Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Fannie Dixon Welch, 1873-1947
By Brooke Nicholson
Undergraduate Student, Central Connecticut State University
Fannie Dixon Welch was born around 1873 in Tolland, Connecticut. She was active in woman suffrage work and with other suffragists in May 1918 she took the lead in Red Cross work to aid the war effort. They organized new chapters, developed canning clubs and farm bureaus, and sold liberty bands. In June, 1922 Welch was called on to discuss Democratic organization. Her goal was to allow paid campaign organizers to rally Democratic women.
Welch was a founder of Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women, became its first president and held this position from 1922 to 1934. In her lifetime, Welch held numerous titles including the Collector of Ports in Connecticut, Trial Justice in Tolland County, member of the Selective Service Board and National Recovery Commission. As a pioneer of the women's suffrage movement, Welch was one of the first women to hold a position as Collector of the Port.
Welch built a beautiful home on Columbia Lake where she hosted social and political parties. In particular, Welch sponsored a meeting on the issue of women's suffrage in July of 1916. On the north shore of Columbia Lake, speakers gathered to share the ideas to promote women's suffrage. Through her public activism, she forged close friendships with Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt. The prestigious parties attracted dignitaries and influential guests, such as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. FDR apparently gave one of his fireside chats from the house, "Noxid," which became a honored landmark in the town of Columbia.
Welch died around April 25, 1947 and was buried at Saint Peters Cemetery in Hebron, Connecticut.
In honoring her legacy, the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women currently awards an annual Fannie Dixon Welch scholarship. This is awarded to a student of the University of Connecticut who majors in political science or international relations. The person chosen must excel in her study and be a registered Democrat in the state of Connecticut.
"Columbia," Hartford Courant, July 21, 1916,
"Columbia Historical Society, Inc." Columbia Historical Society Inc. Accessed April 29, 2016. http://www.columbia-history.org/.
"Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women." Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women. Accessed April 29, 2016. http://cfdw.org/?page_id=223.
www.ancestrylibrary.com online provided family information on Fannie Dixon Welch.
"Democratic Women Worried, Urged to Copy G.O.P. Sisters," Hartford Courant, June 20, 1922.
"Fannie Dixon Welch," Hartford Courant, April 25, 1947.
"Fannie Dixon Welch Made Vice-Chair of Democratic State Body," Hartford Courant, September 29, 1922.
"War Work and Federal Suffrage," Hartford Courant, May 22, 1918.
John Allen, De Ramm, and Ingrid Wood, Columbia (Charleston, South Carolina, 2013.) PDF e-book.