By Erin Daigle, undergraduate, Louisiana State University
Miss Cora Crawford was born in Philadelphia in 1880. She was the niece of Carrie Staudenmayer, who was the head of their household. They resided in Ward 22 in Philadelphia. She was considered to be a leading social, professional and businesswoman of the state. Crawford never married and she dedicated her life to her suffrage work.
It is not known the exact year that Crawford began her suffrage work. In March 1913 Crawford marched alongside Alice Paul and many other women in the suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. In mid-1918, it is clear that she was a dedicated suffragist.
Crawford and fifty other women of the National Woman’s Party were arrested on August 6, 1918 and charged with unlawfully congregating in the public parks of Washington, D.C. after a staged demonstration at the White House. They held banners that criticized President Wilson. Only a week after being released from jail, she was once again arrested along with 37 other women of the National Woman’s Party for attempting to hold a meeting in Lafayette Square in protest against the Senate’s delay in passing the suffrage amendment. Several months later, in January 1919, she was arrested for a third time during the Watchfire demonstration. She refused to pay a fine and was then sentenced to five days in District Jail.
Once women gained the vote, Crawford continued her work with the National Woman’s Party and became a member of a convention committee. She contributed to the proposed plan of a Women’s Convention to be held in Washington on February 15, 1921. Part of the meeting involved a presentation to Congress of a memorial statue of the three great pioneers of the suffrage movement—Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Crawford later moved back to her hometown of Philadelphia as reported in the 1930 U.S. Census. She was single and 50 years old at the time. Her trail is faint after this and the cause of her death is unknown. Crawford remains one of the many women who contributed to woman’s suffrage, and her active involvement will remain a significant part of the movement that gained women the right to vote.
Crawford is included in Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920). She is featured in the newspaper articles: “Women off to the Capitol,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 6, 1918 and “Raid Suffragists Near White House: Fifty Women, Some Bearing Banner Criticizing President, Taken Into Custody,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 7, 1918.