This scrapbook documents Martha A. Bushnell Conine's career as a social reform activist who began her work in Denver women’s groups, was elected as a nonpartisan candidate to the state House of Representatives in 1896, and went on to play a major role in the national suffrage movement. This scrapbook provides a glimpse into how she and her contemporaries effected social change in Colorado in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
The Martha A. Bushnell Conine scrapbook provides a glimpse into how Conine and her contemporaries effected social change in Colorado during the late 1890s and early 1900s. After Colorado became the first state to enact women’s suffrage by popular referendum in 1893, Martha Conine dedicated herself to organizing and recruiting newly enfranchised women voters to participate in electoral politics and the legislative system—a mission she carried out until her death in 1910. Conine was a charter member of the Woman’s Club of Denver and served as president of the North Side Woman’s Club and chair of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs. Additionally, Conine was active in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where she lectured to women’s groups around the country, appeared before Congressional suffrage committees, and corresponded with suffrage leaders Carrie Chapman Catt and Susan B. Anthony.
This scrapbook documents the career of Martha A. Bushnell Conine, a Denver social reform activist who began her work in Denver women’s groups, was elected as a nonpartisan candidate to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1896, and went on to play a major role in the national suffrage movement. Through newspaper clippings, programs, and letters, the scrapbook tells the story of Conine’s efforts to improve women’s rights, child welfare, labor laws, and food/beverage purity standards. It also shares how Conine was an early advocate for primary elections and “direct legislation,” which favored public referenda, initiatives, and recalls. In addition, this artifact highlights Conine’s involvement in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where she was an organizer and lecturer who contributed significantly to the passage of suffrage laws in several states and the eventual passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Housed in the scrapbook are letters sent to Conine by suffrage leaders Laura Clay, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Susan B. Anthony, as well as correspondence from Colorado Governors Alva Adams and Henry Buchtel, Wisconsin Governor Robert La Follette, and founder of the U.S. juvenile court system, Judge Benjamin Barr Lindsey.
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