Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Eva Channing, 1854-1930
By Zoë Hill, graduate student, Simmons College, with Jessica Schiowitz
Eva Channing was born in Boston in 1854 to William Francis Channing and Susan Elizabeth Burdick Channing. She was the granddaughter of the well-known Unitarian minister, William Ellery Channing. Channing's mother, Susan, was also active in the suffrage movement, acting as the director of the New England Women's Club as well as the treasurer of the School Suffrage Association. Channing attended Boston University, graduating in 1877.
Over the course of her life, Channing contributed frequently to the Woman's Journal. Several of her reports detailed the fight for women's rights in Europe, with a strong focus on Germany. She compared suffrage victories in Europe to what was happening in the United States, showing the slow progress towards women's rights in America juxtaposed with greater momentum found in Western Europe. Channing also looked beyond political rights to comment on women's place in society. For example, she gave a lecture on how and why women should ride bicycles, covering issues such as safety, methods and clothing. All of these efforts helped to highlight the need for women to have more active roles in society.
In addition to her work for the Woman's Journal, Channing served a number of different suffrage organizations in the Boston area. She was an active donor to, and member of, the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association starting in 1883. She acted as the secretary of the Massachusetts School Suffrage Association in 1891 as well as the recording secretary for the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. She was elected to the former position by the board of directors of that organization. Channing's involvement with these organizations extended into the twentieth century. She served as the clerk for the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in 1901. In 1906, Channing was made the chairman of the Peace Committee of the Boston Branch of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. With that organization, she worked to inspire women to promote peace in the world and abolish war. The Boston Branch of that association wrote, "The abolition of war lies within the power of the womanhood of the world." Part of that power would come from the vote. She then became the first vice president of the College Equal Suffrage League of Massachusetts in 1907. Channing died in 1930 in North Carolina
Eva Channing came from a family of religious and social reformers. This family trait was not lost on Channing, as she worked throughout her adult life to help advance the cause of suffrage in New England.
American Association of University Women. Boston Branch. Records, 1886-1978; item description, dates. MC 271, folder IVB.10. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
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"Massachusetts School Suffrage Association." Woman's Journal, November 28, 1891, 387. Nineteenth Century Collections Online (accessed April 12, 2017).
"Notes and News." Woman's Journal, January 20, 1894, 21. Nineteenth Century Collections Online (accessed April 12, 2017).
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