Biographical Database of NWP Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Sara Grogan, 1868-?

By Sophie van den Elzen, PhD Candidate at Utrecht University

Sara P. Grogan was born in Georgia, to John H. Grogan and Fanny E. McLaughlin, between 1859 and 1868. Before 1900, possibly in 1897, she moved to Washington, where she lived briefly with her sister Emma and later with her sister Bessie from before 1910 until at least 1930. She earned a Bachelor of Law degree from the Washington College of Law in 1904, and remained active in alumni circles, such as the Columbian Women and the College Women's Club.

In June 1912 she took part in a march for suffrage in Baltimore, marching in the division of city women lawyers. In early 1913, she helped organize the first national suffrage parade, held March 3; Inez Irwin writes that Grogan was a devoted volunteer who drew people into the parade office to help when help was scarce. In 1915, Grogan contributed to the Susan B. Anthony fund of the Congressional Union for Woman's Suffrage, later the National Woman's Party (NWP). From October-December of 1918, she took part in the NWP's picketing of the U.S. Senate, to urge that body to pass the suffrage amendment. On December 16, she burnt a speech in an NWP watchfire demonstration. A short film she wrote, "A Suffrage Movie," was shown at a college suffrage group's annual banquet in March 1919. In December 1920, after the 19th Amendment was ratified and American women had won the vote, Grogan was involved in setting up a Washington branch of the Women's Peace Society.

In 1922, Sara Grogan was the chairman of the District of Columbia branch of the National Woman's Party, and she made efforts to win more support for the continuing movement for women's equality through some public speaking engagements. The Evening Star named Sara among the founders of the National Woman's Party.

Sara admired the political significance of flappers, suggesting at a dinner in 1922 that where others "were sweeping up the microbes from the streets with the hems of their dresses [...] Flappers break away from tradition and are free women, mentally, legally, and physically. We must indeed thank God for flappers.” After 1922, she remained active in society and charity events of her clubs, which included the American Association of University Women.

Sources:

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMKG-8CF accessed 13 May 2018); "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNLN-SC5, accessed 9 August 2018; "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKLC-4QL, accessed 12 August 2018; "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMFS-Q8P : accessed 12 August 2018; "Transfers of Real Estate." Evening Star, January 4, 1897; "Lauds Flappers at Dinner in Honor of Miss Gillett." Washington Herald, July 30, 1922 ; "To Discuss State Laws in Regard to Women's Rights." Atlanta Constitution June 19, 1922 ; "Abracadabra Club." Washington Post, January 9, 1921; "Observing Birth Anniversary." Evening Star, Washington, February 15, 1915 ; "Sixth Commencement." Evening Star, 23 May, 1904; "G.W.U. Women Banquet." Evening Star, 26 April, 1919; “Woman's Party Hold Dedication Service of New Home Today” Washington Times, 21 May, 1922; "Women Form Peace Society." Washington Herald, 4 December, 1920; "Capital Women March in the Rain." Washington Times, June 28, 1912; "Help Found Party: Twelve Washington Women in National Organization." Evening Star, March 20, 1922; "Among the Clubs." Evening Star, March 23, 1919; "Woman's Party Leaders Address Civic Club." Washington Herald, October 04, 1922; "City Suffragists will have part in Baltimore Parade." Washington Times, June 25, 1912; "Dr. Moore to Speak at A.A.U.W. Tea." Evening Star, March 29, 1936; Inez Haynes Gillmore, The Story of the Woman's Party, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1921.

 

(Washington, D.C.) Evening Star, 18 May 1922, p. 13

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