There had been 15,000 petitions sent out and there had been a discouraging response. So, it said, "The president really needs this backing."


Vernon

Did I say this, or who said this?


Fry

This isn't signed, Mabel. It's just a--


Vernon

General statement.


Fry

A general memo to all the state and local branches, yes.



197
Vernon

Well, I can't tell whether I sent that or whether Dorothy Detzer sent it. She was the [executive] secretary of it [U.S. Section, WIL] and I was campaign director.


Fry

Well, there was the naval armament conference which was going on about this time. I think it opened on January 21, and Mr. Hoover was apparently supposed to be very much in favor of naval disarmament.

95. Memo from Women's International League, California Branch, January 21, 1930. On file at The Bancroft Library.

Is that right?


Vernon

Yes.


Fry

What else did you do besides present this petition to the President? Mabel, did you try to lobby the Congress any on it?


Vernon

Well, I know that we were working for the reduction in the naval armaments. I can remember going up to Congress. Anne was very influential, very prominent, at that time, drawing up letters, petitions. I remember Jimmy Byrnes [James F.] describing how we came up there. He was a senator at that time and probably the chairman of the committee. I've forgotten. But that was one of our activities, to work for a reduction. I'm sure it must be in there [the outline]--to work for a reduction in the naval armaments.


Fry

In January, 1932, there was a big farewell for the United States delegation to the disarmament conference at Geneva.


Vernon

Oh, yes, in New York.


Fry

Yes. That I don't know anything about.


Vernon

Well, the delegation was sailing on the S.S. President Harding from New York to Geneva to the conference, and Dr. Woolley was a member. Mary E. Woolley--does that name mean anything?


Fry

Oh, sure. Wasn't she in suffrage?


Vernon

Well, that's another story. But I'm talking about the WIL and the Peoples Mandate Committee. She became the chairman of the Peoples Mandate Committee--Mary E. Woolley. I don't remember her in the suffrage work at all.



198
Fry

Oh, well, it may have been in Peoples Mandate research, then, that I saw her name.


Vernon

Of course, as president of Mt. Holyoke, she was, I guess, undoubtedly quoted in suffrage. But, at any rate, Dr. Mary E. Woolley was on this boat, and Dr. and Mrs. Hull were on it too. We had a meeting in some square in New York. It was Madison Square, I guess; not Madison Square Garden but Madison Square. We had a band, and we had Norman Thomas speaking, and we had quite a celebration. Then the band went down to the pier and played, and Ruth Nichols flew down to where the boat was at quarantine. That was it.


Fry

Where?


Vernon

Down to quarantine. The boat stopped at quarantine. [Laughter]


Fry

No. And she flew in a plane over?


Vernon

Ruth was a famous flyer. Do you know the name--Ruth Nichols?


Fry

The first female pilot I knew about was Amelia Earhart.


Vernon

Oh, yes. I went to see Amelia Earhart at that time, I never will forget, because I wanted her--I guess this came a little bit later--I wanted her to do some flying for us. She said to me at that time, "When I come back, if I come back, I will be all the more valuable to you." Wasn't that prophetic?


Fry

My goodness.


Vernon

That was down at the Willard Hotel. She was married to George Putnam, you know.


Fry

Yes. And she sounded doubtful even then?


Vernon

Well, she said it just like that: "When I come back, if I come back, I will be more helpful to you." I never forgot it. A nice person.

But this was Ruth Nichols and she flew down to quarantine. I've forgotten just how that was arranged. But she came down on the boat or perhaps on the water near the boat. She had that kind of plane, you know. And I flew back with her.


Fry

Oh, you did?


Vernon

Yes, to New York, from the boat. But this was to give a farewell to Dr. Woolley, and we had a mass meeting in the Belasco Theatre honoring Dr. Woolley [and the rest of the] delegation to the disarmament con


199
ference. The WIL had been quite instrumental in getting her appointed, I think, to the conference.


Fry

Oh, did you take part in that operation of getting her appointed?


Vernon

Oh, yes, more or less.


"Disarmament Envoys" Tour; Local Celebrations of Anniversary of Peace Pact, 1933

Fry

Now, you did have another tour, in 1933, according to this, which I guess is the official WIL list of accomplishments. This disarmament convoy tour in 1933 covered twenty-five states and brought a disarmament petition with 125,000 signatures back to the White House. The delegation was presented by Senator Key Pittman--


Vernon

Oh, yes, I remember that.


Fry

Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Do you remember that?


Vernon

Yes. Mary Moss [Wellborn] was a great friend of Pittman's. Well, I was too, because of Nevada, you see. For some reason, the President couldn't receive us and so Pittman received us. I think it was in the Blue Room of the White House, or something like that. But he was most delightful.


Fry

Oh, he was?


Vernon

Oh, of course.


Fry

He was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.


Vernon

That's right, he was.


Fry

Do you remember the disarmament dinner with Senator Borah, your old friend? [Laughter]


Vernon

Yes, yes!


Fry

Your old enemy. [Laughter]


Vernon

Yes, I was thinking about that when we were talking about Borah. But Borah was all right on this question. He was our friend.


Fry

I wonder if he'd finally come around to women's suffrage by that time.



200
Vernon

I imagine not. [Laughter]


Fry

And Dr. Harlow Shapley of the Harvard Observatory.


Vernon

Yes. I think that was Mrs. Swope who got him. You know the name of Swope, darling? Gerard Swope? General Electric?


Fry

Yes, the man who was president of General Electric. Was she his wife, or what?


Vernon

She was his wife, Mary Hill Swope. She once lived at Hull House. His name was Gerard, I think. But they were great friends of Miss Addams. Her daughter was studying astronomy with Harlow. Wasn't that wonderful to have him?


Fry

Yes. Was he a good commentator on things like questions of disarmament?


Vernon

Yes. He made good speeches, I remember.


Fry

Now, in 1933, there were all those disarmament meetings through the country celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact.


Vernon

Were there? I'd forgotten this.


Fry

Yes. And you say here in this outline there was a message from the secretary of state to WIL and a nationwide broadcast by a Mr. J. Pierrepont Moffat of the State Department [August 27, 1933].


Vernon

Yes, I remember him.


Fry

And Count de Leusse, representing the French ambassador, [also took part in that broadcast]. Do you remember that?


Vernon

Oh, yes.


Fry

Do you remember very much about those disarmament meetings held throughout the country? That sounds like another Woman's Party technique.


Vernon

Yes. I was imitating the Woman's Party [techniques] considerably in this campaign, and they all came out remarkably well. But this was a grand climax, and it led up to the celebration of Jane Addams and the twentieth anniversary.



201

Celebration of Twentieth Anniversary of WIL, 1935

Fry

Where was Jane Addams in this time? She was the head of it [WILPF], wasn't she still?


Vernon

She was the international head [international president]. We met her, you know, when Jane was celebrating--


Fry

A birthday.


Vernon

Yes. We had a celebration of the anniversary, the twentieth anniversary [May 2, 1935]. That was a notable occasion. I've always been proud of that. Mrs. Harold Ickes was the chairman of our local committee to arrange this. Harold was the secretary of the interior and that meant we had all the cooperation. We had an open-air meeting down here at McPherson Square with a platform erected. Vida Millholland opened the celebration. Mrs. Ickes, as chairman of the committee, spoke. We had speakers from all over. Does it tell about that? That was a notable--


Fry

I read about that somewhere. Oh, I know where I read about it. You wrote a letter to Anne Martin and described the whole thing to her in your letter.


