Maryland Suffrage News
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|Founder(s)||Edith Houghton Hooker|
The Maryland Suffrage News, published weekly, was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1912 by Edith Houghton Hooker as the voice of the Just Government League (JGL) of Maryland. The JGL was a pro-women’s suffrage organization that she founded in 1909. Hooker was the editor of the paper and Dora G. Ogle was the business manager, while Hooker and her husband, Donald R. Hooker, provided the main financial backing. Members of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA) could subscribe to the national Woman’s Journal (Boston) and the Maryland Suffrage News at the same time, but the Maryland Suffrage News also was available by separate subscriptions. Eventually, the JGL affiliated with the National Woman’s Party, a group that advocated for suffrage via congressional amendment, a stance that led to its withdrawal from the NAWSA.
The first issue of the Maryland Suffrage News was published on April 6, 1912. The newspaper quickly became the voice of the white woman’s suffrage movement in Maryland, since other general circulation newspapers, such as the Baltimore Sun and local papers, did not always publish or pay attention to news related to the suffrage campaign. While the majority of subscribers lived in Maryland, the paper had a national reputation with readers in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and California. The audience for the paper was primarily middle- and upper-class white women and their supporters.
Even though the JGL published the newspaper and promoted more radical political views, the Maryland Suffrage News served to build a community among various woman’s suffrage interests from across the state and promote a statewide women’s suffrage movement. The Maryland Suffrage News regularly printed news and information from other suffrage organizations, such as the Maryland Women’s Suffrage League and the State Franchise League, as well as local suffrage leagues regardless of their state or national suffrage affiliations. The newspaper presented news, information, editorials, and images of the suffrage movement on the local, state, and national levels. They also included issues such as education, crime, corruption in local politics, child labor, and advocating for working class women. The Maryland Suffrage News functioned not only as an educational resource for women readers, but also as a motivational force by providing practical tips on how to organize and debate the suffrage amendment.
When the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1920, the Maryland Suffrage News ceased publication. The Maryland Suffrage News advocated for the formation of the Maryland League of Women Voters, which was organized in 1921 and soon thereafter began to publish the Maryland Voter. Edith Houghton Hooker also became the editor of the National Woman’s Party journal, The Suffragist, beginning in 1917 and then later Equal Rights until 1934.
Crooks, James B. Politics & progress; the rise of urban progressivism in Baltimore, 1895 to 1911. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1968.
Weaver, Diane E. Maryland women and the transformation of politics, 1890s-1930. PhD dissertation, 1992.
Archives of the League of Women Voters of Maryland, 1910-1985.