Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Helen Rand Tindall, 1851-1922

By Maria Christina C. Mairena, PhD: Thomas Balch Library, Library-Archives Associate, Leesburg, Va

Mother, Wife, and Activist in the Suffrage Movement:

Helen Rand was born in March 1851 in Maine and died after a long illness on 7 July 1922 at the home of her daughter Kate Samuels, just outside of Annapolis, Maryland. She married William Tindall in in 1876. While Helen Rand Tindall never attended college or university, this seeming deficiency in her formal education did not ill equip her for active involvement with the suffrage movement. Heavily involved at the local and national level in supporting suffrage, Helen Rand Tindall attended the annual NAWSA conferences. She presented papers giving updates on the activities of the DC Chapter; she worked on the hospitality committees; hosted meetings; and held various offices--vice president, treasurer-- in the clubs in which she was involved.

A "zealous and trusted associate of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton," Helen R. Tindall founded the Political Study Club in Washington, D.C. on the afternoon of 13 October 1899 with a dozen other like-minded women, at the home of Mrs. Emily Smith. A regular attendee and presenter at the annual National Convention of NAWSA, (at the 1901 conference she spoke on the topic of "Practical Work for Clubs"), Helen Rand Tindall knew the importance of preparing women not only for active support of suffrage, but also for active participation in the aftermath of female enfranchisement. To that end, the purpose of the Political Study Club was to establish a "training class" for women to help "prepare themselves for the field of battle." If women wanted to "help point the way to reform and aid the march of progress" then women must study local, national, and international politics, along with "kindred subjects" to do so. Helen Rand Tindall was elected Treasurer, an office she held in the Club for eighteen years, where annual dues were $1.00. The Political Study Club was established specifically as an afternoon meeting. This was to help those women whose families needed their presence in the evenings and therefore could not get away to gatherings easily but who still felt the call to active participation in the suffrage movement in the District of Columbia. The Political Study Club assisted the State Equal Suffrage Association of the District --of which Helen R. Tindall had been president in 1898 and again in 1901- through active support at the national conferences, marches, and in assisting to finance campaigns for suffrage in various states, most notably and successfully, in Ohio.

The Political Study Club also was known for its support of various welfare causes in Washington, D.C., such as: better housing for women in prisons, police stations, and local jails, along with a school for delinquent girls. The Political Study Club successfully placed women- both white and African-American- as playground supervisors at the District elementary schools and women also were placed on the District's Board of Education during the 1906-1907 school year. In 1908, as a direct result of efforts made by the Political Study Club and the District's local chapter of NAWSA, the District of Columbia's State Association, the first two public comfort stations in the city were built. Costing $35,000.00 the comfort stations had bathrooms, rest rooms, laundries, and all "sanitary conveniences." This was a great aid to visitors and residents of Washington, D.C., especially for the women of the city, who went out to do their shopping and run errands and had no facilities which they could use. Tindall was also instrumental, alongside Mrs. Glenna Tinnin, in founding the Anthony League in 1912. The Anthony League of the District of Columbia was founded to provide a headquarters and means of financial support for the suffragist cause in Washington, D.C., via benefit performances and socials. Helen Rand Tindall continued her work supporting suffragist causes until the passage of the 19th Amendment and later growing ill health forced her into retirement.

An image of Helen Rand Tindall can be found at: Obituary, July 7, 1922


Political Study Club Collection, 1914-1968, Finding Aid, Collection No. 95 (.25 Linear Feet)

D.C. Community Archives,

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady and Susan B. Anthony, eds, History of woman suffrage. v. 5 (1900-1920) [LIINK]

U.S. Bureau of Census, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910-Population
First International Woman Suffrage Conference and the 34th Annual Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Washington, D. C. Washington Post, Wednesday, Jun 14, 1911 Washington Post, Saturday, Jan 12, 1912
"Suffragists to Fight for Rights, Washington Herald, Saturday, 17 July 1912" Washington Post, Sunday, May 4, 1913
"Women Eye Congress", Washington Post, 19 July 1912

Anthony League Finding Aid:$a&browse_type=name
"News of the Clubs, The Sunday Star, Washington, D.C., October 29, 1922."

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