Biographical Sketch of Genevieve Allen

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Profile of Genevieve Allen, b. 1881- d. 1938

Written by Molly Silvestrini, Undergraduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara

Executive Secretary of the San Francisco Center of the California Civic League of Women Voters, Secretary of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California, California Chairman for the National Women's Party

Genevieve Allen was born in 1881 in Connecticut to Margaret and John Allen. She moved to California and attended Stanford University from 1902 to 1905. In about 1900, she married Alexander Allen, a journalist from California, and had one child named Alexander G. Allen. Her husband died between when the data from the 1910 and 1920 United States Federal Census was taken, and there are no records of her every remarrying. Genevieve Allen lived at a mortgaged house at the address 117 Tenth Avenue, San Francisco, which is where she spent most of her life advocating for women's suffrage and political rights.

Genevieve Allen was very active in many women's organizations of California. Allen was the executive secretary of the San Francisco Center of the California Civic League of Women Voters. In May of 1911, Genevieve Allen was elected as the secretary of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California, which was organized in 1909 for educational work among women. She worked to publicize the fight for women's suffrage in California. In a report of the Committees of the College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California, Allen described how she and other women raised money to create "Justice for California" signs and billboards that they then posted throughout Oakland, San Francisco, and other parts of the Bay Area. Allen discussed how these posters efficiently publicized the idea of voting rights for women, and said that although they were only up for a month, "the life of the posters was indefinitely extended by the sets of photographs taken from them, that were sent to the States where the same issue was pending. They found their way into advertising journals and scrap-books, all over the land."1 "Winning Equal Suffrage in California: Reports of Committees of the College." College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California, 1913, p. 83-84.

Allen was also the California chairwoman for the National Women's Party. With the assistance of Vivian Pierce, a national organizer, Allen worked tirelessly alongside Alice Paul and other significant women activists for the NWP to secure a promising future for women's suffrage. When Senator Harding was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party, Allen contacted him and asked what the Republican Party would do to secure the thirty-sixth state to ratify the 19th amendment. Allen organized an interview between him and members of the Woman's Party on June 22nd, 1920, in Washington to hear his answer. During the meeting, Allen said to Harding: "We have come today, therefore, to receive, on behalf of the disenfranchised women of your state and country, your reply as to what you and your party will do to enfranchise these women. We women have done all that we can to end our long suffrage struggle. The power is now in your hands. Will you use it?"2 "Senator Harding 'Listens' and Evades." Suffragist, Vol. 8-9, July 1920, p. 128-29. To their dismay, Harding said he was powerless to include women's suffrage on his platform in running for President of the United States. As well as contacting Senator Harding, in March of 1933 Allen wrote to William I. Traeger in the House of Representatives to ask him to support H.R. 3673, a bill that would establish equality in national laws in the United States and eliminate the discrimination of women with regard to citizenship. There is no further record of her political activism for women past 1933. Genevieve Allen died in 1938 at the age of 57. She was buried in Greenwood Memorial Park, San Diego.

Sources:

1900, 1910, and 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2004. Accessed March 8, 2017.

Alumni Directory and Ten Year Book. Stanford University, 1891-1919, p. 38. Google Books. Accessed March 3, 2017.

Annual Register. Stanford University, 1904-1905, p. 164. Google Books. Accessed March 2, 2017.

Allen, Genevieve to William I. Traeger, "News from the Field: California endorses H.R. 3673" Equal Rights. Vol. 19, Issue 12 (1933) p. 96. Gerritsen Collection, Chadwyck.com. Accessed March 1, 2017.

Blatch, Harriet Stanton to Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, 6 October 1920, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Cornelia Bryce Pinchot Papers, Box 10, NF, Document 18. Accessed March 8, 2017.

Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT. Ancestry.com. Accessed March 1, 2017.

Gilmore, Inez Haynes. The Story of the Woman's Party. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company (1921) p. 449. Google Books. Accessed March 2, 2017.

"Grave Site of Genevieve E. Allen." Billion Graves. November 22, 2013. https://billiongraves.com/grave/Genevieve-E-Allen/5953155#/. Accessed March 1, 2017.

Harper, Ida Husted. "Chapter IV: California," History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6: 1900-1920, p. 47. New York, NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, (1922) p. 27-58. Accessed March 7, 2017.

Lyons, Louis S, and Josephine Wilson. Who's Who Among the Women of California. San Francisco: Security Publishing Company (1922) p. 600. Google Books. Accessed February 25, 2017.

"Senator Harding 'Listens' and Evades." Suffragist, Vol. 8-9, July 1920, p. 127. Google Books. Accessed March 5, 2017.

"National Women's Party." Suffragist, Vol. 8-9, July 1920, p. 14. Google Books. Accessed March 5, 2017.

"Winning Equal Suffrage in California: Reports of Committees of the College." College Equal Suffrage League of Northern California, 1913, p. 83-84. Google Books. Accessed March 1, 2017.

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