By Katrina Cassiere, undergraduate, Louisiana State University
Martha W. Moore, an only child, was born in July 1880 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania to Daniel and Martha E. Moore. Moore attended Swarthmore College and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1909. From Swarthmore, she knew or knew of Mabel Vernon (Swarthmore 1907) and/or Alice Paul (1905).
Unmarried, educated, and independent, Moore became a social worker and, as a devout Quaker, was dedicated to philanthropy and good works through her Quaker community, the Philadelphia Religious Society of Friends. She was a member of the Committee on Philanthropic Labor and also the Chairman of the Sectional Committee of the Philadelphia Young Friends Association.
It is no wonder that Moore was a champion of women’s rights and worked earnestly with other like-minded women to help acquire the franchise for women. She was even appointed to the suffrage committee within her church. In addition, Moore was a charter member of the Congressional Union and on August 6, 1918, she was arrested for "obstructing traffic" along with forty-six other suffragists who were picketing the White House. They were given ten to fifteen days in prison, after refusing to pay the fine. On January 27, 1919, Moore and six other suffragists were arrested and chose a sentence of five days over the fine after participating in a watchfire demonstration.
According to census records, 1920 found Moore living in a boarding house on Cedar Avenue in Philadelphia. Moore eventually bought her own home and remained in Philadelphia until at least 1940, after which her trail is faint. Her date of death is unknown.
Information about Moore’s suffragist activities can be found in Inez Haynes Gilmore, The Story of the Woman's Party (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921), 357, 397 and Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), 365. Information about Moore’s philanthropic roles in the Quaker community can be found in Walter H. Jenkins, Extracts from the Minutes of the Yearly Meeting of Friends Held in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1913), 92, 159, 163. Moore is also listed in the Annual Catalogue of Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Penn., 1899), 82. Additional information was found in the 1880, 1920, and 1940 U.S. Censuses, accessed online through Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.