If 1900 and its aftermath had been a test of Scott Duniway’s “still hunt” tactics, then 1906 became equally a test of the vigorous public campaign methods (the so-called “hurrah” tactics) and the suffrage-temperance alliance espoused by others. When the referendum failed (disastrously, with a larger “nay” vote than six years before), Scott Duniway interpreted defeat as final repudiation of the National’s methods and planned a comeback.

Some, of course, blamed Abigail herself. Ada Wallace Unruh1, a national W.C.T.U. organizer, called her “the great obstacle to equal suffrage in the state” who “offends the moral and Christian element in the movement.” So when the association convened five months later at the home of Lucy A. Rose Mallory2, a group of dissidents intent on different leadership put forth its own slate of candidates, with Wallace Unruh as its nominee for President.

A donnybrook ensued. Abigail denounced the rival slate as “a piece of political chicanery” and ultimately prevailed, 41-28. Undeterred, the dissidents nominated Clara Dorothy Bewick Colby3 as vice-president, prompting Abigail to declare: “. . . I positively cannot work with Mrs. Colby . . . she has never succeeded in any cause she has championed and she insists in placing serious objections in the way of everything I plan to do . . .”4 When Wallace Unruh retorted that no one in the room had succeeded in the cause, Abigail “bounded to her feet with the agility of a girl” and declared, “I have–in territorial Washington.” This was too much for Maria Louise Trenholm Hidden5who denounced the proceedings as an “outrage” and sneered, “You succeed? Why, Washington repudiates you–they repudiate you, I say.”6 For this Trenholm Hidden was roundly hissed. A brief peace was restored when Elizabeth Laughlin Lord7 of The Dalles was nominated and elected unanimously. But uproar reignited when Abigail opposed Dr. Mary Anna Cooke Thompson’s8 nomination for auditor, declaring their inability to work together. In the end, Dr. Thompson and all of the rival candidates, save one9, were defeated, prompting Trenholm Hidden to suggest sarcastically that elections henceforth be dispensed with in favor of letting “the president choose whom she pleases.” Wallace Unruh denounced “one woman power” and alleged vote-packing by a large contingent of “new members” all named Duniway, insisted that Abigail was backed by only 6 of the 355 local suffrage committees in the state, warned that the National would withdraw its support, and allowed that formation of another state association had been discussed.10

Thus, Scott Duniway’s position as incoming President of O.S.E.S.A. was extraordinarily delicate. She needed to unify and re-energize demoralized and bitterly divided suffrage forces; recrimination could only be self-defeating. On the other hand, she needed to set a direction for future efforts, which, under the circumstances, could not avoid assessing some blame for the recent defeat and pouring gasoline on the fire. Further complicating the situation was her strong tendency to say, “I told you so.”

What follows is Scott Duniway’s attempt to strike an appropriate balance among these competing motives, less than three weeks after the election brouhaha. It is difficult to assess her sincerity in eschewing factionalism; certainly it can be seen with some justice as the magnanimity of the victor. Even contemporaneous news reports seemed of two minds. Under headlines such as “Suffragists Love Feast” and “New President of State Organization Slyly Twits National Leaders Over Last Campaign,” the Weekly Oregonian reported:

The dove of peace hovered affectionately over the heads of the Woman Suffragists Saturday when their first meeting under the Duniway regime was held. The W.C.T.U. faction was most conspicuous by its absence, but no one seemed to be offended at that fact. The dogs of war were securely chained, an olive branch was in each faithful hand, and a love feast was presided over by the new officers. Not so much as a reference to the unpleasant episodes of election day was made11, and as for Mrs. Hidden’s name, no one even breathed it. Mrs. Clara Colby was among the first to arrive, but with her usual finesse and tact she joined in the spirit of the meeting and became as deeply interested in plans for future work as anyone present.

Mrs. Duniway’s address, as president, was the only important number on the program, business of a routine nature only being transacted and a committee appointed to frame and submit a new constitution. Mrs. Duniway caused much amusement by her reference to the shipwreck of suffrage, which had been left in Oregon by the National leaders who came out here last year to show Oregon women how to do things. Her references to the Indians, Chinese and negroes being pulled in by the hair of their heads, also caused much mirth.

The text is taken from the Weekly Oregonian of November 22, 1906.

