Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Rose Aschermann, 1877-1957
By Tina Gianoulis, freelance writer and researcher
Washington State Organizer, Women's International Union Label League, Organizer, Spokane Trades Council, Employee, State Equal Franchise Society
Rose Aschermann was born Rose Elizabeth Bassett on February 14, 1877 at Fort Abraham, in Lincoln, North Dakota. She was the daughter of Isaac Chandler Bassett, originally of Bangor, Maine, and Alice A. Goodrich. Family records indicate that Aschermann married Bruce Alexander Griggs (1874-1961) during the late 1890s, and it is possible that they moved to Washington state together, where Griggs served as manager of the Columbia & Okanogan Steamboat Company. It is not known how Aschermann's marriage to Griggs ended, but in 1907, she married Fred H. Moore (1883-?), a Socialist lawyer who practiced in Seattle and Spokane between 1906 and 1910. In 1910, Moore moved to California, and he is best known as defense attorney in the controversial murder trial of anarchists Nicola Sacco (1891-1927) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (1888-1927). In 1913, Rose married Gustave Aschermann (c.1879-1966), which may have coincided with her move from Spokane to Seattle. Rose Aschermann died in Seattle on May 20, 1957 at the age of 80.
Aschermann's work in the suffrage movement was closely tied to her support of organized labor. As early as 1909 she and Fred Moore provided bail for socialist labor activist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) when she was arrested in Spokane for activities in support of the Industrial Workers of the World. The following year, Aschermann (then Rose Moore) and Spokane feminist leader Ethel Stalford (1884-1911) campaigned for female suffrage by going to bars and saloons, where they sought support from patrons by promising that women would not use the vote to close down drinking establishments.
Aschermann also worked with Stalford as an employee of the Washington state arm of the Equal Franchise Society, which was formed in 1910. On a trip to Everett, Washington, to rouse support for the so-called "Susan B. Anthony Amendment," Aschermann gave an eloquent speech on social justice, in which she appealed to labor unionists: "If you give the woman the ballot you will place her on the same footing with men in the industrial and political field and she will not be so easily exploited by an employer, you can then . . . teach her the principles of unionism and make of her an intelligent class conscious worker." (The Labor Journal, August 12, 1910, p. 4)
In 1911 and 1912 Aschermann became active in the Washington chapter of the Women's Union Label League. She became a state organizer and travelled to Everett several times to help the city establish a local chapter of the group. In 1916 she was one of the signers of a call to the women of the state of Washington to attend a March 30, 1916 convention to formally endorse the so-called "Susan B. Anthony amendment to the U.S. Constitution, calling for the right of women to vote. Aschermann also became a close friend and political ally of the Connecticut feminist activist and author Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) and became an active member of a club that promoted Gilman's views. In 1916, in her role as chair of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman lecture committee, she urged the King County Legislative Federation to support women's suffrage.
Following the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which legalized the vote for women, in 1920, Aschermann remained active in community and feminist politics. In 1924, she was elected treasurer of the Commonwealth Club, a civic group in Seattle, and by 1939 she was active in the League of Democratic Women.
Bates, Joseph Clement, editor. History of the Bench and Bar of California. San Francisco: Bench and Bar Publishing, 1912
Engle, Nancy Driscol. Influential Women of Spokane: Building a Fair City. Charleston, S.C.: History Press, 2017.
Mead, Rebecca. How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914. New York: New York University Press, 2004.
The Labor Journal (Everett, Washington), July 5, 1912, p.1.
The Labor Journal. November 3, 1911, p. 3.
The Labor Journal. August 12, 1910, p.1.
Seattle Daily Times "Legislative Federation." (Published as THE SEATTLE DAILY TIMES) - October 17, 1916, p.15.
Seattle Daily Times. "Women Will Come West to Help Suffrage." March 24, 1916, p. 14.
Seattle Daily Times. "Commonwealth Club Hears Veterans' Plea." December 9, 1924, p. 9.
Seattle Daily Times. "League to Hear Review." April 25, 1939, p. 2.
Archives. "1940 U.S. Census." http://www.archives.com/1940-census/gustave-aschermann-wa-41050077 (accessed April 11, 2018)
BassettBranches.org Home of the Bassett Family Association http://www.bassettbranches.org/tng//getperson.php?personID=I15244&tree=1A (accessed April 11, 2018)
Find a Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/169004533/ethel-stalford "Ethel Maxwell Stalford.
My Heritage Family Trees. https://www.myheritage.com/names/bruce_griggs (accessed April 11, 2018)
Washington State Digital Archives. Death record for Rose B. Aschermann. https://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/E6D4BE53AB065404AA12EF77B1D0BE9B (accessed April 11, 2018)
Washington State Digital Archives. Death record for Gustave Aschermann. https://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/Record/View/64504BB735E526912704F02BE82512C0 (accessed April 11, 2018)