Biographical Sketch of Alice Curtice Moyer-Wing

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Mrs. Alice Curtice Moyer-Wing, 1866/7-1937

By Jamie Campbell, Ph.D. Student in Political Science, Tulane University

Born in 1866 or 1867 in Du Quoin, Illinois, to Charles and Nancy Curtice, Alice Curtice was the eldest of six children. The family moved to Benton in Dallas County, Missouri, when Alice was young, and she later served as a teacher there. Alice married Alberson Moyer and had two children with him, Charles and Selma. After her husband's death in 1897, Alice raised the two children by herself and balanced motherhood with a career as a businesswoman, taking the children with her when she travelled. Alice became a pioneer of women's suffrage, serving in various capacities in that movement, and was an advocate of issues championed by women within the Republican Party and the state institutions of Missouri. During her suffrage involvement, she remarried. In 1915 she took Turner G. Wing, her employer at the Gorman paint factory, as her second husband.

Alice was a prominent figure in the suffrage movement in Missouri, having also been active in suffrage movements in other states. She was a leader of the Business Women's Equal Suffrage League, served as secretary of the St. Louis Equal Suffrage League, and was publicity manager for the Missouri Equal Suffrage League. She was a member of the Women's Voter League, a member of the State Suffrage Press Committee, and also acted as treasurer of the Missouri Women's Press Association. An active writer, Alice wrote A Romance of the Road, a book about the ability of women to be mothers and work, too, and donated the proceeds of the book to the suffrage movement. In 1914, she led the St. Louis contingent in the fight for women's suffrage in Missouri, working tirelessly to secure enough signatures on initiative petitions to have a suffrage amendment to the Missouri Constitution added to the ballot. Speaking in favor of the issue at the court house in St. Louis, Alice was heckled by the crowd, many of whom were reported to be unemployed hobos. Not long after this, in an interesting turn of events, Alice was invited to speak at a meeting of the Brotherhood of the Welfare Association where those gathered sought to exonerate hobos and resolved to take up the cause of women's suffrage. Upon defeat of the suffrage amendment to Missouri's Constitution, Alice resigned her position as secretary of the St. Louis Equal Suffrage League but continued to write and give speeches on women's voting rights. During this time, she received threatening postcards and endured a physical attack because of her suffrage work.

Between 1915 and 1919, in a novel approach to campaigning, Alice took the message of women's suffrage to the people of the Ozarks on horseback. Her accounts of this experience, the people she encountered, and their thoughts on suffrage were published periodically in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Alice continued her political engagement within the Republican Party, which she believed to be more supportive of women's rights. She organized almost one hundred Republican clubs in the Ozark counties. In July 1919 she was a member of the Republican Women's State Executive Committee, losing out on chairmanship of the committee to Alma Sasse. She went on to serve as a female delegate-at-large at the National Republican Convention in Chicago in 1920, after the women forced the men to include them in the state delegation and following a dispute among the women that saw Alice replace Alma Sasse as one of the two female delegates-at-large. In 1924 she made an unsuccessful bid to be the Republican nominee for Congress in the 13th congressional district.

Alice continued to work on issues long championed by women in her role as state industrial commissioner. Among other things, she sought to enforce laws pertaining to maximum working hours for women in the St. Louis sanitorium and addressed issues related to the eradication of child labor. Appointed in 1921, she was the first woman to hold state office in Missouri. After a long and illustrious career advancing the cause of women's rights through her activism and writing, Alice passed away in 1937 at her home in Wayne County, Missouri.

Sources:

Information about Alice Curtice Moyer-Wing's suffrage involvement and her stories of campaigning in the Ozarks can be found in newspapers including The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis Star and Times. Further details of her work on suffrage can be found in Anne Johnson, Women of St. Louis, 1914 (St. Louis: Woodward, 1914) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper, History of Women Suffrage, vol. 6. (Rochester: Anthony, 1887-1902). [LINK] For her thoughts on women, motherhood and work outside the home, see her book Alice Curtice Moyer, A Romance of the Road: Making Love and a Living (Chicago: Laird and Lee, 1912). See also a Wikipedia bio sketch at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Curtice_Moyer.

 

Cover of A Romance of the Road (1912)

 

Photograph of Mrs. Alice Curtice Moyer-Wing with her horse La Belle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (May 7, 1920), p 3.

 

Photograph of Mrs. Alice Curtice Moyer. Notable Women of St. Louis, 1914. St. Louis, Woodward, 1914, p. 166.

 

Photograph of Mrs. Alice Curtice Moyer-Wing, The St Louis Star and Times. (June 3, 1920), p. 17.

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