To the officers and members of the Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association, Greeting:

In resuming once more the office of chief executive of this intelligent and patriotic body of disenfranchised tax-paying citizens, after having many times in its history voluntarily relinquished its responsibilities to beloved and capable presiding officers, with each and all of whom I have worked at all times in perfect harmony, I am yielding again to the solicitations of a worthy and capable presiding officer, Mrs. Henry Waldo Coe12, to whose unswerving devotion to the cause of Liberty we are all ready to bear testimony.

In reverting for a moment to the stirring events of the past fortnight, which need not be recapitulated here, I recall the first strenuous years of my itinerant devotion to the fundamental principles of Liberty and Justice for all the people, during which gloomy period I was compelled to stand practically alone, as one described by the poet Richard Realf13:

Who did not wait till freedom had become
The easy shibboleth of the courtier’s lips,
But smote for her when God himself seemed dumb,
And all arching skies were in eclipse.14

That these continued efforts, reinforced by slowly increasing numbers of noble men and women, through nearly four decades of eventful years, have at last borne such abundant fruit that a multitude of new aspirants for place and power are eager to undertake its management, has recently been abundantly attested.

At the close of the late equal suffrage campaign, during which many of our time-honored voting constituents temporarily stepped aside to watch the brilliant pyrotechnical management of our distinguished National standard-bearers, we found ourselves in the condition of the survivors of a shipwreck, a conflagration, a sirocco or a flood. Our treasury was empty, and our work of reconstruction has ever since been much handicapped by the necessity of removing the debris of a struggle which ought to have been successful.

Our faith in the final triumph of the elemental principle of equal rights for all the people is so strong, our belief in the fundamental basis of self-government is so clear, our devotion to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States is so unyielding, and our confidence in the growing enlightenment of the average voter is so hopeful, that no disaster can dismay us.

To you, my beloved co-workers of the old guard, and also of the new, I am looking for co-operation in renewed confidence, expectancy and hope. I come to you as the president of no party; the adherent of no faction; but as the humble servant of the cause, trying to secure equal rights for the mothers of the race, in whose interest, through so many of the earlier years of my strenuous womanhood, I consecrated my life, my earnings, and my sacred honor15; and I now lovingly renew the fond allegiance of these declining years to a cause far dearer than my own life. I have no personal ambition to gratify, no additional honors to seek. The good people of Oregon, Washington and Idaho long ago bestowed upon me more than the ordinary meed of human praise and position, without the asking. For all of this I am profoundly grateful; but my life work is not finished, nor will it be till the women of New Oregon, relieved of their present political rating among idiots, insane persons and criminals, shall stand before the women voters of Old Oregon’s youngest daughter, the fair State of Idaho, as free as they from the stigma of disenfranchisement. We look confidently to the voters, our beloved fathers, brothers, husbands and sons, to relieve us of this stigma. For this reason, we call upon every woman who loves liberty to lay aside every factional interest she may cherish, and every personal ambition she may crave. Then, with a long pull, a strong pull and a pull all together, we may outride every storm and land our ship in the haven of freedom alongside that of our friends, the liberty-loving voters of the state, upon whom the patriotic mothers of men are every ready to bestow good and not evil, in proportion to their own opportunities.

The present is no time for argument. Every thinking and reflecting son of woman knows that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that the women of these United States outside of the States of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Idaho, are taxed without representation and governed without consent. What men need, to induce them to vote for the enfranchisement of women, is the sincere conviction that by their affirmative votes they will not bring us into our inheritance as their rulers or enemies, but as their helpers, co-workers and friends. We must let them know that the majority of women are not seeking to enact arbitrary laws for the government of men, but the blessings of freedom for ourselves that we may unite with them in securing and maintaining a government of the people, for the people and by the people.

We have much to encourage us. The entire civilized world is agitating this question and making progress toward the equal rights of the mothers of men before the laws under which all must live. Step by step our own government is extending us recognition. Our own Governor of Oregon16, our own Mayor of Portland17 and the majority of our clergy, our leading lawyers, orators and Judges are our open and avowed allies. The State Editorial Association is with us almost to a man. The Socialists, the Prohibitionists, the Labor party, the State and National Grange, and Republicans and Democrats outside the party machine, are demanding our enfranchisement. If I do not mention the different associations of women, which in large majority are backing us from all over the state, as well as they are able, it is because women do not, as yet, have votes. We used to have the negro, the Indian and the Chinaman as our political equals, but modern legislation has reached out its law-making hand, and, grasping the negro by his wool, the Indian by his scalp and the Chinaman by his queue, has rescued these gentlemen of color from the governmental companionship of the idiotic, insane and criminal classes, leaving us, the mothers, wives and daughters of the voters, to endure a political rating to which no sensible man can blame patriotic women for objecting with honorable indignation.

