By Emily Rice and Erika Ellis, undergraduates, Saint Anselm College
Sallie W. Hovey was born Sarah Whittier Hovey in Fall River, Massachusetts, to Reverend Henry Emerson Hovey and his wife Sarah Louise Hovey (née Folsom) on March 2, 1872. Her father was the rector for St. John’s Church in Portsmouth, N.H. Sallie had two sisters and a brother and was the oldest sibling. Sallie’s father died in 1909, while her mother died many years later in 1927. It is not apparent where Sallie was educated. Records from St. George’s Church in New York, listed Sallie W. Hovey under “deaconesses and other women workers” from 1909 to 1910. It is unknown how long she lived in New York, but her mother’s family, the Folsoms, were from New York City; it is possible that she was using family connections to find work. In 1913 Sallie was elected President of the Woman's Suffrage Association in Portsmouth. She ran the organization from her home at 214 State Street, and was active both on the state and national levels of the movement. Sallie W. Hovey was the New Hampshire representative to the national board of the National Woman’s Party, and she picketed the 1920 Republican convention in Chicago, where, as is mentioned in The Suffragist, she was pulled aside by the governor of New Hampshire and commended for her work.
In 1924 Sallie wrote a book titled The Rehabilitation of Eve that was published by Hyman-McGee. There is little known about the book other than it was 214 pages and was considered a feminist manifesto. Sallie, beyond fighting for women’s right to vote, remained active in the women’s rights movement and became part of the 1924 Valentine’s Day delegation to Washington, D.C. to visit President Coolidge, where she helped champion the Equal Rights Amendment. Sallie was photographed there with other women of the National Woman’s Party. Sallie’s ability to write her own book and her collection of bookplates at Lake Forest College give the impression that she was a very well-educated woman and an avid reader.
In 1931 Sallie was involved in Emery v. Hovey, a case brought before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Emery had earlier sued Sallie in Maine for the same issue, and the court had ruled against Emery. The New Hampshire court refused to hear the case again. There are some records that indicate Sallie lived a portion of her later life in Ellsworth, Maine, though others place her in Portsmouth. Throughout Sallie W. Hovey’s entire life she dedicated herself to fighting for women’s rights. Sallie Whittier Hovey died January 29, 1932 in Green Acre, Massachusetts. Sallie never married. Her two sisters, Mrs. William M. Seabury of New York City and Mrs. Austin Kautz of Washington, DC, kept all mention of her being part of the woman’s suffrage movement out of her obituary in the New York Times.
Sallie Hovey was well documented for a woman of her time. Information about Sallie Whittier Hovey’s birth and her extended family on her father’s side can be found in The Hovey Book: Describing the English Ancestry and American Descendants of Daniel Hovey of Ipswich, Massachusetts (Haverhill, MA: Press of Lewis R. Hovey, 1913). She was born Sarah W. Hovey, according to the book. She can also be found in the census as Sallie W. Hovey. We found her in 1910 and 1920. The Portsmouth Herald was very useful for finding out when she was elected to leadership in local suffrage clubs (Portsmouth Herald, November 20, 1913) and when she went to Washington D.C (February 12, 1924). The Library of Congress provided several photographs of Sallie Hovey and other suffragists. (Harris and Ewing, Miss Sallie W. Hovey, Chairman, New Hampshire National Woman's Party. Just Returned from Washington Where She Has Been Lobbying Recalcitrant Senators Form the New England States. 1917, and Congress Would Give Full Consideration to the Equal Rights Amendment. They Formed a Valentine's Day Deputation to the President. The[y] Are L to R- Mrs. Jessica Henderson, Brookline, Mass.; Mrs. Anne Archbold, Maine; Mrs. Wm. Draper, Maine; Sallie Hovey, New Hampshire; Hazel Mac Kaye, Mass.; Gail Laughlin, Maine; Mrs. Ernest Schelling, Maine; Mary Kelly Macarty, Mass.; Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, Conn.; Elsie Hill, Conn. February 14, 1924, both in Records of the National Woman's Party, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
For her obituary see New York Times, January 30, 1932, which indicated she was an author. Her book, The Rehabilitation of Eve, is available in most libraries (OCLC number: 2066752). We also found mentions of Sallie Hovey in Registry of Women's Clubs. Vol. XXI. 1919 and Henry Anstice, History of Saint George's Church in the City of New York, 1752-1811-1911 which helped track her career and whereabouts. Searches in large databases like WorldCat and JSTOR did not prove useful. Sallie Hovey’s conversation with the Governor of New Hampshire is touched upon in The Suffragist, July 1920, p. 125 and she is mentioned once in the National Woman’s Party Papers, receiving a letter from J.H. Gallinger in 1917. The text of the court case is available at Emery v. Hovey (1931), Case Text 84 N.H. 499, on www.casetext.com.