Vernon

That was just as good as I could do it now.


Fry

I wondered if that was your main contact with Jane Addams, or if you worked with her?


Vernon

Anne was very friendly with Jane Addams. When we went abroad, even as far back, I guess it was, as '23 [1920--Ed.], we took letters from Jane to some of the women who were prominent in the WIL. I have a paper in there now-- Die Frau Im Stadt, edited by two of the women in the WIL--Anita Augsburgh and Gustava Heymann. We saw a great deal of them when we were in Munich. I could tell you stories about them, that would be just so moving, darling.


Fry

Oh, I see. In other words, you didn't see Jane Addams very much, then, while you were working in WIL.


Vernon

Well, I only consulted with her if I were near. I can remember I called her up one day and said, "Could I come to see you?" I guess she said, "At nine o'clock," and I said, "Well, I'm leaving at ten." [And she said,] "Well, that gives us an hour. You can't talk about anything for more than an hour." [Laughter.]


Fry

[Laughter] Is that what she said?



202
Vernon

Yes, I liked her very much.


Fry

She sounds like a very efficient woman.


Vernon

Oh, she was. I liked her very much and Anne was very friendly with her. But, at any rate, you know about the birthday.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

And you know how Jane died shortly, don't you?

Yes. We had a beautiful dinner down at the Willard [Hotel]. Do you know all about that sort of thing?


Fry

Yes, I think I knew about the dinner.


Vernon

Mrs. Roosevelt? She spoke. She was one of the most notable speakers.


Fry

Yes.


Vernon

Mrs. Roosevelt and Oswald Garrison Villard, and the Russian ambassador and the Japanese ambassador--what, darling?


Fry

I was just checking to see if that was right. Yes, I think all of that's in your letter that you wrote describing it.


Vernon

Well, I must have written very thoroughly, then.


Fry

You did. There are several pages.


Vernon

I thought very highly of Anne's advice, and she had some title. I've forgotten what it was.

96. Anne Martin was western regional director of the U.S. Section of WIL, 1926-1930. Until her resignation in 1936, she was acting state chairman of Colorado.


Fry

Yes, I remember that. But she's not on the letterhead or anything of WIL.


Vernon

Well, she would be on the mandate, probably.



203

Peoples Mandate Committee

Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, 1936, Described Further

Fry

There seem to have been several techniques that you used for suffrage and also for peace. It strikes me that one you used often was the collecting of signatures on petitions. The Peoples Mandate Committee collected petition signatures for the conference in Buenos Aires, didn't they?


Vernon

I have several clear memories of the Buenos Aires conference [1936] where we presented all those petitions.

While we were preparing for the conference, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, who was a friend of ours, called and asked if we would like to have him make the translation of our petition from English to Spanish.

Then just before we were to present the petitions to Saavedro Lamas, the secretary-general of the conference, Cordell Hull called and asked if we would like to have him there at the presentation. We were delighted.

There were so many petitions. Dr. Charles F. Fenwick was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Buenos Aires conference and a counselor in the Pan American Union. He was a former professor at Bryn Mawr. Years after the conference, all anyone would have to do was mention my name, and Dr. Fenwick would tell about the long tables covered with petitions at Buenos Aires.


Fry

That's quite a tribute to you, for him to always remember that long table with your petitions on it. Let me recap, Mabel. My research has been very specific, and I don't quite have the picture all pulled together. You went down to Buenos Aires and you had petitions for the inter-American peace treaty. Now eventually, that peace treaty was signed--


Vernon

There were peace treaties signed--more than one.


Fry

Yes, signed by all the countries.


Vernon

I don't know whether they ever all signed or not, but a goodly number.


Fry

Over a period of years.



204
Vernon

Yes, I guess somebody down at the Pan-American Union could tell us how many have signed. But that's the thing we kept working on for some time.


Fry

And this was a part of that whole Good Neighbor Policy at that time?


Vernon

Yes, that was the foundation of the inter-American peace treaties.


Fry

What other organizations like yours went down to Buenos Aires?


Vernon

Well, the WIL had a representative there, but just a representative, Eloise Brainard, who was a friend of ours and, I guess, a member of our committee. I've forgotten, but she was the Latin American representative. She was an American, but she was the inter-American chairman for the WIL; and she was there. We were always very cooperative. Eloise and I were friends and worked together very amicably.


Fry

Were there any other organizations at that time that were active enough to be of interest?


Vernon

Not that I remember that I can mention now. That's the reason the State Department was so appreciative of us. Sumner Welles, particularly; he thought we were doing a great service. He was the one who helped us go up to the President at Hyde Park. Of course, he was an intimate friend of the President.


Declaration of Principles Presented at Paris Peace Conference, 1946

Fry

In the Paris peace conference after World War II, the principles that were drawn up and adopted by the Peoples Mandate Committee--

97.  Peoples Mandate Committee at the Paris Peace Conference: World Statesmen Support Declaration of Principles. See appendix.


Vernon

Well, we did that at a conference here in Washington before we went to Paris. Must be something about that someplace.


Fry

Yes, there is. And you presented the principles to each of the delegations there, and what I was most curious about was to get some reactions that you got from Molotov and Bevan and our secretary, Byrnes, to your--


Vernon

I don't remember any reaction from Bevan. Did he say something?



205
Fry

That's what I'm going to ask you. Did he tell you anything?


Vernon

I don't remember. If he isn't quoted there, I'm sure he didn't.


Fry

Well, these are formal quotations here. But I thought maybe you talked to these men. Did you?


Vernon

Oh, of course, to get the quotations, darling.


Fry

I've got their quotations. I don't have what they said when you talked to them.


Vernon

Practically what they said in the quotation, I guess. But I don't remember Bevan. If he doesn't have a quotation--


Fry

I don't have a quotation from Molotov, either.


Vernon

Maybe not. Anybody from the Russian--no. We saw Molotov.


Fry

Do you remember anything about your meeting with him?


Vernon

Well, I never saw him.

98. When asked, January 31, 1975, if she had attended the Paris Peace Conference, Mabel Vernon said that she was certain she had not. She had interpreted the "you" in the previous questions as referring to the group of people who were trying to get the declaration of principles of the Peoples Mandate Committee before the conference delegates. In the publication Peoples Mandate Committee at the Paris Peace Conference, Mrs. Ana del Pulgar Burke, Mrs. Claude Pepper, and Miss Mary Gertrude Fendall are listed as the representatives of the Peoples Mandate Committee.

But someone of our delegation--maybe Mrs. Pepper or somebody like that. She was the wife of a senator, Claude Pepper. He was a senator then; he's a representative now. And Mrs. Pepper would have had considerable prestige, you see. But I don't remember what he said, if anything. If we had our papers, I could easily give you a copy of the pamphlet with the principles and the statements about them, but our papers are all gone, I'm afraid, gone to Swarthmore. We had the declaration of principles in many languages. What languages did we have our declaration of principles in?


Reyes

I'm not sure.


Vernon

We had it in Spanish, we had it in Portuguese, and we had it in French. These were the languages of the hemisphere, you see. French for Haiti; Portuguese for Brazil; Spanish--



206
Fry

In here it says it took four years to draw up these principles. So that must have been a long process, all the time the war was going on.


Vernon

What page was that?


Fry

I didn't write down the page numbers, but it's such a short--


Vernon

That's all right. Florence Boeckel worked on them a good bit. We presented them to the [Peoples Mandate] conference, you know, and had them adopted by the conference. The pamphlet on the declaration of principles must have that someplace.


Fry

Yes, it does.


