Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Martha Anderson Wyman, 1868-1946
By Elizabeth Altmann, student, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Writer/Speaker/Activist for Woman Suffrage
Martha Anderson was born in January 1868 in Ohio, where she was raised by her parents, Scott and Amanda Anderson. In 1906 she married Hanson Phelps Wyman. In 1907, she gave birth to their son, Edmond Wyman. Martha spent most of her life living in Minneapolis, but she moved to Chicago in 1905. Her family started out just visiting Chicago for occasional weekends, but Martha was so interested in women's political issues in Chicago that she decided to move there so she could become involved in suffrage activism. Martha and her husband eventually moved back to Minneapolis, where they lived the rest of their lives.
Martha Anderson Wyman was very involved in women's political movements in the state of Minnesota. She not only wrote about woman suffrage, she actively took part in it. In 1922 she became one of the few women in her day to campaign for elective office when she ran for state representative for the 33rd Ward. Wyman's campaign received little coverage in the press, and she was only briefly in the newspaper coverage of her opposing candidates. She was not elected, but her campaign gave her a platform from which she shared her views about woman suffrage. Before and after her run for office, she was a popular speaker at suffrage events. She gave many talks, such as when she spoke at the Red Elephant Club concerning the Thirteenth Ward Republican Women's Club. Another notable talk she gave was at an event celebrating Susan B. Anthony's 80th birthday in 1900 that was put on by the Minneapolis Political Equality Club.
During her time in Minneapolis, Wyman also wrote for The Minneapolis Journal. She wrote about a wide range of subjects, such as social happenings and controversial issues in Chicago, and local news in the Minneapolis area. Her articles included headlines such as "The Week in Chicago," "Work of the Voters' League in Chicago," and "Landlords Now for Anti-Race Suicide." She also wrote about lighter things, but was clearly not afraid to tackle the harder issues that might have stirred up controversy for some readers.
It is evident that Wyman made a definite impact on women's political participation in her home state of Minnesota during her lifetime. She passed away on May 30, 1946, and was buried at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
1900 U.S. Census, Minneapolis Ward 5, Hennepin, Minnesota; Roll 767, page 1B, enumeration district 0061, FHL microfilm 1240767.
1910 U.S. Census, Chicago Ward 7, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624_247, page 10A, enumeration district 0386, FHL microfilm 1374260.
Harper, Ida Husted. History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6: 1900-1920, National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]
"In The Realm of Society," The Minneapolis Tribune, February 15, 1900, p. 10.
McKusick, H. "Club Women & Club Life," The Minneapolis Tribune, August 27, 1905, p. 20.
"Newton to Address Republican Women of Thirteenth Ward," The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, October 1, 1922, p. 72.
Political Advertisement. "Endorsed Ballot," The Minneapolis Morning Tribune, November 6, 1922, p. 9.
"Women Who Want Ballot to Meet in Albert Lea," The Minneapolis Tribune, October 8, 1899, p. 4.
Wyman, Martha Anderson. "The Week in Chicago," The Minneapolis Journal, October 29, 1905, p. 37.
Wyman, Martha Anderson. "Work of the Voters' League in Chicago," The Minneapolis Journal, January 14, 1906, p. 11.
Wyman, Martha Anderson. "Landlords Now for Anti-Race Suicide," The Minneapolis Journal, May 6, 1906, part VIII, p. 3. [p. 58 in newspapers.com]
Wyman, Martha Anderson. "What's Wrong with the Public Library?" The Minneapolis Morning Tribune, December 2, 1914, p. 8.