Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Elizabeth K. Booth, 1880-1960

By Lori Osborne, Director Evanston Women's History Project, Evanston History Centre and Julia Flynn, Researcher, Evanston History Centre, Evanston, Illinois.

Illinois Equal Suffrage Association; Glencoe Equal Suffrage Association; Woman's Club of Washington D.C.; Woman's Literary Club of Glencoe

Elizabeth Crutchfield Knox was born 26 October 1880 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Malvina Crutchfield (Young) Knox and Samuel Gordon Knox. She married Sherman J Booth, an Attorney from Glencoe, Illinois on 29 June 1907 in Linn, Iowa and had three children Knox S Booth (1908), Sherman M Booth (1911) and Betty Booth (1917). They made their home in a custom Frank Lloyd Wright house in Glencoe, Illinois where she lived for 45 years. She died in Lincoln, Massachusetts on 24 August 1960 at 79 years of age.

After attending elementary school in the Cedar Rapids public schools and the preparatory department of Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Elizabeth Knox graduated from Cedar Rapids High School in 1900. She continued her education at Coe College and received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree (Ph.B) in 1903. She was a member of the Sinclair Literary Society and taught English for four years at Osage, Bellevue and Ida Grove High Schools, Iowa.

In 1912, Booth organized and served as the first president of the Glencoe Equal Suffrage Association. She was elected Chairman of the Legislative Department of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association the following year and worked closely with Grace Wilbur Trout to campaign for suffrage. It is widely believed she was responsible for adopting a more quiet and academic approach to the fight. She implemented an intricate index card system, cataloguing legislators to become familiar with every member of the House and Senate and their suffrage voting history, religion. and even their views on liquor consumption. In January 1913, she attended the General Assembly in Springfield, Illinois and stayed there throughout every working day of the session using her index card system to lobby and apply pressure where necessary for the suffragist cause.

Booth and suffrage leaders, Grace Wilbur Trout, Antoinette Funk and Margaret Hayley were present when Illinois Governor Edward F Dunne signed the suffrage bill on 26 June 1913 and were photographed in the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that had grown supportive of the right for women to vote. The passing of this law meant Illinois had become the first state east of the Mississippi to grant women the right to vote for President.

Booth attended the forty-sixth annual National American Woman Suffrage Association Convention of 1914 held in Nashville, Tennessee from November 12 through November 17. She was a leader in the Progressive Party and instrumental in actively working to pass the Shafroth National Suffrage Amendment, which is said to have exacerbated the NAWSA and Congressional Union split. Booth continued working as a member of the Congressional Committee of NAWSA after the split and through the passage of the 19th amendment in 1919.


Evanston History Center Archives, Collection 214 - Women Suffrage 1885-1936.

Evanston History Center Clipping File Biographical - Booth

Evanston History Center Library - The History of Woman Suffrage edited by Ida Husted Harper, Vol V 1900-1920

Evanston History Center | 225 Greenwood Street | Evanston IL 60201 | (847) 475-3410

Proceedings of the ... Annual Convention of the National ..., Volumes 43-45

The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections from the Classic Work of Stanton, Anthony, Gage and Harper edited by Paul Buhle and Mari Jo Buhle, (Urbana:P University of Illinois Press, 1978).

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