Biographical Sketch of Helen Rhoda Andrews Minkler

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Helen Rhoda Andrews Minkler, 1887-1970

By Nicole Bellmay, undergraduate student, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Secretary of New Brunswick Political Study Club, Member of Suffrage Campaign Committee

Helen Rhoda Andrews was born on October 11, 1887 in Morrison, Illinois. She was the younger of two children of James D. Andrews, an attorney, and Minnie Alice Andrews. She attended University High School in Chicago, from which she graduated in 1905. While at University High School, she was a member of the girls' basketball team and was a soprano in the chorus. Minkler then attended Smith College, graduating in 1909. She married Frederick C. Minkler in 1910 in Manhattan at the Hotel Bretton on Broadway and 86th Street. Frederick Minkler was a livestock and farm expert as well as a professor at the Agricultural College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Professor Minkler was the director of the Short Courses available at the Agricultural College, which taught students about various aspects of agriculture, homemaking, and animal husbandry. In order to accommodate Professor Minkler's job at the university, the Minklers moved to New Brunswick in 1911. Minkler had two children while she and her husband lived in New Brunswick: Rhoda Minkler and Frederick C. Minkler, Jr.

The Minklers had an active social life, often having guests in their home and running in various social circles. Helen Minkler was a member of the Parent-Teacher Association, and secretary for the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Middlesex Hospital, she attended the Second Reformed Church in New Brunswick, and was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution Jersey Blue Chapter. Perhaps Minkler's most significant social and political act was her involvement in women's suffrage organizations while she lived in New Brunswick. The earliest record of Minkler's involvement as a suffragist is in 1915, when she held meetings of the New Brunswick Political Study Club, of which she was secretary, and the Suffrage Campaign Committee in her home. As time progressed and her influence as a suffragist in New Brunswick grew, she became a leader who inspired many to support of women's suffrage. Her main goal in 1916 was to educate the people of Middlesex County about women's suffrage. Minkler distributed literature about women's suffrage at public events like fairs and picnics to reach as many people as possible. She sometimes went to the polls to try to influence voters to choose candidates who were in favor of women's suffrage. Throughout 1916, Minkler organized suffrage leagues in Middlesex County and presided over the meetings.

The Minklers moved to Far Hills, New Jersey in 1917. No records of Minkler's involvement with women's suffrage have been found following the year 1917. By 1920, the Minklers had moved to Pine Plains, New York, and then by 1924, to Evanston, Illinois, where Minkler gave birth to her third child, Marcus W. Minkler. Throughout Minkler's life in Evanston, she was heavily involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution, taking great pride in her patriotic American heritage. Helen Minkler lived in Evanston until she died in December of 1970 at the age of eighty-three.


Photo from Smith College Yearbook 1909


“Mrs. F.C. Minkler Heads County Suffragists,” Daily Home News, February 24, 1916, pg. 7

“New Jersey Day is Celebrated as Suffrage Day Too,” Daily Home News, May 12, 1916, pg. 11

New Jersey State Census, 1915, New Brunswick, New Jersey

New York, New York Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018

North American Family Histories, 1500-2000

“Organizer of Suffrage Coming Next Week,” Daily Home News, March 11, 1915, pg. 9

“Personals,” Daily Home News, July 3, 1916, pg. 7

“Political Club to Meet at Minkler's,” Daily Home News, April 27, 1915, pg. 7

“Suffrage Dept.,” Daily Home News, April 30, 1915, pg. 11

“Suffrage Fight is Planned Now at South River,” Daily Home News, October 16, 1916, pg. 12

“Suffrage Meeting at Old Bridge,” Daily Home News, June 29, 1916, pg. 9

United States Federal Census 1900, Cicero, Illinois

United States Federal Census 1920, Pine Plains, New York

United States Federal Census 1930, Evanston, Illinois

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

US. Find a Grave Index, 1935-1990

U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990, Smith College 1909

U.S Social Security Death Index

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