Biographical Sketch of Mattie Toothaker Kimball

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mattie Toothaker Kimball, 1871-1942

By Laura Darnell, MA, Public History

Fifth District President of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, 1911; Auditor and State President of the Kansas League of Women Voters; first woman presidential elector for the state of Kansas.

Mattie Toothaker was born in Johnson County, Kansas, in 1871, and passed away on February 20, 1942, at 71. She was interred at Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan, KS. She married Charles August Kimball, grandson of famed Kansas pioneer John Kimball, at age 31, on April 16, 1902, in Kansas City, Kansas. The couple had two children, Mary Marcene Kimball Tomson and Solon Toothaker Kimball, an anthropologist and professor.

Kimball was a socially active woman, prodigious public speaker and writer, and staunch suffragist, who was instrumental in the fight for suffrage in Kansas. Kimball taught in Johnson County, worked as deputy clerk in Wyandotte County for a time, and was extremely active in multiple social clubs. She founded the Kansas Council of Women in 1911 and was its first president. She also served as a president of the Women's National Day Club. While speaking at the Kansas Federation of Women's Clubs' state convention in 1912, Kimball suggested that the cottonwood be named Kansas's state tree. The motion passed.

As a steadfast suffragist, Kimball was also a member of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association (KESA) and attended its famous 1911 convention in Topeka, where she was elected the Fifth District president and secretary. This convention directly led to Kansas giving women the right to vote in 1912. After the convention, she and some of her fellow officers traveled the state promoting suffrage and speaking on women's issues. The following year, she spoke at the First Congressional District of the Equal Suffrage Association meeting held in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Kimball remained an active member of multiple clubs and political organizations after Kansas passed its suffrage act. In 1919, she became the Chairman of Literature for the Fifth District of the Federation of Women's Club. That same year, when KESA reorganized itself into the League of Women Voters of Kansas (LWVK), she was elected auditor. Eventually, she was elected state president of the LWVK. A year later, she campaigned for the Republican Party in Wisconsin. Additionally, Kimball became the first female presidential elector for the state of Kansas.

SOURCES:

Stanton, Elizabth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper. History of Women Suffrage: 1900-1920. Fowler & Wells, 1922. [LINK]

“Women are Busy.” The Topeka Daily State Journal. May 23, 1912, p. 5. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1912-05-23/ed-1/seq-8/#date1=1900&index=1&rows=20&words=Kimball+Mattie&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=Kansas&date2=1920&proxtext=Mattie+Kimball&y=7&x=11&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

“Club District Chairmen.” Abilene Weekly Reflector. December 25, 1919, p. 5. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84029386/1919-12-25/ed-1/seq-5/#date1=1900&index=2&rows=20&words=Kimball+Mattie&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=Kansas&date2=1920&proxtext=Mattie+Kimball&y=7&x=11&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

“Suffrage Notes.” The Topeka State Journal. April 13, 1912, p. 3. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1912-04-13/ed-1/seq-3/#date1=1900&index=5&rows=20&words=Kimball+Mattie&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=Kansas&date2=1920&proxtext=Mattie+Kimball&y=7&x=11&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

“Changes Name.” The Topeka State Journal. June 12, 1919, p. 2. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016014/1919-06-12/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1900&index=7&rows=20&words=Kimball+Mattie&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=Kansas&date2=1920&proxtext=Mattie+Kimball&y=7&x=11&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

“LWVK History.” League of Women Voters of Kansas. http://lwvk.org/about-lwv-of-kansas/lwvk-history.

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