Vernon

You know the name of Florence Boeckel?


Fry

Oh yes. I think we've talked about her. She was one of the editors for the Suffragist magazine.


Vernon

No, no. She was never one of the editors; she wrote publicity. She was press chairman. Never an editor, though, darling.


Fry

Oh, I thought she did quite a lot on the Suffragist.


Vernon

Maybe she did, but I didn't know it. She was press chairman. Maybe she did.


Fry

You say here that

"women of the twenty-one American republics have worked together for more than a decade in the Peoples Mandate Committee."
Mabel Vernon in unidentified publication.


Vernon

I guess that's right.


Fry

But you don't really tell very much about how you went about framing the declaration of principles.


Vernon

Darling, do you want to say anything about that?


Fry

Did you know, Consuelo?


Vernon

She was secretary for Latin America. She did most of the correspondence. Come, darling, tell Chita [Fry] a little bit about how you worked on the declaration of principles for the Peoples Mandate Committee.


Fry

Yes, you had joined the committee by this time, hadn't you? Because you joined it in 1942?



207
Reyes

1943. That is when I came.


Fry

As I read over these principles, I wondered: how were these drawn up? How were they arrived at? Did you have a committee in each country that worked on it?


Vernon

We had a chairman in each country. I wouldn't say that the principle object was to work on these principles, but Consuelo had correspondence in Spanish with all of them.


Reyes

They responded very well, these Latin Americans. I did want to emphasize that they met with other prominent ladies in their country and they spoke with them about the purposes of the Peoples Mandate Committee.


Vernon

It was an informal drawing up; they're quite common principles, you know. But it was something we all agreed upon without any great dissension. But we did have the conference in Washington in 1946 in which the principles were adopted. As I say, Consuelo did a good bit of work to get them arranged in a form that we could present to our conference.


Fry

It seemed to me that some of them could be fairly difficult to get agreement on.


Vernon

You mean difficult for our people to agree on?


Fry

Yes. There was one that atomic energy knowledge should be freely shared between countries. That was pretty controversial right after the atom bomb was dropped because everyone was afraid of Russia getting the secret of atomic energy use.


Vernon

Well, there was agreement in our small circle, at any rate.


Fry

Was there? And, each country to be able to fully develop its resources. I instantly thought of the postwar question of whether the Ruhr Valley should be allowed to develop its industries again. That was a controversy in our Congress at that time, and I thought maybe you'd had a similar controversy.


Reyes

I remember there was a controversy among us, too, because ladies were afraid to belong to something that was against the government and that was called "communist."


Vernon

What are you saying, darling?


Reyes

I said that there was controversy among us, too, because there were ladies who were afraid to take part in something controversial.



208
Vernon

But there wasn't so much controversy that we couldn't decide on our principles.


Reyes

--they don't know very much about things. What they know is this: if we work in this, we will be communists. They were afraid.


Fry

Were those charges primarily charges here in the United States?


Reyes

I think in the United States and also in Latin America.


Vernon

I don't know what she's saying.


Fry

She's saying that there was the charge that you were communistic because you were going--


Vernon

Nothing serious, darling?


Reyes

Nothing serious for the persons who were thoughtful, for the persons who knew exactly what we were doing; but it was serious for those who spoke in general terms.


Vernon

I remember that once while I was in Latin America I heard that in the State Department we were being called communists. I called Mary Gertrude Fendall and said, "They're accusing us of being communistic. Do something about it." She went right over to State and talked to our friend Adolphe Berle. Berle said, "Oh, aren't we all?" [Laughter] Berle was kidding, you see.


Fry

Yes. You all were getting the same treatment, including him. [Laughter]


Vernon

Yes. "Aren't we all?"


Reyes

One of our representatives was Gabriela Mistral, the famous writer from Chile.


Vernon

You know her, don't you, darling?


Reyes

She was called communist also. She wrote a beautiful article that was entitled, “The Damned Word. ” In Spanish it would be “ La Palabra Maldita. ” It's a very strong term but it was a beautiful article. She had to write to defend herself.


Vernon

She was our honorary chairman in Latin America, wasn't she, Consuelo?


Reyes

Yes. But in those times you couldn't speak about peace because to say "peace" and to say "communism" was the same.



209
Vernon

Do you know the name of Gabriela, darling?


Fry

I've never read any of her work. I know her name because of those accusations.


Vernon

And you know she has the Nobel Prize for literature. Which year was it, darling? '45?


Reyes

'45, I think.


Fry

That was quite a good name to have on your committee.


Reyes

Yes, wonderful.


Vernon

Wonderful. Wonderful. I remember the telegram she sent us: "Use my signature in any way you please." Wasn't that it, darling? You remember that? I remember how pleased and encouraged I was when we got that cable.


United Nations Conference on International Organization, 1945, Discussed Further

Fry

We haven't gone into the United Nations work. We only mentioned it. Did you go too, Consuelo, to San Francisco?


Reyes

No, I didn't go.

Miss Vernon's main work was to work against the veto of the United States. Miss Vernita has been mentioned in Who's Who, her name. You can see it. She devoted [herself] almost entirely against the veto.


Fry

Oh, really? You were at the United Nations with the Latin American organization. What was the name of this? I want the proper, formal name of the Latin American organization that you were with at the United Nations in 1945.


Reyes

It was the Peoples Mandate Committee for Inter-American Peace and Cooperation.


Vernon

That was the name we took during the war, darling. Our [original] mandate name was Peoples Mandate to Government to End War.


Fry

And this [delegation to the San Francisco conference] was primarily an inter-American delegation, right?



210
Vernon

I guess it was.


Fry

Were you allowed to meet with the committees?


Vernon

Oh, we could do anything we pleased, darling--just the way we act here in Congress.


Fry

I see. Who did you find most helpful to you there?


Vernon

I can't say that the United States delegation was a great help. I don't know. Some of the Latin Americans were helpful, weren't they? [To Consuelo] Well, you weren't there, though.


Reyes

No.


Vernon

I wouldn't know who was most helpful, darling. Costa Rica was helpful. I had Nellie Echeverria with me, you know, darling. Mexico was helpful.


Fry

Who was Nellie?


Vernon

She was a girl from Costa Rica who worked with us; she wasn't anybody whose name you would know now and would ever hear again.


Fry

But she was Costa Rican. About how many countries were represented in this delegation?


Vernon

We had fifteen, did we say? I think they were principally from Mexico, darling. Costa Rica. Anybody from Ecuador there? I don't remember. But there was fair representation.


Fry

Did it look for a while as though you were going to be successful in keeping the veto out?


Vernon

No, it never looked as if we were. Who was it? Bob La Follette, I guess, said to me, when I was talking to him, that the United States would never join without the veto.


Fry

Were the Soviets at that time also adamant about keeping the veto?


Vernon

I don't remember the Soviets, darling.


Fry

If you have any papers that will help to document your time in San Francisco at the formation of the United Nations, I'd like to have those too to put in.



211
Vernon

I don't know where I would get them. Whatever papers I have are in Swarthmore now.

99. See appendix for a checklist of Peoples Mandate materials in the Swarthmore Peace Collection, and a brief historical introduction to the materials.


Fry

The official record of that is in The Bancroft Library and in our University of California documents; but I looked through it briefly, and it's not detailed enough.


Vernon

I don't think there's anything that I have.


Fry

No?


Vernon

What would it document? Document what, darling?


Fry

I particularly wanted to get some idea of what your committee was doing.


