Biographical Sketch of Inez M. (Mrs. H. B.) Myers

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Inez M. (Mrs. H. B.) Myers, 1867-1923

By Marty Miller, librarian, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Women's club officer in the New Orleans and Louisiana Suffrage movements

Mrs. H. B Myers, née Inez Mae Martin, was born in Iowa circa 1867 and died in New Orleans in 1923 after what her obituary in the Times-Picayune called a long illness. She was married to Henry B. Myers, “assistant superintendent of the railway mail service of the post office.” (obituary, TP, November 3 1923, p. 3)

Myers's involvement in women's civic and political clubs was considerable. She played a significant role in many public service activities that directly impacted women's lives. In the early 1910's she was a driving force behind the creation of the New Orleans Housewives League, or Housewives League, 1st District, in which she served as president for seven years. [Daily Picayune, Dec. 19, 1919, p. 9] Her motivation was the betterment of households and reduction in the cost of living, which naturally have a positive impact on the lives of many women and children. “It was under Mrs. Myer's regime that the league established a curb market and waged active warfare in behalf of lower prices and municipal cleanliness.”

As part of her campaign to organize the Housewives League, Myers worked with the Woman's League and the City Federation of Women's Clubs. She was later elected president of the City Federation in 1913 and 1914. [TP, May 27, 1914, p 16] While City Federation president, she was involved with the activities of the Catherine Club and the local branch of the International Sunshine Society, which worked with local health organizations to improve sanitary conditions in the city. In her President's report in 1914, she discussed the citywide clean-up campaign launched by all the above organizations and how it had benefitted New Orleans as a whole. She also oversaw the incorporation of several women's clubs into the Federation. “The chief aim of the Federation” she was quoted in May of 1915, “was, of course, the amalgamation of the women represented in all organizations in the City... It is holding our women together in a common cause, and my work for in [sic] behalf of it has ben [sic] most pleasant.” She was chosen to be second-vice president for 1916, after her term as president was up.

Her civic service expanded to include women's suffrage around 1913 as well. The History of Woman Suffrage lists her as a charter member of the Woman's Suffrage Party of Louisiana [pp. 226-227], for which she served as treasurer in 1914, its state organizer in 1915, and was later elected as its vice-chair in 1916. [TP, Nov 21, 1916, p.5] In addition to the W. S. P., Myers served as vice-chair of the Equal Rights Party. [Ibid, 227-228].

During the 1910's, Myers participated in numerous suffrage activities. She presided over regular business meetings, helped to plan, arrange and preside over both W.S. P. and City Federation events, and assisted with local suffrage rallies. She attended the biennial meeting of the General Federation of Women's Clubs in Chicago in June of 1914. In November of that same year, she served as one of seven New Orleans Woman's Suffrage Party delegates to the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Nashville. She also organized the Jefferson Davis Teachers' branch of the Woman's Suffrage Party. She donated both her time and money to the New Orleans suffrage cause. She not only gave her time to the suffrage cause, she showed her support through monetary donations. [Times-Picayune, Jan 1, 1918, p. 13]

Her experience with the Woman's Suffrage Party and the City Federation was not entirely drama-free. At the time of Mrs. Lloyd Hathorn's resignation as president of the Federation in 1913, a rumor circulated suggesting her resignation was due to a conflict of interest with Myers's work on regulating market prices, since her husband was a “truck farmer.” Hathorn, however, denied this, insisting that she was resigning due to high demands on her time by other civic and household activities. In May of 1916, she was one of several members who staunchly supported beleaguered president Mrs. Henry Aschaffenberg, who was ousted on the basis of alleged “unparliamentary irregularities in office.” The Times-Picayune reported that Myers, along with eight other members, would be tendering their own resignations as a result of the ouster. However, the issue apparently came to an acceptable resolution, since Myers was elected vice-chair of the party later in November, and re-elected to the same office in 1918.

