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Iowa History Daily: January 17 - Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall

Iowa History Daily: On January 17, 1836, the “Mother of Woman Suffrage in Iowa,” Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall was born. A charter member of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association, Coggeshall dedicated her life to providing all Iowans with an equal voice.

Born to Quaker abolitionist farmers who ran a station on the Underground Railroad near Milton, Indiana, Mary Jane Whitely moved to Iowa in 1870 after marrying John Milton Coggeshall. Living in Des Moines, she served as the first secretary and charter member of the Polk County Woman Suffrage Society.

When the Iowa Woman Suffrage Society formed during the late 1800s, Coggeshall served as President several times during the 1890s and 1900s. Coggeshall wrote eloquently as the editor of the organization’s newspaper “The Woman’s Standard” throughout her later life.

Although Coggeshall died before women gained the vote in 1920, she once wrote: Twenty-five years has but deepened our conviction that the reform is the need of the age.... We only hope that the next generation of women may find their work made easier because we have trodden the path before them." #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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