Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Annie Doughty, 1858-1945

By Jacob Bezner, undergraduate, SUNY Binghamton, Professor Wheeler

Fourth Vice Chairman of the New York City Woman Suffrage Party and prominent teacher in Suffrage Schools

Annie Doughty was born in 1858 to parents Nicholas Wyckoff Doughty and Cynthia Doughty. A first generation immigrant, Annie Doughty was brought to the United States from England by her parents when she was an infant. After arriving in the United States, Doughty resided with her parents in Brooklyn, where she attended school through the sixth grade. Once she left school, Doughty continued to live in Brooklyn where she would grow up to become a mother, congregation member, and political activist. At 26 years old, Annie Doughty married Frank J Doughty. Annie and Frank had three sons, Alfred, Howard, and Russell, and two daughters, Madeline and Nellie. While she was raising her children, Doughty joined the Women's League of the All Souls Universalist Church. Through the Church, Annie gained the skills needed to become a successful political activist. By 1919, Doughty held the position of Fourth Vice Chairman of the New York Woman Suffrage Party. In spite of her efforts as a congregation member and political activist, the life of Annie Doughty has gone overlooked in the eyes of historians.

As a mother, Annie Doughty used her spare time to take part in the Women's League of the All Souls Universalist Church. Doughty's time with the Church served as the precursor of her work with the New York City Woman Suffrage Party. It exposed her to an abundance of ideas that were never provided to her during her primary education. In 1902, Doughty co-hosted an event which featured an analysis of the religious motifs in the writings of Robert Browning. Despite only having a primary education, Doughty engaged in conversations worthy of academia. Furthermore, the church gave Doughty much more than academic enrichment. Concurrent with Doughty's time in the Women's League, the congregation held a watershed vote on the Church's stance on women's suffrage. This vote allowed Rev. Ida C. Hultin to speak to the congregation after she earned acclaim at the Women's Suffrage Convention of 1900. Through the All Souls Universalist Church, Doughty was thrust into the women's suffrage movement with the tools she needed to become an effective political activist.

By 1916, Doughty was at the forefront of the suffrage movement. A member of the New York City Woman Suffrage Party, Doughty spearheaded one of the most successful efforts to educate women voters prior to the ratification of the 19th amendment: "Suffrage Schools." Following the vision of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the purpose of these "suffrage schools" was to agitate, educate, and organize potential women voters. Using the academic skills she gained at the All Souls Universalist Church, Doughty taught Suffrage History and Argument, Organization, Publicity and Press, Money Raising, and Parliamentary Law to potential women voters in Detroit. This program was so effective that it expanded to 385 schools across 25 states. Doughty's efforts propelled her to the position of Fourth Vice Chairman of the New York City Woman Suffrage Party in 1919. Moreover, Doughty's work in "suffrage schools" laid the foundation for the League of Women Voters, which succeeded the New York City Woman Suffrage Party after the passage of the 19th Amendment. Suffrage schools served as a proof of concept for targeted political organizing to promote voter education. This concept is carried on today by the League of Women Voters.

Though the historical record is unclear on Annie Doughty's political involvement after the passage of the 19th Amendment, it is clear that Annie Doughty played an important role in the fight for women's suffrage in the early 20th century. In 1922, Doughty moved from Brooklyn to Queens, where she lived the final 23 years of her life with her daughter Nellie. Annie Doughty passed away on April 19, 1945. She was 87 years old.


"All Souls Archives and History." All Souls Archives and History | All Souls Church Unitarian. Accessed September 30, 2017.

"An Afternoon with Browning." Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 12, 1902.

Annie Doughty (1858 - 1953) - Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed September 27, 2017.

"History." LWV. Accessed October 01, 2017.

"Minnie Cunningham to Mary Garrett Hay, 31 January 1919." Minnie Cunningham to Mary Garrett Hay. January 31, 1919. Accessed September 27, 2017 [LINK]

"Mrs. Annie Doughty." Brooklyn Daily Eagle , April 22, 1945.

United States. Census Bureau . Twelfth Census of the United States . Kings, NY, 1900.

Research Notes

-All primary source information on Annie Doughty was found in the following databases:,, and Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000.

-Multiple variations of the name "Annie Doughty" were used as search queries for the following databases:,, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, Contemporary Women's Issues, GenderWatch, Gerritsen Collection - Women's History Online, Women and Social Movements, International, 1840 to Present, Women Studies International, Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires Since 1820, JSTOR, Google Books, and Google Scholar.

-These variations include, but are not limited to: "Annie Doughty", "Mrs. Annie Doughty", "Mrs. Doughty", "Mrs. Frank Doughty", and "Mary Doughty."

-Although the majority of materials regarding the birthdate of Annie Doughty provide evidence that she was born in 1858, Doughty's passport application says she was born in 1863. Considering that some of her census data states that she was born in the United States, it is possible that she may have lied about her birthday to the government to avoid the naturalization process.

-It is important to also note that her obituary states she was born in England.

-Link to passport application:

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