Biographical Sketch of Hannah J. Price

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Hannah J. Price (Hardy), 1872-1931

By Jacalyn Kalin, teacher (retired): Montgomery College, Maryland

Activist in the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association and the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association, Author

Hannah Julia Price was born in July of 1872 to Richard, a minister, and Anne (nee Vance) Price in Cleveland, Tennessee. She grew up and lived in Morristown, Tennessee. She was a teacher in the area. She married in the early 1920s and moved to California. By 1930 she was a widow, living in Los Angeles. She ran a rooming house assisted by her sister Anna. Price died in Los Angeles on April 13, 1931 at the age of 58.

At a suffrage convention in Tennessee in 1906, the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association (TESA) was formed. By 1911 five local suffrage leagues had organized in the state. In Morristown, located in eastern Tennessee, Hannah Price and her sister Anna "got up a crowd in a hall and had the various pastors of the churches to speak" on equal suffrage. At the meeting on November 3, 1911, the Morristown Equal Suffrage League formed with Hannah Price as president. Typical activities of the local leagues included booths at fairs, house-to-house canvasses, distribution of literature, and attending state suffrage conventions.

Price actively engaged in TESA activities and meetings. She was elected state organizer at one convention. The impact of another convention led her to become an author. She observed that: "After attending the annual state convention in Nashville on January 6, 1913, I was so impressed with the fact that we had no funds and no one ready to be sent over the state that I formed a resolution to do it myself somehow. I was teaching but between lessons I wrote a suffrage novel [entitled The Closed Door], published it at my own expense, travelled, sold copies to pay my expenses, and made speeches all through the state, often going into North Carolina and Virginia."

Price modelled The Closed Door on her own suffrage activities. Mary Porter, the main character in the novel, was a supporter and fighter for woman's rights in eastern Tennessee. She started a local league and became an organizer for the state association. She distributed literature, spoke at public forums, and mobilized women to advocate for equal suffrage. The book ended with the following: "...I can truly say, I thank God I am a woman."

In May 1914, Price attended a meeting of the executive committee of TESA. She nominated vice-president-at-large Eleanor McCormack for the vacant position of president but McCormack withdrew her nomination from consideration a short time later. Price spoke out in favor of McCormack's position that the vote of the local leagues should decide the convention site for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention to be held later that year in Tennessee. Mrs. L. Crozier French of Knoxville felt that the decision rested with the executive committee. At one point, Price threatened to withdraw the Morristown League from the state organization if the executive committee made the decision. The disharmony of the executive committee led to a split of TESA into two factions in October of 1914. Price fully supported McCormack who became president of the TESA; French formed the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association Incorporated (TESA, Inc.). The rupture lasted four years.

"Get-Together Convention" headlined an article in the Woman's Journal in 1918. It reported that TESA and TESA, Inc. had joined together to form the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association at their March meeting. The article mentioned the names of officers elected for the new organization, including Miss Hannah J. Price, Morristown, vice-president-at-large.

While involved at the local and state levels, Price also engaged at the national level with the NAWSA. She attended the annual convention of NAWSA in Louisville, Kentucky in 1911. Suffragists often returned home with an increased spirit and vigor for the fight. This proved the case for Price. She founded the local Morristown League less than two weeks later. She attended two other NAWSA conventions as a delegate for TESA. The state suffrage organizations gave updates about their statewide suffrage activities at the annual conventions. At the 1916 convention, Hannah J. Price of Morristown, Tennessee gave an account of her organizational work in the state.

Congress passed the suffrage amendment in 1919 and after much lobbying and political maneuvering, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment on August 26, 1920. On August 26, 2016, the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument was erected in Nashville's Centennial Park. One figure in the five-figure statue holds a banner that honors the names of Tennessee suffragists. Hannah and Anna Price are listed under the Eastern Grand Division.

SOURCES:

California Death Index. Ancestry.com

"Get-Together Convention." Woman's Journal, Vol. 2 Issue 19 (1918) p. 369.

Harper, Ida Husted. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

National American Woman Suffrage Association. Hand Book of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the 43rd, 45th, and 46th Annual Conventions. https://catalog.hathitrust.org

Price, Hanna J. The Closed Door. Knoxville, Tennessee: Knoxville Lithography, 1913.

Price, Hannah J. to Ida H. Harper, January 23, 1920. Tennessee State Library: Catt Collection on Tennessee.

Taylor, A. Elizabeth. The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee. New York: Bookman Associates, 1957.

U.S. Bureau of the Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930. Ancestry.com

Yellin, Carol Lynn and Janaan Sherman. The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage. Memphis: Tennessee: Iris Press, 1998.

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