Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Lucy I. Harrington, 1858-?

By Meitra Hojjatie, student, Colorado State University

Lucy Irwin was born in Keokuk, Iowa, on February 6, 1858, to John Reily and Eliza Jane (Oakes) Irwin. She later moved to Denver where she met and married her first and only husband, George Harrington. Lucy and George were married in 1882, and had two children, both girls. After ten years of marriage, Lucy filed for divorce from George. George was charged with kidnapping their two daughters in the midst of the divorce on September 23, 1892. On January 10, 1893, their divorce was finalized and Lucy was granted full custody of their two daughters. By sentencing of the court, George was instructed to pay $30 on the first of every month for child support; he failed to do so. The date of Harrington's death is unknown.

In 1894, Lucy Harrington was featured in the cast of "Political Comedy of Errors," a dramatic operatic burlesque on political boundaries of 1893. Harrington played the role of the sheriff of Arapahoe. Harrington was appointed assistant secretary of the Denver Charity Board on April 15, 1896.

In 1898, Harrington was granted membership of the Stenographers' Extension of the Woman's Club. The mission of the stenographers was to be conveyed as bright, self-respecting, highly-respected women with a calling to a profession.

On November 27, 1898, at the Woman's Club, Harrington presented a controversial paper about taxation in Colorado. Harrington claimed that taxation is the ability to make certain people rich or poor, and called for improved services in exchange for lawful payment of taxes, including better schools, jails and care for children. Colorado Attorney General Byron L. Carr threatened the future credibility of any paper that would publish the paper in its entirety.

Harrington founded Colorado Prisoners Aid Society with Alva Adams, which still exists, but is now known as the Prison Relief Association. On January 4, 1899, Harrington proposed the Sentence Bill which stated that prisoners who displayed good behavior would be granted an earlier parole.

Harrington served for a period as president of the Equal Suffrage Association and gave a speech In June 1919 to cele34brate Congressional passage of the 19th Amendment. These activities complemented her broader reform activities. She identified with Colorado reform movements for 20 years. Harrington was appointed Recorder of the City and County of Denver in 1912. In June 1917, she was appointed by Governor J. C. Gunter to take Mary C. C. Bradford's place on the Women's Advisory Committee of the Governor's War Council. In May, 1918, a campaign was held to promote Republican reaction to Gunter and Democratic disunity. Harrington, a Denver Club leader at the time, spoke against Gunter and in favor of Tom Tynan, who was fighting against profiteering and appealing to progressive party activists.


"Calls a Halt." Denver Evening Post, Nov. 27, 1898, p.12. 19th Century U.S. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

"Governor Thomas Bows out Alva Adams." Denver Evening Post, Jan. 10, 1899. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

Harper, Ida Husted and Susan B. Anthony. The History or Women Suffrage: Vol. IV: 1883-1900. Indianapolis: Hollenbeck Press, 1902. [LINK]

"Indeterminate Sentence Bill." Denver Evening Post, Jan. 4, 1899, p. 5. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

Laugen, Robert. The promise and defeat of the progressive public: Reform politics in Colorado, 1902–1929. Proquest Dissertations and Theses, 2005. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. Accessed May 3, 2017.

"Mills is President." Denver Evening Post, Apr. 15, 1896, p. 7. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

"Multiple Classified Advertisements." Denver Evening Post, Nov. 21, 1894. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

"Prisoners' Aid Society." Denver Evening Post, Jan. 22, 1899, p. 10. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

"Taxpayers." Denver Evening Post, Mar.11, 1899: p. 7. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017.

Semple, James Alexander. Representative Women of Colorado: A Pictorial Collection of the Women of Colorado Who Have Attained Prominence in the Social, Political, Professional, Pioneer and Club Life of the State. Denver : J.A. Semple, 1914.

"The Harrington Case." Rocky Mountain News, Sept. 23, 1892. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Accessed May 3, 2017

"The Law Years Blunder." Denver Evening Post, Mar. 9,1896, p. 2. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Web. 3 May 2017.

"Wants 'Em Ousted." Rocky Mountain News, Aug. 23, 1893, p. 8. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Web. 3 May 2017.

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