Vernon

Just informally. Nothing very formal--talking to delegates. We did have that luncheon for the women who represented Latin American countries, women who were on delegations, like Bertha Lutz from Brazil and Minerva Bernardino from the Dominican Republic.

Sara [Bard Field] spoke, and so did Adelia. What's Adelia's full name, Consuelo? She's head of the women's university in Mexico.


Reyes

Adelia Formoso de Obregon Santacilia.


Fry

Did you also do any other entertaining of the delegates who were representing their governments?


Vernon

I don't remember anything.


Fry

I think I'm going to let you rest.


Vernon

I think you'll have to, darling.

Letters from Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin in the late 1940s and early 1950s indicate that Miss Vernon was deeply aware of the intricacies of the international situation and was continuing to press for disarmament.

In 1947 she was apparently still busy lobbying, because in a letter, dated only 1947, she asked Anne Martin to please write Senator McCarran

"urging him to vote against the Greece-Turkey 'loan.'
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I have talked with him and know he wants to vote 'no' but is afraid he will be smeared as an 'isolationist'--a communist or something."
Mabel Vernon to Anne Martin, 1947.

On November 3, 1947, Mabel Vernon wrote

"We [Peoples Mandate Committee] are starting on a big campaign against the militarization of the hemisphere that is making rapid progress."
Mabel Vernon to unidentified correspondent, November 3, 1947. And on November 18 she noted the
"pressure from the military for quick passage of the bill to arm Latin America"
Mabel Vernon to unidentified correspondent, November 18 [1947]. and cited Mr. Villard's pamphlet which called such arming of Latin America
"the most sinister proposal ever made in Latin American public affairs."
Unidentified pamphlet by Oswald Garrison Villard. This was, of course, all against the background of the Act of Chapultepec (1945) in which it was stated that an attack on any one of the signers would be considered an attack on all. On December 9, 1947, Mabel Vernon wrote:
"The Bogota Conference scheduled for January 17 [1948] has been moved to March 30. This means that the military will try to get the arms bill through Congress before then."
Mabel Vernon to unidentified correspondent, December 9, 1947.

According to an entry in the Vernon Family History and Genealogy which was confirmed in conversation with Mabel Vernon,

"she and other Mandate officers carried an 'Appeal to the Pan American Nations' to the Inter-American Conference in Bogota, Columbia, in 1948, which was made famous by one of the most violent uprisings in South American History. The Appeal urging united American action to save mankind from destruction called on the 21 Pan American republics to work in the United Nations for a comprehensive program, creating a world police force, prohibiting all weapons of mass destruction and reducing national armaments to a police force in each country to maintain internal order."
From the Vernon Family History and Genealogy. In the later conversation [1945], Miss Vernon said,
"For a long time after that conference, our delegation called themselves the S.O.B.s--survivors of Bogota."
Conversation with Mabel Vernon, 1945.

On February 10, 1950, Mabel Vernon wrote:

"I have spent much time getting communications to the President about the H-bomb. Enclosed is a letter the Mandate sent to him. Now we are working on letters urging that the United States try to secure agreements for world disarmament, the greatest deterrent to war."
Mabel Vernon to unidentified correspondent, February 10, 1950.

This same letter indicates her continuing interest in the support of women for office, as indicated by her recounting of the efforts of women on behalf of Burnita Shelton Matthews who was appointed as a federal district judge.

On December 5, 1950, Mabel Vernon wrote concerning her thoughts on the Korean war. She suggested that it might be useful to press for a meeting of the Big Four with India and China taking part--where Truman might

"present all our proposals for universal disarmament and world economic reconstruction"
Mabel Vernon to unidentified correspondent, December 5, 1950. as he had put them before the U.N. Assembly on October 24 [1950]. Mabel Vernon is not sure whether she
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attended a general session of the United Nations in 1950 or in 1951; but Consuelo Reyes, who was working with her on the Peoples Mandate Committee at that time, remembers that Miss Vernon was going to a United Nations meeting in Paris with a disarmament proposal. After Miss Vernon had left, Miss Reyes read in the newspaper that President Truman would attend the same session with a disarmament proposal very much like that of the Peoples Mandate Committee. She remembers wiring this news to Miss Vernon. It was probably this disarmament proposal to which Mabel Vernon referred during her quandary about the Korean war.

The letters mentioned above are from Anne Martin's papers in The Bancroft Library. Further documentation of Mabel Vernon's work for peace is among her papers in the Peace Collection of Swarthmore Library.



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Interview with Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan

Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan was among the "second generation" of suffrage workers for the Woman's Party. She was one of their most active pickets during the years when Mabel Vernon worked in the Washington office and in the field. After suffrage was won in the United States, she went to England where she was employed as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and soon became interested in the struggle for women's rights there. During World War II she took a job with the U.S. State Department and became one of the first four women ever made "officers" of the Foreign Service. "To add the anti-feminist finale," she laughs, "we were terminated the day after the peace was signed."

The following brief interview was recorded in the parlor of the National Woman's Party on January 22, 1975, the day after her visit to Mabel Vernon.


217
Ingersoll

I thought, after our talk yesterday at Mabel Vernon's house, it might be interesting if we could have a bit of conversation that would bring out both some of the things that you did for the Woman's Party and all of the things that you saw and knew about what Mabel Vernon had done.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Perhaps life around headquarters would be interesting. It was a completely cooperative community. The only servants there were in the house were a cook and a cleaning woman. We manned the telephone, we all addressed envelopes, we all stuffed envelopes, we all answered the doorbells, we made our own beds. We kept it going as a clubhouse without any expenses being taken from the National Woman's Party's funds. It meant a lot of work just [laughs] running everything. It was no eight-hour-a-day job, or nine-to-five; it was from early morning till midnight, the last thing being that one or two people had to be on the telephone.


Ingersoll

You told yesterday how you had come in 1916, just after the election. And it wasn't very long after that that the picketing began.


Hunkins-Hallinan

It began after Wilson made a speech after the Russian Revolution in which he was attacking--that famous Russian banner would tell you the story--he was attacking the concept of denying democracy to people. And he was talking about democracy this, democracy that, and


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democracy the other, and we put the great big Russian banner up, "Why not democracy for American women?" and other banners similar to that.


Ingersoll

You were the one who carried a good many of those banners in demonstrations, weren't you?


Hunkins-Hallinan

That was part of my business. Part of the business all of us did every day was go out on the picket line.


Ingersoll

Was Mabel Vernon the woman who was organizing that picket line through 1917?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Well, A.P. [Alice Paul] did it. Inez Haynes Gilmore said something different, did she?


Ingersoll

Inez Haynes Gilmore says that Mary Gertrude Fendall was the one who did most of the organizing.


Hunkins-Hallinan

We all did it; we all did it.


Ingersoll

Mabel Vernon herself remembers doing a lot of the very early organizing when they first went out and got arrested.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Oh, yes. Mabel Vernon did a lot of it, Mary Gertrude Fendall did, I did--we all did. We did whatever Alice Paul told us to do. [Pause] Inez Haynes Gilmore got a lot of things wrong in her book, I think; I don't remember what they were now, but we had great laughs over them and criticisms of them when it came out. But she wasn't at headquarters except a day or an afternoon here and there; she wasn't there all the time.


Ingersoll

Of course, there was so much that she tried to get into that


219
it would have been very difficult, I suppose, to have it all accurate.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. And she got a lot of it from Julia Emory and Julia's memory was imaginative. [Laughter]


Ingersoll

Do you have any memories of Mabel Vernon on that picket line at all?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Oh, yes; she was on the picket line. But Alice Paul didn't want Mabel Vernon to get into jail, I think.


