By Ashley Titus, undergraduate, University of Iowa
Faculty Sponsor: Landon Storrs
The history of the woman suffrage movement paints a picture of the various groups and their fearless leaders. But what about the women in the trenches? What about the women in the ranks who worked in less populated cities and states? Marcella Spaulding Pride is one of those women.
The history of Pride can be gleaned from various sources. By looking through records such as censuses, marriage licenses, and birth certificates on Ancestry.com, Pride's story starts to become clear. Marcella S. Pride was born sometime in June of 1874 in Wisconsin. She married Allen Winslow Pride on February 27, 1895 in Ada, Idaho. They soon started a family with Pride giving birth to their son, Porter S. Pride, on October 27, 1897. Five years later their daughter, Mary Elizabeth Pride, was born on July 6, 1902. The Prides lived on a farm in Idaho. They purchased land rights for $150, according to a deed dated March 4, 1911.
The records show Pride's involvement in the suffragist movement as early as 1907. Marcella S. Pride and Minnie Leigh donated 50 cents to the Oregon campaign documented in The Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. After a decade, in the fall of 1918 Pride accepted the position of Idaho state chairmanship for the National Woman's Party. She is specifically named in a letter addressed to Senator Borah penned by Alice Paul. This letter, dated October 29, 1918, informed Borah of the NWP's decision to campaign against him. The NWP's tactics were very militant in style. They walked in parades, picketed, and committed acts of civil disobedience. These tactics were undoubtedly used against Senator Borah.
Marcella S. Pride organized a campaign against Borah's re-election, according to the article "Suffrage States Demand National Enfranchisement." This campaign was unfortunately unsuccessful and Borah was re-elected to Congress, where he would vote against the woman suffrage amendment. Despite his vote, the amendment was ratified in 1920.
It appears that the post-World War I years brought financial hardship for the Pride family and their farm. Mary Elizabeth worked as a clerk for American Express in 1920, most likely to help with the burden. It is possible the farm may have become too great a burden to bear because by 1930 Marcella and her husband lived in California, where she worked as a stenographer and he was a caretaker in the school system.
Marcella S. Pride died in Los Angeles, California on November 11, 1939 at the age of sixty-five, according to her death record. Following her death, her husband Allen returned to Idaho, where he lived until his death July 10, 1941.
Inez Haynes Irwin, The Story of the Woman's Party (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1921), 383. United States Bureau of Reclamation, Annual Report – Bureau of Reclamation, Issue 10 (US GPO, 1912) p. 20. National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention, Proceedings of the Thirty-ninth Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association Held at Chicago, February 14-19, 1907 (Warren, Ohio: Wm. Ritezel & Co.), p.99. "Anti-Democratic Campaign in the West," The Suffragist, vol. 6, no. 41 (1918) p. 5. "Suffrage States Demand National Enfranchisement," The Suffragist, vol. 6, no. 47 (1918) p. 9 [includes photograph of Marcella Pride]. Additional biographical information can be found on Ancestry.com and the United States Federal Censuses,1900–1930.