Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Ann Maria Batchelder, 1881-1955
By Bonnie Finn
Vermont Equal Suffrage Association: Secretary; Office of Publicity; Chairman of Finance
Ann Batchelder was born on March 21, 1881 in Windsor, Vermont to William and Julia E. Batchelder. Her mother was born in Charlestown, NH on March 23, 1848 and her father was born in Westminster, Vermont on September 14, 1844. Her father was a prominent lawyer in the Woodstock area.
Taught by tutors in her younger years, she was sent to Bishop Hopkin's Hall in Burlington when she was ten. Ann had a number of cookbooks published as well as several books of poetry. Her first book of poetry was published when she was only eighteen. Ann was a member of the King's Daughters, an organization devoted to benevolent work; the Daughters of the American Revolution; and the Society of Descendants of the Colonial Clergy. She served as secretary for the Vermont Equal Suffrage Association.
The first mention of Ann's activity in the suffrage movement was a letter she wrote to the editor of the Elm Tree Monthly and Spirit of the Age newspaper. The letter, published in the February 1, 1918 issue stated that the “question of equal suffrage is not a woman question. It is a National question, a world question. A war measure.”
In November of that year, Ann spoke to a group of suffragists at the home of Mrs. M. A. Munroe in Middlebury. She was described as a “staunch ally, who had never refused to do anything for Suffrage.” She refuted the opening speaker's concept that the Suffrage Movement began in the early 1800s. She believed that “Adam and Eve were equally forced into earning their living as a result of equal sinning and went forth from the Garden of Eden together, the first Equal Franchise.”
During the April 21, 1920 march on Montpelier, Ann spoke and reminded Governor Clement that “even if Vermont does not ratify the amendment, there are 17,500,000 women who will vote and they are watching every republican governor who delays ratification.” She added, “And women never forget.” Governor Clement refused to grant the marchers their demand.
By 1930, Ann was living in Manhattan and in 1934, she became Associate Editor of Ladies' Home Journal magazine. She credited her love for food to an early fishing expedition with her father when she was just seven. When she caught a trout, her father told her that she would have to cook it. She decided that her first foray into cooking was a good one. An avid collector, she accumulated everything from Persian cats to antique furniture to poison bottles and rare herbs.
Although the 19th Amendment was ratified in August of 1920, Ann's campaign for women's rights didn't stop. In a 1939 article about her entitled “Finds Women Choose Between a Career and Marriage” she noted that she “believed that women had to choose between a career and marriage” and was quoted as saying, “women, if they would band together, could accomplish anything. But they probably won't.”
She continued to write for the Ladies' Home Journal and live in Manhattan until about 1950 when she moved back to Woodstock. She passed away on June 18, 1955 at the age of 73 from an “Ill-defined bone condition suggestive of multiple myeloma,” a condition she had had for years. Ann never married and at the time of her death, Lisa Sergio, her adopted daughter, was listed as her only surviving relative.
1900, 1920, 1930, 1940, U.S. Census, Ancestry.com
“Hopkins Hall Closed for Easter,” The Burlington Free Press, April 10, 1897, p. 5
“Charlestown Local News,” The Chester Advertiser, March 4, 1899, p. 5
“A Rising Vermont Poet,” The Fair Haven Era, April 2, 1908, p. 8
“The Home Minstrels,” Spirit of the Age, August 20, 1898, p. 3
“News of Woodstock,” Spirit of the Age, August 23, 1902, p. 3
“News of Woodstock,” Spirit of the Age, October 25, 1902, p. 3
“News of Woodstock,” Spirit of the Age, September 19, 1903, p. 3
“News of Woodstock,” Spirit of the Age, February 13, 1904, p. 3
“Letter to the Editor,” Elm Tree Monthly and Spirit of the Age, February 1, 1918, p. 4
“Baby-Saving Campaign Now in Full Swing,” The Burlington Free Press, May 9, 1918, p. 9
“Personal Mentions,” The Burlington Free Press, July 10, 1918, p. 7
“Hear Address on Woman Suffrage,” Middlebury Register, November 8, 1918, p. 4
“Suffragists' Final Drive on Clement Apparently Fails,” The Burlington Free Press, April 22, 1920, p. 2
“State of Vermont,” The Bethel Courier, June 2, 1921, p. 3.
“Finds Women Must Choose Between a Career and Marriage,” The Burlington Free Press, March 17, 1939. p. 5
“Miss Ann Batchelder Reviews Highlights in her career in talk at Klifa Club,” The Burlington Free Press, March 17, 1939, p. 8
Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008, Ancestry.com
Find a Grave website Memorial
L-R: Congressman Porter Dale, chairman of the convention; Miss Betty Gram, national organizer of the Woman's Party; Charles Danna, Speaker of the House of Vermont; Mrs. Lillian Olzendam, chairman of State Ratification Committee; Representative George Dunham; Mrs. J. Borden Estee, Vermont Chairman of National Woman's Party; Representative George E. Child; Miss Ann Batchelder, of Woodstock; Representative L. D. Wheeler; Dr. Anna Kelton, Vermont Treasurer of the National Woman's Party