Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Marie (Mrs. Henry Ware) Allen, 1866-1945
By Alexander Rawson, undergraduate, Johnson County Community College
Marie Allen was born in 1866. As an adult she earned a nursing degree and in 1891 married Henry Ware Allen. She worked as a nurse for much of her life, but in her later years, her 40s and 50s, she joined the suffrage movement. During this time, she came to be referred by her husband's name.
In 1916, she served as the vice-president of the newly formed Wichita Equal Suffrage Association. By the following month, its members attended a convention in Chicago. They were the largest party of Kansan Suffragists. The convention marked a transition as the largest ESA group in Kansas moved beyond state suffrage and adopted a national agenda.
In November 1917, the ESA began a tour through the southern states to build support for national suffrage. The Wichita Beacon described it as "Kansas Woman To Invade South!" They spent about 4 weeks travelling the South, before heading towards Washington. They stayed for only a short time before returning to Kansas.
By January the next year, Mrs. Henry Ware Allen returned to Washington, this time to testify before Congress. As she gave testimony, the congressional chairman of the congress described women's suffrage as "pro-German." Mrs. Allen responded, "it is absolutely false." She described how the Wichita ESA had embarked on "war activities before the Red Cross had gotten to work." Allen finished her speech, giving time for the important "pro-German" question, concluding "Let us work together so this horrible war which has devastated the world […] may at least be put out. Gentleman, I have a remedy. We call that remedy democracy."
Her efforts for suffrage did not end with this speech. She was now voting to have Kansas ratify suffrage for all women in the country. The Equal Suffrage Association broke up and in its place came a massive voting campaign. This was known as the Kansas League of Woman Voters. Mrs. Henry Ware Allen was made president of the group. In part because of her efforts, Kansas ratified the 19th Amendment on June 16, 1919.
Marie Allen died in 1945, months before the end of World War II.
1900 United States Federal Census. Marie S Allen.
1910 United States Federal Census. Henry Ware Allen
1920 United States Federal Census. Marie S Allen
Allen, Henry J., ed. "Equal Suffrage Fully Organized: A Meeting At City Library Today." Wichita Beacon, May 10, 1916, 5.
Extending the right of suffrage to women. Hearings ... on H.J. Res. 200 ... Jan. 3-7, 1918. United States. Congress. House. Committee on woman suffrage, 1918.
"Kansas Woman Tells Washington!" Wichita Beacon, January 9, 1918, 8.
"How Can the Kansas Women Help Women of Other States." The Wichita Beacon, June 12, 1918, 5.
"Vote League Has Launched: Women Have Adopted A New Name." Wichita Beacon, June 11, 1919, 6.
"In Waterproofs, and Umbrellas." Wichita Beacon, June 5, 1916, 6.
"Wichita Woman At Head of New Voter's League." Wichita Eagle, June 11, 1919, 2.
"Women Today Will Respond To First Call." Wichita Eagle, September 5, 1917, 5.
"Kansas Women to Invade South." Wichita Beacon, October 24, 1917, 9.
"Novel Meeting For Amendment." Wichita Beacon, November 5, 1912, 4.