Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Amanda (Mrs. A.T.) Anderson, 1838-1919
By Shayna Bates, student, University of Wisconsin: Green Bay, WI
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the State Suffrage Association, Minneapolis, MN
Amanda Anderson was born in Ohio in 1838, yet much of her active years as a suffragist took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She typically went by her married name, Mrs. A.T. Anderson. She became widowed, becoming a single mother to four children; the year of her husband's death is unknown. Only three of her four children lived into adulthood. Anderson's daughter, Martha Scott Anderson, was also politically active. Up until her death in 1919, Mrs. A.T. Anderson was politically active and involved in many organizations promoting equality for women.
Anderson was best known for her work as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Minnesota State Suffrage Association. Due to the association's work, the state approved the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1919, the year of Anderson's death. The amendment, giving women the right to vote, was ratified in August 1920.
Anderson also participated in the Buffalo Women's Suffrage Convention in 1887, where she worked with Minnesota state legislator Sylvanus A. Stockwell, In 1891, Anderson, Stockwell, and president of the state association, Julie B. Nelson, introduced a bill providing municipal suffrage for women, although the bill was not passed during that term. During this time, Anderson's daughter, Martha Scott Anderson, worked for the Minneapolis Journal. Martha's job at this prominent newspaper helped her mother's political career by promoting stories of her in the newspaper. The elder Anderson was also part of the temperance movement, attending rallies and campaigning to promote prohibition.
Anderson was also a member of the Political Equality Franchise Club. Originally called the Woman Suffrage Club of Minneapolis in 1868, the name was changed in 1897. The club specialized in promoting women's rights and organized events of interest to women. Its purpose was to get as many women as possible to vote in school and library board elections. They created the Minneapolis Women's School and Library Organization. The club tried to convince the University of Minnesota to add several courses to the school's curriculum in hopes of educating more women; such courses included home economics and child welfare. Campaigning for these classes took two years; the courses were finally offered in 1917.
"Club Notes." Minneapolis Journal, October 24, 1904, p. 8. https://newspapers.mnhs.org/jsp/viewer.jsp?doc_id=mnhi0031/1DFY7Q5A/04102401&page_name=8
"Clubs Reviving." Minneapolis Tribune, October 1, 1899, p. 4. https://newspapers.mnhs.org/jsp/viewer.jsp?doc_id=mnhi0005/1DFC5F59/99100101&page_name=16
Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920). N.p.: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK to MN report]
"Ladies of the G.A.R." Minneapolis Tribune, January 25, 1897, p. 8. https://newspapers.mnhs.org/jsp/viewer.jsp?doc_id=mnhi0005/1DFC5F59/97012501&page_name=8
"Sons of Temperance." (Letter to the Editor). Minneapolis Tribune, November 18, 1878, p. 1. https://newspapers.mnhs.org/jsp/viewer.jsp?doc_id=mnhi0005/1DFC5C57/78111701&page_name=1
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth census of the United States, 1900.
"Women Workers." Daily Globe (St. Paul, MN), September 30, 1880, p. 1.