Biographical Sketch of Emily DuBois Butterworth

Biographical Database of Militant Suffragists, 1913-1920

Biography of Emily DuBois Butterworth, 1870-?

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By Rachel Kesner, undergraduate student, SUNY Oneonta

Emily DuBois was born into an old Huguenot family in New York in 1870.

Butterworth was an active member of the suffrage movement. She won a first prize for "the best parade hat" from the Women's Political Union in 1913. She also served as the treasurer of the Co-operative Service League for Woman Suffrage in New York City. She was arrested with two dozen other suffragists of the National Woman’s Party on November 10, 1917 during a picketing of the White House. Charged with "obstructing traffic," the women were tried and convicted. When Butterworth, like the others, refused to pay the fine, she was sentenced to thirty days in the Occoquan Workhouse. The arrival of this group of prisoners on November 14 precipitated the infamous "Night of Terror." According to Inez Haynes Irwin’s account, Butterworth, "for some capricious reason, was taken away from the rest, and placed in a part of the jail where there were only men. They told her that she was alone with the men, and that they could do what they pleased with her. Her Night of Terror was doubly terrifying—with this menace hanging over her." No doubt in part due to this harassment as well as the poor conditions, Butterworth, along with two others in poor health, was released early.

Butterworth was also involved in civic work in addition to suffrage work. She was a member of the Woman's Municipal League, which was an organization involved in improving the city of New York as well as providing charity for the poor and less fortunate. She helped arrange a tea reception event for the League. She also directed a play in Philadelphia, in October of 1918, as part of an All-American program.

She married an Englishman, Henry Butterworth. They lived in Manhattan with her companion, Cora Weeks, who was also a member in the suffrage movement. There is a lack of information about Mrs. Butterworth after 1920 and, unfortunately, the date of her death is unknown.

Sources:

"Prize for Suffrage Hats," New York Times, April 28, 1913, 20: "Municipal League Tea, New York Times, November 9, 1908, 7; https://feminist.org/blog/index.php/2014/11/24/today-in-herstory-the-silent-sentinels-go-back-to-court-this-time-to-seek-justice/; "Patriotism Keynote of Philadelphia Club," Musical Courier, October 3, 1918; Club Women of New York, Volume 6, Parts 1910-1911: Charles Holme, Guy Eglinton, Peyton Boswell, William Bernard McCormick, Henry James Whigham, The International Studio, Volume 30, New York, 1907; http://www.suffragistmemorial.org/descendants/; Teachers College Announcement 1902-1903: https://familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&query=%2Bgivenname%3A%22Emily%20DuBois%22~%20%2Bsurname%3AButterworth~%20%2Bbirth_place%3A%22New%20York%22~%20%2Bbirth_year%3A1870-1870~

Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Schocken Books, 1976), 356.

Inez Haynes Irwin, The Story of Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party (Denlinger's Publishers, 1977), 258, 283.

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