Biographical Sketch of Marion Knight Garrison

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Marion Knight Garrison, 1874–1974

By Diane Getzinger, Independent Historian

Member of the Women's Political Union and the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association, Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee

Marion Knight was born on June 29, 1874, in East Orange, New Jersey, to Azariah Lyman (1837-1906) and Catherine Palen Knight (1849-1918). Marion had two sisters, Jane and Grace.

On June 24, 1898, Marion married chemical manufacturer Philip McKim Garrison (1869-1935). Philip's parents, Wendell Phillips (1840-1907) and Lucy McKim Garrison (1842-1877) of Massachusetts, had three children – Floyd, Philip, and Catharine. Wendell was the literary editor of the Nation, a weekly magazine founded by his father-in-law, James Miller McKim, a Presbyterian Minister active in the abolitionist movement. Lucy McKim was a renowned pianist and violinist who, with her husband, compiled and published a collection of African American songs entitled, Slave Songs of the United States.

Marion and Philip McKim Garrison had two children: Lydia K. Garrison (1908-unknown) and Katherine K. Garrison (1905-1977). The family lived in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey.

Marion was a pivotal figure in the New Jersey suffrage movement and in Democratic party politics. A long-time at-large member of the state's electoral college, she was the first woman nominated for this position. From 1914 to 1915, she chaired the Joint Legislative Committee. The Committee was comprised of the New Jersey Woman's Suffrage Association, the Women's Political Union of New Jersey, the Equal Franchise Society, and the Men's League for Woman Suffrage. Marion also often testified at legislative hearings and presented at statewide meetings.

On April 21, 1915, the State Assembly unanimously passed the Read bill, calling for a special election on the equal suffrage amendment to be held on October 19th. Unfortunately, October 19th was the last day to register to vote. Therefore, even if the suffrage amendment was adopted, women would be barred from voting that year. Marion and Linton Satterthwait, counsel for the Woman Suffrage Association, agreed to setting October 19th as the special election date because Senator Read told them that it was “that date or nothing.”

On October 5, 1916, the State Democratic Convention tabled a resolution to reaffirm the national women's suffrage plank. Women attending the convention were blindsided. President Wilson, 37 other state conventions, as well as the national Republican party, had already confirmed their support for the plank. As a result, several prominent women, including Marion, withdrew from working on the Democratic campaign.

From 1929 to 1933, Marion worked with the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform, rallying against the 18th amendment. In the late 1930s, she served as a Vice President and member of the New Jersey Housing League's executive committee.

Marion Garrison died in June 1974, and is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, New Jersey.

Other highlights of her political and suffragist work include:

  • 1911 – Participated in an effort led by Mrs. Thomas A. Edison, wife of the inventor, to appropriate $70,000 for a building to replace St. Mark's School. The women were influential in getting the measure on a second ballot after inclement weather derailed the original vote.
  • 1912 – Involved in forming a Women's Political Union chapter in West Orange, NJ.
  • 1913 – Arranged a mass meeting in an Orange, NJ, theater in support of the suffrage movement.
  • February 1915 – Appointed to oversee nominations to the County Board of Elections for ballot watchers in Essex County.
  • 1915 – Helped plan “the greatest suffrage demonstration which has ever occurred in New Jersey.” This demonstration took place at Lucy Stone's home. Stone was a pioneer New Jersey suffragist and the founder of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association.
  • 1917 – Served on a committee of women from the New Jersey State Suffrage Association who visited New Jersey Governor Walter Evans Edge, “to place at his disposal the services of the entire membership of the Association in case of war with Germany.”
  • 1918 – Attended a meeting of the Legislative Committee of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association, where a resolution was adopted denouncing the National Woman's Party's picketing of the White House. The Committee believed that President Wilson was doing his best to change the minds of southern Democrats who opposed women's suffrage “because they [did] not wish colored women to vote.”
  • 1919 – Named to the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association's New Jersey Suffrage Ratification Committee. The New Jersey Suffrage Ratification Committee held an August rally at Asbury Park billed as, “the most representative gathering of suffragists ever held in New Jersey.”
  • August 1920 – Named to a committee of five men and five women overseeing the state presidential campaign to elect Democratic candidate James M. Cox.
  • October 1920 – Empaneled on the first “jury of women” by District Judge Daniel A. Dugan. The women juried a civil case involving the McCall Pattern company of New York.
  • 1922 – Questioned the Democratic candidate for Governor, George Silzer, during a campaign meeting, asking him, “to explain the plank in the Democratic platform which advocates better treatment for first offenders and wayward youth.”
  • June 5, 1924 – Participated in a statewide meeting of women Democratic leaders. At this meeting, the group decided to delay organizing the State Women's Democratic Club until after the next general election.
  • July 1924 – Offered to arrange the itinerary of Presidential candidate John W. Davis, so that he could campaign in municipalities outside of Newark and attract independent voters to the Democratic ticket.
  • 1928 – Supported the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs drive to raise $25,000 for the New Jersey Audubon Society, supporting the protection of wild birds.

