Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Annie Gregory Wright, 1876-1959
By Debra Bloom, Richland Library, Columbia, S.C.
Annie Gregory Wright was an early member of the Georgia suffrage movement. As a successful businesswoman and prominent member of Augusta society, she was well-chosen to serve as a voting rights advocate. Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, Ms. Wright's father, Henry Gregory Wright (1850-1880), was publisher and owner of the Augusta Chronicle in the 1870's. It was with the Augusta Chronicle that Wright began her professional career.
Even before supporting the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia, Ms. Wright identified herself as a successful modern woman. Wright's professional life began as the Society Editor for the Augusta Chronicle newspaper from 1899 to 1901. In 1902, Wright switched careers becoming a life insurance agent for Mutual Benefit. Within a few years the company promoted her to the women's insurance department state agent position. As Wright's success continued the company named her manager for the entire Augusta territory in 1907. Her career with the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company lasted 35 years.
Wright was an early leader in the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia serving as treasurer in 1916. Chartered in 1914, the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia formed to pressure Georgia legislators into supporting women's full citizenship. As a member of the Georgia Equal Suffrage Party leadership Miss Wright served as a delegate to the last suffrage convention in 1920. Also referred to as the “Victory Convention”, the meeting followed the passage of the nineteenth amendment. The national celebration/convention took place in Chicago concurrent with the first League of Women Voters conference.
When the Georgia delegates returned home from the Victory Convention merging Georgia's Equal Suffrage Party with the newly formed Georgia chapter of the League of Women Voters became the first order of business for the newly enfranchised women leaders. Following the passage of the nineteenth amendment the League of Women Voters formed to ensure women registered to vote and to provide women with the educational tools needed to make carefully considered voting decisions. It was a proud moment for Annie Wright when the Georgia League of Women Voters elected her as their first state chairman. The Woman Citizen periodical described the new chairman as, “one of the most ardent, most enthusiastic and most effective workers in the cause of equal suffrage in the entire South”.
Promoting the slogan “Purity in Politics” Augusta hosted the first Georgia League of Women Voters conference in 1921 where Chairman Wright signed the organization's charter. During her term Wright zealously organized efforts to register Georgia's voting women. When League leaders realized that women were hesitant to register at the local registration office, Wright persuaded officials to allow the league to register women off-site. League leaders set up booths where they were most likely to find women—in downtown department stores. Women were registered on the spot as they shopped. Through her leadership the organization also supported legislation, like the Sheppard-Towner bill, designed to protect women and children.
Annie Gregory Wright continued to serve the Georgia League of Women Voters in many different capacities including director at large, treasurer and committee chairperson. In addition to her suffrage work, Wright was an active participant in Augusta's civic life serving on the YWCA board of directors as well as the Augusta Public Library board.
“New manager”, October 10 1907
“Miss Annie G. Wright discusses conference of women voters best conference in history of league”, February 20 1921
“Mrs. Chamberlin elected president”, January 7, 1922
“YWCA in appeal to the public for financial support”, January 21 1923
“Miss Wright named chairmen League of Voters”, December 10 1929
“Women aren't weakest sex at Augusta polls”, August 30 1942
“Miss Annie Wright”, January 29, 1959
”They fought for that vote”, January 17, 1960
“Miss Wright elected leader of League of Women Voters”, March 28, 1920
“Heads women voters' memorial work”, December 6 1929
“State League of Women Voters convenes in Columbus in October”, June 22 1930
Woman Citizen Corporation, “League of Women Voters in Dixie”, The Woman Citizen, v. 4 #39, April 17 1920