Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1917-1920

Biography of Eleanor Barker, 1886-1971

 

Profile written by: Pat Roberts and Serene Williams, faculty, and high school students Sode Smith, Kate Brandin, Keemya Bashiri and Sierra Burton, Sacred Heart Preparatory High School in Atherton California

Indiana State Chairman of the Congressional Union, President of the Federation League

Miss Eleanor Barker was born in Petersburg, Indiana in 1886. Her parents were James Breckinridge and Mary Adelaide Barker. Baker's family had a history in politics, since her great grandfather served in the Indiana state legislature. Miss Eleanor Barker was known for being a successful attorney in the state of Indiana. She later joined the Indiana State Bar Association in 1916 and was documented as participating through at least 1919.

Miss Eleanor Barker was an active participant in picketing for the suffrage movement. Miss Eleanor Barker served as state chairman of the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage in Indiana. In addition, she was an active member of the advisory council for the National Woman's Party. In 1916, after establishing the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage in Indiana, she was named as the "leading suffragist in Indiana." In August of 1916 she was asked by the NWP to lobby for a federal amendment and work in opposition against Democratic Party candidates at the state level. In addition to her connection with the National Woman's Party, she worked tirelessly as the President for the Federation of Franchise League in Indiana. As an activist for women's rights, Eleanor Barker worked to get a women's division of the industrial bureau under the industrial board of Indiana.  

In 1917, Miss Eleanor Barker decided to leave the Woman's Party in Indiana, which she had helped found because she no longer felt that the organization pursued goals and values she believed in so she decided to pursue other professional opportunities. During World War I, she was a speaker for the national food administration and she encouraged people to follow President Wilson's rations, so that the United States could win the war. As a representative for the fair price committee in Indiana, she worked to help bring standard necessities for families down to pre-war levels so that families could maintain a certain basic standard for living. During these war years, she was also representative for the women's department of the Indiana state council of defense. In addition to being a speaker for the national food administration, Miss Barker served as the chairman of the committee on women and children in industry, which helped to limit the number of hours women could work. After the war, Miss Eleanor Barker worked on an anti-High Cost of Living campaign, which included establishing women's clubs, and sharing the campaign in schools. As a lawyer, she worked relentlessly to not limit the number of hours that women could work, since this was discriminating against women, which helped give her influence.  After many years in serving as a lawyer, she was appointed in 1919 to serve as the campaign manager for Republican candidate Mr. Howe in his campaign for mayor. In 1920, she encouraged women to cast their ballot for the Republican candidate so that the League of Nations would fail. In 1922, she became a state manager of the Indiana women's organization for United States Senator New and she made political speeches during his campaign. She was also a member of the women's rotary club.

Throughout her later years, she continued to speak at many Republican events. In 1932 she gave a talk in Rushville, Indiana to their Republican women's club. That year the local newspaper referred to her as "Mrs. Eleanor Barker Snodgrass" so although it is unclear what year she married, it is certain she was married by 1932. In 1934 Mrs. Eleanor Snodgrass served as the Ninth district vice-chairman of the Republican committee. In 1935 the Brown County Democrat newspaper in Nashville, Indiana reported that Mrs. Eleanor Snodgrass was the Ninth district vice-chairman and a candidate for the position of Republican national committeewoman. In 1940 Mrs. Snodgrass was serving as the Indiana Republican vice-chairman and gave a speech at a luncheon in front of 500 women in the Half Century Clubroom. In this speech she proclaimed that GOP women needed a "˜man of vision' who did not support the centralization of executive power she felt had happened under Franklin Roosevelt. She also called for a decrease in the size of the federal government, which in her opinion had expanded dramatically during the great depression. In 1941 she was still living in Nashville, Indiana and her local newspaper reported that she was injured in a car accident in Gainesville, Florida that year. She passed away in 1971.

Sources:

1. "Danger in One-Man Government Cited by Guest Speaker: Mrs. Eleanor Snodgrass Tells County GOP Women "˜Man of Vision' Needed The Daily Clintonian, Clinton, Indiana September 27, 1940.

2. "Eleanor Barker" United States Census, 1910 familysearch.org.

3. "Eleanor Snodgrass" Find a Grave https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/129000315.

4. Foundation Document: Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument in Washington, DC, August 2017 https://www.nps.gov/nama/learn/management/upload/BEPA_FD_SP.pdf

5. "Franchise Leagues to Hold Union Meetings" The Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Indiana February 5, 1916.

6. "G.O.P. Meeting in Nashville" The Republic Columbus, Indiana, August 4, 1934.

7. "G.O.P. Women to Hear An Address" Rushville Republican, Rushville, Indiana October 31, 1932.

8. Miss Eleanor P. Barker, Indianapolis, state chairman for Indiana of Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage: member of advisory council of National Woman's Party. Indiana Indianapolis United States, 1914. {to 1916 July 8] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000082/. (Accessed January 02, 2018.) https://www.loc.gov/resource/mnwp.148001/  

9. "Mrs. Eleanor Snodgrass Injured in Auto Wreck" Brown County Democrat, Nashville, Indiana January 9, 1941.

10. "Mrs. Snodgrass for Committeewoman" Brown County Democrat, Nashville, Indiana November 7, 1935.

11. "President Asked to Open Second Term with Action on Suffrage" The Suffragist March 10, 1917.

12. Report of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the State Bar Association of Indiana, University of Chicago, July 1916 https://books.google.com/books?id=G8VFAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Indiana+State+Bar+Association+(1916-+)%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiYsLuo18fYAhVL54MKHbAxAac4ChDoAQg_MAY#v=onepage&q&f=false

13. "Republican Women Hear an Interesting Talk Wednesday" Rushville Republican, Rushville, Indiana November 3, 1932.

14. Women Lawyers' Journal, Volumes 9-12 Women's Lawyers' Club, 1919 DIgitized August 1, 2008 https://books.google.com/books?id=vZIqAAAAYAAJ&pg=PT67&lpg=PT67&dq=eleanor+p.+barker+attorney&source=bl&ots=XiQo99mcaK&sig=j15L0lN2x4OQhuDbid-huL5Qhsk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSpJeX47rYAhVlxFQKHfMIBfQQ6AEITDAG#v=onepage&q=eleanor%20p.%20barker%20attorney&f=false

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