Biographical Sketch of Nellie Fostina Tupper Woodward

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Nellie Fostina Tupper Woodward, 1854-1930

By Jayne Morris-Crowther
Independent Scholar

Club woman, journalist, suffragist

Nellie Fostina Tupper Woodward was born in October, 1854 in Nashua, New Hampshire. She was the daughter of Freeman Eastern Tupper and Susan Elvira Howe Tupper. She attended both public and private schools in Nashua. In 1881 she married Dr. Josiah Nichols Woodward and they had a daughter Carrie.

Most of Woodward's activism was channeled through women's clubs. Throughout her club life she was determined to expand and broaden women's influence through their clubs and associations. She was a member of the Nashaway Woman's Club upon its founding in 1896. The club studied literature, current events, civics, education, music, public health and conservation. Woodward was both treasurer, 1902-04, and president, 1909-1911. After serving for two years as the First Vice President of the New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs (NH Federation), she became president from 1911-1913. During her tenure she made committees more effective by scheduling field meetings where members could confer with one another and plan their activities ahead of the club season. She also established a Prosperity Fund devoted to expanding club work. Her leadership resulted in the addition of fourteen new clubs and 1,500 more members to the state federation. During Woodward's administration the state legislature enacted many bills endorsed by the federation including the establishment of fourteen as the minimum working age, mothers' pensions, a commission to investigate dependent children and state appropriations for the education of the blind.

After serving as president of the NH Federation, Woodward remained active in women's clubs and extending the influence of those clubs to the larger public. She was an associate editor of the supplemental Women's Edition of the Manchester Union. This special edition was devoted to women's club work and general women's issues like suffrage. The profits received were used for printing "NH Laws for Women," a general summation of New Hampshire's gendered laws. Woodward was the General Federation of Women's Clubs' Secretary for NH, 1913-1915. She also chaired the Political Science Committee, 1915-1917. Outside the federation, she was the President of the Nashua Equal Franchise League and a member of the Matthew Thornton Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution (through her mother's lineage), the King's Daughters Benevolent Association and the Woman's Auxiliary of the Young Men's Christian Association.

By 1920 and the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Woodward was sixty-five years old. She lived her last years in Nashua and died in a home she shared with her daughter, July 30, 1930


New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947, New Hampshire, Births and Christenings Index, 1714 -1904 through Ancestry Library accessed 2/12/2017; Henry Harrison Metcalf, One Thousand New Hampshire Notables: Brief Biographical Sketches of New Hampshire Men and Women, Native or Resident, Prominent in Public, Professional, Business, Educational, Fraternal or Benevolent Work, (Concord: Rumford Publishing Company, 1919), 97-98; Alice Stratton Harriman, Chairman, et al., A History of the New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs, 1895-1940, (Bristol, NH: Musgrove Printing House, 1941); New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs – Yearbook, 1912-1913, 57; New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs – Yearbook, 1915-1916, 33,39; New Hampshire Federation Online books, Hathi Trust Digital Library, accessed 3/6/2017; 1930 United States Federal Census, Ancestry Library, accessed 2/12/2017.

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