By Jared Fellows, undergraduate student, Central Connecticut State University
National Woman's Party Records, Group II, Container II:274, Folder: Individual Photographs Nos. 119-133 "F",Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Harriet E. Le Fever, later known as Harriet E. Fellows or Mrs. A.R. Fellows was born on June 7, 1866 in Michigan, and died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1956. She married her husband Allan R. Fellows in January of 1888, and remained married until his death in 1926. The couple had 3 children named Lulu Augusta (1887 – 1980) Harriette Lindwood (1889 – 1972) and Agnes Edna (1893 – 1958).
Fellows was an active member of the National Woman’s Party, as well as a major advocate for the legalization of women’s suffrage. Not only was she a major advocate of the right for women to vote, she also became one of the main leaders of the movement on a national level. In 1920, Fellows was the chairman of the South Dakota division of the National Woman’s Party. Before becoming the chairman of the South Dakota National Woman’s Party, Fellows participated within the party’s efforts to secure suffrage for women.
Between the years of 1897 and 1901, the South Dakota suffragists experienced a series of defeats trying to pass a state amendment for women to vote. These defeats resulted in 8 years of organizing and behind the scenes work towards constructing and proposing another attempt to pass an amendment for women’s suffrage in South Dakota. In 1909, another attempt occurred to pass an amendment; however, it lost by a 35,296 to 57,709 vote. The following five years yielded four more failed attempts to win suffrage; however, the suffragists gradually narrowed the margin of defeat.
Shortly after their defeat in 1914, the organization began to receive financial aid and moral support from the National American Woman Suffrage Association. This help provided $7,500 towards the campaign efforts; as well as, highly influential speakers and organizers. When Fellows became the head of the South Dakota National Woman’s Party, the Republican states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Vermont were halting the progression of woman’s suffrage. When Fellows was the head of the organization in 1920, she conducted a series of interviews with National Republican Committeemen who agreed to fight for the Women’s Suffrage Amendment. As a result, copies of the proposed amendment were sent to the governors of the 3 states; as well as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Will H. Hays. These efforts took place throughout a majority of the states, and on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was officially ratified, finally allowing women to vote nationwide. Fellows was the one of the final driving forces towards woman’s suffrage in South Dakota, as well as the entire nation.
Fellows is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her husband and 3 children. She may be gone; however, the legacy that she left in South Dakota and the entire nation will live on forever.
"Mrs. A. R. Fellows." The Library of Congress. Accessed April 22, 2017, online at https://www.loc.gov/resource/mnwp.274012.
Harriet E. LeFever Fellows (1866 - 1956) - Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed April 22, 2017. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=69163829.
George Washington Kingsbury and George Martin Smith, History of Dakota Territory (Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1915), p. 828. Accessed April 22, 2017 online at https://books.google.com/books?id=nzUVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA827&lpg=PA827&dq=Mrs.%2BAllen%2BR%2BFellows&source=bl&ots=qS2cUMcSn4&sig=bcyitMSSIfpjBzAz_BrDmxLKoFE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2sY-y37jTAhUk6oMKHflmDPUQ6AEIOzAF#v=onepage&q=Mrs.%20Allen%20R%20Fellows&f=false.
History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920.
The Suffragist, June 1920, p. 108. Accessed online April 22, 2017 at https://books.google.com/books?id=nJszAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA262&dq=mrs%2Bar%2Bfellows%2Bsuffragist&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjq2svJ3LjTAhWp54MKHVx7D6YQ6AEIJTAA#v=onepage&q=fellows&f=false.