Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Rose Lawless Geyer 1885 - ?

By Fallon Burns
Iowa State University

Faculty Sponsor: Sarah Chase Crosby
Subject Librarian: Susan A. Vega Garcia

Editor of the Society section of the Iowa Register and Leader Newspaper, Chairman of the Press Bureau, State Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association

As stated in the 1910 U.S Census, Rose Lawless was born in 1885 in New York to her parents John A. Lawless and Mary A. Lawless; Rose had a younger sister named Katherine Lawless who was born in 1890. The family was living in Des Moines, Iowa, where Rose grew up, got married (sometime between the years of 1910 to 1916), and started working as the editor for the society section of the Register and Leader newspaper, according to The Daily Gate City, January 13, 1916. Along with her newspaper work, Geyer also became involved in the suffrage movement.

Rose contributed to the suffrage movement by using her knowledge and connections to publicity. In particular, she was present at the forty-fourth annual convention of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association as the chairman of the press bureau, according to the 1915 Evening times-Republican. Rose was also the chairman of publicity for the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association based on information in the 1916 The Daily Gate City, and had "been assured of the support of all of the leading papers of . . . [Iowa] in behalf of equal suffrage." It is unclear if these titles represent different positions or if they are multiple names for a single position.

Furthermore, these positions and her dedication to the movement led her to the national board, where she helped the women's suffrage movement in other states, based on the statements from The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat in 1917. Also, according to Ottumwa Semi-weekly Courier, in 1917, she was in charge of the suffrage lobby where she made statements regarding the suffragist movement such as, "We know the majority of women are with us. We are prepared for the campaign." She also became an editor of The Women Citizen, a Journal of Democracy, according to The Butte Daily Post, May 30, 1917. Other titles Geyer held were the head of the press department, according to History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6. 1900-1920, and the chairman of the Department of Field Press, according to The Record of the Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission 1917-1920.

Rose Lawless Geyer had many positions within the women's movement and was very involved in the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association. Rose had "shown such ability and efficiency that they [Rose and Dr. Effie McCullom Jones, of Waterloo] had been taken by the national board to help the cause of woman suffrage in other states," according to The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat from 1917. Based on these types of statements, it is clear that her dedication, work ethic, and efficiency were seen and appreciated throughout the association, and it can be assumed that her contribution to the suffragist movement was a factor in its overall success.


"1910 US Census Transcription." Find My Past. Accessed September 22, 2017.

The Butte Daily Post, May 30, 1917, page 4, Image 4.

"Iowa Woman Editor." The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat, June 19, 1917, Image 4

"Iowa Women To Vote On Suffrage." Ottumwa Semi-weekly Courier, March 23, 1917, Image 8.

"Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. 6. New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881-1922. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1969.

"To Hear Mrs. Gilman" Evening times-Republican, October 15, 1915, Image 4

Want Question Re-Submitted." The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat, March 1, 1917, Image 7.

"Women Are Organized." The Daily Gate City, January 13, 1916, Image 3.

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