Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Alice Bright Parker, 1887-1970
By Mary Osborne, museum specialist, The Stewart House, Monmouth, Illinois
Publicity Bureau Chairman, Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, Suffrage Committee, Women's Trade Union League, Lecture Bureau Committee, Drama League of America
Born in 1887, Alice Bright grew up in Chicago and became one of the city's prominent suffragists. She attended the University of Chicago and received a bachelor's degree in 1909. She later studied English at Northwestern University and eventually attained a master of arts in 1930. As a graduate student, Alice participated in the YWCA and the Anonian Literary Society. She maintained a lifelong interest in literature and was later involved with the Drama League of America. It was also at Northwestern University where she was initiated into the women's fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma. In October 1909, she married Edwin Roscoe Parker.
From 1911 to 1912, she was active in the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association. She served in a variety of capacities from canvassing wards to overseeing the association's publicity bureau and bazaar committee. In January 1912, she joined a group of Chicago suffragistes in speaking at a reception given by the Political Equality League in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Chicago Tribune reported that she resigned from the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association that same month.
Parker favored the militant tactics of British suffragists and found that the association was too conservative. Thereafter she seldom appeared in the press, although the Oakland Tribune noted that she would join “the woman's suffrage party, which stands for more militant action than the state organization.” The newspapers also considered her to be one of the leaders of a new division of “young, chic” suffragists, including Frances Squire Potter and Dr. Cornelia DeBey.
By 1940, Parker had relocated to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She died there on April 23, 1970.
Northwestern University. Folio, 1909.
“Popcorn Helps Suffrage Cause.” Chicago Daily Tribune, 2 November 1911, 6.
“News of the Women's Clubs.” Chicago Sunday Tribune, 3 December 1911, 80.
“News of the Women's Clubs.” Chicago Sunday Tribune, 24 December 1911, 58.
“Antis' Threat to Organize Brings Suffrage Cauldron to Boiling Point in Chicago.” Chicago Tribune, 7 January 1912, 66.
“Militant Suffraget Quits State Body.” Chicago Tribune, 17 January 1912, 2.
“Suffrage Club Far Too Tame.” Oakland Tribune, 17 January 1912, 10.
“Age May Prove to Be in Way of Brand New Suffrage Society.” Escanaba Morning Press, 1 February 1912, 4.
“Suffrage Force Calls at Homes.” Chicago Tribune, 30 March 1912, 2.
“Will Discourse on Suffrage.” The Inter Ocean, 16 July 1912, 7.
Drama League of America. Yearbook, 1915. Hathi Trust Digital Library.
Northwestern University. Seventy-Second Annual Commencement, 1930. Internet Archive.
Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
“Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. "Marriage Records, 1871–present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.