Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Florence Halsey, 1875-1945
By Kara Chyung, student, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
President (1921-1923), New Jersey Women's League of Voters, Newark, NJ.
Florence Halsey was born September 3, 1875 in Mahwah, New Jersey to Lewis B. Halsey and Sarah Frances Sheffield. Lewis B. Halsey attended Princeton University and owned a dairy firm, Sheffield Farms Company. Her brother, Benjamin, ran Sheffield Farms Company at the time of Florence's death. Her sister, Anna, attended Mount Holyoke College. Florence Halsey never married or had children. She died on January 28, 1945 at the age of 69.
Florence Halsey attended Wellesley College, where she was a member of the history club, the tennis team, and Phi Sigma Fraternity. After graduating from Wellesley in 1900, she served in the Red Cross service in France for eighteen months as an ambulance driver. She became involved in the suffrage movement as early as 1914, as part of the New Jersey Woman's Suffrage Association. She was then elected president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919 and was an alternate delegate for the International Woman Suffrage Alliance Eighth Congress meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in 1920. She later served as chairman of the Northern section of the New Jersey Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1929.
After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Florence Halsey became the president of the New Jersey League of Women's Voters in 1921 and served until 1923, and New York and New Jersey's newspapers, such as the Ashbury Park Press, The New Leader, and The New York Times, featured her work heavily during her tenure. She organized a conference in 1921 with several other women's organizations that featured talks such as "Women and Standards" and "Minimum Wage Commissions." She stated to the Ashbury Park Press, "This meeting is an earnest effort for effective cooperation among the women of New Jersey and as such will appeal to every woman who is interested in the status of women, especially that of women in industry." Florence Halsey also founded The New Jersey Civic Pilot, a publication that familiarized women with voting methods, and served as its editor for six years. She remained active in the League after stepping down as president, serving as chairwoman of the New Voters committee and becoming involved in fighting against abolishing the primary system.
Outside of the League of Women's Voters, Florence Halsey was very involved in progressive politics, particularly throughout the 1920s, and gave several speeches about world peace and the involvement of women in civic affairs. She was a member of the New Jersey Committee of Progressive Political Action, and she was selected as a delegate for the Conference for Progressive Political Action in Cleveland, Ohio in 1924. She was also a member of the Women's Committee for Law Enforcement, was appointed to the first County Park Commission for Passaic, and served on the executive committee of People's Institute of Newark, "an educational center launched by groups of liberal and radical persons in the and near Newark," according to The New Leader. Additionally, Florence Halsey was an authority on tax laws and was a member of New Jersey Old Age Pension Board and the New Jersey Pension Survey Commission.
"Clubs and Rich Men Worst Wet Offenders." Asbury Park Press 17 July 1924, p. 1.
"Women to Hold State Conference." Asbury Park Press 10 December 1921, p. 16.
"Urges Women to Watch Lawmakers." Asbury Park Press 5 February 1925, p. 6.
"Deaths in Jersey." The Courier-News 30 January 1945, p. 7.
"League of Women Voters Holds Session at Park Club; Addressed by Miss Halsey." The Courier-News 27 January 1921, p. 1.
"Officers of State Women Voters' League." The Courier-News 27 April 1929, p. 9.
"Speakers to Discuss 'The Ways to Peace.'" The Courier-News 26 April 1928, p. 17.
"To Give Radio Talk on Peace." The Courier-News 10 April 1931, p. 31.
"Suff's Fight Again Started." The Courier-News 11 December 1915, p. 7.
"Person Details for Florence Halsey." New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WG9-H5C accessed 2 March 2017.
Coit, Adela. "Treasurer's receipts." The International Woman Suffrage News October 1919, p. 15. Gerritsen Collection. Web. 28 February 2017.
The International Woman Suffrage Alliance. "Report of Eighth Congress." June 1920. Alexander Street. Web. 28 February 2017.???
Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, Volumes 1-2???. 1917?
Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association. One Hundred Year Biographical Directory of Mount Holyoke College, 1837-1937. Web. 28 February 2017.??
State of New Jersey Pension Survey Commission. Report No. 1. 1931. New Jersey State Library.
"Newark People's Institute Off to Great Start." The New Leader. February 1926, p. 4.
"Socialists Ready to Aid Labor Party." The New Leader. July 1924, p. 2. The New Leader. Web. 28 February 2017.
"Back New Jersey Primary." New York Times 26 March 1931.
"Cecil Asks Women of America to Help Bring World Peace." New York Times 14 April 1923, p. 1. .
"Florence Halsey, Civic Leader, 69." New York Times 30 Jan 1945, p. 19. .
"Notes of Social Activities in New York and Elsewhere." New York Times 16 December 1929, p. 32. .
"Passaic Park Commission Named." New York Times 4 July 1926, p. 6. .
"Notes of Social Activities in New York and Elsewhere." New York Times 1 November 1929, p. 28. .
"Progressives Plan New Party Activity." New York Times 10 July 1926, p. 15. .
"Florence Halsey, Dies in New York." Poughkeepsie Journal 30 January 1945, p. 13.
"Obituary, Lewis B. Halsey '64." Princeton Alumni Weekly, Vol. 12, p. 193. 13 Dec 1911.
"Suffragists Will Meet in Camden." Trenton Evening Times 2 November 1914, pg. 5.
The Wellesley Magazine, October 1898. Vo. 1 No. 1, pp. 99,166, 493.