Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Delphine Anderson Squires, 1868-1961
By DeAnna E. Beachley, Ph.D., professor of History and Women's Studies, College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
Chair of Mesquite Club; Chair, Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs
Delphine Anderson Squires was born in 1868 in Portage City, Wisconsin. She married Charles Pember "Pop" Squires on July 21, 1889. The couple lived in Redlands and later Los Angeles, California, before relocating to Las Vegas in 1905. Delphine Squires died at her home in Las Vegas in 1961.
Delphine Squires worked as a columnist of the Las Vegas Age, which was the newspaper that her husband purchased and served as editor-in-chief in 1908. She was responsible for the founding of Christ Church Episcopal; served as a founding member of the Mesquite Club, for whom she served as president from 1912-1914; the Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs, serving as president from 1914-1915, the Eastern Star, and the Las Vegas Library, where she served as Chair of the Board for several years. It is not known whether she was also a member of any specific suffrage organization.
During her time as chair of the Mesquite Club, the Nevada Equal Franchise Society worked diligently to achieve the vote for women in Nevada. The Mesquite Club was one of many women's clubs that existed in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Mesquite Club's goal included self-improvement and civic commitment to Las Vegas. While the minutes of the Mesquite Club do not reveal resolutions regarding woman suffrage in the state, they were asked to make arrangements for Charlotte Perkins Gilman's visit to Las Vegas in the fall of 1912, while Squires was president, at the behest of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society. Members of the club sold four tickets apiece to raise the $25 speaking fee. The club also made arrangements for the high school auditorium to be used for the October 28th talk. This event became mired in controversy when Gilman refused to speak on the platform with Nevada Senator Francis Newlands and visiting Senator Champ Clark on the lecture platform. Instead, Gilman spoke from an open car. Despite this trouble, members of the Mesquite Club helped distribute suffrage literature for the Nevada Equal Franchise Society and aided Anne Martin in her quest to bring attention to woman's suffrage in the state. Anne Martin was invited by the Mesquite Club to speak on the suffrage question in April of 1913. The club sponsored this event.
The Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs faced internal division over the suffrage question, as well. Some members and leaders did not want the organization to have any political affiliation at all, while others believed that the vote would be a way for women to engage in "municipal housekeeping." While Squires served as president of the state federation, she appealed to members to avoid endorsing suffrage for the good of the organization, (i.e. appease the nonsuffrage supporters) but the measure passed with a vote of 37 to 25. Nevada women received the vote in 1914 well before most of the country.
As a representative from Nevada for the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Squires attended the Twelfth Biennial Convention in Chicago in June of 1914. This convention voted on a suffrage resolution which stated: "Whereas, the question of the political equality of men and women today is the vital problem under discussion throughout the civilized world, therefore, it is resolved that the General Federation of Women's Clubs give the cause of political equality for men and women its moral support by recording its earnest belief in the principle of political equality regardless of sex." Squires served as one of the speakers on woman suffrage at a meeting held in New York City, by the New York Woman Suffrage Party and the Equal Suffrage League. Squires was one of fifteen delegates attending the national convention for the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and talked about the relative ease of women achieving the vote in Nevada. With Nevada having only 90,000 inhabitants and 100 women for every 220 men, Squires related "men realized woman's social value when they didn't have many of them."
Mrs. Charles P. Squires, "The Mesquite Club," unpublished manuscript, (1940), UNLV Special Collections.
Mesquite Club Minutes and Records, UNLV Special Collections, 2001-9, Box 2, folder 13; UNLV microforms.
Las Vegas Age, 3 October 1914.
"Equal Suffrage is Indorsed by Women's Clubs," Christian Science Monitor, 15 June, 1914, p. 1.
"Says Woman's Duty is to 'Clean Up', New York Times, 29 May 1916, p. 11.
Cyndee R. McMullin, "'Work Worth Doing': Nevada Women's Clubs and the Creation of Community, 1860-1920." University of Nevada, Reno, Dissertation, 2003.
Anita Ernst Watson, Into Their Own: Nevada Women Emerging Into Public Life (Reno: Nevada Humanities Committee, 2000).