By Pati Ruiz , teacher, Serene Williams, teacher, and Pat Roberts, librarian,
Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, Atherton, California.
Chair, Southern CA, Congressional Union; Chair, 11th District, National Woman’s Party
Florence Amanda Shephard was born in 1881 in San Diego to Clarence Shepard and Frances Adell Stone. She married Vernon V. Rood on June 2, 1903. She had a son Reginald Shepard Rood and a daughter Frances Adell Rood (1909 - 1918). Florence and Vernon divorced in 1920 and Florence remarried on October 15, 1923 to Harry Augustus Reed. In the 1940 census Florence Rood was listed as divorced and living with her son in Grass Valley, CA. She died in 1952.
Florence Rood was a supporter of the Congressional Union and the militant National Woman’s Party (NWP) during the 1910s. In 1917 she served as district chairman for the Los Angeles branch of the National Woman’s Party. Articles describing her work in the 11th district appeared in a variety of newspapers. She traveled from San Diego to Los Angeles to give a speech on May 17, 1919, calling for the ratification of what would become the 19th Amendment. This gathering was called to secure the final vote still needed for Congress to pass this amendment and was part of a campaign to muster support for a Southern California suffrage convention that met May 29.
In 1919 a number of articles appeared highlighting her suffrage work. That year prominent suffragists who belonged to the NWP were touring the west coast of the United States. The “prison special” tour began in February that year and carried 26 suffragists who had been imprisoned. Florence Rood was part of a delegation of women who hosted them at a reception in Los Angeles. Suffragists on the train included Mrs. Abby Scott Baker of Washington, D.C., eighty-year-old Mary A. Nolan from Florida, and Vida Milholland of New York. Vida Milholland, Inez Milholland’s sister, sang prison songs for the women who were in attendance at this meeting. The reception committee greeted the women and hosted them at a public reception at the Alexandria Hotel. Mr. and Mrs. Upton Sinclair were also in attendance at this event. A 1919 article appearing in the Los Angeles Herald noted that this reception took place at a time where there was a “psychological war...between Los Angeles clubwomen and the militant suffragettes of the Woman’s party.” The Los Angeles Herald also reported “Only one club president in Los Angeles has consented to serve on the reception committee for the militants, all the others having definitely repudiated the Woman’s party because of its recent demonstration in burning the President’s effigy.”
California, County Marriages, 1850-1952, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8FM-QXB accessed 12 February 2016; also at
“Women Prepare for Suffrage Convention ,” Los Angeles Herald, May 17, 1919;
Library of Congress: American Memory, Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party, accessible at https://www.loc.gov/collections/women-of-protest/about-this-collection/ ; "24 Militants Reach L.A. on Prison Special Tomorrow. War on Suffragists Looms," Los Angeles Herald, February 25, 1919 ; “Committee to Meet Suffrage Visitors,” Sacramento Union, January 5, 1920; “Divorce Decree Given Mrs. Rood,” San Diego Union, August 27, 1920.