Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Morrison Boynton Harbert

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragist, 1890 – 1920

Biography of Elizabeth Morrison Boynton Harbert, 1843-1925

By Lori Osborne, Director Evanston Women's History Project, Evanston History Center and Julia Flynn, Researcher, Evanston History Center, Evanston, Illinois.

Vice President, Indiana Woman Suffrage Association; President, Iowa Woman Suffrage Association; President, Illinois Woman Suffrage Association; Founder, Woman's Club of Evanston

Elizabeth Morrison Boynton Harbert was born in 1843 in Crawfordsville, Indiana to William Henry Boynton and Abigail Upton Sweetser. She married William Soesbe Harbert in 1870 and had three children, Arthur Boynton Harbert (1871), Corinne Boynton Harbert (1873) and Boynton Elizabeth Harbert (1875). She died in 1925 in Pasadena, California.

Elizabeth Harbert was an author, editor, lecturer, reformer, philanthropist and prominent leader in the woman suffrage movement. She attended Western Female Seminary in Oxford, Ohio before entering Terre Haute Female College in Indiana where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1862. In 1891, she was awarded an honorary PhD in Philosophy from Ohio Wesleyan University in recognition of her dedication to the promotion of justice and equality for women.

Harbert published her first of three books (The Golden Fleece) in 1867 and became involved in the woman suffrage movement, serving as vice president of the Indiana Woman Suffrage Association. In 1871, she moved with her husband, to Iowa where she served as vice president of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association the following year. Her second book (Out of Her Sphere) was also published that year. In 1874, Harbert was elected president of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association but did not complete her term as she moved to Evanston, Illinois towards the end of the year.

In Evanston, Harbert remained active in the woman suffrage movement, serving as president of the Illinois Woman Suffrage Association for twelve years and vice president of the National Woman Suffrage Association for Illinois. During this period, Harbert also became involved in the founding and management of various other local, state, and national organizations, including the Woman's Club of Evanston, the Illinois Social Science Association, and the National Household Economic Association. Harbert continued to write during this time and published her third book (Amore) in 1892. She created and edited a column in the Chicago Inter-Ocean newspaper called the "Woman's Kingdom" dedicated to the moral and political interests of women. Harbert also established The New Era, a monthly periodical for the discussion of women's rights issues.


Evanston Women's History Project, Biography File of Elizabeth Boynton Harbert

The Boynton-Harbert Society

Harvard University Library

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