Ingersoll

Why was that, I wonder?


Hunkins-Hallinan

She needed her. Alice Paul was ready to go to jail herself because she knew she could leave it to Mabel. But we always thought that Alice Paul was keeping her key people. Like Anne Martin never went on the picket line. Neither did various other moneyed people who came down to see and contribute money; they never went on the picket line. [Laughing] We younger ones were the ones that were on the picket line.

The two sides, the two entrances to the White House--there was one on each side. Sometimes there were more for a special occasion. There were always more for a special occasion when we got the wind that the president was going out--he was driving through the gates. Then we'd get as many people as we could near the gates, all with banners. It was expensive to get those banners made; they were sometimes made overnight. It was all done instantly. From minute to minute the plans would change, but always to strike the note that President Wilson had obstructed the amendment.


Ingersoll

It always amazed me, as Inez Haynes Irwin said, that as some of the banners were torn away, more came back! I always wondered where those banners came from.



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Hunkins-Hallinan

[Laughter] Well, they came from headquarters. They were stored away in headquarters.


Ingersoll

Did the women sew them themselves or did they order them from a factory?


Hunkins-Hallinan

I think they were ordered; they were pretty well made. We tried all sorts of things to attract attention to the difference between Woodrow Wilson's statements and his actions, and always there was a pressure to make him use his influence to get the act through, the amendment through. And he never would. We had any number of deputations in the East Room, and prominent women from all over the country came there to plead with him to do this thing. But he always sidestepped it. Oh, he was a disagreeable man! He was a terrible man.


Ingersoll

You must have had many, many frustrated days, didn't you? Now, Mabel Vernon did go to Occoquan Workhouse at one point, I understand, and you did too, didn't you?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Oh yes, it was Occoquan that I went to. I was arrested any number of times. We were arrested a lot of times that we weren't sent to prison; we were just arrested and released. Rather than meet the problem, the police released us. The Occoquan crowd--the worst Occoquan crowd--there were about--I wouldn't know how many there were, but fifteen at least and maybe more lined up on the floor there, sleeping in the corridor. Lucy Burns was in Occoquan with A.P. I don't think Mabel was in Occoquan when I was there, but I don't know.


Ingersoll

She remembers a time when the matron of the prison was asked if they couldn't go out into the corridor and sing hymns around a piano, I guess, that they had in the corridor. That's not


221
part of your memory of your experience?


Hunkins-Hallinan

No, because we weren't a singing crowd really. What we did was all sleep together because we were very afraid of the Negroes in the place. Have I told you about that?


Ingersoll

No, no.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Alice Paul would never let me [laughing] tell any body about that; she wouldn't talk about it herself. But we were in real danger. There were a lot of Negroes--men--in that place. I don't know why they were there, or why they had women in the same place with men; I just don't know. But we were on one side of this long building over here we'll say [gesture] and the Negroes were over there [gesture]. Sometimes we walked around there because the dining room was at one end. These people were in cells--locked in cells; they were prisoners. And the jailer, who either on his own or on the instigation of higher authority, I don't know, unlocked those cells and let those Negroes out to roam around exactly the way we were roaming around. He didn't tell them to go and rape those white women, but they had the opportunity. And we clustered so near together, we were lying like sardines together like this [demonstrates] in the corridor.

Now, Alice Paul never acknowledges sex, never acknowledges any danger, although I think inside of herself she did. But we were terrified. And the thing that kept those Negro men within bounds was the fact that they knew what would happen to them. I mean, they would have been lynched! It wasn't the authorities didn't protect us, but it was those Negro


222
men knew what would happen to them if they went over that territory. But they were free to roam around.


Ingersoll

And you could never know from one night to the other what might happen under these very odd circumstance that you were under anyway.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. We were lying just as close together [laughing] as we could get. And it was a hierarchical thing too. A. P. and Lucy Burns were up here [gesture] conferring together all the time, and then we came down, till the last unimportant person that didn't amount to anything as a publicity value--didn't amount to, you know, a headline in a paper or something like that. And A. P. and Lucy didn't like to be disturbed in their conferences. They were really working out strategy, you see; we didn't disturb them.


Ingersoll

Working on it all the time, then.


Hunkins-Hallinan

All the time.


Ingersoll

Inez Haynes Irwin also writes a good deal about the sorts of things you did when you took special responsibility for that urn in Lafayette Park, gave the impression that really, day after day, week after week, you took this as your responsibility to keep that watchfire burning. Is that the way it was?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes, more or less. I don't know how long it burned. Isn't it funny, these things?


Ingersoll

They do slip away sometimes.


Hunkins-Hallinan

They slip away so. One day was just an island; it was a succession of islands. We did what was necessary that day, and I don't


223
remember. Those watchfires didn't go so very long. A thing like that doesn't last in publicity value for very long.


Ingersoll

You have to get something new, always.


Hunkins-Hallinan

We had to get something new. Following the watchfires was the bell. We had the bell tolling and the neighbors [laughter]--


Ingersoll

That bell in the Woman's Party headquarters?


Hunkins-Hallinan

It was outside the headquarters somewhere. It was in Jackson Place, not Madison Place. I have a feeling that that bell was outside. I have sort of a mental picture of that bell being outside. It wasn't inside, I know [laughter], but I don't know where.

But that bell didn't last long. You see, it was one publicity stunt after another. The thing we wanted was the entire country to know that President Wilson was obstructing the bill, and we did that by getting headlines, and how we got the headlines was A. P.'s business. And she manufactured these things. As pacifists, they were all quite mild.


Ingersoll

Yes. They were called militant for that day, but actually they were quite mild.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. They weren't anything like the British, you know. I don't know whether you've studied the British or not.


Ingersoll

I'd be awfully interested if you could give me just a few of the contrasts that you've been on both sides of the ocean in your career.


Hunkins-Hallinan

I wasn't there when these things happened, but I know the people--it's a question of having known them, now. Charlotte Marsh was one very good friend of mine. I don't know what


224
date, but it was before the British got the vote--it was during their militancy--when they organized a squad to break the windows up and down Regent Street. Long skirts at that time (this is before 1918)--long skirts, muffs, hats, jackets and so forth. And she walked down Regent Street with a hammer in her muff, and she got in front of Swan and Edgar's on Regent Street, Picadilly Circus, and broke every plate glass in that shop. Bang! Bang! Bang! Swan and Edgar's weren't doing anything about the amendment, but militants broke Swan and Edgar's glass. Not only Swan and Edgar's went but a lot of others went. But I just knew Charley Marsh awfully well and knew about her part of it. But other plate glass windows--hotel windows--anything that was big and big glass--they went around with the hammer in the muff and banged it down.

Another thing they did was pour acid in post boxes, which I never liked very much, because you don't know what you're damaging then.


Ingersoll

No. Now this was all done before the time that you went to live in England, wasn't it?


Hunkins-Hallinan

This was done when Alice Paul was in London. The thing they did there, which we didn't do here, probably for a good reason: every political meeting had people interrupting. A political meeting somewhere, and there'd be a balcony there, and there'd be half a dozen suffragettes in that balcony, "How about votes for women!" "How can you ask for this when


225
we haven't votes for women?" and so on and so forth. And every political meeting was interrupted, whether it was Lloyd George or some county official or anybody. Now that takes a lot of organizing. But England's a small country, and the fact that they raised hell in Manchester went all over the country or Brighton or Bristol or anyplace; it went all over the country. Here, you could make a fuss in Washington and it would be D.C. news. Or, it wasn't always because it was focussed differently. But you could go to Detroit and make a fuss and it wouldn't be anything but Detroit news.

