Biographical Sketch of Missouri T.B. Hanna

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Missouri T.B. Hanna, 1857-1926

By Keiyana E. Hurt, student: Saint Martin's University

Missouri Hanna was born in Galveston, Texas on February 17, 1856 as Missouri T.B. Saunders. Young Missouri eventually moved to Berryville Arkansas, where her father, Judge Levi Best Saunders (1816-1881), opened a store and enrolled Missouri and her siblings to Clarke's Academy. Judge Saunders later became an early settler to the resort town, Eureka Springs, Arkansas after Dr. Alvah Jackson discovered the springs and miraculously cured Judge Saunders from a deadly skin disease.

Missouri T.B. married fellow classmate Jeremiah C. Hanna (1848-1887) and gave birth to three children, Kirke, Florence, and Mercie. The Hanna family moved to Spokane Falls, Washington in 1882 but Jeremiah died only five years later due to a boating accident in Idaho. After this tragedy, newly widowed Mrs. Hanna moved her three children to Edmonds, Washington where she purchased The Edmonds Review newspaper in 1905. Mrs. Hanna was constantly mocked by men who owned local mills in the area for stepping outside of the accepted roles of women's employment but that didn't stop her. She later bought land, becoming a real estate developer, naming her own estate Hanna Park. Now one of the top journalists in Washington, and new real estate owner, Hanna sold The Edmonds Review in 1910 to rival newspaper The Edmonds Tribune after her first publication of the women's suffrage magazine, Votes for Women and she decided to bring her focus on promoting women's suffrage. In Hanna's words:

"It is argued that, given the ballot, women will cease to care for the home, leave the meals uncooked, the children uncared for, the buttons strewn while she rushes off to vote. As it only takes about two minutes to perform the function of voting none of the above calamities are likely to happen. We venture to guess that the enfranchised woman can cook and serve a delicious dinner, sew on the buttons, and kiss away the children's tears with the same degree of success and womanliness that she can stand and hang to a strap in the crowded street car while her brother man sits comfortably, reads his paper contentedly and puffs tobacco smoke in her face, serenely oblivious of her presence."

The Votes for Women magazine was the first official product of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association (WESA). The publication gave a spotlight to suffragists in the Snohomish County and gave advice and starting steps for anyone wanting to advocate for women voting. The magazine ran from 1909-1910, combining cartoons and political commentary. In 1912 the publication continued but was newly named The New Citizen, focusing on women's issues.

Missouri found herself having to care for her only child, Florence, after her two other children passed away. She and her daughter continued to live in Edmonds and she was occasionally involved in journalism throughout her life. Missouri T.B. Hanna passed away suddenly at the age of 69 on June 14, 1926 at "Fern Rest" home in her estates. She was later named The Mother of Journalism, due to her role as the first ever woman newspaper publisher in Washington state.

 

Woman suffrage cartoon from Votes For Women; "HURRAH FOR A FREE WEST", Seattle, January 1911; Courtesy MOHAI

 

LeWarne, C.P. (2009) Missouri Hanna: "Mother of Journalism in Washington State". Retrieved from http://snohomishwomenslegacy.org/wlp_61_M_Hanna.html

 

Courtesy of UW Libraries - Votes for Women, Vol 1, no. 11, December 1910

Sources:

Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage. Vols. V and VI (1900-1920). N.p.: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922.

LeWarne, C.P. (2009, June, 21) Hanna, Missouri T.B. (1857-1926) Retrieved from www.historylink.org

LeWarne, C.P. (2009) Missouri Hanna: "Mother of Journalism in Washington State". Retrieved from http://snohomishwomenslegacy.org/wlp_61_M_Hanna.html

M. Riddle and L. Lindgren. (n.d.) Snohomish County Women and the 1910 Suffrage Campaign. Retrieved from http://snohomishwomenslegacy.org/wlp_46_Suffrage.html

May, B. (2016, November, 22) The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture: Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Retrieved from http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=843

McConaghy, L. (2007, March, 05) Votes for Women: A 1910 Article by Missouri Hanna, Called Mother of Journalism in Washington State. Retrieved from http://www.historylink.org/File/8107

National American Woman Suffrage Association, and Washington Equal Suffrage Association. Votes for Women.Seattle, Wash: M.T.B. Hanna, 1909. [various issues] Accessed via UW Libraries Digital Collections Pamphlets and Textual Documents Collection, Washington Equal Suffrage Association "Votes for Women

Wippel, T. (2017, October, 27) From the Publisher's Desk: The legacy of Edmonds journalist Missouri T.B. Hanna. Retrieved from http://myedmondsnews.com/2017/10/from-the-publishers-desk-the-legacy-of-edmonds-publisher-missouri-t-b-hanna/

Vogel, L. (2011, June, 04) Missouri T.B. Hanna: Edmonds Pioneer, Real Estate Developer, Journalist, Champion of Women's Suffrage. Retrieved from https://patch.com/washington/edmonds/missouri-tb-hanna-edmonds-pioneer-real-estate-developd19ee9e665

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