Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Julia Isibel Wernig, 1873-1962

By Beth Zak-Cohen: Librarian, Newark Public Library

Field organizer / Field secretary, New Jersey Women's Suffrage Association.

Julia Isibel Wernig was born in New York City on October 15, 1873 to Charles Wernig and Eleanor Conner. Charles was a well-known musician, bandmaster, and music educator from Bavaria. Julia was one of seven brothers and sisters and grew up in Brooklyn. By 1900, all seven siblings and parents, aged 20-41, still lived in their Brooklyn home on Willoughby Avenue. Julia seems to have always been something of a free spirit. In 1907, Julia's father Charles died. His obituary lists his daughter Julia as “an actress whose stage name is Juliette Roslyn.” Indeed, a 1908 New York Times article lists her as part of the cast of “La Traviata” at the Helen Noldi Opera Company. After the death of her father, Julia moved to New York City with her brother Joseph who was a newspaper editor. The 1910 census lists no occupation for Julia.

Julia's organizing work likely spanned New Jersey and New York. ATrenton Times article published January 10, 1919 states: “She was in charge of Saratoga during the New York campaign previous to election. The county carried the election for equal suffrage.”It is not known exactly when Julia became involved in suffrage in New Jersey. However, in 1914 she marched with other leaders of the Women's Political Union of New Jersey in the Peace Parade in New York City. By around 1915, Julia was Field Secretary of the New Jersey Women's Suffrage Association (NJWSA), and by 1918 she was“field organizer.”The Jersey Journal describes Julia attending a 1918 suffragette meeting in Jersey City where she gave tips for more effective organization.

It is clear Julia had stellar organizational skills. In January of 1919 a Trenton Times article praised her management of the Mercer County branch of the organization. By February, she had organized the city of Trenton into wards and precincts, each with a unique female leader. She got ministers to assist the suffrage effort by speaking to their congregations, led meetings of all her workers, and spoke at conventions in the city.

In April and May of 1919, Julia left Trenton and traveled around the Bridgeton area. It is likely she traveled around the state making other speeches and addresses in her role as field organizer. During the 1920 campaign for ratification of the 19th amendment, Julia ran the NJWSA campaign headquarters in Trenton and spoke at rallies for ratification. Meanwhile, her home base was in East Orange with her brother Joseph and sister, Mary True. Her brother managed a publishing company and she listed her job on the 1920 census as “Suffragette Worker.” By 1924, Julia had moved back to New York. Fittingly, she is listed on the New York City Voter List. Her tireless efforts to acquire the right to vote succeeded and she was able to take advantage of the result.

There is not much information on Julia's life post-suffragist work. She worked as a saleslady in Brooklyn by 1930, still living with her publisher brother and her sister Mary True. By 1940 she had stopped working and remained in Brooklyn. Joseph, who Julia had lived with for so many years, died in 1942 and sometime after this Julia lived in Levittown, PA. Julia died in July 1962, and was buried in Linden, N.J.


Photo of Julia Wernig, from the Family tree of Vicki Robinson on


“Charles W. Wernig,” New York Times, March 9, 1907, pg. 9. Accessed 12 July 2018.

“Joseph W. Wernig,” New York, New Accessed 13 July 2018.

“Julia Wernig,” Family tree of Vicki 13 July 2018.

“Music Notes,” New York Times, May 3, 1908, pg. X1. Accessed 12 July 2018.

New York City Births,New York, 1846-1909--FamilySearch.Org. 12 July 2018.

“New York, New York Voter List,” New York, New York, 13 July 2018.

“Organizations of Suffragists Here,” Trenton Times,February 13, 1919, pg. 10. . Accessed 18 July 2018.

“Preparing for Citizenship,”Bridgeton Evening News, April 23, 1919, pg. 10., Accessed 13 July 2018.

Prussian Methods in New Jersey,” The Woman Citizen, September 21, 1918, pg. 328. Accessed 13 July 2018

“Search for a Burial Record,” Rosedale-Rosehill Cemetery., Accessed 13 July 2018.

“Soldiers Enjoy Suffrage Club,” Jersey Journal, March 28, 1918, pg. 6. Accessed 18 July 2018.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady,History of Women's Suffrage, (Rochester, NY: Charles Mann, 1889), pg. 429. Accessed 13 July 2018.

“State Suffrage Organizer Here,”Trenton Times, January 10, 1919, pg. 12. 13 July 2018.

“Suff Organizer,” Bridgeton Evening News, May 5, 1919, pg. 4. Accessed 18 July 2018.

“Suffragists in Convention here,” Trenton Times, February 6, 1919, pg. 15. Accessed 18 July 2018.

“Suffragettes will hold rally Monday,” Trenton Times, January 20, 1920, pg. 4. Accessed 18 July 2018.

US Census 1880, New York, New York--FamilySearch.Org. 12 July 2018.

US Census 1900, New York, New York--FamilySearch.Org. 12 July 2018.

US Census 1910, New York, New York--FamilySearch.Org. 12 July 2018.

US Census 1920, East Orange, New Jersey--FamilySearch.Org. 12 July 2018.

US Census 1930, New York, New York--FamilySearch.Org. 12 July 2018.

US Census 1940, New York, New York--FamilySearch.Org. Accessed 12 July 2018.

“Women to Parade in Aid of Peace,” Jersey Journal, Aug 26, 1914, pg. 8. Accessed 18 July 2018.

back to top