For our work in making way for liberty during the coming year, I would suggest the formation of governmental study clubs, for which I have ordered textbooks. Let us, while following the line of least resistance, inform ourselves upon such topics as the intelligent voter approves. That our enfranchisement is coming and coming speedily, nobody doubts. The recent ravings against the women voters of Colorado attest the dire straits in which that time-honored institution, the political machine, finds itself floundering.18 Read the forthcoming facts in the daily press and you will see on and between the lines the real reason for the discomfiture of such tax-eaters as under equal suffrage find their occupation gone, and, like our father Adam, lay the blame for their downfall on the women whom God gave to be with them, because, as co-workers, according to their own record, he saw it was not good for man to be alone.

Let us prepare ourselves for the responsible duties of citizenship, as, with malice toward none and with charity for all, we stand by the right as God giveth us wisdom to see the right, seeking first the kingdom of liberty and its honor in the firm belief that all other blessings shall be added thereunto as rapidly as a free and united people can be made ready to receive them.


  1. She was organizing mass temperance meetings in the state as early as 1893; organized four unions in Crook County the following year, including one on the Warms Springs reservation; state W.C.T.U. corresponding secretary, 1907, president, c. 1909-12 (Crawford 5-9). On the W.C.T.U.’s efforts in the Pacific Northwest more generally, see Soden. []
  2. (1846-1920): daughter of Aaron Rose and Minerva Kelley (or Kellogg); mother died at Lucy’s birth; father remarried fifteen months later and family emigrated to Oregon from Michigan, 1851, settling on donation claim that became Roseburg, named after family; married Rufus Mallory (1831-1914), prominent attorney and politician, who arrived in Jacksonville from Iowa, 1859, on June 24, 1860, when 14, in Roseburg, where he had taught school for fifteen months and she had been his pupil; he was state attorney, 1860, 1862-66, in state legislature, 1862, U.S. Congress, 1867-69, Speaker of Oregon House, 1872, U.S. District Attorney for Oregon, 1874-82, twice delegate to Republican National Convention, 1868, 1888, twice president of Republican state conventions; she founded, edited, and published (for more than thirty years) “Companion-Papers,” World’s Advance Thought and Universal Republic, advocating universal equality of the sexes, vegetarianism, universal language and money, universal peace, cooperation and love; firm believer in spiritualism, gave psychic readings in rear of Mallory Hotel, where she also published her magazine; moved to San Jose, California, following 1917 death of only son, Elmer E. Mallory; died in San Jose in September (Corning 156; History of the Pacific Northwest 2: 541-42; Hines 273-74; Gaston, Portland 2: 5-7; Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon 97-98; Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette 98; Fred Lockley, “In the Early Days,” Oregon Journal 12 Jan. 1915; Bennion, Equal 142-45; Morning Oregonian 8 Apr. 1919, 4 Sept. 1920; Scott, History of the Oregon Country 4: 45). []
  3. (1846-1916): born Gloucester, England; raised in Wisconsin; graduated valedictorian, University of Wisconsin, Madison, having followed regular men’s curriculum in philosophy and Latin; moved to Beatrice, Nebraska, 1872; helped organize Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association, 1881; president, 1885-98; editor, Woman’s Tribune, 1883-1909, which came to be regarded as official organ of National Woman Suffrage Association; moved to Washington, D.C., after 1888; worked to achieve “Minor plan” for suffrage, devised by husband of Virginia Louisa Minor (losing plaintiff of Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 1875; Pinkney), who argued that women, as “people,” possessed Constitutional right to vote for members of House of Representatives, which Congress could effectuate by simple majority vote; declining subscriptions to Woman’s Tribune and divorce encouraged her to make fresh start in Portland, 1904, eventuating in power struggle for O.S.W.S.A. leadership; entry in Notable American Women ignores this conflict, saying only that Bewick Colby “participated in several state suffrage campaigns led by” Scott Duniway (Green; Jerry, “Clara Bewick Colby”). []
  4. Scott Duniway blamed Bewick Colby for engineering the attempted coup, calling her the dissidents’ candidate for “President de facto, under the name of Vice-President” (Path Breaking 229). []
  5. Prominent clubwoman (joined Portland Woman’s Club while living in Vancouver, Washington, 1897; also Women’s State Press Club and Coterie); first president, equal suffrage association in Vermont; school board, Vancouver, Washington; temperance advocate (Band of Hope, Daughter of Temperance, Good Templar, and W.C.T.U.); Oregon representative to A.W.S.A. convention, Philadelphia, 1912; Progressive candidate for Portland councilman-at-large and city commissioner, 1913, and state representative from Multnomah County, favoring semi-annual tax payments and abolition of delinquent penalty, consolidation of state boards and commissions, national woman suffrage, state and national Prohibition, longer terms of office, “laws preparing for the influx of immigrants via Panama Canal,” school elections under general election law, universal eight-hour day except on farms, 1914; wife of Jackson Hidden (Scrapbook #50: 100, OR Hist. Soc.; “Second Annual Announcement of the Woman’s Club of Portland, Oregon, 1897-8,” Mss 1084, OR Hist. Soc.; Oregon Federation of Woman’s Clubs Yearbooks, Mss 1511, Box 10, OR Hist. Soc.). []