In March of 1917, she participated in the Baton Rouge Suffrage School, a 3-day event sponsored by the Equal Rights Party that included presentations on suffrage-related issues. [Times-Picayune, March 4, 1917, p. 107] Later that same month, she gave an update on the event at the Woman's Suffrage meeting, which was a success in all but the attendance which was low, owing to the weather. She was involved in numerous promotional and fund-raising events, including ballot discussions that were hosted between acts of “My Brother's Keeper” at Tulane Theater [TP, March 8, 1917, p.14], and helped with fund-raising efforts, such as the two-day benefit (May 3 & 4) at Triangle Theater's presentation of the film “The Sacrifice.” [TP, April 29, 1917, p.59}

In May of 1917, the Louisiana Division of the Council of National Defense was organized by members of the Woman's Suffrage Party and the Federation of Women's Clubs. Myers, along with several other Party and Federation members, was elected to the board.

Myers also gave speeches, reports and presentations during Federation meetings, as well as other suffrage-related programs. Her topics included, “Federation History– “What the [Temperance] Movement Means to Me as a Member of Women's Federation Clubs,” and “Why Clubwomen Need the Ballot.” In November of 1919, she gave a presentation on “Governmental Housekeeping” at the sixth and final convention of the Woman Suffrage Party (After the convention, the Party changed its name to the Women's League of Voters, Louisiana Division.) November 23 1919 – TP, p.14

Myers's club participation appears to have ended abruptly after 1919. There is no further mention of her attendance at any meetings or activities in the Times-Picayune. The last known mention is her obituary in the November 3, 1923 issue, where she was lauded as “...one time president of the City Federation of Clubs [dates], had been active worker for woman suffrage, and was membership chairman for the state federation [dates]. She had edited what is believed to be the first woman's club page in the New Orleans newspaper. ”

A photo of Inez Myers is available in the August 2, 1914 Times-Picayune article and is also printed along with her obituary.

Sources Used

“Baton Rouge Suffrage School Shows Many Ways to Advance the Cause of Women.” Times-Picayune, March 4, 1917, p. 107.

“Benefit Concert at Tulane Theater.” Times-Picayune, May 13, 1918, p. 5.

“Benefit for Suffragists.” Times-Picayune, April 29, 1917, p. 59.

“Big Suffrage Ally for Thursday Night.” Times-Picayune, July 8, 1915, p. 9.

“Buyers Welcome! Buy at Home, Too.” The Daily Picayune, August 18, 1913, p. 1, 3.

“City Federation Elects Officers for Coming Year; Mrs. Myers to Retain Helm.” Times-Picayune, May 27, 1914, p. 16.

“Dr. Shaw Comes to Organize War Work for Women.” Times-Picayune, April 1, 1918, p. 9.

“Fine Temperance Program.” Times-Picayune, January 14, 1915, p. 6.

“Foolishness of Gloomy Conversation.” Times-Picayune, May 2, 1915, p.40.

“Funeral Today for Mrs. Myers, Woman Leader.” Times-Picayune, April 29, 1917, p. 59.

“Harper, Ida Husted, et. al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. VI (1900-1920). N.p.: National American Women Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

“Helped Pay for Advertising.” Times-Picayune, November 14, 1918, p. 3.

“Housewives' League to Hear Breadmaking Expert Today.” Time-Picayune, October 17, 1919, p. 11.

“Housewives League Sees Reduction.” The Daily Picayune, July 16, 1913, p. 15.

“Housewives' League Will Not Launch Movement Until After New Year.” Daily Picayune, December 19, 1912, p.9.

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“Still They Come; Still They Buy.” The Daily Picayune, August 20, 1913, p. 5.

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“Suppression of Innumerable Reports at Women's Meeting Would Save Much Time and Patience.” Times-Picayune, November 18, 1917, p. 103-4.

“Takes Over Saturday Matinee Woman's Suffrage Party Arranges Talks for Ballot at Tulane.” Times-Picayune, March 8, 1917, p 14

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