Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Alice Nelson Page, 1872-1916
By Deborah Gangloff, independent historian and Beth Twomey, librarian, North Dakota State University
Newspaperwoman, business woman, and activist in the Suffrage Movement
Alice was born Alice Arabella Nelson on April 22, 1872 in Cambridge, Henry County, Illinois. Her father John moved the family to Larimore, North Dakota in 1888. She was the only daughter out of five children. She attended the University of North Dakota for one year. She was active in the Episcopal Church, and spent her career as a "newspaper woman of unusual ability" working for newspapers, primarily the Larimore Pioneer and the Grand Forks Plain Dealer, and was considered one of the foremost newspaper women in the state. She married Addison Franklin Page, a railroad man, on July 2, 1892. The marriage produced one son Cyril Dike who was born January 1, 1895. Alice and Addison divorced in 1904/05.
In 1911 Page purchased a half interest in the Devils Lake Inter-Ocean and became a co-editor and publisher. In 1912 she realized a long-held dream and established the Page Printerie in Grand Forks, North Dakota using her own savings. The printing business was very successful and modern for its time and place. In 1915 she established the Grand Forks Independent, a weekly. Unfortunately, due to her untimely death in 1916, the newspaper only lasted for another year after her death.
Page also had a keen interest in politics and worked as a clerk for the state legislature in Bismarck, N.D. in 1912. She played a prominent role in the Votes for Women campaign, serving as president of the Grand Forks League (she retired from the role in spring of 1916), and also served as the corresponding secretary for the statewide organization, the North Dakota Votes for Women League, due to her desire to work to advance the status of women. During that time, she actively challenged candidates for the state legislature to make a statement of support for suffrage, and was able to confidently claim to the press in 1912 that a majority of legislators had pledged to support the measure to provide women with the vote. In May of 1915 she was named a candidate to succeed the deceased president (Mrs. Clara L.Darrow of Fargo) of the statewide Votes for Women League but instead was voted in as the new press secretary at the Votes for Women League Meeting in Valley City, North Dakota in June of 1915. She travelled frequently around the state for the cause of woman's suffrage to speak, inform, and convince others of the importance of woman's suffrage and was well-known and respected for her suffrage work, her skill as a newspaper woman, and her business acumen.
She died of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 22, 1916 believed to be brought on by the shock of her only son being sent to the border with Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.
"Brief State News," The Ward County Independent, May 11, 1916
"Compromise on Board Failed of Acceptance." The Evening Times (Grand Forks ND ), January 21, 1913.
"Friends and Relatives See Militia Off: Mrs. Page of Grand Forks Died on Day of Son's Departure" Bismarck Daily Tribune, July 23, 1916
Koloupek, Walter, E. "Alice Nelson Page: Pioneer Career Woman." North Dakota History, Vol. 13:1 & 2 (April 1946), 71-79.
"Legislators in Favor of Equal Suffrage Bill: Votes for Women League Announces Pledges of More than a Majority." The Evening Times (Grand Forks, N.D.), December 19, 1912.
"Mrs. Alice Nelson Page, Well Known Local Woman, is Dead; Hemorrhage of the brain is Cause." Grand Forks Herald, July 22, 1916, 10
"Takes Position on G.F. Weekly." Devils Lake Inter-Ocean, January 5, 1912
"Valley City Session of Votes for Woman league" The Weekly Times-Record (Valley City, ND), June 24, 1915
"Votes for Woman in Two Years: Suffrage Workers Hear Good News from Attorney General Miller." The Evening Times, October 26, 1912. Grand Forks, North Dakota
"What a Western Woman Can Do." The Linotype Bulletin, Vol. 9, pg. 116, August 1913