Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mrs. Jessie Adler, 1878-?

By Trey Archambault, undergraduate student, Central Connecticut State University

Mrs. Jessie Adler is not often thought of as a profound influence in the Connecticut woman's suffrage movement. But the story of her life is full of incredible dedication to the cause of woman's suffrage and it's values.

Born around the year 1878 in the State of New York, she was married to Charles H. Adler at the age of 19. Mrs. Adler moved with her husband to Hartford, Connecticut before the year 1910 where Census records list her as "literate" with one son by the name of Sherman Adler. The time Jessie Adler spent in Connecticut made a significant difference on the Connecticut Woman's Suffrage Association. As early as 1907, Mrs. Adler's contributions to the CWSA were making their way into the newspaper. Her impassioned speeches changed the minds of her fellow suffragettes, often so that cooler heads would prevail.

The Connecticut Woman's Suffrage Association was started in 1896 to fight for woman's right to vote through state and national lobbying efforts with the goal being an amendment to the United States Constitution. The CWSA also called for peace and arbitration during the First World War. Jessie Adler (referred to as Mrs. C.H. Adler) was vital to the peace effort in Connecticut. Her success was so prominent that she is mentioned twice in the Annual Report of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association held in Buffalo New York in 1908. Her primary work as a member of the organization was outreach. She is reported to have set up dozens of meetings all over Connecticut and often would be recognized by her supporters and detractors. Mrs. Adler also wrote many letters to the editor of the Hartford Courant, which illustrate her strong belief in civic housekeeping. Along with letters pertaining to suffrage, Jessie Adler also wrote letters campaigning for cleaner streets in the City of Hartford. She was also well known as a worker at the North Street Social Settlement in Hartford which offered playgrounds, sewing classes, housekeeping lessons, and other services for poor and immigrant communities.

Her support for NAWSA in Connecticut did not keep Adler from picketing the White House in December 1918 as part of the Watchfire demonstrations. At that date, she and her family resided in Cincinnati, where she earned a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Shortly after being admitted to the bar she was appointed assistant prosecuting attorney of Hamilton County, Ohio. This was reported not only in the local papers, but also in Connecticut where her influence was still being felt some 15 years later.

After her appointment, Jessie Adler's life was relatively quiet. She later moved to Florida, where she was interviewed in 1974 by Florida Today about women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. She is quoted as saying "I could slap them in the face; the women who oppose it." Her continued dedication to the women's movement and her perseverance through adversity helped catapult Jessie Adler briefly into the spotlight. Her hard work towards peace and suffrage unified many people in favor of votes for women.


Fulton County tribune. (Wauseon, Ohio), 16 Feb. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

The Daily morning journal and courier. (New Haven, Conn.), 31 Oct. 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

The Daily morning journal and courier. (New Haven, Conn.), 31 Oct. 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Suffragette: I could hit ERA foes" Florida Today, August 27, 1974. (accessed May 1, 2017)

Ohio. Cincinnati Ward 13, Hamilton. 1920 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital images. May 1, 2017.

Connecticut. Hartford Ward 6, Hartford. 1910 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital images. May 1, 2017.

New York. New York City, New York. 1880 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital images. May 1, 2017.,%20USA&msbpn=35&msbpn_PInfo=5-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C35%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&mssng=Charles&mssns=Adler&MSAV=1&MSV=0&uidh=5kr&pcat=CEN_1880&h=4303025&dbid=6742&indiv=1&ml_rpos=1

New York. Ward 21, Kings, New York; 1900 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital images. May 1, 2017.,%20USA&msbpn=35&msbpn_PInfo=5-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C35%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&mssng=Charles&mssns=Adler&MSAV=1&MSV=0&uidh=5kr&pcat=CEN_1900&h=45264283&dbid=7602&indiv=1&ml_rpos=1

New York, New York, Marriage Index 1866-1937. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. May 1, 2017.,%20USA&msypn=35&msypn_PInfo=5-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C35%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&msbdy=1878&msbpn__ftp=New%20York,%20USA&msbpn=35&msbpn_PInfo=5-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C35%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&mssng=Charles&mssns=Adler&catbucket=rstp&MSAV=1&MSV=0&uidh=5kr&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=950311&recoff=8%209%2028%2030&dbid=9105&indiv=1&ml_rpos=1

(Citations for "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers" Written using their preferred format.)

Marjorie Spruill Wheeler, Votes for Women! The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South, and the Nation (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995), p. `179.

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