Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Jane McClelland Palmer

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Elizabeth Jane McClelland Palmer, 1858-1948

By Wendy Lucas, Professor, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas.

President of the Arkansas State Woman Suffrage Association, League of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Elizabeth Jane McClelland was born January 29, 1858 in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa to Thomas McClelland and Deborah Clark. She is listed in the 1880 census for Mt. Pleasant as a teacher living with her parents and siblings. She married Leroy Avalos Palmer, an attorney, in 1889. Their son, Leroy Clark McClelland Palmer, was born in 1892. The 1900 census lists her as married to Palmer and living with his sons (including some from a previous marriage) and gives her occupation as day laborer. By 1910, the census lists the family as living in Fayetteville, Arkansas with Palmer, son, and step-son, a maid to aid Leroy Palmer's health.

Palmer was listed as the president of the league from Fayetteville, Arkansas to the State Woman Suffrage Association, which met for the first time in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1915. Although she is not listed as a state officer, she likely heard Carrie Chapman Catt when she came to speak in Little Rock in April of 1916.

Around 1918, the family moved to Washington D.C., where Leroy Palmer held a government position until his death in 1933. After the death of her husband, Palmer moved to Tacoma, Washington, where she died on March 17, 1948.

Sources: accessed 20 April 2018. (includes her image and image of grave marker) accessed 20 April 2018.

Lessie S Read, “Round About Town,” Northwest Arkansas Times, 25 January 1944, page 2. ( accessed 01 April 2018.

“Mrs. Leroy Palmer, Grandchildren and Maid Here,” Fayetteville Daily Democrat 20 July 1936, page 3 ( accessed 01 April 2018.

The History of Woman Suffrage, Ida Husted Harper, ed. (New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922), 6: 18. [LINK]

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