Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Effie Boutwell, 1878-1950

By Michaela Lamczyk and Faith Wynn-McClendon
Undergraduates, Illinois Wesleyan University

Effie Boutwell was born on August 25, 1878 in Webb City, Missouri (Jasper County) to Daniel Webster and Emily Victoria Boutwell. Effie resided in Topeka, Kansas and took part in a suffragists group to give service to a cause she cared deeply about. She was a member of the National Woman’s Party, the Labor Party in Topeka, the Good Government Club, and the Shawnee County Political Sciences club. On April 1, 1917, Effie led the Socialists group during a meeting of the Shawnee County Political Sciences club, where they discussed their opinions about when “political parties cease to secure responsible government, and execute the will of the people, they should exist no longer; therefore the need for a new combination of forces that will voice a program that the times demand.” In 1896, Effie married Harry W. Lohrman in Topeka, Kansas and had one child named Edrie. However, the marriage did not last long. They ended up divorced and Effie then married William W. Main in 1912.

On Tuesday, August 6, 1918, Effie participated in the National Woman’s Party protest in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. A line of nearly 100 women marched down the streets carrying the colors of the party on large banners. Others that participated included suffragists Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Hazel Hunkins. All women were arrested and ultimately given a choice by authorities to either pay a $5-$10 fine or serve 10-15 days in prison. All, including Effie, refused to pay their fines. While serving their time in prison, Effie along with 12 other women participated in a hunger strike. After being released, Effie was awarded the prison bar brooch. The prison bar brooch was significant to the National Woman’s Party because it acknowledged the effort women made in the name of suffrage. “The sterling silver ‘Jailed for Freedom’ pin was used exclusively by the National Woman's Party, and suggests its origins in that group: a small cadre of trained, disciplined, militant women, set apart from mainstream suffragists, who were willing to picket the White House and to go to prison for the right to vote.”

Due to Effie’s participation and arrest in the White House protest of 1918, William divorced Effie soon after in 1920. Effie moved to Kansas City, Kansas and married Robert Roussell in March of 1922. On March 31, 1950, Effie passed away at the home of her daughter, following an illness of two years. She was 72 years old. Her burial site is in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas.

"Begin Hunger Strike." Alexandria Gazette [Alexandria, VA] 17 Aug. 1918: n. pag. Chronicling America. Web. 8 Mar. 2017.

Dorei Jones, Linda, and Janice Dean LeMaster. "Effie May Boutwell Roussell (1878 - 1950) - Find A Grave Memorial." Effie May Boutwell Roussell (1878 - 1950) - Find A Grave Memorial. N.p., 14 Aug. 2009. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

Gillmore, Inez Haynes. Story of the Woman's Party. Place of Publication Not Identified: Nabu, 2010. 357-60.

"Women In Political Discussion At Club." The Topeka Daily Capital 1 Aug. 1917: 24.

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