Biographical Sketch of Gertrude Halladay Leonard

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Gertrude Halladay Leonard, 1868-?

By Emily Zoffer, Student
Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Chairman, Executive Board, Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association; Vice-President and Chairman Executive Board; Chairman, Woman Suffrage Victory Parade; Member, Executive Council, National American Woman Suffrage Association

Gertrude Halladay was born on February 13, 1868 in Boston, Massachusetts to Charles Stuart and Sarah (Adams) Halladay. She grew up in Roxbury and attended the Girls High School of Boston as well as the Boston Normal School. In 1886 she married John Leonard, also a Boston native. She briefly taught school before deciding to devote her time to women's suffrage. She spent twelve years working for the Cause (capitalized, as she consistently spelled the term) from 1905-1917. Although her year of death is frequently listed as 1919, it is actually unclear, and certainly not earlier than 1943, when she corresponded with an unknown author who sought information to write a short biography on her.

Halladay Leonard was a passionate member of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA). She served as Chairman of the Executive Board from 1912-1917 as well as First Vice-President in 1916-17. In this position she largely handled operational logistics of the Association including: finances, bi-weekly bulletins to membership of the MWSA, public outreach through print media, coordinating with other suffrage organizations, and more. She described her role, saying: "my efforts were mostly to engineer board meetings so that by unremitting pressure they would get through as much business as humanly possible in a given time" (1943). Her anonymous biographer from 1943 called her, at this time, the MWSA's de facto "Acting President, as Miss [Alice Stone] Blackwell, who was president, was unable to spare time from The Woman's Journal to fill the daily routine" (unknown, 1943). Her zeal for the Cause was clear to fellow suffragists through her use of entirely capitalized paragraphs in bulletins and signatures such as "Yours always for the Cause" (November 1915), "Yours for victory in November" (March 1915).

During her time with the MWSA, Halladay Leonard was also the driving force behind such significant events as Boston's inaugural Woman Suffrage Victory Parade, held on May 2, 1914, and "Suffrage ‘Sacrifice' Day" on June 7, 1915. The parade was Boston's answer to a nationwide decision that May 1914 would be a month of suffrage demonstrations. Halladay Leonard chaired the three-person parade committee, whose other members were Mrs. Mary Hutcheson Page and Mrs. Lewis Jerome Johnson. Men and women alike were invited to march for the Cause and many wore yellow flowers, the symbol of suffrage. The 1914 parade was a success that lead to subsequent events, including the 1915 parade to which Halladay Leonard personally invited suffragist and NAACP co-founder Fanny Garrison Villard, daughter of William Lloyd Garrison. "Suffrage 'Sacrifice' Day" was a fundraiser, spearheaded by Halladay Leonard, in the form of a three-day auction. On June 7, suffrage leagues around Massachusetts accepted in-kind donations, which were auctioned off privately on June 8 and 9 and publicly on June 10. The auctions were held at Leonard & Co's auction room in Boston. This event aimed to raise both funds and awareness for the suffragists' cause.

During her time with the MWSA, Halladay Leonard also traveled to Columbus, Ohio, with Mary Hutcheson Page, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government, to aid in organizing Ohio's suffrage movement; lobbied Massachusetts officials; and became a prominent voice for the recruitment of male allies to the Cause. On behalf of the MWSA she published many pro-suffrage newspaper advertisements as well as a public list of influential male allies to women's suffrage. Halladay Leonard also served as a member of the Executive Council of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Sources:

Ames, Oakes. Letter to Gertrude Halladay Leonard. 1 November, 1918. Inventory of Oakes Ames collection and letter to Gertrude Halladay Leonard regarding Campaign Committee of the Men's League. Folder 002690-002-0023. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Ball, Susan. Letter to Blanche Ames. 2 November, 1916, 29 May, 1917. Blanche Ames correspondence, and speech by John Shafroth. Folder 002690-001-0411. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Gertrude Halladay Leonard Biographical Sketch and Letter Excerpt. Biographical sketch date unknown. Letter 13 July, 1943. Folder 002692-026-0654. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part E: The Midwest and Far West.

Gilson, Sara S. Letter to Blanche Ames. 2 May, 1916. Blanche Ames correspondence, and speech by John Shafroth. Folder 002690-001-0411. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Halladay Leonard, Gertrude. Letters to Mary Hutcheson Page. 28 January, 1915, 25 March 1915, 29 May 1915, 7 June 1915, 8 Nov. 1915; to "President." 6 October, 1915.; to Mrs. Garrison. 11 October, 1915 Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association correspondence. Folder 002690-039-0629. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Halladay Leonard, Gertrude. Letter to Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw. 2 March 1915, 20 October, 1915; Letters to Rose Livingston. 25 May 1915, 29 June 1915, 2 July 1915. Rose Livingston correspondence on human trafficking. Folder 002685-004-0983. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part B: New York.

Letter to Blanche Ames. 27 July 1915. Blanche Ames correspondence and speech by John Shafroth. 25 August, 1915 Folder 002690-001-0411. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Marquis, Albert N. Who's Who in New England: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men and Women of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company, 1916. Google Books. Web.

"Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Victory Parade: Instructions for Marchers." Massachusetts Historical Society. Web.

De Normandie, Alice W. Letter to MWSA Ways and Means Committee. 11 March, 1915. Correspondence from Alice Stone Blackwell and Maud Wood Park. Folder 0022690-001-0317. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Portrait of Gertrude Halladay Leonard. Ca. 1905-1915. 20006179_1. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.

Portrait of Gertrude Halladay Leonard. Ca. 1905-1915. 20009795_1. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.

Stanton, Elizabeth C., Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage. History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920. Ed. Ida H. Harper. Vol. 6. New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922. [LINK]

"The Suffrage Parade, May 2, 1914." Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association documents on suffrage parades. Folder 002690-039-0946. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Suffrage Parade Advertisement. 1914. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association documents on suffrage parades. Folder 002690-039-0946. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Suffrage Parade Planning Document. 1914. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association documents on suffrage parades. Folder 002690-039-0946. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Suffrage Parade Invitation. 1915. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association documents on suffrage parades. Folder 002690-039-0946. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

Suffrage Poster. 1915. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association posters and advertisements. Folder 002690-016-0833. Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Series 1: Woman's Suffrage, Part D: New England.

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