In the spring of 1910 the State Board decided to try suffrage automobile tours. Mrs. Grace Wilbur Trout, president of the Chicago Political Equality League, was appointed to take charge of an experimental tour which required about six weeks of preparatory work to insure its success. She visited the offices of the newspapers and secured their co-operation. The tour started on Monday, July ii, and the edition of the Tribune the day before contained a full colored page of the women in the autos and nearly a half page more of reading material about it. The paper sent two reporters on the trip, who rode in the car with the speakers. The Examiner, Record Herald, Post and Journal sent reporters by railroad and trolley, who joined the suffragists at their stopping places. The women spoke from the automobile, which drove into some square or stopped on a prominent street corner, previously arranged for by the local committees. Mrs. McCulloch spoke from the legal standpoint; Miss. Nicholes from the laboring woman's view and Mrs. Stewart from an international aspect. Mrs. Trout made the opening address, covering the subject in a general way, and presented the speakers. She-herself was introduced by some prominent local woman and on several occasions by the Mayor.
Sixteen towns were visited, and the Tribune said: "Suffrage tour ends in triumph. With mud bespattered 'Votes for Women' banners still flying, Mrs. Trout and her party of orators returned late yesterday afternoon. Men and women cheered them all the way in from their last stop at Wheaton to the Fine Arts Building headquarters." Similar tours in other parts of the State were conducted by Dr. Anna E. Blount, Mrs. Stewart, Miss Grim an Mrs. Jennie F. W. Johnson. Mrs. Trout took her same speaker and went to Lake Geneva, where meetings With speaking from automobiles were held under the auspices of Mrs. Willis S. McCrea, who entertained the suffragists in her spacious summer home. In the autumn at her house on Lincoln Parkway Mrs. McCrea organized the North Side Branch of the State association, afterwards (1913) renamed the Chicago Equal Suffrage Association.
In October the State convention was held at Elgin and Mrs. Stewart was re-elected. The Municipal and Presidential bills and the full suffrage amendment were introduced in the Legislature as usual. Miss Grim and Miss Ruth Harl were stationed at at Springfield as permanent lobbyists and Mrs. McCulloch directed the work. At the time of the hearing a special suffrage train was run from Chicago to Springfield, with speaking from the rear platform at the principal places en route.
The State convention was held at Decatur in October, 1911, and Mrs. Stewart, wishing to retire from office after serving six strenuous years, Mrs. Elvira Downey was elected president. Organizing work was pushed throughout the State. Cook county clubs for political discussion were formed by Miss Mary Miller, a lawyer of Chicago. In the winter a suffrage bazaar lasting five days was held at the Hotel LaSalle, under the management of Mrs. Alice Bright Parker. Many of the younger suffragists took part in this social event. Every afternoon and evening there were suffrage speeches and several Grand Opera singers contributed their services. It was an excellent piece of propaganda work and aroused interest among people who had not been reached through other forms.
At the April primaries in Chicago in 1912, through the initiative of Mrs. McCulloch, a "preferential" ballot on the question of suffrage for women was taken. This was merely an expression of opinion by the voters as to whether they favored it, which the Democratic judge of Elections, John E. Owens, allowed to be taken, but it had no legal standing. The State association conducted a whirlwind educational campaign immediately before the election. Unfortunately, Prohibitionists, Socialists and many independent electors who favored it were not entitled to vote. The result was 135,4io noes, 71,354 ayes, every ward giving an adverse majority. In October the State convention was held at Galesburg and Mrs. Grace Wilbur Trout was elected president. Mrs. Trout had been on the State board for two years and during this time had served also as president of the Chicago Political Equality League, which under her administration had increased its memberehip from 143 to over 1,000 members. She began at once to strengthen the State organization for the legislative campaign of 1913. There were still Senatorial districts in which there were no suffrage societies, and, as the time was short, competent women were immediately appointed in such districts to see that their legislators were interviewed and to make ready to have letters and telegrams sent to them at Springfield.
