Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Myrtle Hazard Irish, 1870-1936
By Hannah Turner and Birdie Kushner, student researchers, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
President of the Butte Women's Club, worker for YMCA and Red Cross
Myrtle Hazard Irish, also known as Mrs. C.P. Irish, played a prominent role in shaping what women's solidarity and civic duty can look like in Montana communities. Born in Farmington, Franklin County, Maine, around 1870, she moved to Butte, Montana, in 1914. In 1890, before moving to Montana, she married Charles P. Irish, future manager of the Fairmont Creamery Company in Butte. Myrtle and Charles had one daughter, Elizabeth "Betty" Irish, who later became an active participant in her mother's suffrage work. Alongside her immediate family, Myrtle had a brother in Los Angeles, who she visited in California on occasion, and relatives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, including Ethel Blake, Barbara Blake, and her niece Dorothy, also a suffragist.
Shortly after her arrival in Butte, Irish began her work as a women's rights activist as president of the Butte Women's Club on September 24, 1914. Though little is known about her personal life outside of familial obligations, there is a strong record of her club presidency and community involvement. Irish's work primarily consisted of organizing meetings and picnics for the Women's Club, attending suffrage marches, working for hospital reform, and raising money for the YMCA and the Red Cross. Some of her greatest successes included her work organizing the first Montana woman suffrage march in 1914, fundraising efforts with the Butte Women's Club, and work for the Elinor Walsh cottage, which provided treatment for women with tuberculosis at the state hospital. As a parent involved in educational reform, Irish spoke out at Butte High School to advocate simple, inexpensive, and standardized uniforms for girls.
Census records indicate that by 1930, 60-year-old Irish and her husband Charles, now working as a copper miner, were living in Tennessee with their daughter Betty and her husband, Willard Mawbray. Irish died on February 11, 1936, at age sixty-six. She was buried in the Garfield Park Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
"Announcement of Woman's Club 1917 Official Organization and Presidency of Myrtle Irish," Butte Daily Post, May 17, 1917, p. 5. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 25, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-05-17/ed-1/seq-5.pdf.
"Cousins Ethel and Barbara Blake of Grand Rapids, MI visit Myrtle Irish," Butte Daily Post, June 29, 1917, p. 2. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 28, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-06-29/ed-1/seq-2.pdf.
"Delegates for Suffrage Meeting 1917," Dillon Examiner, October 31, 1917, p. 4. Montana Newspapers, Accessed Feb. 26, 2018, montananewspapers.org/lccn/sn85053034/1917-10-31/ed-1/seq-4.pdf.
"Delegates for Suffrage Meeting 1917," Dillon Tribune, November 2, 1917, p. 4. Montana Newspapers, Accessed Feb. 26, 2018, montananewspapers.org/lccn/sn85053040/1917-11-02/ed-1/seq-4.pdf.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed., "Montana," chapter XXV in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920 (New York, NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), pp. 360-367. [LINK]
"Montana Women Build Memorial in Superior, MT," Mineral Independent, June 2, 1921, p. 7. Montana Newspapers Accessed Feb. 25, 2018, montananewspapers.org/lccn/sn86075304/1921-06-02/ed-1/seq-7.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Hosts Women's Lunch," Butte Bulletin, May 20, 1919, p. 3. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 28, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045085/1919-05-20/ed-1/seq-3.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Organizes Campaigns for the Red Cross," Butte Daily Post, June 12, 1917, p. 9. Chronicling America, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-06-12/ed-1/seq-9.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Speaks on Behalf of Instating Girls' Uniform," Butte Daily Post, May 20, 1919, p. 3. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 25, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045085/1919-05-20/ed-1/seq-3.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Works on Hospital Reform Campaign," Butte Daily Post, May 29, 1917, p. 7. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 28, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-05-29/ed-1/seq-7.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Travels to CA with Husband C.P. Irish, Manager of Fairmont Creamery," Butte Daily Post, May 12, 1917, p. 16. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 20, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-03-12/ed-1/seq-16.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Works to Promote Local YMCA Chapter," Butte Daily Post, June 7, 1917, p. 3. Chronicling America, Accessed March 1, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-06-07/ed-1/seq-3.pdf.
"Myrtle Irish Travels to CA with Daughter Betty and C.P. Irish," Suffrage Daily News, September 25, 1914, p. 4. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 18, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053121/1914-09-25/ed-1/seq-4.pdf.
"Successful Picnic Hosted by Woman's Club," Butte Daily Post, August 3, 1917, p. 8. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 25, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053058/1917-08-03/ed-1/seq-8.pdf.
U.S. Census and U.S. City Directories, Ancestry.com
"Visit of Dorothy Blake," Suffrage Daily News, September 24, 1914, p. 2. Chronicling America, Accessed Feb. 25, 2018, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85053121/1914-09-24/ed-1/seq-2/.