Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ida Darling Engelke, 1873-1960

By Mary Osborne, museum specialist, The Stewart House, Monmouth, Illinois

Chicago Housing Council, Secretary; Chicago Political Equality League, First Vice President; Cook County Suffrage Alliance; Illinois Suffrage Association, First Vice President; Sixth Ward Citizenship Club, President

Born in Auburn, Mass.on September 16, 1873, Ida Darling was the daughter of Jasper Tucker and Sarah Winchester Darling. She grew up in Auburn and graduated from Smith College in 1897. Following graduation, she taught at Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago until she married Bernard Engelke in 1905. Although Engelke wanted to continue teaching, she later admitted, "I now feel it was the right thing for me to do to give up my profession for it made room for a beginner." She and her husband had two children together.

After her daughter Elizabeth was born in 1909, Engelke became interested in civic and suffrage work. She joined the Chicago Political Equality League, the Illinois Suffrage Association, and the Chicago Housing Council. Her involvement with the Chicago Political Equality League consisted of chairing committees involved with ward organization. She oversaw the roll call of the wards. In 1913, she helped organize a drive to register women to vote in Chicago's municipal election for aldermen. As a result, 200,000 women registered in the city. The Inter Ocean described her as "the most active organizer in the city."

Engelke also took an active interest in the condition of Chicago's housing conditions. As a member of the Chicago Housing Council, she worked to promote cooperation among like-minded agencies and to raise public awareness about the state of the city's housing. She served on a garbage committee composed of residents of the Third and Sixth Wards to demand more staff to handle Chicago's sanitation problems. She also endorsed the Examiner's campaign to beautify the city's streets, alleys, and vacant lots for a week in April 1916. She later became involved in the silk hosiery business as a sales clerk for thirty years.

Ida Engelke died in San Anselmo, California, on November 22, 1960, at the age of 87. She is buried in San Rafael, California.


John William Leonard, ed., "Engelke, Ida Darling," in Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915, Volume E-K (New York, NY: American Commonwealth Company, 1914), p. 12. [LINK]

United States Censuses, 1900, 1910, and 1920" for Chicago, Illinois.

"Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch( : 11 July 2016), Ida Darling Engelka, 1960; Burial, San Rafael, Marin, California, United States of America, Mount Tamalpais Cemetery; citing record ID 144580752, Find a Grave,

"With the Club Women," The Inter Ocean, May 28, 1913, 4.

"Women to Seek ‘Moral Alderman' with No ‘Past,'" Chicago Tribune, January 19, 1914, 1.

"100,000 Women on Tuesday Poll Books, Is Plan," The Inter Ocean, February 1, 1914, 1.

"Women Demand Garbage Staff," Chicago Tribune, June 29, 1914, 10.

"Interview," Chicago Tribune, August 16, 1914, 43.

"Plenty of Work Mapped Out for Suffrage Meet," Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1915, 3.

"Suffragists to March on Convention," Oakland Tribune, June 7, 1916, 4.

"Ida Engelke Dies in San Anselmo," Daily Independent Journal, November 23, 1960, 4.

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