Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Alice Eve Hayes Broadwell, 1857-1931
By Raymond Lenh, Undergraduate Student
San Jose State University, San Jose, California
Alice Eve Hayes was born on February 1857 in Jacksonville, Illinois to Sanford B. Hayes and Margaret Hayes. Sanford Hayes was a veteran who fought in the Civil War while Margaret Hayes served as a nurse during the war. Sometime before 1880, the family relocated from Minnesota, where they were living in 1870, to Santa Barabara, California. Alice married William Baxter Broadwell, who was a merchant living in San Francisco. Their son, Harold Baxter Broadwell, was born on September 22, 1884. Alice Broadwell raised her son in Los Angeles while her husband lived in San Francisco. Broadwell worked as the principal of the Los Angeles College for Young Ladies in 1890.
William Baxter Broadwell refused to live with his wife and son in Los Angeles, remaining instead in San Francisco. In 1904, Broadwell filed for divorce on the grounds of abandonment. She never remarried but later suffered another loss when her son, who became a member of the Los Angeles police force, died in a motor accident in 1919.
Broadwell's suffrage work was primarily as a member of the Los Angeles Equal Suffrage League. Broadwell served as the corresponding secretary for the organization from 1896 to 1905. In that role, she contributed to the suffragist effort by writing articles for the newspaper. In December 1910, Broadwell wrote an article in the Los Angeles Herald, titled "Women Want Justice" that stated the main reasons why women should receive the right to vote. Broadwell claimed that women needed laws to protect their own rights at work and at home. Reflecting on her own life experiences, Broadwell stated that with the vote, women could make a husband's desertion of a wife a felony as well as put other "good" laws on the books. She believed that with the right to vote women would be able to help create laws in order to represent and protect themselves.
Broadwell resigned as the corresponding secretary of the Equal Suffrage League in 1905 in order to devote more time caring for her aging mother. Broadwell worked as a chiropractor from 1921 to 1930. She died in 1931 at the age of 74 after suffering from a three-year long illness. She was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery. Broadwell's mother died a few years later in 1934 as the oldest-surviving Civil War nurse.
Broadwell, Alice E. "The Patrol Wagon." Los Angeles Herald. October 5, 1897, 4.
"Divorces Plenty." Los Angeles Times. 1 July 1904, 14.
"Here is Grave News Indeed, Even the Election of a Suffrage President." Los Angeles Times. 3 October 1905, 19.
"Pioneer's Rites to Be Tomorrow." Los Angeles Times. 17 May 1931, 16.
"Women Want Justice." Los Angeles Herald. 16 December 1910, 3.