By Winfred Lawrence, Undergraduate, Loyola University Chicago
Mildred Hawes Glines was born on January 11, 1895 in Providence, Rhode Island to parents Freelove M. and Major Charles T. Glines. Her father was a former U.S. Quartermaster General of Rhode Island. Mildred was the oldest of three children and became active in her community at a very young age. She was part of the local Red Cross and a member of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), where she is best known for her work related to gaining women the right to vote in Rhode Island and ultimately the passage of the 19th Amendment.
The National Woman’s Party was established June 1916. Glines joined when Rhode Island formed a branch in 1917. Shortly after, a conference was held in Providence and officers were appointed to the Rhode Island party. Members overwhelmingly elected Glines to Vice Chairman, along with five other women. However, by the following year, she had advanced to become Chairman of the entire Rhode Island NWP. This was quite an accomplishment for such a young recruit; Mildred Glines was only 23 years old when she joined the organization. Glines did not allow her lack of experience to interfere with her effectiveness. In fact, she was the youngest member of the 1917 lobby pushing for the passage of the Presidential Suffrage Bill in the State House of Rhode Island, which successfully passed on April 11, 1917. Although others helped with gaining the needed support, Glines is credited as being instrumental in the passage of the Presidential Suffrage bill.
In 1918, Alice Paul and other suffragists strategized on how they would go about obtaining enough support to secure passage of a national suffrage Amendment. It was a numbers game and not all state legislative bodies were in session in the states of Senators targeted for lobbying. Paul was quoted as saying “that leaves 9 to get” after gaining the support of North Dakota Senator Porter J. McCumber. Glines, who was at the NWP’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., headed to Rhode Island to secure the vote of her state legislature. Glines, along with Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, drafted a resolution that asked Rhode Island’s representatives to support the constitutional amendment. In April 1918, the legislature passed the resolution and Governor Robert L. Beeckman signed the Rhode Island Suffrage Resolution, encouraging their Senators to support what became the 19th Amendment. Again, Glines received many accolades for her influence and drive in seeing the resolution pass. Shortly after her success in Rhode Island, she headed to Washington, D.C., to seek the support of Rhode Island Senators LeBaron B. Colt and Peter G. Gerry.
Glines was successful in gaining Rhode Island’s support for both the state Presidential suffrage bill in 1917 and a resolution supporting what would become the 19th Amendment. She continued to offer her leadership in efforts for the cause. For example, Mildred hosted the first interstate conference of the New England Suffragists in Hartford, Connecticut in May 1918.
There are no available records documenting Glines’s activities related to women’s suffrage after May 1918. However, she married Joseph H. Grant on October 24, 1918 and started a family. Glines will be remembered for her groundbreaking work securing her state’s support for the passage of the 19th Amendment. Rhode Island was the 24th state to ratify the Amendment on January 6, 1920.
“1910 United States Federal Census” [database on-line]. Ancestry.com at http://search.ancestry.com, accessed September 5, 2015)
“Rhode Island instructs its Senators on Suffrage,” The Suffragist, 6:15 (1918), 10.
The Library of Congress. “Historical Overview of the National Woman’s Party,” loc.gov www.loc.gov/collections (accessed September 12, 2015).
Inez Hayes Irwin, The Story of the Woman’s Party (New York: Harcourt, Brace 1921), 342.
“Rhode Island women present state legislature resolutions,” The Suffragist. 6:17 (1918), 7.
“Conference of Suffragists in Capitol Starts,” Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer, May 29, 1918,
Rhode Island, Marriages, 1851-1920, at Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com.
Steve Mount, “U.S. Constitution: 19th Amendment,” http://www.usconstitution.net/constamrat.html accessed September 14, 2015