Biographical Sketch of Harriet Grace Nichols Donohoo

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Harriet Grace Nichols Donohoo (or Donahoe), 1878-1957

By Tyler Nials, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Women's suffragist, public welfare advocate, democrat

Harriet Grace Nichols was born on December 22, 1878, in Allenton, Iowa, to Herman V. and Alice (Townley) Nichols, the second of five children to survive into adulthood. The family resided in Kansas, and Harriet Nichols graduated from the Kansas State Agricultural College in 1898. Her brothers became physicians like her father, and her sisters followed her to Kansas State, demonstrating the emphasis that the Nichols parents placed on education. After graduation, she taught for a couple years before marrying Rome P. Donohoo on November 11, 1903. Immediately following the wedding, the newlyweds left Kansas for Tucumcari, New Mexico.

In Tucumcari, the Donohoo couple made their home on a farm. In addition to running a real estate business, Rome Donohoo worked as the probate county clerk, and Harriet Donohoo assisted him as a deputy in the office. By 1912, their first child, Harriet, was born. Their son, Malcolm, followed in 1915.

Motherhood seemed to propel Harriet Donohoo into women's organizations. In 1913, she began a four-year term on the Board of Education for the City of Tucumcari. In the same year, she served as president of the Tucumcari Mother's Club, which was affiliated with the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs (NMFWC). Formed three years prior, the NMFWC was the leading suffrage organization in the state under the leadership of Laura Eppelsheimer Frenger. For Donohoo, suffrage work was closely connected to educational endeavors. In 1917, she was the president of the School Patrons' Section of the New Mexico Education Administration. She sought to have full value in schools run by the state with increased cooperation between the home and school, specifically the relationship between the mother, the child, and the teacher. By 1920, Donohoo was president of the NMFWC.

In September 1920, Alida Sims reported on a women's club meeting, held in Albuquerque and featuring club president, Harriet Donohoo. Donohoo presented the position of the state's Democratic Party. Fellow speaker, Julia Brown Asplund, countered with the Republican Party's position. Both women agreed upon child welfare and education policies. Donohoo made a point to advocate for temperance, but the biggest disagreement was with the League of Nations. Donohoo argued that women should vote with the Democrats in support of the League of Nations to keep the country out of war. Asplund spoke adamantly against the League. This example demonstrates the vision that Donohoo had for women, who now had suffrage rights, and it demonstrates the differing views of those same women, deciding how to use their new voting rights.

By 1930, the Donohoo family moved to Los Angeles, California. Rome Donohoo died in 1936; Harriet Nichols Donohoo died on January 17, 1957, in Los Angeles. She is buried alongside her husband in Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan, Kansas.


"Alumni and Former Students." Industrialist (Manhattan, Kan.) 33, no. 29. May 18, 1907, p.463. Internet Archive.

"Donohoo-Nichols." Manhattan Republic (Manhattan, Kan.). November 12, 1903, p.1.

Find a Grave. Harriet Nichols Donohoo. Accessed October 3, 2018.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. "New Mexico." Chapter XXX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 434-439. [LINK] Note, Harriet Donohoo is listed as Mrs. R.P. Donahoe.

"Harriet Nichols Donohoo." Obituaries. Manhattan Mercury (Manhattan, Kan.). January 18, 1957, p.2.

"Harriet Nichols Donohoo." Obituaries. Manhattan Republic (Manhattan, Kan.). January 23, 1957, p.4.

Leonard, John W. "Donohoo, Harriet Grace Nichols." In Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915, volume A-D, p.236. New York: American Commonwealth Company, 1914. [LINK]

"Schulyer Nichols, M.D." In Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc, edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Vol. 3, part 2. Chicago: Standard Publishing, 1912, pp. 965-66.

Sims, Alida F. "Appeal For Ballot of New Voter is Made at Women's Club Meeting." Albuquerque Morning Journal(Albuquerque, N. Mex.). City ed. September 25, 1920, pp.1,3.

United States Census 1880, s.v. "Hattie G. Nichols." HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1900, s.v. "Harriet Grace Nichols." HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1920, 1930, 1940, s.v. "Harriet Donohoo." HeritageQuest.

Winslow, Helen M., ed. Official Register and Directory of Women's Clubs in America. Vol. 15. Shirley, Mass., 1913, 173.

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