Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ida (Mrs. Edwin) Rouse, 1888-1971

By Andrew Gripshover, undergraduate student, University of Maryland, College Park

Ida M. Matheson was born on July 1, 1888, in Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, to Christie MacKay and William Kay Matheson, who migrated from their shared birthplace in Novia Scotia, Canada, where William was a mariner before the family came to the United States. The Matheson family moved to Maryland. On April 3, 1909, Ida Matheson married Edwin Wells Rouse, Jr., in Baltimore. On July 13, 1912, she gave birth to a daughter, Christine Rouse. Edwin Rouse worked as an executive and then the general superintendent at one of the largest copper companies in the country, the Baltimore Copper Smelting Company. While he was ascending to corporate power in the 1920s, Ida Rouse rose to power in the Baltimore League of Women Voters.

But first, Ida Rouse fought for woman suffrage. On June 15, 1918, she “spoke upon the woman citizen” at the first state convention of the Woman's Suffrage League of Maryland. This convention was held at league's headquarters in Baltimore City. Rouse served as the chair of credentials. Earlier that year, she “managed the sale of canned goods and groceries at less than Food Administration prices” at a Woman's Suffrage League of Maryland event.

On March 31, 1921, Ida Rouse began her career in the Maryland League of Women Voters. She was elected chair of the Second Legislative District Organization of the Maryland League of Women Voters. In 1922, she was on the Committee of House Entertainment. At the sixth annual convention of the Maryland League of Women Voters in 1926 as well as the seventh convention in 1927, she was elected secretary. In 1928, Rouse served as the treasurer.

After that, the Rouses relocated from Baltimore to Plainfield, New Jersey, though they seem always to have considered Baltimore their home. In 1933, their daughter Christine graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the New Jersey College for Women in New Brunswick, which is now Douglas Residential College of Rutgers University. They would relocate again, this time to New York City. Christine Rouse graduated from Columbia University before becoming assistant to the dean of admissions at the Teachers' College, Columbia. After that, Christine Rouse married Edwin L. Hotchkiss of Troy, New York, on February 20, 1936.

Ida Matheson Rouse died on February 11, 1971, at age 82. She was buried in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with her parents. Edwin Wells Rouse, Jr. died on October 5, 1973, at age 86. Christine Rouse Hotchkiss died on October 20, 1978, at age 66. They were both buried in Gifford Cemetery with Ida Rouse.


“Day's Work in Detail.” Baltimore Sun. February 28, 1918, p.7.

Find a Grave. Ida Matheson Rouse. Accessed June 19, 2019.

Find a Grave. Edwin Wells Rouse, Jr. Accessed June 19, 2019.

Find a Grave. William K. Matheson. Accessed June 19, 2019.

Find a Grave. Christie M. Matheson. Accessed June 19, 2019.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Maryland,” chapter XIX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, pp. 258-76. [LINK]

League of Women Voters of Maryland: Budget, 1921 - Convention 1923. Accession No. 29, Series I, Box 1. University of Maryland Archives. Maryland Room, Hornbake Library, University of Maryland, College Park.

League of Women Voters of Maryland: Convention 1924-1929. Accession No. 29, Series I, Box No. 10I. University of Maryland Archives. Maryland Room, Hornbake Library, University of Maryland, College Park.

“League to Hold Open House.” Baltimore Sun. December 3, 1920, p.9.

“Mrs. Rouse Elected in Second.” Baltimore Sun. April 1, 1921, p.22.

“Rouse—Matheson.” Baltimore Sun. April 4, 1909, p.7.

Society. “Engagement of Miss Christine Rouse and Edwin L. Hotchkiss Announced in New York.” Baltimore Sun. February 20, 1936, p.5.

“Suffrage Leader Calls on Women to Registers.” Baltimore Sun. August 21, 1920, p.4.

“Suffragists Meet Today.” Baltimore Sun. December 29, 1919, p.4.

“Suffragists Not Cast Down. Baltimore Sun. October 2, 1918, p.6.

“Suffs Organize in Counties.” Baltimore Sun. June 17, 1919, p.5.

United States Census 1910, 1920, s.v. “Ida M. Rouse, Baltimore, MD.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1930, s.v. “Ida M. Rouse, Plainfield, NJ.” HeritageQuest.

United States Census 1940, s.v. “Ida M. Rouse, New York, NY.” HeritageQuest.

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