By Hannah Crosby, undergraduate, Louisiana State University
Rebecca Winsor was born in 1877 in Haverford, Pennsylvania to Rebecca Chapman and James Winsor. Rebecca grew up with four siblings. Along with her sisters, Ellen and Mary, Rebecca dedicated much of her life to social reform activism. This is not a surprise given that their mother, Rebecca Chapman Winsor, did the same. Rebecca Winsor Chapman founded the Colonial Dames Group (social club in Philadelphia) and assisted in the building of a hospital in Bryn Mawr and playgrounds in Lower Merion Township. Rebecca and her sister Ellen were both educated at the Galbraith School at Delancey Place in Philadelphia. The family attended the Quaker meeting as the children were growing up.
In 1911, Rebecca Winsor married architect Edmund Evans. Beginning in 1919, she joined the movement for woman's suffrage. She joined the National Woman's Party, and picketed the White House. She and five others from Philadelphia were eventually arrested in February 1919 for burning Woodrow Wilson in effigy. Rebecca and her sisters Ellen would spend time in jail for their actions, along with the many others who refused to pay the fines assessed.
While the suffrage movement was of great importance to Rebecca, she also fought against racial injustice. Rebecca was active in the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP and had correspondence with prominent social activist W.E.B Du Bois and often discussed issues of racism with him. In her letters to Du Bois, she specifically discussed the "jim crowing of members by the socialist party in the south."
In 1942, Rebecca and her sister Ellen published a co-authored book, Land, Labor, and Wealth: A Handbook of Economic Terms. Both women would also support the works of various authors such as Albert J. Nock, libertarian author and educational theorist.
Rebecca was also a proponent of peace who strongly opposed rising U.S. militarism in the 1950s. In a letter to the New York Times, Rebecca exemplified this pacifism by claiming, "the great masses of people the world over long for peace, disarmament, and release from the terrible burden of militarism and the horrors of the atomic bomb." After decades of social activism, Rebecca and Ellen died within hours of each other in 1959, in their Delaware home.
Correspondence between Rebecca Winsor Evans and W. E. B. DuBois discussing racism is available online at http://credo.library.umass.edu/view/full/mums312-b016-i021. Rebecca’s New York Times letter to the editor was “To Achieve Peace,” on July 11, 1955, p. 22. An obituary for Rebecca Winsor’s mother was printed in The New York Times on March 29, 1932. Ellen and Rebecca co-authored Land, Labor, and Wealth: A Handbook of Economic Terms (Caldwell, Id: Caxton Printers, 1942).