  6. This quarrel had deep roots. Eight years before, Scott Duniway and Trenholm Hidden had fought essentially the same battle in the pages of the Pacific Empire. On January 6, 1898, Abigail blamed the Washington reversal on prohibitionists, provoking an outraged response from Trenholm Hidden, who defended “Christianized methods” for a “moral and spiritual” movement (17 Mar. 1898). Abigail retorted the following week (24 Mar. 1898) and, the week after that (31 Mar. 1898), Trenholm Hidden had what clearly was not the final word. []
  7. (1841-1913): “with the possible exception of” Scott Duniway herself, “the best known of the pioneer women of Oregon”; born Missouri; daughter of William Catesby and Mary Jane Yeargain Laughlin, 1850 pioneers in The Dalles; on New Year’s Day, 1861, married Wintworth Lord (1832-1917), merchant, cattle- and sheep-man, and miller, who came to The Dalles from California, 1858; one of first proponents of suffrage in Oregon; vice-president, O.S.E.S.A., at death and “one of Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway’s most valuable aides”; president, Women’s Political Study club, a local suffrage society; First Reader, Christian Science Church of The Dalles; member, Sorosis; “a lady of marked literary taste and ability, and the author of a number of interesting articles and books,” including Reminiscences of Eastern Oregon, her diary of family’s overland journey and early years, 1903; “a woman of charming personality and of exceptionally brilliant mind even until the day of her death”; among fifty most outstanding people in history of Wasco County; died in August of heart trouble; two children, one who survived (McNeal 52, 65; Illustrated History of Central Oregon 278; Sunday Oregonian 4 Mar. 1917; Sarah Evans, “Women’s Clubs, Women’s Work,” Oregon Sunday Journal 20 Nov. 1904; Scrapbook #44: 87, #50: 86, OR Hist. Soc.; “Mrs. Lord is Called Suddenly,” Vertical File, “Biography-‘Lo’”, OR Hist. Soc.). In Path Breaking, Abigail describes her as “a pioneer of the early ‘40s” (216). []
  8. (1825-1919): physician whose practice focused on women’s medicine, particularly childbirth; born New York City; married Reuben Thompson (?-1885), LaSalle, Illinois, 1847; studied medicine with Drs. Bry and Larkin in LaSalle in time before most medical schools accepted women; said to have been first woman practitioner in Illinois and Iowa; Portland’s first woman physician, 1867, where she practiced for twenty years; provided for six children and (like Scott Duniway) incapacitated husband; charter member, O.S.W.S.A., and prohibitionist who believed in women’s natural moral superiority, sparring constantly with Scott Duniway over movement goals; “one of the most influential women” in Portland history (Corning 243; Larsell 414; Moynihan, Rebel 147, 149, 187; Woman’s Tribune 29 Feb. 1908). []
  9. Mrs. Imogene Bath, of Hillsboro, who was elected an auditor. She probably was the wife of D. W. Bath, editor and owner of the Hillsboro Independent. []
  10. This summary is derived from entertaining accounts in the Sunday Oregonian and the Oregon Journal, both for November 4, 1906; the latter is somewhat more sympathetic to the dissident faction. []
  11. But Abigail here does refer to it. []
  12. Viola May Boley Coe: M.D.; born Bourbon, Indiana; married Henry Waldo Coe (1857-1927), also prominent physician of mental and nervous diseases, in North Dakota, 1882; graduate, Woman’s Medical College of Chicago, 1890; began practice in Portland, 1891; founded Mindsease Hospital, Portland, 1897, Mt. Tabor Sanitarium, 1900, Coe Hospital and maternity home, Portland, 1910; helped organize Home for Unemployed Women Without Means; president (or acting), O.S.W.S.A., 1905-12; delegate, International Woman’s Convention, Budapest, 1913; divorced, 1914 (Moynihan, Rebel 214; Who’s Who in Oregon 58; cf. Hines 608). Insisting upon “my right to name my successor,” Abigail hand-picked Boley Coe for the Presidency when she resigned the office in 1905 to protest the National’s interference (A. Duniway, Path Breaking 225). []
  13. (1834-1878): born Sussex, England; began writing verse at 15; published first collection, Guesses at the Beautiful, 1852; emigrated to U.S., 1854; accompanied free-state emigrants to Kansas, 1856, becoming associate of John Brown; served in 88th Illinois regiment during Civil War, writing some of his best lyrics; established school for freedmen in South Carolina, 1868; removed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1870, becoming journalist and lecturer; “a brilliant talker and a fine orator”; unhappy matrimony drove him to suicide (“Richard Realf“). []
  14. The passage emends a portion of “Written on the Night of His Suicide”:

    Nor did he wait till Freedom had become
    The popular shibboleth of courtier’s lips;
    He smote for her when God himself seemed dumb
    And all His arching skies were in eclipse. (Realf 34)

    Three months earlier, in a commentary on the electoral defeat, the Oregonian had reiterated its opposition to woman suffrage but credited Abigail with instigating and carrying on the fight “unceasingly” for forty years: “whatever progress it has made has been due to her, more than to all other agencies together. But for her, indeed, the subject would scarcely have been mentioned in Oregon to this day, and little considered. The progress it has made is an extraordinary tribute to one woman’s energy.” Then the paper quoted these same lines from Realf and concluded: “If woman suffrage is a synonym of freedom, as its advocates claim, these lines are fit eulogy of Abigail Scott Duniway” (20 Aug. 1906, qtd. in Scott, History of the Oregon Country 5: 205. []

  15. From the Declaration of Independence: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.” []
  16. George Earle Chamberlain (1854-1920): born near Natchez, Mississippi; graduate of Washington & Lee University in Virginia; emigrated to Oregon, 1876; state representative from Linn County, 1880-82; elected district attorney for Third Judicial District, 1884; appointed Attorney General of Oregon, 1891-95; district attorney, Multnomah County, 1900-03; Governor, 1903-09; elected U.S. Senator, 1908, first senator chosen by people rather than legislature; re-elected 1914; defeated for third term, 1920, he was appointed to U.S. Shipping Board; Democrat (Corning 50; Gaston, Portland 3: 205-08; Portrait and Biographical Record of Portland 37-40; Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette 37-41; “Biography: Chamberlain, George E.,” Vertical File, OR Hist. Soc.; Scott, History of the Oregon Country 5: 78). []
  17. Harry Lane (1855-1917): Portland’s first populist mayor, who clashed repeatedly with corrupt authorities; born Corvallis; graduated with medical degree from Willamette University, 1876; appointed superintendent, state hospital for insane, 1887; mayor, 1905-09; U.S. Senate, 1913 until death, where worked particularly in child labor, pure food, and Indian affairs; final Senate vote was against resolution committing U.S. to entry in World War I; grandson of Gen. Joseph Lane, first territorial governor; Democrat (Corning 142; “Biography: Lane, Harry,” Vertical File, OR Hist. Soc.). []
  18. Energized by Populism, Colorado had been the first state to adopt equal suffrage by popular referendum, during the economic panic of 1893 (Wyoming was yet a territory when its legislature granted women the vote in 1869). Thirteen years later, claiming that equal suffrage had been a failure and was opposed by most citizens, some Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature schemed to introduce a constitutional amendment revoking women’s franchise. They noted that only nine women ever had been elected to the lower house, and none to the senate, and that all four women who had run for seats in the house that year had been defeated. Its alleged popularity notwithstanding, proponents had difficulty finding a champion who would risk women’s wrath at the polls by introducing the amendment (Denver Post 12 Nov. 1906, 15 Nov. 1906). []

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