Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Fanny Inez Burt Barnes (Mrs. R.P.), 1862-1933

By Geoffrey Errickson, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Fanny Inez Burt was born on November 14, 1962, in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, the daughter of Edwin Burt from Kentucky and Harriet Melville (Turner) Burt from New York. On August 3, 1882, Fanny Burt married Richmond Palmer Barnes in Brooklyn, New York. The couple had two children, Inez and Chauncey, before moving to Silver City, New Mexico, in 1885 and adding three more children: Elizabeth, Margaret, and Virginia. The family moved to Albuquerque in 1915.

In New Mexico, Fanny Barnes was a leader in the woman suffrage movement. She was elected chair of the suffrage committee established at the governor's mansion in November 1918. She also successfully planned a suffrage meeting in December 1919 in Albuquerque, where national suffrage leaders, including Carrie Chapman Catt, stopped on their western tour to promote passage of the woman suffrage federal amendment. In February 1920, a special session of the state legislature was held and ratified the amendment. Barnes was serving as president of the Albuquerque Woman's Suffrage League and penned an editorial with Cora Kellam, state chair of the Woman's Party, to counter false claims printed in the paper. After federal suffrage passed, Barnes continued her activism with the League of Women Voters, and in the 1920s, she supported legislation to restrict child labor.

Given her connections and status of class, Fanny Barnes found an avenue of political activism and strong social networking. Barnes served as treasurer for the Silver City chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was literate and learned the arts to become a skilled piano player. At a benefit in Silver Springs, New Mexico, she entertained the guests by accompanying her husband, who played the violin. Besides a violinist, Richmond Barnes was a prominent lawyer and district attorney of the Third Judicial District in 1899-1900 in Silver City, and he continued his law practice when the family moved to Albuquerque. As a Republican, he served in the state legislature in 1917 and 1919 for Bernalillo County. On several occasions, he put forward motions on woman suffrage. If one looks through the Albuquerque Evening Herald in 1918, they will see many advertisements for war bonds and fundraising for the war effort and relief with donators and endorsements from the Barnes family. At the peak of his career, Richmond Barnes was appointed to the state supreme court in 1928.

Fanny Inez Barnes died June 18, 1933, in Albuquerque. Richmond Barnes outlived her and died on November 11, 1946. Both of them are buried in Fairview Memorial Park.


“Brief Bits of New Mexico News.” Santa Fe New Mexican. July 03, 1905, p.6.

Find a Grave. Fanny Inez Barnes. Accessed October 25, 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]

“Items of Interest: The Benefit.” Eagle (Silver City, N. Mex.). December 02, 1896, p.3

“Judge Dills is Ag'in Suffrage But Votes Yes.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). March 2, 1917, p.3.

“Judge R.P. Barnes, Law Pioneer Dies.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). November 12, 1946, p.1.

“A Protest From Albuquerque Women.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). February 2, 1920, State Edition, p.2.

“Special Session of State Legislature Is Getting Busy.” Mountainair Independent (Mountainair, N. Mex.). February 19, 1920, p.1.

Twitchell, Ralph Emerson, ed. “Richmond Palmer Barnes.” In The Leading Facts of New Mexican History: Volume 3, pp.25-26. Cedar Rapids, Ia: Torch Press, 1917. GoogleBooks.

United States Census 1870, s.v. “Fannie Burt, Saginaw, Michigan.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1880, s.v. “Fannie I. Burt, Brooklyn, New York.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, s.v. “Fannie I. Barnes, New Mexico.” HeritageQuest.

“Woman Urges Ratification of Amendment.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). February 3, 1925, p.5.

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