Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biographical Sketch of Alma V. Lafferty, 1854-1929

by Julie Monroe, student, Colorado State University

Alma V. Lafferty, Representative of the Colorado State Legislature, was born on October 12, 1854. She served two terms in the Colorado Legislature, elected in 1908 and 1910. Lafferty also ran as a nominee for the Democratic Party in the State Senate in 1912, but did not win the election. During her two terms in the House of Representatives, Lafferty served as the chairman of the educational committee and chairman of the committee on legislation, and sponsored bills to improve the quality of women and children's lives.

One of Lafferty's big accomplishments was passing the eight-hour law for women in the workplace, making her the "Mother of Eight Hour Law for Women." Lafferty also helped to pass a law for the examination of school children which had already been initiated in several other states at the time. Lafferty was a charismatic woman who did not believe in the idea of failure so when the men of the legislature tried to defer the bill because they did not think it was necessary, Lafferty continued to fight for its passage. Once the bill got sent back to House, Alma and her committee made the team of representatives realize that turning down the bill would be a bad campaign tactic for re-election. In 1909, there were several bills within the Colorado General Assembly that Lafferty supported, including the protection and education of delinquent children, jurisdiction over delinquent children while in school, and the construction of school buildings.

Lafferty was outspoken in her belief that the country needed more women legislators, claiming that "men were afraid to adopt new ideas," and opposed colleagues that promoted commercialism over humanitarianism. For example, in addition to protecting children in school she passed a bill to lower the tax on third-class schools to improve their financial situation. She sought help from women outside of the legislature to assist her in her efforts, but overall still struggled with the passing of bills that were for the good of the people.

Lafferty was married to William S. Lafferty, and two children: Herbert (1876-1898) and Edna (1880-1958) Lafferty. Lafferty died on November 20, 1929, and was buried at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. She had two children: Herbert (1876-1898) and Edna (1880-1958).


Biography Information. Alma V. Lafferty. "Her Hat was in the Ring." Accessed May 01, 2017.

"House Journal of the General Assembly of the State of Colorado: Seventeenth Session: Convened at the City of Denver, Wednesday January 6, 1909." Denver, CO: 1909. Google Books. Accessed May 01, 2017.

"Alma V Lafferty." Alma V. Short Lafferty (1854-1928) - Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed May 01, 2017

"[Editorials]." The Journal of Education, 70:11 (1746), 1909, pp. 294-96. JSTOR. Accessed May 01, 2017.

Meyer, Annie Nathan. "WOMEN LEGISLATORS. Reply to Plea of Alma Lafferty of Colorado for More of Them," New York Times, September 12, 1909. Accessed May 01, 2017.

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