Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Jean Frank Bishop, 1881-1959

By Anne L. Foster, archivist and independent researcher, Gardiner, Montana

Member, Montana Woman Suffrage Association

Jean Frank Bishop, also known as "Jennie," "Jeannie," or "Jeannette," was born April 16, 1881. The daughter of John F. and Jennie F. (Painter) Bishop, she grew up on her family's sheep ranch near Dillon, Montana. In 1886, the family moved into to the town of Dillon so that the Jean and her sister Mildred could attend school. In September 1899, Jean matriculated at the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in literature and graduated with the class of 1903. She later attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Jean returned to Dillon and appears to have eventually taken over management of the family's numerous properties.

Bishop's efforts on behalf of women's suffrage in Montana were noted in volume VI of The History of Woman Suffrage (1922), which details Montana's successful campaign in 1914. This particular campaign is noted for the neighbor-to-neighbor efforts of many local organizers and was especially effective in the rural, agricultural regions of the state. Jean formed a close friendship with fellow suffragist Jeannette Rankin and later worked on Rankin's successful 1916 campaign for the U. S. House of Representatives. The two evidently remained lifelong friends with Bishop visiting Rankin in Washington, D. C., and the two travelling together to South America.

Active in the community, Jean was a member of local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Red Cross, the Sons and Daughters of the Montana Pioneers, and the General Federation of Women's Clubs. In 1917, she was elected a trustee for school district #10 in Beaverhead County, the district which oversaw the Training School, a subset of the Montana State Normal School (later Western Montana College and now University of Montana-Western). Bishop also continued to perform as a vocal soloist, performing as a mezzo soprano for local organizations and the School of Music at Western Montana College. In later years, she established a fund at Western in honor of her parents and donated artifacts to the Montana Historical Society. Jean died on August 24, 1959, in Dillon, Montana.


Bishop, Jennie and John. "Bishop Brings First 'Woolies' to Montana," The History of Beaverhead County, Vol. 1 (1800-1920). Beaverhead County Museum, 1990. Pp. 597-598. Montana Memory,

Find A Grave. "Jean Frank Bishop," 2017. Montana, Death Index, 1907-2015 [database online]. Operations, Inc. 2001. U.S. General Land Office Records, 1776-2015 [database online]. Operations, Inc. 2008.

Culver, Lillian Eliza Hackett Hanson. "[Diary]," More History of Beaverhead County, Montana, Vol. 2 (1800-1997), Beaverhead County Museum, 1997. Pp. 895-896. Montana Memory,

"Dillon News," Daily Intermountain (Butte, Mont.), 21 Sept. 1899, p. 4. Chronicling America,

"Trailblazers Vote Down Motion," The Daily Missoulian (Missoula, Mont.) 22 Aug. 1912, p. 5. Chronicling America,

"Three are Nominated for School Trustees," The Butte Daily Post (Butte, Mont.), 2 April 1917, p. 13. Chronicling America, .

"Mrs. Broox Martin Heads State D. A. R.," Great Falls Tribune (Great Falls, Mont.), 21 Oct. 1921, p. 4 Chronicling America,

Montana Federation of Women's Clubs. Annual Report for 1908-1909. The Lookout Press, 1909. p. 14. Montana Memory,

Registrar's Office. Catalog, 1944-1945. Western Montana College, 1944. p. 19. Montana Memory,

Alumni Directory, 1849-1919. U of Wisconsin, 1921. p. 28. Google Books,

The Chinook, 1906-1940 (multiple years). Montana State Normal College, 1906-1940. Montana Memory,

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, et al. History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6, 1900-1920. National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

Images: (p. 306).

Jean Frank Bishop

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