Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mrs. Margaret M. Fette
By Sarah Kinane, Undergraduate Student
University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California.
Treasurer, South Pacific Conference, Los Angeles, California.
Margaret M. Fette was well known for her philanthropic and reform endeavors. She was an avid writer and contributor to the Western Monthly, a periodical that tracked Western expansion in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.
Fette's parents resided in Boston, Massachusetts and were both involved in politics and cultural changes of the time. She was the niece of Elizabeth G. Foorde, a notable suffragette herself, who may have influenced Margaret Fette to join the movement as well. Margaret Fette received an elaborate education as a young woman, and soon went on to become a teacher. She was dedicated to instructing children on the intricacies of literature and art. Fette especially cared for the education of young children who had little to no exposure to education outside of her domain. She even opened her own home as a refuge for young children to acquire some type of education. After retiring from teaching for a decade, Fette moved to Europe where she became enamored and intrigued by French culture. She took careful note of all of her sociological observations and questions regarding French society in her notebooks.
In 1885, Fette moved back to the continental United States where she began her campaign for woman's suffrage. Fette found her home in Los Angeles, California where she became close with other learned women and began creating relationships with these clubwomen. Caroline Seymour Severance, another notable California suffragette, described Fette as “an admirable organizer, capable and thorough in her own special duty and generous in taking up the neglected work of others.” Fette was an early supporter of women's suffrage and worked with Severance and many other suffragists during the California and federal campaigns. However, Fette was largely involved with the Unitarian church, and even served as the South Pacific Conference treasurer.
Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers. Huntington Library Manuscripts Department.
Kane, William Reno. Kane, A. N. and Reeve, James Knapp, eds. The Editor: The Journal of Information for Literary Workers. Vol. 4. July 1896.
Harper, Ida Husted, The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6. National American Woman Suffrage Campaign, 1922. [LINK]
“Plans Party for 100th Birthday,” Los Angeles Herald, August 7, 1910.
Severance, Caroline Marie Seymour. The Mother of Clubs: Caroline M Seymour Severance. Baumgardt Publishing Co. 1906.
The Pacific Unitarian, San Francisco, 1905.
Margaret M. Fette
The Editor: The Journal of Information for Literary Workers, vol 4 p. 229: