Was Your New Hampshire Ancestor a Suffragist?

Women picketing for suffrage. From Suffragist magazine 1918.

I remember my grandmother proudly speaking about the day that she had the right to vote. In 1920 when she first could, she was forty-one years of age, married and would within the next few years give birth to her 12th child.

I never asked her if she was a suffragist. I suspect she was, but probably not an activist–she would have been too busy taking care of all her household of children.  My mother was only a year old in 1920. Continue reading

Dover New Hampshire Suffragist and UNH Administrator: Carmita Aileen (Cameron) Murphy (1925-2003)

Carmita Aileen Murphy, from the 1957 UNH Yearbook, “Granite.”  Image courtesy of the University of New Hampshire Library Digital Collections.

New Hampshire women take for granted that they can vote. Many believe that with the passage of the federal suffrage amendment in 1919 New Hampshire women were automatically given complete voting rights. It is not so. Constitutionally women did not have full rights in New Hampshire until Carmita Murphy proposed they should in 1956, and it was placed on a state ballot and approved (by vote) in 1958.

I came across an interesting story published in several newspapers on the same date of 19 March 1958. “Mrs. Carmita A. Murphy of Dover ran a one-woman suffrage campaign as a delegate to a 1956 constitutional convention to have the word ‘male’ deleted from those sections of the constitution. She won. A proposed constitutional change will appear on the state ballots in November. When New Hampshire ratified the 19th Amendment in 1919, the Legislature ordered the word “male” deleted from the state voting restriction laws. The change was never made in the state constitution.” Continue reading

New Hampshire’s Signers and the U.S. Constitution–17 September 1787

Signatures of John Langdon and Nicholas Gilman on the US Constitution document.

Signatures of John Langdon and Nicholas Gilman on the US Constitution document.

September 17, 2016 is the 229th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, that occurred on 17 September 1787. This event is completely different than the earlier signing of New Hampshire’s state constitution (established October 31, 1783, that took effect June 2, 1784).

Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,” appears just before the signatures.

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Temperance and the Good Templars in Manchester New Hampshire

Merrimac Good Templars watermarkedI came across a curious Victorian invitation card, that I share with you now.  It shows a pensive-looking, blond woman, cloaked on a winter’s night. The card reads: “Compliments of Merrimack Lodge, No. 5, I.O G.T. Valentine Party, Feb. 14, ’87.” Following some research it is apparent that this notecard was generated in 1887 by the International Order of Good Templars, specifically the Merrimack Lodge, which was located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Continue reading