Biographical Database of Militant Suffragists, 1913–1920

 

Biography of Alice Kay Bacon, 1868-1954

 

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Link to NWP Database

By Alexandra Daemicke, undergraduate, Loyola University Chicago

Alice Kay was born on January 24, 1868 to Robert Wardlaw Kay and Alice Howard Kay. After marrying Dr. Lyle Cholwell Bacon in Niles, Michigan, on June 24, 1891, the couple moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where they lived out the rest of their days. The Bacons had three children: Elizabeth Lyle Bacon, born September 22, 1892, Donald Kay Bacon, born July 18, 1894 and Lyle Cholwell Bacon, Jr. born May 26, 1897.

Alice Bacon became involved with several reform efforts over the course of her adulthood, including the movement for women’s suffrage. She was a member of the 20th Century Club, which hosted suffragists like Alice Paul and discussed the methods of picketing and hunger-striking as ways to win attention to the cause of suffrage amongst politicians. She also contributed to reform efforts by giving speeches promoting child education and veterans’ rights. Additionally, Bacon campaigned against juvenile delinquency. In 1899, she was corresponding secretary for the Crocus Hill Mothers’ Club, which fought for children’s rights, education, moral conditions in the home, and school hygiene in hopes of ensuring children’s future success in life. As a member of the Women’s Welfare League, Bacon continued good works by providing residences and clubs for young working women, convalescents, so-called female “delinquents” and girls in need.

In 1918, she became the Minnesota State Chairman of the National Woman's Party (NWP). In the last years of the suffrage campaign, Bacon joined the Minnesota chapter of the Congressional Union, later the National Woman’s Party (NWP). The party’s objective was the passage of a federal woman suffrage amendment. The NWP published The Suffragist, a journal that Bacon regarded as a joy in her life. Bacon raised money for the group’s national fund. In 1916, Bacon traveled with other women to Chicago to take part in the launching of the NWP and a suffrage parade.

Alice Bacon was widowed in 1949, and later died on Christmas day 1954. The National Register of Historic Places of St. Paul holds the Dr. Lyle Cholwell Bacon House on 737 Fairmount Avenue as part of The Historic Hill Heritage District.

Sources:

Susan Sandy, “Who Was Who in Ramsey County Minnesota 1941,” as cited on the amateur historical site, RootsWeb, http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=ramsey_mn_1941&id=I104, last accessed, September 4, 2015

“Society and Women’s Clubs,” The Duluth Herald (Duluth, Iowa), 2 June 1919, 13.

“The Past,” The Saint Paul Globe, 05 March 1899, 10.

Barbara Stuhler and Gretchen Kreuter, Women of Minnesota: Selected Biographical Essays (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1977), 187.

“National Woman's Party,” The Suffragist, Vol. 6, No. 40 (1918), 2-3.

“What is the Cost,” The Suffragist, Vol. 7, No. 25 (1919), 9.

“Successful Suffragist Library Drive Closing,” The Suffragist, Vol. 6, No. 14 (1918), 12.

Lawrence A. Martin, "Thursday Night Hikes: St. Albans/Lower Crocus Hill Architecture Notes," November 20, 2002, http://www.angelfire.com/mn/thursdaynighthikes/stalb15_arch.html, last accessed, September 5, 2015.

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