Biographical Sketch of Harriet G. R. Wright

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Harriet G. R. Wright, ?-1914

By Kelsey Johannsen, student, Colorado State University.

Harriet Goodrich Rosenkrans Wright was born in Wisconsin. Her father was Reverend Cyrus E. Rosenkrans of the Presbyterian church. She graduated from Rockford College in Columbus, Wisconsin. Wright was a teacher there before she married and moved to Denver, Colorado in the 1880s. In Denver, Wright had four sons and an active political career.

In 1898, Wright was elected to the State House of Representatives, affiliated with the Populist Party. During her two years of service, Wright was known on the House floor because of her wit and ability to break down an argument. While in the House, she fought for many proposed bills that would better the lives of women and children. This included stricter child labor laws, education laws, and women's property laws. She was a Democratic nominee for State Senate in 1912, but was not elected.

Due to her father's advocacy for women, Wright grew up being taught that women's rights were important, particularly in higher education. In addition to her roles in politics, she served as the director of the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association and president of the Women's Press Association. In 1900, she was the vice chairwoman of The People's Party Arapahoe County Central Committee. She was listed as clerk in the Department of Public Transportation in 1917-1918, and in the Department of Public Instruction in 1919-1921.

In 1913, Wright wrote a paper entitled, "How to Assist Legislation," in which she discussed the items women fight for and the obstacles they face in doing so. Wright's suggestion was to band together with other women to make things happen, even giving suggestions on how to do it. She also recognized the large amounts of failure that will occur but said women have to keep trying.

Wright had other passions in life as well. She was an artist and was physically active; gymnastics was among the topics she taught. Wright is believed to have died in 1914.

Sources:

"Colorado Educational Directory." Denver, CO: Colorado State Publications Library, 1917. https://archive.org/stream/coloeduc18colo/coloeduc18colo_djvu.txt

"Colorado Educational Directory." Denver, CO: Colorado State Publications Library, 1919. https://archive.org/stream/coloedu20colo/coloedu20colo_djvu.txt

"Fact Sheet CU-Boulder, Colorado, the U.S.A. 1899-1999." University of Colorado Boulder. Accessed April 22, 2017. http://www.colorado.edu/today/1999/12/14/fact-sheet-cu-boulder-colorado-usa-1899-1999

"Harriet G. R. Wright." Her Hat Was in the Ring! Accessed April 22, 2017. http://www.herhatwasinthering.org/biography.php?id=7733

Kinkaid, Mary Holland. "The Women Legislators of Colorado." Ainslee's Magazine. Vol. 4, No. 6 (January 1900), p. 714-718.

Mathews, Shailer. The Women Citizen's Library: Women and the Larger Citizenship. Chicago: Civics Society, 1913, p. 13.

"Suffrage Leader Dying." Weekly Courier. Vol. XXXVI, no. 34 (27 March 27, 1914). https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org/cgi-bin/colorado?a=d&d=TWC19140327.2.81&srpos=1&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-harriet+g+r+wright-------0-#

back to top