Anne Henrietta Martin, 1875 – 1951
Anne Henrietta Martin was born September 30, 1875 in Empire City, Nevada, the daughter of William O’Hara Martin and Lousie Stadtmuller. Unlike many parents of the day, Anne’s parents believed in educating their daughters; Anne and her sisters attended Whitaker’s School for girls, and Anne graduated from the University of Nevada in 1894. Over the next few years she studied at various universities, including Stanford where she earned a BA in 1896 and an MA in history in 1897. She served as the head of the history department at Stanford for two years.
Anne’s education was further developed when she began travelling, studying in the Orient and Europe, and finally finding herself in England in 1910 as a disciple of Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette who founded the WSPU, the Woman’s Social and Political Union that was advocating for the vote for women in England. After demonstrating, being arrested and imprisoned, Anne’s spirit as a suffragist was born. She returned to Nevada and became President of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society.
In 1914 Mabel Vernon, Alice Paul’s most trusted organizer, came to Nevada to help Anne with the suffrage campaign. Nevada’s population was only 80,000 people at the time, but it was spread over 112,000 square miles. The two women crisscrossed the state, visiting every Nevada County, making speeches, convincing voters of the need for the franchise for women. Their campaign was successful – women in Nevada won the vote on November 5, 1914, becoming one of only eleven states that had thus far granted women full suffrage.
Anne continued to work for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and in 1918 became the first American woman to run for the US Senate. With Mabel Vernon again coming to her aid, she campaigned across the state, using contacts and techniques she had developed during the suffrage campaign. When she was defeated she ran again in 1920, and after that defeat again turned her attention to women’s rights. With Mabel Vernon she was active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, wrote numerous articles for leading magazines and journals, and spent the rest of her life as a spokeswoman for feminist goals.
Anne Henrietta Martin came from a comfortable family and could have enjoyed a life of peace and leisure. Instead she chose to work for equal rights for women, as well as international world peace. She died in 1951.
Happy Birthday, Anne Henrietta Martin!