Biographical Sketch of Alice Mai Scott Wilkinson

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Alice Mai Scott Wilkinson, 1867-1956

By Blair Stapleton, Assistant Dean of Public Services, Edith Garland Dupré Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Alice Mai Scott Wilkinson was born in December of 1867 in Louisiana to Judge and Mrs. Nelson Scott of Homer. She attended Centenary College and graduated Cum Laude in 1935. Alice went on to receive a Master of Science degree from Peabody College in Nashville, TN in 1937. She married John Dallas Wilkinson in 1892. They had two sons, John Pugh Wilkinson and William Scott Wilkinson, and a daughter, Allie Mai Wilkinson who died at the age of 12. Alice Wilkinson died at the age of 83 on January 8, 1956.

Alice Wilkinson was an advocate for the suffrage movement and heavily involved in politics throughout the state of Louisiana. From 1914-1918, she was the Head of the Louisiana Federation of Women's Clubs. She also served as the Chairman for the Louisiana War Work Council and in this position, she asked for contributors to donate to help with the welfare of women workers from rural districts who were going to cities to take places left vacant by enlisted men. Through these efforts, 36 houses were constructed as well as canteens and rest rooms.

In 1920, Alice Wilkinson wrote an article for The Shreveport Times discussing woman's suffrage and labor laws. Later in that year, she was selected as one of the first women to participate in the State Constitutional Convention in 1921. At this convention, she presented several ordinances, including one that advocated for the recognition of minimum wage for women and girls. She was also a supporter of the Wisconsin Bill, the result of which would have removed all political and civil disabilities from women. While at the convention, she also pleaded and won the opportunity to secure constitutional authority in straightening out Caddo Parish's school troubles. As it stood, Shreveport had almost half of the population of the parish, but only controlled a small portion of representation on the school board.

Mrs. Wilkinson was a strong advocate for gaining equal rights for women in all aspects of life, including political and civil rights. After women won the right to vote, Mrs. Wilkinson traveled around the state of Louisiana speaking to women's clubs and organizations about the importance of using the right to vote to remove the inequalities that existed pertaining to women's rights. In 1923, while traveling from Montreal to Europe, she stopped in Washington, D.C. to attend a reception by the DC Branch of the Woman's Party that was held in her honor. Her political work continued through 1930, when she served on the executive board of the Ransdell Feather Duster Club of Shreveport and as Chairman for Caddo of the Ransdell campaign committee.

Alice Wilkinson was also an educator. She served as President of the Shreveport Training Schools for Girls for five years. After her husband's death in 1929, she became the librarian and social director at Dodd College. During her time at Dodd College, Mrs. Wilkinson was named the Chairman of the Speakers' Bureau and was a member of the girls' college commission of the Louisiana State Baptist Convention. In 1935, she left Dodd College to pursue a Master's Degree at Peabody College in Nashville, TN. Upon completion of her graduate degree, Alice Wilkinson became the head librarian at a high school in Coleman, Texas, and was affiliated with several schools in East Texas. Mrs. Wilkinson retired in 1948 and returned to Shreveport.

Alice Wilkinson was also very involved in social clubs in organizations. For a number of years, she served as President of Hypatia, a club that was devoted to the intellectual development and social stimulation of women. She also served as the President of the War Mothers of Shreveport, Chaplain of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was a founding member of the Woman's Department Club, 20th Century Club, and the first local PTA. She was a member of the Mothers' Union of Shreveport and the third Vice-President of the Louisiana State Congress of Mothers.

Sources:

“Well-Known Local Woman Dies Sunday.” The Shreveport Times, January 9, 1956, p. 12. Newspapers.com (Website)

Edith Brown Bailie. “Just as it Happens.” The Shreveport Times, October 15, 1917, p. 6. Newspapers.com (Website)

“Shreveport has $3.051 Raised: Donations for War Work Go to Worthy Cause.” The Shreveport Times, March 14, 1918, p. 7. Newspapers.com (Website)

Mrs. J. D. Wilkinson. “Woman's Suffrage and Labor Laws for Women—Day's Vital Question.” The Shreveport Times, May 6, 1920, p. 23. Newspapers.com (Website)

“Local Woman Accepts Post: Mrs. J. D. Wilkinson Honored by Woman's Party, National Political Ogranization.” The Shreveport Times, October 25, 1921, p. 2. Newspapers.com (Website)

Mrs. J. D. Wilkinson. “Minimum Wage Advocated.” The Weekly Town Talk, April 23, 1921, p. 4. Newspapers.com (Website)

“Win Right to Unravel Caddo School Tangle.” The Shreveport Times, April 28, 1921, p.1. Newspapers.com (Website)

“Mrs. J. D. Wilkinson to Address Women's League of Voters.” The Jennings Daily Times-Records, January 18, 1922, p. 1. Newspapers.com (Website)

“War Mothers Will Meet and Name Officers.” The Shreveport Times, January 9, 1923, p. 12. Newspapers.com (Webstite)

“Dodd College Starts Work.” The Shreveport Times, September 27, 1929, p. 24. Newspapers.com (Website)

“Duster Club to Hold Meet.” The Shreveport Times, August 2, 1930, p. 3. Newspapers.com (Website)

“54-Hour Bill Discussed at 5-Hour Meet.” The Shreveport Times, April 9, 1921, p. 1. Newspapers.com (Website)

“Society...Personal Mention.” The Shreveport Times, October 29, 1937, p. 10. Newspapers.com (Website)

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