Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Martha Elizabeth Moore Allen, 1849-1936
By Paula F. Casey, Publisher, The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage
President of the Memphis Equal Suffrage League
Martha Moore was born in Indiana in 1849 and in or around 1870 she married Jacob D. Allen, who was listed in the 1910 federal census as a mechanical engineer. Her dedication to woman suffrage began during the 1870s when she saw Susan B. Anthony speak at a rally. She was living with her father-in-law at the time and he did not support woman suffrage, so she did not fully engage in suffrage activities until 1889 when she and her husband moved from Indiana to Nashville.
In 1898, they relocated to Memphis and she joined an Equal Suffrage Association when it originated there in 1904; however, it failed due to lack of funds. This was not the end of her involvement with woman suffrage. She became the founding president of a small group called the Equal Suffrage League in 1906 and served as its president until 1912.
During this time, she worked to organize throughout the state. These efforts included countless parades, rallies, flying of flags, pink teas, and rummage sales. Her efforts paid off and she earned the honor of being called the grandmother of the Memphis League of Women Voters. An eloquent orator, she issued press releases and led a successful campaign for admission of women to the Memphis Law School.
Allen served as a delegate to three Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and two national suffrage conventions. She maintained an active membership in the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
A Christian Scientist, she authored a pamphlet entitled "Rambles with Christian Endeavors" as well as numerous articles on temperance and suffrage. She listed her recreations as "driving through parks, country rambles" and was a member of the Nineteenth Century Club, Civic League, Ladies' Hermitage Association, WCTU, Daughters of 1812, and Daughters of the American Revolution. In her final years, she retired from public life due to illness and died at the age of 87.
J. B. Mann Suffrage Collection, "Martha Moore Allen," Memphis/Shelby County Public Library and Information Center, Memphis Room
The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage (VOTE 70 Press - www.theperfect36.com)