By Laura Prieto, Professor, Simmons College
Miss Betty Connolly (or Connelly) was one of the 22 National Woman's Party activists arrested for protesting President Wilson's public appearance in Boston on February 24, 1919. Wilson had just returned from World War I peace negotiations in Europe and militant suffragists continued to pressure him to support a constitutional suffrage amendment. The charge against the demonstrators was that of "loitering for more than seven minutes." The women refused to answer charges, post bail, or even acknowledge their names. Judge Wilfred Bolster sentenced sixteen of them, including Connolly, to eight days' imprisonment in the Charles Street jail. Connolly ended up serving only one day, however. Against the suffragists' wishes, a "strange man" identified as "E. J. Howe" began paying the jailed suffragists' fines, acting on behalf of a client. Connolly was one of the first to be released, on the evening of February 26, along with Katherine Morey and Ruth Small. The Boston Daily Globe printed a photograph of her standing with Morey, Small, and Martha Foley. The four women went to National Woman's Party headquarters to consult with Alice Paul. They returned to the jail that night, demanding to see the sheriff and to be readmitted, to no avail.
Sources variously attributed Connolly's place of residence as Newton, West Newton, or Newton Highlands, Massachusetts. Doris Stevens's Jailed for Freedom described her as a "household assistant." It is possible she was employed by fellow suffragist Ruth Small, who lived in Newton Highlands.
Edwin Monroe Bacon, The Book of Boston: Fifty Years' Recollections of the New England Metropolis (Boston: Book of Boston Co., 1916), pp. 397-98. Accessed online at https://books.google.com/books?id=-YR5aY_o5ygC&pg=PA398&lpg=PA398&dq=%22judge+bolster%22+boston&source=bl&ots=GVVMsr2u07&sig=zu2JfVnsx0lNdTrLdh8BAE9NFwU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjx9Iny_53NAhUMaT4KHUWDAv8Q6AEINTAF#v=onepage&q=%22judge%20bolster%22%20boston&f=false.
Boston Globe, 27 Feb 1919; Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), p. 325 and Appendix 4; Suffragist, 15 March 1919.