Biographic Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Cornelia Lusk, 1875 -?
By Alexander Calder and Layna Zahrt, students, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI
Cornelia Lusk was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, circa 1875, to James W. and Belva J. (nee Kline) Lusk. In 1883, the Lusk family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, and, in 1894, Cornelia graduated from St. Paul's Central High School. She spent the next two years in New York City, taking college preparatory courses and general courses at The Ely School for Girls. She graduated in 1896 and returned to Minnesota.
In the early twentieth-century, Lusk used her financial and administrative skills in both her occupation,and to support the women's suffrage movement. She worked for fourteen years as assistant recording secretary and treasurer of Minnesota's Schubert Club, a club that hosted social gatherings for women, concerts, lectures, and study groups. During this period, she also served as treasurer and charter member of the Ramsey County Suffrage Association, and treasurer and corresponding secretary of the Minnesota League of Women Voters. Lusk was an active member of various social reform and women's suffrage organizations, including the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) and the county chapter of the Women's Welfare League. She was also a member of the Saint Paul Women's City Club and the Thursday Club of Saint Paul, the latter of which provided a forum for young girls to participate in literary studies.
In November 1919, Cornelia Lusk and her colleague, Jane Burr, founded the Ramsey County League of Women Voters. After the 19th Amendment passed, Lusk celebrated the first time that women could take part in political campaigns by joining the Democratic Central Committee. She also remained committed to the MWSA and the Ramsey County League of Women Voters long after suffrage was won. She became Vice President of the MWSA in 1922, and Vice President, and then President of the Ramsey County League of Women Voters, in 1926. In 1930, she was elected President of the MWSA. Although Lusk appears in the Minnesota City Directory until 1950, the date of her death remains unknown.
"Brave Man." Albuquerque Journal, 22 February 1931, p. 4
"Corna B. Lusk: in the 1880 United States Federal Census." Year: 1880; Census Place: Reedsburg, Sauk, Wisconsin; Roll: 1446; Page: 221A; Enumeration District: 260
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census[database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
"Cornelia Lusk Will Probably Be Named Head," Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) 28 September 1930, p. 46
Foster, Mary Dillon. Who's Who Among Minnesota Women. Minnesota: M.D. Foster, 1924. p. 184
Husted, Ida Harper, et al., eds. The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6: 1900-1920, New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922. [LINK]
League of Women Voters of St. Paul. "History of the League." League of Women Voters of St. Paul. www.lwvsp.org/History-of-the-League (Accessed 2017).
"League of Women Voters to Become Factor in Minnesota," Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) 30 October 1919, p. 8
"Mrs. Burr to Entertain Members of Dome Club Thursday at Home Tea," Star Tribune. (Minneapolis, Minnesota) 6 February 1921, p. 52
"Name Committee for National Women Voters." Wisconsin State Journal, 26 January 1930, p. 11
"New League President to Continue Activities Begun by Miss Wells: Miss Cornelia Lusk to Call Board Meeting for Second Friday in November When Appointments for Year Will be Made; $10,000 Raised," The Minneapolis Star (Minneapolis, Minnesota) 18 October 1930, p. 19
"Women Delegates and Alternatives Who Will Attend San Francisco Convention." Decatur Daily Democrat, 15 June 1920, pp. 2-3
"St. Paul is Lacking in Musical Taste," The Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, Minnesota) 15 February 1906, p. 5
"Mrs. Andreas Ueland Wins Double Indorsement in Day from Suffragists of State," Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) 5 December 1916, p. 2.