Document 17: Carrie Lane Chapman to Henry B. Blackwell, 5 September 1893, printed as “Mrs. Chapman in Colorado,” Woman’s Journal, 24 (16 September 1893), p. 292.
Carrie Lane Chapman, later Carrie Chapman Catt, traveled to Colorado in the fall of 1893 to contribute her strategic acumen and organizational skills to the referendum campaign. An organizer for the Iowa Woman Suffrage Organization beginning in 1887, Chapman Catt moved to Boston in 1890 and soon became a leader in the national suffrage movement. During her second term as National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) president, 1915-1920, she spearheaded the drive for a federal suffrage amendment. And in 1920, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, she founded the League of Women Voters.
Although Chapman initially doubted the likelihood of success and thought the national movement needed to focus its energies and funds on the upcoming Kansas campaign, local leader Ellis Meredith (see document 28) convinced her otherwise. Indeed, in this letter to Henry B. Blackwell shortly after her arrival in Colorado, Chapman gave a positive assessment of Colorado’s votes for women movement. She highlighted the roles of organized labor, the political parties, and local women activists, as well as the need for more funding.
MRS. CHAPMAN IN COLORADO. _____
Mrs. Carrie Lane Chapman says, in a private letter from Denver, Col., dated Sept. 5:
You will want to hear an early word from me. As I probably cannot write again for a week or more, on account of the press of work, I write now.
Of course I have not had much opportunity yet for observation, but I am amazed at the hopefulness of the outlook. There is positively no expressed opposition in Denver. It seems this is the best organized trade union city in the United States, and everyone has declared for us. Last evening we had a meeting attended by about fifteen hundred people, and with more men in it than in any meeting I have ever addressed. It was enthusiastic, and the press is cordial this morning, except one paper. So I think there is a fair prospect that we may win. There will be quiet personal work done here in Denver until the last week, when we shall have four meetings a night, and make things lively. When I know how thing are over the State, I will write again. The question of raising money for campaign expenses is still a doubtful one. The people are in financial distress. I can tell better in a little time. I have told the committee here they must try to raise $500 for use the last week in hall rent.
The committee has among its members three men who represent the three parties-Republicans, Democrats and Populists. The women are level-headed, intelligent, and hard workers. Believe me, the outlook is far more hopeful than it ever was in South Dakota.
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CARRIE LANE CHAPMAN.
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