Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Rosabell Glass, 1880-1971

By Alexandria Swanson, student, Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA

Rosabell Glass was born on October 10, 1880, in Iowa. She was born to Robert Cornell Glass, an Ohioan preacher (1846-1915), and native Iowan Amy Kerr Glass, who lived until 1939. Rosabell, who went by Rose for most of her life, had two younger sisters, Aimee Luella Glass Bale, who lived from 1876 to 1900, and Florence L. Glass, who lived from 1888 to 1961. Rose and Florence were incredibly close throughout their lives. Neither married, and they lived with each other until 1947 when they both moved into Wesley Gardens, a South Seattle retirement center.

Glass spent her early years in her home state of Iowa. She attended Shimer Academy, a secondary school connected to the University of Chicago, starting in 1896. She graduated from Shimer in 1899.

Glass and Florence moved to Seattle, Washington, where Glass taught history. She went on to the University of Washington and earned a bachelor's degree. She taught at Ballard High School and Lincoln High School until 1912. She then went to Columbia University to begin graduate work.

In 1918 Glass volunteered with the YMCA to help with World War I in France. She is quoted saying, "I've got red hair, I know how to rough it, and I hope they send me just as near the front lines as they can!" Although her experiences had included long stretches of horseback riding (supposedly as long as 125 miles at a time) swimming in mountain streams, paddling American Indian canoes, dancing, shooting, and playing tennis, she was stationed in a YMCA entertainment section in Brest, France.

After the war, she returned to Seattle to continue teaching. She taught nine years at Franklin High School before becoming the first girl's advisor at Roosevelt High School and overseeing the "minute girls." Her work as the girl's advisor left a lasting imprint on Roosevelt High. Glass founded the Aurora Guards, a group composed entirely of red heads. This group was responsible for entertaining visitors and helping new students integrate into the school. Glass also began the annual selection of the Rose Maidens. Every year one woman from each class was named for "outstanding scholarship and participations in activities." Glass also helped create the Rose Garden at Roosevelt High. Each year new club officers were overseen by the Rose Garden to pass on their jobs in the "mystic rites of the Rose Garden." Another part of Roosevelt's history attributed to Glass was a visit from royalty. Glass met and befriended Queen Marie of Romania during her service in France. Glass invited Queen Marie to come visit her. In 1926, Queen Marie was touring the United States and came to visit Glass at Roosevelt, an exciting event not only for Glass but also for the students of Roosevelt High.

In addition to her role as a teacher and girl's advisor encouraging the next generation of females to enter the world confidently, Glass was an associate editor for the pro-women's suffrage newspaper Votes for Women. The newspaper began in Seattle in 1909. Glass worked alongside fellow assistant editors Adella M. Parker and Mary G. O'Meara as well as editor and proprietor Missouri Hannah. This edition of Votes for Women followed the progress of women's suffrage and brought their struggle to the attention of the public.

After moving into Wesley Gardens, Glass continued to be active. She served as the social director of the retirement center and served one term as national president of the Women's Oversees Service League. In 1963, in celebration of her birthday, she spent four months traveling the world. Former students hosted her on three continents.

Glass died in 1971. She was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle alongside her dearly loved sister, Florence.



Figure 1 Karen Sipe


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

Pieroth, D. H. (2004). Seattle's women teachers of the interwar years: shapers of a livable city. Seattle (Wash.): University of Washington Press.

Stevenson, S. (2009). Women's votes, women's voices: the campaign for equal rights in Washington. Tacoma, WA: Washington State Historical Society

LeWarne, C. P. (2009, June 21). Hannah, Missouri T. B. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from

Sipe, K. (2011, June 16). Rose Glass Grave. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from

Skirvin, R. (2017, November 6). Shimer College Archivist [E-mail interview].

U.S. Census Bureau. (1920). Population in Seattle. Washington DC: Government Printing Office

U.S. Census Bureau. (1930). Population in Seattle. Washington DC: Government Printing Office

U.S. Census Bureau. (1940). Population in Seattle. Washington DC: Government Printing Office.

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