Biographical Sketch of Ida Finney Mackrille

Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Ida Finney Mackrille, 1867-1960

Sacred Heart Preparatory High School Student Contributors: Eleanor Raab, Julia Basnage, Sierra Burton, Jasmine Cheek, Cassie Vaden, Jordan Wu

Ida Finney Mackrille was born in 1867 to parents Sara A. Long Finney and Joel J. Finney. She lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and was married to William R. Mackrille, chief deputy clerk of the California State Supreme Court. She was a member of the Progressive Party.

Ida Finney Mackrille was involved with multiple communities, and was one of the leading San Francisco suffragists; she served on the board of California Civic League of Women Voters, an organization devoted to equality for women with regards to citizenship. As a non-partisan group, the league promoted total unity within the suffrage movement; with no division, all attention was directed toward the final goal of suffrage. Mackrille was also a member of the Congressional Union and the National Advisory Council of the National Woman’s Party. She also proved to be a prominent socialite, as she was highly praised in The Clubwoman for a cauliflower recipe.

Ida Finney Mackrille was a visionary in the suffrage movement with her activism going back as far as 1911. She was politically active in the National Woman’s Party starting in 1916. Known as the “Woman Orator of the West,” she developed many new methods to promote woman suffrage across the country. To promote more public and frequent suffrage speeches, she popularized new strategies called “country campaigning” and “automobile campaigning.” Ida was outspoken in her views and passionate about the suffrage movement, even unafraid to criticize Inez Milholland, one of the leading lights of the movement. As noted by Linda J. Lumsden in Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland, she accused Milholland of “[failing] to publicize the Woman’s Party,” snidely commenting that she focused too heavily on “herself, her dogs, her husband, [and] her hobbies.”

1916 was a very active year for Mrs. Mackrille. That year she traveled to her former hometown of Richmond, Indiana to visit her sister. While there she was interviewed by Esther Griffin White who self-published a “Little Paper” which often reported on women’s suffrage activism. Mrs. Mackrille was quoted extensively about her work with the NWP and stated, “The day of the old fashioned method of persuasion and cajolery is past. That is the old way. Ours is the new. And the new is the only logical one to follow at this time when twelve states with four million voters can force the hand of the men politicians. We are simply playing their game as they play it. That’s all … some women will continue their present party affiliations, but the large proportion of them will support the position of the Woman’s Party until the Federal amendment is secured.” She also spoke at the National Woman’s Party convention held in Chicago in June of 1916. At this three-day conference local newspapers noted that delegates were representing 12 million women and many prominent NWP women gave speeches including Maud Younger and Alice Paul.

Mrs. Mackrille remained politically active after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. In 1925 Ida was a member of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco chapter of the California Civil League of Women Voters, devoted to the establishment of equality for women in citizenship. In 1932 the Sausalito News noted that Ida Finney Mackrille was living in Woodlake, California and was involved in the dedication of a new women’s prison. Ida continued to be politically engaged long after her work with the suffrage movement and died in 1960.


“At the Courthouse in the Justice Court,” Santa Ana (CA) Register, Oct. 17, 1912.

“Orators on Jump for Bull Moose,” San Francisco Call, Nov. 1, 1912.

Linda J. Lumsden, Inez: The Life and Times of Inez Milholland (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2004), p. 156.

Winning Equal Suffrage in California: Reports of Committees of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California in the Campaign of 1911, published by the National College Equal Suffrage League.

Louis S. Lyons, ed. Who’s Who Among Women of California: An Annual Devoted to the Representative Women of California with an Authoritative Review of Their Activities in Civil, Social, Athletic, Philanthropic, Art and Music, Literary and Dramatic Circles (San Francisco: Security Publishing Company, 1922).

Esther Griffin White, The Little Paper (Richmond, Indiana), January 1, 1916.

Inez Haynes Gillmore, The Story of the Woman’s Party (New York: Harcourt, 1921).

“Speakers for Equal Rights Make Friends,” San Francisco Call, Sept. 22, 1911.

“Woman’s Party Convention Starts in Chicago Today,” The Republican Journal, June 5, 1916.

“Dedication of New Women’s Prison to be Held on Sunday,” The Sausalito News May 20, 1932.

back to top