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Ellis Meredith

Photo Credit: Colorado Historical Society.

Background Information for Teachers

Ellis Meredith

What: When: 1865-1955 Where: Born in Montana, moved to Denver Why Important: A prominent journalist, suffragist, activist in the temperance movemen, Ellis was known as `the Susan B. Anthony of Colorado' for her hard work in promoting women's rights. Her Story:

Ellis Meredith was born in Bozeman, Montana in 1865. Her mother, Emily R. Meredity was a wellknown suffragette, a cause Ellis herself would take up. Apparently upon meeting told Susan B. Anthony, "I was born a suffragist." At twenty-four Meredith had her own column called "Woman's World" in the Rocky Mountain News, an impressive feat for a woman of the day, particularly for someone so young. Her activist viewpoints and articles made her a political giant, as her friend, author Carlyle Channing "Cad" Davis, proclaimed, "Ellis Meredith is a name to conjure with. Physically but a midget, tipping the balance below a hundred pounds, she yet is one of the most influential and forceful characters ever connected with the press in the Centennial State...Intellectually she is a prodigy. In her grasp of the fundamentals she is a wonder." Ellis focused on women's rights and the temperance movement, to the exclusion of other social, economic, and political issues of the day, as her critics often pointed out. The Denver Post once referred to her as "somewhat insane." She wanted the complete removal of alcohol, not just a limited intake, because, at the time, many intoxicated men abused women and children. Ellis wanted an end to this and hoped for women to be treated equally and with respect. Elected as the vice president of the Colorado Non-Partisan Equal Suffrage Association in 1890, Meredith continued to work for women's rights and temperance. She had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for the World Exposition in 1893 and meet with Susan B. Anthony, one of the most famous women's rights activist in the entire country. Meredith's strong leadership and work with Anthony created a strong connection between local activism and national activism, which strengthened the women's suffrage movement. In 1893, twenty-three years after Territorial Governor Edward McCook and his wife first advocated for women's suffrage, Colorado women were granted the right to vote. Colorado became the second state to grant suffrage, after Wyoming, and until 1911, when California passed suffrage laws, Denver was the largest city in the nation where women could vote. Meredith's campaigning and years of hard work had paid off. However, her place in politics did not end there. In 1903, Meredith was elected as delegate to the Denver City Charter Convention. She had to leave her job as an editor for the Rocky Mountain News for this new position. She also served on the Democratic Party State Central Committee and then the City Election Commissioner. In 1904, she spoke in front of the U.S. House of Representatives, calling for the national government to amend the Constitution to provide women's suffrage. Then in 1917, she worked in Washington, D.C. with the National Democratic Headquarters, local admirers called her the `symbol of the Progressive West.' She died in November 1955. She was ninety years old.


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