Biographical Sketch of Rosina C. Swart

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Rosina C. Swart, 1847-1939

By Monica Meldrum, student, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI

Legislative Committee Member, Oshkosh, WI, Equal Suffrage League; 2nd Vice-President, Oshkosh, WI, Political Equality League

Rosina (Rose) C. Swart was born on January 14, 1847 in Honesdale, Pennsylvania to Abraham and Lucinda Swart. She experienced the tragic loss of her parents at age ten and was forced to move to Racine, WI with her sister Mary and brother Abraham Jr. She began her career as a teacher at age fifteen. In December 1871, she was hired at the newly established Oshkosh Normal School where she would spend 51 years, leaving only once for a very short period of time. In 1923, she retired from the Oshkosh Normal School and returned in 1929 to attend the dedication ceremony of a new practice school building named in her honor. On December 20, 1939, Rose C. Swart passed away at her apartment in Washington D.C.

As an educator, Rose Swart's passion for knowledge furthered her desire to become involved in the suffrage cause and aid women to gain the rights they deserved. In her long position as an educator, many of Rose Swart's activities in the community initially revolved only around educational conferences and committees for the betterment of schooling and students. In time, her growth as a suffragist began as she took on larger roles within the city of Oshkosh as she involved herself with the Equal Suffrage League, and the Political Equality League. In 1910, Rose Swart was honored with the responsibility to welcome and host the English suffragette, Mrs. Phillip Snowden, at the Oshkosh Opera House. Aside from her work with suffrage organizations, one of Rose Swart's strongest influence was through her teaching. The Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association recognized her as a "highly appreciated" teacher due to her ambition and leadership role in the Oshkosh Normal School. Rose Swart used her educational background as a chance to reflect, through speech and writing, on the importance of women's suffrage. She wrote, "It all goes to show that human nature is wonderfully alike, male and female, and how could it be helped when we all have the same fathers and mothers, homes, schools, and churches, and the same human needs. And it is because of these same human needs that some of us want the ballot."

Sources:

Dingee, Martha P. "Teachers." The Wisconsin Citizen, November 1887, Vol. 1, no. 2, pg. 2.

Neuman, Kristine and Joshua Ranger. "Think of Me: A Eulogy for Rose C. Swart." Polk Library. Accessed February 20, 2017. http://www.uwosh.edu/oldarchives/swart/swarttitle.htm.

Pennsylvania. Wayne County. 1850 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com : 2017.

Swart, Rose. "Suffrage in Oregon." Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, November 18, 1916, Saturday Evening edition, pg. 8.

"Badger State Happenings." The Grand Rapids Tribune, January 1919.

"Meet Mrs. Snowden." The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, November 7, 1910, Monday Evening edition, pg. 1.

"Miss Rose Swart Called By Death at Eastern City." The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, December 21, 1939, Thursday edition, pg. 4.

"Miss Swart's Reasons." The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, September 1912.

"Ready to Push Vote Campaign." The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, April 1911.

"Teachers in Council." The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, July 1887.

Washington City. District of Columbia. 1930 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com : 2017.

Wisconsin. Racine County. 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2017.

Wisconsin. Winnebago County. 1900 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com : 2017.

Wisconsin. Winnebago County. 1920 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com : 2017.

Rose Swart Photo Credits and Citation

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Archives Photo

Neuman, Kristine and Joshua Ranger. "Think of Me: A Eulogy for Rose C. Swart." Polk Library. Accessed February 20, 2017. http://www.uwosh.edu/oldarchives/swart/swarttitle.htm.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Archives Photo

Neuman, Kristine and Joshua Ranger. "Think of Me: A Eulogy for Rose C. Swart." Polk Library. Accessed February 20, 2017. http://www.uwosh.edu/oldarchives/swart/swarttitle.htm.

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