Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biographical Sketch of Dora Duckworth Smith, 1854-1931

By Jessica D. Jenkins
Curator, Minnetrista, Muncie, Ind.

In 1854, Housen and Sadie Duckworth of Logansport, Indiana welcomed a baby girl to their family. The daughter, named Dora, was the first of three children born to the minister and his wife. While little is known about Dora's early life, in the early 20th century she became involved in labor reform and woman suffrage efforts in the state of Indiana.

On February 10, 1903 Dora married Oliver P. Smith, a fellow resident of Logansport. Mr. Smith was a cigar maker by trade, but since the 1890s had held a visible role as a labor leader within the state and nation. In 1906 he was nominated for State Senator by the Republicans of Cass County, but failed to secure the seat. Mr. Smith was also an organizer in the Cigar Maker's Union, and served as Vice-President of the Indiana Federation of Labor for several years. He was forced to resign from that post in 1911 due to illness. After three years of battling Bright's Disease Mr. Smith passed away in 1914.

Like her husband, Dora Duckworth Smith spent many years dedicating much of her time to labor reform efforts within the state. In her own city she was active with the Logansport Trades Assembly (elected as its Vice-President in 1911) and in the late 1910s she was appointed Police Matron by Logansport's mayor. Beyond her city of residence, Mrs. Smith was involved with the Indiana State Federation of Labor, taking on the role of Vice-President of the organization in 1921.

Another area of interest shared by Mrs. and Mr. Smith was woman suffrage. As early as 1906, Oliver P. Smith was an earnest supporter of the suffrage cause. At the reorganization of the Indiana Equal Suffrage Association in 1907, Mr. Smith was one of only a few men in attendance. He served as a member of the group's advisory committee for many years, and two months before his death served as a speaker at the organization's annual suffrage convention in 1914. In 1912 Dora Duckworth Smith also became officially involved with the Indiana Equal Suffrage Association when she took on the role of Vice-President. Three years later the served as a speaker on behalf of the organization in Logansport.

In addition to her involvement with the state level suffrage organization, Dora Duckworth Smith was also active on the local level with the Logansport Equal Suffrage Association and served as its Vice-President. After many years of reform work Dora Duckworth Smith passed away in 1931.


Information about Dora Duckworth Smith's life and political work was gathered from United States Census Records, and through a survey of newspaper articles including publications such as - the Logansport Reporter, Indianapolis Star, Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Fort Wayne News, Culver Citizen, Fort Wayne Sentinel, Labor World, Huntington Herald, and the Daily Republic, 1890-1931.

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