Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Adelaide Ballard, 1842-1922

By Danielle Giles, undergraduate student, Iowa State University and Susan R. Cloud, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, Iowa State University

Adelaide Ballard (January 10, 1842 - October 11, 1922) of Hull, Iowa, served three terms as president of the Iowa Woman's Suffrage Society (renamed the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association in 1898), in 1896-97, 1897-98 and 1901-02.

Ballard moved to Iowa with her husband and children in 1887, where she began working for state suffrage. She worked throughout Iowa as a lecturer and organizer for several years, including working with Carrie Chapman Catt.

Ballard attended both the Republican and Democratic conventions in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1893. She became the spokeswoman for the delegations and petitioned Senator Bishop, "To the Senate of the State of Iowa: I, an adult citizen of the state of Iowa, over 21 years of age, born and reared in the United States, a law abiding citizen, able to read and write the English language, in full possession of all ray faculties, being neither an Indian, idiot, criminal nor insane person, held entirely responsible for all my acts before God and man, being interested in good government in the locality where I live, also in the state and nation, do hereby petition your honorable body to no longer withhold my right to vote because I am a woman. If that by a crime in this so called republic, God alone is responsible. Therefore appeal to this law-making body to record the fact that I, Adelaide Ballard, who have been resident of Iowa since 1880, pray to by enfranchised, and that action should be taken upon my petition at this session of the legislature."

In her work with the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association, Ballard spoke at a number of conferences throughout northern Iowa in 1898. She also attended the Omaha 1898 Convention that was held during the executive meeting of the National Council of Women, and addressed the convention. In 1902, she was elected by the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association to be a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Ballard and her family moved to California around 1902, where she lived until her death.


Material furnished by the family of Charles Ballard (son of Adelaide Ballard), from the Iowa Women's Suffrage Collection,  State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines,IA.

The Independent (Hawarden, IA), Thursday, February 15, 1894.

The Humeston New Era (Humeston, IA), Wednesday, November 5, 1902.

back to top