Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Rallah Adams Bartlett, 1885-1958
By Sasha Coles, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara
Rallah Adams was born in Colorado in 1885 to Margaret and Newton Adams. Rallah Adams graduated from normal school in California in January 1901 and worked as an educator for several years. On June 29, 1912, she married Alfred L. Bartlett in Los Angeles. Alfred Barlett graduated from the University of Southern California with a law degree in 1909. During his time as a lawyer, he also served as a two-term state assembly member, president of the California State Bar from 1936 to 1937, chair of the Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee, and California Supreme Court judge. The couple did not have children.
Rallah Bartlett enjoyed a distinguished career as a suffrage promoter, clubwoman, and advocate for the arts in Los Angeles. In April 1917, the Los Angeles Times reported on Bartlett's suffrage efforts. Bartlett acted on behalf of the California State Federation of Woman's Clubs by submitting a petition in support of the federal suffrage amendment to the California legislature. While it typically took weeks for the assembly members to vote on a resolution, this petition only took twelve minutes, and there were no dissenting votes. These “lady lobbyists” succeeded. In February 1921, a group of fifty professional women, including Bartlett, entered election races for seats in the Los Angeles City Council.
Rallah Bartlett also took on leadership roles in the Women's Club of Hollywood. She served as recording secretary in 1922 and then as program chair in 1927. As such, she arranged for “outstanding” artists to perform for the club members. She also took a “pro-withdrawal” position during debates about whether the Los Angeles District Federation of Women's Clubs should withdraw from the state-level federation. In 1928 and 1930, she held the position of club president.
In addition to club and suffrage work, Rallah Bartlett generated public support for the arts. She served as chair of the legislative committee for the California Music Club Federation, formed in the 1890s as part of the National Federation of Music Clubs. She argued that legislation played a critical role in cultivating musical talent. In 1921, she published a piece in the Pacific Coast Musical Review in which she came out in favor of the National Conservancy of Music bill. She wrote: “Every musician well knows what such a conservatory will mean in the development of American music.” She also called for the “establishment of adequate state supervision and encouragement of music in the schools.”
Rallah Bartlett died on March 9, 1958. Alfred Bartlett had died the year before. They did not have children.
“Class Day and Commencement.” Los Angeles Herald. January 31, 1901, p.7. California Digital Newspaper Collection.
“Club in Favor of Secession.” Los Angeles Times. May 19, 1927, Part II, p.8. Newspapers.com.
“Early Days to Feature Club Met.” Los Angeles Times. September 23, 1928, Part III, p.6. Newspapers.com.
Fletcher, Russell Holmes, ed. “Bartlett, Alfred Lewis.” In Who's Who in California, Vol. 1: 1942-1943, p.52. Los Angeles: Who's Who Publication Company, 1941.
“Former Superior Judge Bartlett Dies at 72.” Los Angeles Times. August 8, 1957, Part III, p.2. Newspapers.com.
Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “California.” Chapter IV in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 35-66. [LINK]
“Judge Bartlett Retires After 11 Years' Service.” Los Angeles Times. October 15, 1954, Part I, p.5. Newspapers.com.
Lyons, Louis S., ed. “Woman's Club, Hollywood.” In Who's Who among the Women of California, p.51. San Francisco: Security Publishing Company, 1922. GoogleBooks.
McGroarty, John Steven. “Alfred L. Bartlett.” Los Angeles: From the Mountains to the Sea, vol. 2. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1921, pp.423-24. HathiTrust.
Obituaries. “Mrs. Rallah Bartlett.” Los Angeles Times. March 11, 1958, Part III, p.22. Newspapers.com.
“Official Reports of California Music Club Federation.” Pacific Coast Musical Review 39, no. 23 (March 5, 1921): 1. InternetArchive.
“School Board is Still Undecided.” Los Angeles Herald. February 13, 1906, Second Section, p.1. Newspapers.com.
“School Teachers Chosen for 1910.” Los Angeles Herald. August 30, 1910, p. 11. Newspapers.com.
“State Requests Suffrage Law.” Los Angeles Times. April 21, 1917, Part I, p.5. Newspapers.com.
United States Census 1940, s.v. “Rollah Bartlett, Los Angeles, Calif.” HeritageQuest.
“What Women are Doing: Woman's Club of Hollywood.” Los Angeles Times. November 2, 1927, Part II, p.6. Newspapers.com<.
“Woman's Club of Hollywood Ranked as One of Largest in General Federation.” Los Angeles Times. February 2, 1930, Part III, p.17. Newspapers.com.
“Women Sift Candidates for Office.” Los Angeles Times. February 20, 1921, Part I, p.10. Newspapers.com.