So, there wasn't the structural set-up, the intra-structure that would make national news out of a local incident.


Ingersoll

That's a very interesting comparison. You know, I was so interested in that comparison that you made yesterday between the policy of holding the party in power responsible that had been used in England and which Alice Paul borrowed for the American campaign of 1916. You had some very interesting speculative comments to make on that.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Did you take them down?


Ingersoll

No, I didn't at that time.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Well, I would alter those to a certain extent. I would define the British system--the prime minister is the prime minister. He's the head of the party, he appoints a cabinet, he appoints all the committees in Parliament, he decides policy, and when they vote, they go through the lobby like sheep. He holds the key to everything, and you can hold that party responsible. Now, that's perfectly good in that set-up; we all do that.


226

If I may be so rude, they are like sheep. And if a man--if a good Socialist--steps over into the Tory lobby--they go through, they're counted as they go through a gate--not a gate but a lobby. If a Socialist member steps over into the Tory lobby, he's reprimanded and he doesn't get on a committee that he wants to get on, or he isn't given a job that he wants.

In this country, we haven't got two different philosophies at work. The left-wing Democrats and the left-wing Republicans are more or less alike, and the right-wing Democrats and the right-wing Republicans are very much alike. It's all a philosophy of free enterprise (whether it's free or not, I don't know, but we'll call it free enterprise). So you haven't got two philosophies. You have Democrats voting with Republicans all the time. They respond to pressure from their constituency or pressure from their party or something of that kind. It's a conscience vote in a way.

Now, Alice Paul transferred the one philosophy of holding the party responsible to the other country. Academically, as a purist, I don't think it would hold up. But what she did was use the strategy that got results. Nobody defined that difference at that time, and it was a strategy that got results. So it was justifiable. I mean, even though as a purist and an academician and an historian and constitutional historian and all the rest of it, it doesn't quite hold up. Maybe; I don't know. But, it was a tactic


227
that worked, and she used that tactic.


Ingersoll

That's an interesting comparison both on the theoretical level but also on the actual working level.


Hunkins-Hallinan

What we were after was trying to make Woodrow Wilson an interventionist. We were trying to make him make Congress do something, and he wouldn't do it. Perhaps he didn't have the power; I don't know. But I think there is a little difference there.

But I give it to Alice Paul, she recognized the strategy and it worked.


Ingersoll

That's very interesting. When was it--speaking of England--that you went to live in England? Was that the early twenties?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Nineteen-twenty.


Ingersoll

Nineteen-twenty. And am I right that your husband was the head of the United Press Bureau in London at that time.


Hunkins-Hallinan

No, no. He freelanced for a long time because he wanted to really take a holiday and do what he wanted for a while, and then he was on the New York Post. He didn't join the UP until about 1930 something (I don't remember the date exactly), and then he left the UP and went to the Daily Mail, a British paper, and then he went back to UP again. But he was head of the financial department; that is, you called him consultant on finance or something of that kind, I don't know. He wrote his financial story every day. He was there with them a long time. Then he retired from there. But he was a journalist, first and foremost.

I worked on the Chicago Tribune. [Laughter]


228
I was one of the London correspondents for the Chicago Tribune for a long time.


Ingersoll

In the twenties, or longer than that?


Hunkins-Hallinan

In London. Thirteen years. [Laughter] I don't know what else I can say about headquarters.


Ingersoll

Could we just speak a little bit, while we're talking about England, about the sort of things you've done there since you've been there. Did you ever work with Lady Rhondda's [Margaret] Six Point Group?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Oh yes, yes.


Ingersoll

Could you say just a few words about that?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. I was the chairman that succeeded her when she retired.


Ingersoll

What year would that have been?[Pause]


Hunkins-Hallinan

The British got the vote in 1918--a very limited vote. It wasn't the vote as we got it; it was women over thirty or women who owned a certain amount of property. It was a very limited vote. But it was a step in advance. They didn't get the vote itself, on the same basis as men, until 1928. That's when they got it on the same basis as men (at 21 it was at that time).

Well, in 1921, Lady Rhondda... It will be put down as my opinion rather than--I'm trying to be fair, and I know quite a lot about it. Anyway, these women who won that limited suffrage in 1918 were all tired out; they really were. There was election--what they called the Cocky [?] election after that--and several of them stood for Parliament and none of them got it.


229

Then, they had won the vote. How could they possibly start out new and win it on an equality with men? They just generally sort of retired or sank back. Lady Rhondda, who was too young at the time of militancy to have taken part in it, realized that there were thousands of women who had the vote; what were they going to do with it? Her aim was to organize those women to get something for women. So she organized.

She called all of the prominent women she could together. They had sort of a conference or convention and decided what they wanted to get. What they wanted to get was equal pay for men and women teachers; equal pay for men and women in civil service, which was the place in which most women were qualified; equal guardianship of children, because the father was still the head of the family and could at that time do anything he pleased with them; satisfactory legislation for child assault; satisfactory legislation for widows with children--there were six points. And they didn't know what to call their organization, so they called it the Six Point Group. They went out to work for those six points.

It took them two years to get child assault, which was the most emotional topic in the group. It took them about four years, possibly five years (1926--five years) to get a law on equal guardianship, which the court promptly said was incompatible with English law and it wouldn't work. Although they got it, they didn't get it. It took us forty-five years to get equal pay for civil servants and teachers. And, well, things went on, always with the idea of getting something that


230
would do women good. Oh yes, it was the vote on equal standing with men, the sixth point. So that the Six Point Group was fundamentally designed for the betterment of humanity through tapping the talents of women to better the community, to better the world. All of these points a man could agree to.


Ingersoll

You would think so, surely.


Hunkins-Hallinan

I mean, it was the betterment of mankind, the betterment of people. And that's what it's always stood for; it's never stood for a thing that helped one class or another class or a group or anything of that kind. What will better mankind. But along with it, the belief that what women have to contribute will come to that end.


Ingersoll

Surely. Now, when you worked as chairman after Lady Rhondda--


Hunkins-Hallinan

I began as a member when I went over there. I was a member for various things; I did all the things that ordinary members do. And then I was on the executive committee and the international committee and finally became secretary. I was secretary for a long time, and then I became chairman. Now I'm honorary vice-chairman. [Laughter]


Ingersoll

Honorary vice-chairman. Tell me, during those periods of working for some or all of the six points, did you use any of the methods that had been used over here?


Hunkins-Hallinan

No. We lobbied Parliament. We nailed various parliamentarians--members of Parliament. We had meetings all over the place. We tried to get other women to do these things. We tried to build up a big organization, and we had, for England, a very big organization at one time. It's not so big now because, in a


231
way, we got all six points, and many others besides. [Laughter] As we got a point--as we got child assault, for instance, very shortly after, we had to have another campaign for child assault because it was ten years and then we wanted it to sixteen; we wanted to better it all the time. So we've always had six points; just technically, we've always kept it at six points, it wasn't always the original six points.


Ingersoll

Yes. Mabel Vernon told me that fairly recently you had also been elected or appointed to a commission in England. Is that right?


Hunkins-Hallinan

The work that I do now is more as a member of a parliamentary group which is composed of co-opted women and members of Parliament.