During the Legislature of 1911 Mrs. Trout had twice accompanied Mrs. McCulloch to Springfield and the antagonism manifested against woman suffrage made her realize that new tactics would have to be employed. Mrs. McCulloch after many years. of service had asked to be relieved and Mrs. Elizabeth K. Booth of Glencoe had been elected legislative chairman. Mrs. Trout and she adopted a new plan without spectacular activities of any kind, believing that much publicity was likely to arouse the opponents. It was decided to initiate a quiet, educational campaign and as the only possible way to secure sufficient votes to pass the measure, to convert some of the opponents into friends. It was agreed also that a card index, giving data about every member of the Legislature, should be compiled at once to be used later for reference. This plan was approved and adopted by the State board.
The members of the Board and suffrage friends throughout the State gathered information about the legislators and sent it to Mrs. Booth. The cards when filled out stated the politics and religion of the various Senators and Representatives, whether they were married or single, whether their home relations were harmonious, and tabulated any public service they had ever rendered. This information made it easier to approach the different legislators in a way to overcome their individual prejudices. All effort was to be concentrated on the bill, which, with variations, the State association had had before most of the Legislatures since 1893. It read as follows:
All women [naming usual qualifications) shall be allowed to vote for presidential electors, members of the State Board of Equalization, clerk of the appellate court, county collector, county surveyor, members of board of assessors, members of board of review, sanitary district trustees, and for all officers of cities, villages and towns (except police magistrates), and upon all questions or propositions submitted to a vote of the electors of such municipalities or other political division of this State.
All such women may also vote for the following township officers: supervisor, town clerk, assessor, collector and highway commissioner, and may also participate and vote in all annual and special town meetings in the township in which such election district shall be.
Separate ballot boxes and ballots shall be provided. . . .
As soon as the Legislature convened in 1913 a struggle developed over the Speakership, and there was a long and bitter deadlock before William McKinley, a young Democrat from Chicago, was finally elected. Then another struggle ensued over a United States Senator. During these weeks of turmoil little could be accomplished for the suffrage bill, but February 10 Mrs. Booth went to Springfield and from then attended the sessions regularly. She sat in the galleries of the Senate and House and soon learned to recognize each member and rounded up and checked off friendly legislators.
The Progressives had a large representation and had made plans to introduce as a party measure a carefully drafted Woman Suffrage bill. Mrs. Trout and Mrs. Booth suggested to the leaders that it would be far better to let the State association sponsor this measure than to have it presented by any political party. They finally agreed, but Mrs. McCulloch had accompanied Mrs. Booth to Springfield taking the bill which she herself had drafted and which she insisted upon having substituted. Out of deference to her long years of service her bill was taken instead of the Progressives'. It named the officers for which women should be allowed to vote instead of being worded like the Progressive draft, which said: "Women shall be allowed to vote for all officers and upon all propositions submitted except where the Constitution provides that the elector shall be a male citizen." In Mrs. Booth's official report to the State convention, held in the fall of 1913 at Peoria, she said: "As we failed to introduce the form of bill approved by the Progressives' constitutional lawyers they introduced it, and it required considerable tact to allay their displeasure and induce them to support our bill." Medill McCormick, one of the leading Progressives in the Legislature, helped greatly in straightening out this tangle. He was a faithful ally of the suffrage lobby and rendered invaluable assistance. Other Progressives who gave important service were John M. Curran and Emil N. Zolla of Chicago; J. H. Jayne of Monmouth; Charles H. Carmon of Forrest, and Fayette S. Munro of Highland Park.*
On March 10 Mrs. Trout went to Springfield to secure if possible the support of the Democratic Governor, Edward F. Dunne, for the bill. Mrs. Booth said in her official report: "The Governor told us that he would not support any suffrage measure which provided for a constitutional amendment, as this might interfere with the Initiative and Referendum Amendment, upon which the administration was concentrating its efforts. We assured him that we would not introduce a resolution for an amendment and that we desired the support of the administration for our statutory bill, as we realized that no suffrage measure could pass if it opposed. He then acquiesced." The work at Springfield became more and more complicated and at times seemed almost hopeless. No politicians believed the suffragists had the slightest chance of success. From April 7 Mrs. Trout went down every week. The women had the strong support of the Chicago press and editorials were published whenever they were especially needed during the six months' struggle. After considerable educational work the Springfield newspapers also became friendly and published suffrage editorials at opportune times. The papers were refolded so that these editorials, blue penciled, came on the outside, and placed on the desks of the legislators.
