Biographical Sketch of Byrd Dennis Damon

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Byrd Dennis Damon, 1858-1929

By Mason Heller, Dr. Amy Forss, professor 

Undergraduate student, Metropolitan (Omaha, NE) Community College 

Mrs. C. W. Damon, born Byrd Dennis, was an activist for women's suffrage.  She was born October 20, 1858 in Muscatine, Iowa.  Byrd married Charles Wallace Damon, of Kirkland, Ohio on June 30, 1880 in Bloomington, Illinois.  Together, they had one child, a daughter named Corris Mabel, born on July 3, 1881 in Kirkland, Ohio. Charles had a daughter from a previous marriage. The Damon family lived in Mason City, Iowa until they moved to Omaha, Nebraska, shortly before Byrd's death in 1929. Byrd died on July 14, 1929 in Brookline, Massachusetts.   

Mrs. Damon was a political activist and fought for the idea that women are just as informed as men about politics, candidates, and other issues. She believed that the opinions of women should not be overlooked during an election. Though not much information can be found on the details of her activism, she was featured in the November 23, 1901 Courier article in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She was being interviewed during a State Woman Suffrage Association gathering; during which, she referred to the women of the state of Wyoming, who were granted suffrage in 1869, as an argument for equal rights and suffrage. Damon stated, "women consider much more carefully than do men the character of candidates," further supporting her idea that women are more than capable of keeping up with politics and focus on more than just words: women focus on the actions of these candidates. She goes on to say that women think their first responsibility is to obtain knowledge. Damon pressed the idea that women are more careful to vote for a candidate who provided them with more facts, rather than basing their vote on the man himself. "The natural aim of woman is toward the highest good of the community." She believed men had a tendency to think about themselves, while women are more prone to think about how laws affect them, their children, and their community. Reform does not happen radically, but rather slowly, "working toward those measures which they believe will bring about the best social and moral results." 

Sources: 

1920 United States Federal Census Year: 1920; Census Place: Mason, Cerro Gordo, Iowa; Roll: T625_483; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 37; Image: 360 

Iowa, Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2017. 

"The Courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, November 09, 1901, Page 12, Image 12." News about Chronicling America RSS. Courier Pub. Co., n.d. Web. 22 May 2017. 

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