Ingersoll

Co-opted women. What does that mean?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Well, you co-opt. [Laughter] You just ask them to be on the committee. Most of the people that are co-opted are women who have been heads of organizations or are the heads of organizations and are prominent in certain fields. We work as liaison with the members of Parliament and the public. It's more prestigious than it is hard-working [laughter] because we will sound out the public and the press and so on and so forth, and then tell the members of Parliament what they ought to do, or suggest what they ought to do.


Ingersoll

Kind of an advisory--


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. Or it may be the other way around. Baroness Seear will come and say, "We've got to do such and such," and we get busy on it.



232
Ingersoll

No, I didn't get what you just said. But if you would start what you were saying about Mabel Vernon, I'd appreciate it so much.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Well, she was a very quiet personality and very retiring. She never pushed herself forward. She was very conciliatory; she always managed to bring warring factors together. She is a Quaker, isn't she?


Ingersoll

She went to Quaker schools. She went to the Wilmington Friends School and to Swarthmore. Her family wasn't immediately Quaker; there were Quaker ancestors in her father' s background.


Hunkins-Hallinan

She had the Quaker influence in her life. I always felt of her as a Quaker, as A. P. was. She was the standby of Alice Paul--very firm and dependable. She never strove to augment herself. Now Doris Stevens, if I may make an aside, was always striving to augment herself; no matter what happened, Doris Stevens was what we call a climber. She was very beautiful, very effective and all of that; but she was a climber. Mabel was never that. Neither was Lucy Burns. They were in it, dedicated to it. Doris Stevens was dedicated to Doris Stevens.


Ingersoll

Did you hear Mabel speak on a variety of occasions?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. She was speaking all the time. She was a very good speaker, very direct and very convincing. And she had that marvelous


233
resonant voice that carried so well.


Ingersoll

One of the researchers who was working particularly on Anne Martin's campaign thought that maybe Mabel hadn't been used as much as some of the other women had for some of the really important occasions in the Woman's Party and she wondered why that was. Do you have any insight into this?


Hunkins-Hallinan

I would only say that Mabel was a retiring personality. Anne Martin--I would be afraid to make a judgment there, but she wanted to be the senator from Nevada. She couldn't be the senator from Nevada until she had the vote. So perhaps she wanted to get the vote because she wanted to be senator. [Laughter] I don't know. It's a perfectly logical thing, and not a condemnatory thing in the least. But it made her less dedicated than Mabel. Anne Martin was a very good speaker; she was a rabble-rouser. Alice Paul's intuition was very good. She knew where Mabel was; she knew that Mabel wouldn't put a foot wrong. Perhaps it was because they had the same Quaker streak, I don't know.

Lucy Burns was the same, because Lucy and Alice had been through the whole thing in England. Those trio--Lucy and Alice and Mabel--were, to my mind, the triumvirate. [Laughter]


Ingersoll

You would have seen them in that way, would you--as the triumvirate?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. I ought to give a lot of due to Alva Belmont. Her great big hulk had to be dragged along, you know. [Laughter] The ideas didn't originate with her, but when they were explained


234
to her, she took them and gave out money, because we couldn't have done it without that old lady. Yes, in my mind, they are the triumvirate. Certainly, although Doris had a very dramatic part in all this, she's not worthy to be in the triumvirate to my mind; I may be wrong. But she didn't have the affection--we were a bit younger than the others, you see; she didn't have the affection of the younger women. I wasn't all that younger, but I was a few years younger. Let's see, Alice Paul's ninety; I'm eighty-five. We were all about the same age. Mabel's older than Alice.


Ingersoll

Yes. Mabel has just had her ninety-first birthday. Do you have any memories of Mabel Vernon teaching the younger girls as they came in to work with the Party.


Hunkins-Hallinan

We all absorbed from each other, and mainly from the upper crust. [Laughter] Alice Paul was young, relatively young, in comparison, but she was very, very much older in maturity and philosophy and infinitely more intelligent.

It was a growth period for me when I came in 1916. Suddenly this whole world of politics opened up.


Ingersoll

You came from the West, from Billings, Montana. Is that where you had lived pretty much during your life except for those years at Vassar?


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. I was born in Aspen, Colorado, but I left there when I was very young and spent through high school in Billings and then went--the saying was in that day--to finishing school [laughter] and then to Vassar, because the Billings High School couldn't prepare me for Vassar. I had to go to a school in


235
between that was college preparatory.


Ingersoll

And when this whole world of politics opened up for you, then, when you came to Washington in 1916--


Hunkins-Hallinan

It was thrilling. And it was thrilling in another way too because we were a radical group only on one subject. But it attracted all the nuts in the world, and the headquarters was always entertaining someone who was--well, a labor leader or a conscientious objector or someone like Margaret Sanger--all the way-out people found a community of spirit. Miss Paul's ambition was not to let the National Woman's Party get nuts, and she wouldn't allow their names to be used. Although they would hang around the headquarters, they would go to the picket line, they would do all sorts of things, she would never let their names be known, because she didn't want the National Woman's Party to bear the burden of being abortionists or contraceptives even (abortion wasn't mentioned in those days) or labor or anything of that kind. She would get (what was the man's name? Not Meany but the man before him--the AF of L, whatever his name was)--she would like to get a statement from him, yes. But if one of his organizers came around and wanted to help out, she'd let them help out, but she wouldn't let them get into the news. It was Simon-pure suffrage and nothing else.

We had a woman--Kitty Moran. She came from England and she was contraceptives--selling them, pushing them, talking about them--and she was bound to get in on this racket, so to speak. We had a terrible time, because if people got on the picket line, they'd talk to the reporters; the reporters came up and


236
interviewed us all the time. If you had this Kitty Moran on the picket line, she'd begin to talk about contraception. Washington Post: "National Woman's Party something contraception." And we'd lose it; we'd lose everything. Alice Paul kept it, as I say, Simon-pure all the time. (This is a lot of nonsense, I think, probably for you.)


Ingersoll

No. Rebecca Reyher, for instance, made this point in a somewhat different way--that none of these other issues were to call people off or to get publicity from that main issue of suffrage, as far as Alice Paul was concerned.


Hunkins-Hallinan

Yes. Becky was in on a lot of them, but she lived in New York and she had to come down when she could, so that if anything happened in the New York end, she was there. But she wasn't around headquarters much.


Ingersoll

No. It was only a special occasion.


Biography of Amelia R. Fry

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma, B.A. in psychology and English, M.A. in educational psychology and English, University of Illinois; additional work, University of Chicago, California State University at Hayward.

Instructor, freshman English at University of Illinois and at Hiram College. Reporter, suburban daily newspaper, 1966-67.

Interviewer, Regional Oral History Office, 1959--conducted interview series on University history, woman suffrage, the history of conservation and forestry, public administration and politics. Director, Earl Warren Era Oral History Project, documenting governmental/political history of California 1925-1953; director, Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. Brown Era Project.

Author of articles in professional and popular journals; instructor, summer Oral History Institute, University of Vermont, 1975, 1976, and oral history workshops for Oral History Association and historical agencies; consultant to other oral history projects; oral history editor, Journal of Library History, 1969-1974; secretary, the Oral History Association, 1970-1973.

Index

[The numbers below represent page numbers in the volume. Clicking on the hyperlink will take you to the top of that page.]