The bill was introduced in the House by Charles L. Scott (Dem.) and in the Senate by Hugh S. Magill (Rep.). All efforts were centered on its passage first through the Senate' After nearly three months of strenuous effort this was finally accomplished on May 7, 1913, by a vote Of 29 ayes (three more than the required majority) and 15 noes. It is doubtful whether this action could have been secured without the skilful tactics of Senator Magill, but he could not have succeeded without the unfailing co-operation of Lieutenant Governor Barratt O'Hara. Among other Senators who helped were Martin B. Bailey, Albert C. Clark, Edward C. Curtis, Samuel A. Ettelson, Logan Hay and Thomas B. Stewart, Republicans; Michael H. Cleary, William A. Compton, Kent E. Keller, Walter I. Manny and W. Duff Piercy, Democrats; George W. Harris and Walter Clyde Jones, Progressives.
The day the bill passed Mrs. Trout left Springfield to address a suffrage meeting to be held in Galesburg that evening and the next day one at Monmouth. In each place resided a member of the House who was marked on the card index as "doubtful," but both, through the influence of their constituents, voted for the bill. Mrs. Booth remained in Springfield to see that it got safely over to the House. The two women wished the bill to go into the friendly Elections Committee and the opponents were planning to put it into the judiciary Committee, where it would remain during the rest of the session. The suffrage lobby worked into the small hours of the night making plans to frustrate this scheme. Arrangements were made with Speaker McKinley to turn it over to the Elections Committee, and when the morning session opened this was done before the opponents realized that their plot had failed.
The women were indebted to David R. Shanahan, for many years an influential Republican member, who, representing a "wet" district in Chicago, felt that he could not vote for the bill but without his counsel it would have been still more difficult to pass it. To overcome the pitfalls, Mrs. Trout appealed to the enemies to give the women of Illinois a square deal, especially to Lee O'Neil Browne, a powerful Democratic leader. He had always opposed suffrage legislation, but he finally consented to let the bill, so far as he was concerned, be voted up or down on its merits. It was this spirit of fair play among its opponents as well as the loyalty of its friends that made possible the final victory.
Up to this time Mrs. Trout and Mrs. Booth had worked alone, but now Mrs. Trout asked Mrs. Antoinette Funk, a lawyer, of Chicago, who had done active work for the Progressive party, to come to Springfield, and she arrived on May 13. A week later Mrs. Medill McCormick came to reside in the capital and her services were immediately enlisted. She was a daughter of the late Senator Mark Hanna, who had inherited much of her father's ability in politics and was an important addition to the suffrage lobby. On May 14 the bill had its first reading and was referred to the Elections Committee. On the 21st it was reported with a recommendation that it "do pass." The opponents were now thoroughly alarmed. Anton J. Cermak of Chicago, president of the United Societies, a powerful organization of liquor interests, directed the fight against it. Leaflets were circulated giving the "preferential" suffrage vote taken in Chicago the year before, with a list of the negative votes cast in each ward to show the Chicago members how badly it had been beaten by their constituents. The bill was called up for second reading June 3 and there was a desperate attempt to amend and if possible kill it, but it finally passed in just the form it had come over from the Senate.
