Biographical Sketch of Mabel Lodge

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mabel Lodge, ca. 1880 - ?

By Hayley Hartman
Iowa State University

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

State Organizer of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association

Mabel Lodge was a suffragist most active in Iowa from 1914 to 1916, while holding the state organizer positon for the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association (IESA), according to the Cresco Plain Dealer in 1915. Lodge's life can be tracked through her activities in Delaware, New York, and Iowa, her affiliation and efforts with the IESA, and what can be inferred regarding her later life.

Little is known about Lodge's early life, but Officers and Graduates, a catalogue of Columbia University records, published in 1916, states that she originated from Dover, Delaware. In 1900, The Sun reported that a Mabel Lodge delivered a speech at her high school commencement ceremony entitled "Spinster from Choice."

After graduating high school, Lodge attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a master of arts degree in 1908, as noted in the Audubon County Journal in 1914 and confirmed by the Columbia catalogue. It can be speculated that Lodge "was connected with the Women's Political Union" of New York as a college student, based on her interests and known location at this time, as referenced in the Evening Times Republican on June 24, 1914.

Following her university education, Mabel Lodge relocated to Cedar Falls, where she taught English composition and rhetoric at the Iowa State Teachers College from 1909 to 1914, referenced in the Audubon County Journal article and Catalogue and Circular publication from 1911.

In 1914, Mabel Lodge left her teaching career to become the official state organizer for the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association (IESA), as mentioned in the 1915 Cresco Plain Dealer article, which details plans to appoint a county chairman in every precinct and establish regular committees. Also in 1915, the Evening Times Republican featured a quote from Lodge stressing the importance of local activism: "We will get an enormous vote in this state when we convince the women that sentiment strongly favoring suffrage is here, and that all they need do is start working at once to crystalize this sentiment." This article proceeds to discuss her promotion of weekly newsletters and political canvassing.

As state organizer, Mabel Lodge championed various efforts to stimulate enthusiasm and awareness for suffrage. For instance, Lodge was a proponent of posting promotional flyers via automobile tours; the most notable taking place on the 4th and 5th of August in 1914, which was reported in the 1914 Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier. According to the Evening-Times Republican in 1914, Lodge also attempted to organize a "branch suffrage association among women of Grinnell." Additionally, Lodge encouraged pastors to give "suffrage sermons" on Mother's Day, as noted in an Evening-Times Republican 1916 article.

Mabel Lodge's affiliation with the IESA abruptly ended in 1916 for unknown reasons. Records of her resurface in Delaware in the 1917 Newark Post, stating that a Mabel Lodge attempted to become Superintendent for Kent County but was rejected due to a stipulation in the state constitution that anyone unable to vote was ineligible for office. In 1918, the Newark (DE) Post names a Mabel Lodge involved in educational reform efforts.

Although little is known about her early life or these activities after 1916, based on what is known, Mabel Lodge made important contributions to the women's rights movement. In fact, according to the 1914 issue of the Evening-Times Republican, the Iowa movement's lack of organization was limiting their success, which Lodge's previous activist experience could rectify. Thus, Lodge's campaign with the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association seems to have brought organization and enthusiasm to the state's struggle for voter equality that may have contributed to the suffrage movement's overall success.


Columbia University. "Masters of Arts." In Officers and Graduates, 1004. New York: Columbia University, 1916.

"Dover School Graduates." The Sun, June 23, 1900, Image 3.

"Grinnell and Vicinity." Evening-Times Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa), August 17, 1914, Image 2.

Iowa Equal Suffrage Association. Twelve Reasons Why Women Should Vote. Des Moines, IA: Des Moines Printing Company, 1916.

"Iowa News Briefs." Audubon County Journal, July 2, 1914, Image 3.

"Iowa State Teachers College." In Catalogue and Circular: For School Year 1906-7. Library of the University of Illinois, 1911.

"Local Work Counts." Evening-Times Republican, (Marshalltown, Iowa) October 21, 1915, Image 4.

"Lucas Co. Women Join Suffragists." Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier, August 8, 1914, Image 9.

"Plan Suffrage Campaign." Evening-Times Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa), January 14, 1916, Image 5.

"Teachers Organize for Defense Work." Newark Post, July 31, 1918, Image 1.

"Woman Ineligible for Superintendency." Newark Post, October 31, 1917, Image 1.

"Women to Organize." Evening-Times Republican, July 21, 1914, Image 4.

"Southern Iowa Items: Des Moines." Evening-Times Republican, June 24, 1914, Image 5.

"Suffragists to Organize County." Cresco Plain Dealer, December 17, 1915, Image 9.

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