  • Addams, Jane, 28, 30, 81, 102-103, 161, 200-202
  • Amidon, Beulah, 143, 189
  • Anthony, Susan B., 17
  • Anthony, Susan B. amendment, 138-141
  • Arniel, Annie, 75
  • Arnold, Virgnia, 75, 141
  • Ashby, Mrs. Corbett, 96, 98
  • Augsburgh, Anita, 82, 201
  • Aydelotte, Frank, 10

  • Baker, Abby Scott, 191
  • Bancroft, William, 14
  • Bauer, Gertrude, 83
  • Belford, Frances, 125
  • Belford, Samuel, 122-125
  • Belford, Mrs. Samuel, 123-124
  • Bells, Joseph, 23
  • Bells, Mary, 23
  • Belmont, Alva (Mrs. Oliver Hazard Perry), 162
  • Berle, Adolph, 208
  • Bernardino, Minerva, 112-113, 119, 211
  • Blatch, Harriot Stanton, 19-21, 56-57, 63, 137, 166
  • Boeckel, Florence, 96, 206
  • Boissevain, Jean, 64
  • Borah, Senator William Edgar, 184-185, 199
  • Bosley, Harold A., 79
  • Boss, Charles F., Jr., 79
  • Boyle, Governor Emmet D., 59
  • Brackenridge, Eleanor, 40
  • Brainard, Eloise, 204
  • Branham, Lucy, 89, 145
  • Brannan, Eunice Dana, 66
  • Brewster, Ethel, 31
  • British suffragists. See appendix, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan transcript.
  • Burke, Thomas, 107
  • Burns, Lucy, 36, 62, 70, 145-146, 179. See also appendix, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan transcript.
  • Byrnes, James F., 192, 197

  • Cain, Myrtle, 172-173
  • Calderhead, Iris, 143, 149
  • Capper, Arthur, 51, 58, 100
  • Catt, Carrie Chapman, 36, 160, 180
  • Cheney, Lynne, article by, 15-17, 20-22, 38, 54
  • Cherdron, Margaret Zane, 151
  • Chrispherson, Bill, 144
  • Clapper, Janet, 108
  • Clapper, Olive, 108-109
  • Clapper, Raymond, 108
  • Clarke, Pauline, 151
  • Colt, Mrs. William L., 70
  • Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU), 37, 45, 56, 59, 133, 160, 181-186, 190-193. See also National Woman's Party, NAWSA.
  • Conkle, Mary, 19, 31
  • Cook, Dorothy, 104
  • Coolidge, Calvin, 153
  • Cotton, J.P., 99
  • Cranston, Martha, 182
  • Crew, Carolyn Ladd, 10, 12-13
  • Culbertson, Elizabeth, 89, 169, 172
  • Curtis, Senator Charles, 94, 134

  • Datzer, Dorothy, 195
  • Davies, Arthur, 11, 25-26
  • Davis, Mrs. Bancroft, 115
  • Davis, Chandler, 23
  • de Leusse, Count, 200
  • del Pulgar de burke, Ana, 107, 110, 205
  • Devoe, Emma Smith, 31
  • Devoe, Mary R., 182
  • Dock, Lavinia, 75
  • Dorr, Rheta Childe, 60
  • Drevet, Camille, 83
  • DuBois, W.E.B., 28
  • Dubraw, Evelyn, 157
  • Dubrow, Mary, 155-157
  • DuPont family, 24

  • Earhart, Amelia, 198
  • Eastman, Crystal, 36, 60
  • Echeverria, Nellie, 210
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D., 79-80
  • Emory, Julia, 145-146, 155. See also appendix, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan transcript.
  • Epstein, Mrs. Milton, 79
  • equal rights
    • in nationality treaties, 98-l00, 116
    • in UN Charter, 121
    • See also ERA, NWP, Women's Bureau.
  • Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), 87-88, 92-94, 168-177. See also National Woman's Party.

  • Feickert, Mrs., 32
  • Fendall, Mary Gertrude, 68-69, 142, 149, 152, 154, 205, 208. See also appendix, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan transcript.
  • Fenvick, Charles F., 203
  • Ferguson, John H. , 79
  • Field, Sara Bard, 41, 44-45, 49-55, 90, 94, l0l-l04, 118-121, 131, 150, 186, 211
  • Fisher, Katherine Ward, 112
  • Flanagan, Catherine, 155
  • Formoso, de Obregon Santacilia, Adelia, 118, 211
  • Frank, Bill, 7-8

  • Gale, Zona, 89
  • Gardner, Gilson, 66-67, 69
  • Gardner, Mathilds, Hall (Mrs. Gilson), 66, 179
  • Gilbert, Mildred, 70
  • Gilmore, Inez Haynes. See appendix, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan transcript.
  • Gordon, George, 12
  • Gould, Mrs. Frank, 153
  • Gram, Alice, 155
  • Gram, Betty, 155-156
  • Gruening, Dorothy Smith, 60
  • Gruening, Ernest, 83, 115-116
  • Gurovitz, Judy, 187

  • Hackworth, Green, 100
  • Hallinan, Charles, 144, 148
  • Hallinan, Hazel Hunkins, iv-v, 143-149, 157, appendix
  • Hazard, Dora, 52, 137, 150
  • Henkel, Alice, 151
  • Henkel, Margaret Cherdron, 151
  • Henkel, William, 151
  • Heymann, Alida (Gustava), 82, 201
  • Hill, Elsie, 31, 45, 141, 155, 158
  • Hilles, Florence Bayard, 24, 26, 53, 66, 68, 70, 97, 183-184
  • Hinshaw, Virgil, 71
  • Hoover, Herbert, 84, 87, 92, 103, 130-131, 196-197
  • Hoover, Mrs. Herbert (Lou Henry), 130
  • Hopkins, J.A.H., 71
  • Hughes, Charles Evans, 61, 191
  • Hull, Cordell, 109, 203
  • Hull, Mrs. Cordell, 113
  • Hull, Hannah Clothier, 103, 193, 198
  • Hull, William Isaac, 103, 193, 198

  • Ickes, Harold, 201
  • Ickes, Mrs. Harold, 201
  • Inter-American Commission of Women, 111-113, 143
  • Inter-American peace efforts, 107-116, 203-205, 209-210
  • International Woman Suffrage Alliance, Tenth Congress, 1926, 95-98
  • Irwin, Inez Haynes, Up Hill With Banners Flying, 30-32, 36, 43, 55-56, 58, 73-74, 135, 141, 149, 151. See also appendix, Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan transcript.

  • Jamison, Maud, 75

  • Keigwin, Rev. Albert, 5, 76
  • Keller, Helen, 60
  • Kelley, Florence, 17
  • Kent, Mrs. William (Elizabeth), 72, 76, 123
  • King, Dr. Cora Smith, 31, 38
  • Krantz, Lillian, 74

  • La Follette, Robert, 120, 210
  • Laidlaw, Haxriet Lees, 180
  • Laidlaw, Janes Lees, 180
  • Lamas, Saavedro, 203
  • Laughlin, Gail, 41, 175
  • League of Women Voters, 97
  • LeRoy, Emily, 164
  • Lewis, Mrs. Lawrence, 73, 179
  • Lewis, Shippen, 179
  • Lindsey, Malvina, 91
  • Long, John D., 43
  • Long, Dr. Margaret, 43
  • Lowenburg, Mrs. Harry, 70
  • Lutz, Alma, 12, 56, 138, 186-188
  • Lutz, Bertha, 119, 211

  • Mackaye, Benton, 35
  • Mackaye, Hazel, 35
  • MacLeish, Archibald, 119-121
  • Malone, Dudley Field, 56-57, 66-67, 178
  • Marsden, Edith, 28-29
  • Martin, Anne, 41-46, 55-57, 64-66, 74, 81-84, 86, 89, 96, 118, 122-126, 141, 152, 156,