The hope of the opposition now was to keep Speaker McKinley from allowing the bill to come up for third reading. He told Mrs. Trout that hundreds of men from Chicago as well as from other parts of the State had come to Springfield and begged him to prevent it from coming to a vote. The young Speaker looked haggard and worn during those days, and he asked her to let him know it if there was any suffrage sentiment in the State. She immediately telephoned to Mrs. Harriette Taylor Treadwell, president of the Chicago Political Equality League, to have letters and telegrams sent at once to Springfield and to have people communicate by telephone with the Speaker when he returned to Chicago for the weekend. Mrs. Treadwell called upon the suffragists and thousands of letters and telegrams were sent. She also organized a telephone brigade by means of which he was called up every fifteen minutes by men as well as women, both at his home and his office, from early Saturday morning until late Monday night the days he spent in Chicago. She was assisted in this work by Mrs. James W. Morrisson, secretary of the Chicago Equal Suffrage Association; Mrs. George Bass president of the Chicago Woman's Club; Mrs. jean Wallace Butler, a well-known business woman; Mrs. Edward L. Stillman, an active suffragist in the Rogers Park Woman's Club; Miss Florence King, a prominent patent lawyer and president of the Chicago Woman's Association of Commerce; Miss Mary Miller, another Chicago lawyer and president of the Chicago Human Rights Association; Mrs. Charlotte Rhodus, president of the Woman Suffrage Party of Cook County and other influential women. Mrs. Trout telephoned Miss Margaret Dobyne, press chairman of the association, to send out the call for help over the State, which she did with the assistance of Miss Jennie F. W. Johnson, the treasurer, and Mrs. J. W. McGraw, the auditor.
A deluge of letters and telegrams from every section of Illinois awaited the Speaker when he arrived in Springfield Tuesday morning. He needed no further proof and announced that the bill would be called up for final action June 11 The women in charge of it immediately began to marshal their forces for the last struggle. Messages were sent to each friend of the measure in the House, urging him to be present without fail.** On the eventful morning there was much excitement at the Capitol. The "captains," previously requested to be on hand early, reported if any of their men were missing, these were at once called up by telephone and when necessary a cab was sent for them. The four women lobbyists were stationed as follows: Mrs. Booth and Mrs. McCormick in the gallery; Mrs. Trout at the only entrance of the House left open that day, and Mrs. Funk to carry messages and instructions between these points. Mrs. Booth checked off the votes and Mrs. Trout stood guard to see that no friendly members left the House during roll calls and also to prevent the violation of the law which forbade any lobbyist to enter the floor of the House after the session had convened. The burly doorkeeper, who was against the suffrage bill, could not be trusted to enforce the law if its enemies chose to enter.
Events proved the wisdom of this precaution. A number of favoring legislators who started to leave the House during the fight were persuaded to return and the doorkeeper soon told Mrs. Trout she would have to go into the gallery. As she did not move he came back presently and said that Benjamin Mitchell, one of the members of the House leading the opposition, had instructed him that if she did not immediately go to the gallery lie would put a resolution through the House forcing her to do so. She politely but firmly said it was her right as a citizen of Illinois to stay in the corridor and remained at her post. As a consequence no one entered the House that day who was not legally entitled to do so. During the five hours' debate all known parliamentary tactics were used to defeat the bill. When Speaker McKinley finally announced the vote-ayes 93 (six more than the required majority), noes 58-a hush fell for an instant before the wild outburst of applause. It seemed as if there had passed through those legislative halls the spirit of eternal justice and truth and the eyes of strong men filled with tears.
* The State association always did everything possible to cooperate with the National Suffrage Association. On March 1, headed by Mrs. Trout, 83 women left Chicago by special train for Washington. In the big suffrage parade there on the 3rd they wore a uniform regalia of cap and baldric and were headed by a large band led by Mrs. George S. Wells, a member of the State Board, as drum major. There was a woman out-rider, Mrs. W. H. Stewart, on a spirited horse. Mrs. Trout led, carrying an American flag, and the Illinois banner was carried by Royal N. Allen, a prominent member of the Progressive party and the railroad official who had charge of the special train.
** "Captains" had been appointed among the members and each furnished with a list and it was his duty to see that the men on it were in their seats whenever the bill was tip for discussion. The following Representatives served as "captains" and rendered important service: William F. Burres, Norman G. Flagg, Edward D. Shurtleff, Homer J. Tice and George H. Wilson, Republicans; John P. Devine, Frank Gillespie, William A. Hubbard, W. C. Kane. Charles L. Scott and Francis E. Williamson, Democrats; Roy D. Hunt, J. H. Jayne, Medill McCormick and Emil N. Zolla, Progressives; Seymour Stedman, Socialist.