Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Zerelda Leathers (Mrs. Arthur B.) Grover, 1868-1960
By Ashley Baker, student, Indiana State University
Member of the Women's Section of Indiana State's Council of Defense, member of the Home and Foreign Relief committee, co-organizer of the School League (which later became the Indianapolis Franchise League), member of the Woman's Rights Association of Indiana (which later became the Indianapolis Suffrage Association)
Mrs. Arthur B. Grover was born Zerelda Leathers in 1868. Her parents were William W. Leathers and Mary S. Leathers (born Wallace). William Leathers was born in 1836, and Mary Leathers was born in 1837. Zerelda had three siblings, James, Wallace, and Mary. Their family history starts with her grandparents, Zerelda Gray Sanders, and David Wallace. During her childhood, Zerelda Leathers Grover and her three siblings lived with them.
Zerelda Gray Sanders was one of earliest suffragists, so as a child, Zerelda Leathers was exposed to the women's suffrage movement. Zerelda Gray Sanders was also active in the temperance movement, being a founder of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and serving as the first Indiana State President and national vice president of the WCTU. In 1875, she addressed the state legislature on temperance, but was treated with disrespect because of she was female. This incident made her want to be a voice for women and their rights. She served as president of the Equal Suffrage Society of Indianapolis, was a founder of the Indiana Woman Suffrage Association, and was elected vice president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Zerelda Grover was exposed to this heavy involvement within women's suffrage at an early age because her grandmother was very involved in the early organizations. She followed in her grandmother's footsteps and continued on the same path, fighting to gain rights for women.
Zerelda Leathers married Arthur B. Grover in 1889 at age 21. Arthur was born in 1867 and was a native of Terre Haute, Indiana. A graduate of Harvard, Arthur Grover was active in the Indianapolis construction industry as president of the Harrison Construction Company and was involved in real estate as a partner in Grover and Layman. Together, Arthur and Zerelda Grover had one daughter, Agnes W. Grover.
Zerelda Leathers Grover served in 1909 as a director of the Women's School League in Indianapolis. During World War I, she was a part of the Women's Section of Indiana State's Council of Defense. She was also on the Home and Foreign Relief committee. Zerelda Grover was assisted by women who organized the School League, which later became the Indianapolis Franchise League. On June 26, 1919, a reception was held at the Mrs. Grover's home under sponsorship of the Indianapolis Franchise League. She, along with many other women, were members of the Indianapolis Suffrage Association, which was the earliest suffrage society in Indianapolis and was founded around 1872. It was originally known as the Woman's Rights Association of Indiana and was founded in Richmond, Indiana in October of 1851. The association later reorganized as the Indianapolis Suffrage Association in 1869. This organization made an "unconventional and controversial demand for women's equality in all political and social spheres" (Indiana Memory).
Zerelda Leathers Grover died in 1960, but little is known about her activities following the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
"Hoosier State Chronicles." Indianapolis News 26 June 1919 — Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Program, 26 June 1919. https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=INN19190626-01.1.7
"Hoosier State Chronicles." Indianapolis News 2 April 1901 — Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Program, 2 Apr. 1901. https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=INN19010402-01.1.3
"Indiana Woman's Suffrage Association Record Book 1851-1886." Indiana Memory: Indiana Woman's Suffrage Association Record. https://digital.library.in.gov/Record/IHS_dc014-60
"The History Of Woman Suffrage Volume VI Part 15 Online." Http://Toplightnovels.com/, 16 Mar. 2017. http://toplightnovels.com/chapter/the_history_of_woman_suffrage/chapter_650
"Zerelda Grover (Born Leathers)." Historical Records and Family Trees - MyHeritage. https://www.myheritage.com/names/zerelda_leathers