Sources:

Harper, Ida Husted, The History of Woman Suffrage Vol. 6, 1900-1920 (Salem, New Hampshire: Ayer Company, Publishers, Inc., 1922), pg. 418, 432. [LINK]

Ware, ‎Susan, Notable American Women, 1607-1950, Volume 22: G-O, (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004) https://books.google.com/books?isbn=067401488X

Ancestry.com:

  • Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1670-1965 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
  • Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
  • Book Title: Palmer Groups; John Melvin of Charlestown and Concord, Mass, and his descendants
  • Episcopal Diocese of Newark; Newark, New Jersey; New Jersey, Episcopal Diocese of Newark Church Records, 1800 - 1970; Reference Number: 3<
  • New Jersey State Archive; Trenton, NJ, USA; State Census of New Jersey, 1915; Reference Number: L-12; Film Number: 25
  • Year: 1870; Census Place: West Orange, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: M593_861; Page: 473B; Family History Library Film: 552360
  • Year: 1880; Census Place: West Orange, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: 781; Page: 262A; Enumeration District: 113
  • Year: 1920; U.S. Passport Applications, January 2, 1906-March 31, 1925: Roll 1145: Certificated 10876-11249, 08 April 1920-08 April 1920

Newspapers.com

  • “Women Voters Out in Force.” Courier-Post (Camden, New Jersey), December 6, 1911, Page 4.
  • “To Aid Suffrage Cause.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), March 2, 1912, Page 1.
  • “Will Offer Bill for Suffragists: Senator J. Warren Davis of Salem County Will be Its Sponsor This Winter.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), January 4, 1913, Page 3.
  • “Fielder is Questioned by Mrs. Everett Colby.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), August 28, 1913, Page 2.
  • “New Jersey Women to Advocate Peace.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), August 24, 1914, Page 14.
  • “Suffragists Divide Canvass of Candidates.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), September 4, 1914, Page 14.
  • “Suffragists to Meet in Camden.” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), October 7, 1914, Wed · Page 3.
  • “Woman Suffrage State Convention: It Will be Held in Camden November 6 and 7, Day and Evening.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), October 23, 1914, Page 6.
  • “Suffragists Plan for Legislature: Joint Committee of Four New Jersey Organizations Held Meeting in Newark.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), December 19, 1914, Page 11.
  • “Suffragists in Trenton Today.” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), January 25, 1915, Page 3.
  • “Suffrage and Anti-Suffrage,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), January 26, 1915, Page 13.
  • “Suffragists to Have Meeting,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), February 1, 1915, Page 10.
  • “Preparing for the Suffrage Campaign: Women Watchers Will be Appointed to Watch the Balloting,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), February 26, 1915, Page 6.
  • “Suffrage Special Election October 19: Date Changed from Sept. 21 – May Prevent Women Voting This Year,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), April 21, 1915, Page 1.
  • “Suffrage Election Date Bars Women,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), April 21, 1915, Page 7.
  • “Governor Asked by Suffragists to Call Solons: Wants Legislature to Pass Election Bill That Will Not be Clouded – Up to Attorney General,” Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), April 27, 1915, Page 1.
  • “Official Canvass of Suffrage Election to Take Place in November,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), July 19, 1915, Page 4.
  • “'Suffs' from All Over State Will Meet in Orange,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), July 21, 1915, Page 7.
  • “Suffragists to Gather at Elizabeth This Week,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), January 19, 1916, Page 7.
  • “Suffragists Meet for Public Hearing: Discussion of Bill to Provide for Presidential Suffrage for Women,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), February 21, 1916, Page 3.
  • “Suffragists are Aroused: President of New Jersey Association Rakes Democrats for Tabling Resolution,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey) October 5, 1916, Pages 1, 13.
  • “Women of New Jersey Resent Nugent's Use of the Steam Roller: Mrs. Feickert Tells of Disloyalty by Jersey Democrats to National Democratic Platform – Has Praise for Scully,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), October 5, 1916, Page 7.
  • “N.J. Women for Fed. Amendments: Will Take Active Part in Congress for Passage of Bill,” Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey), December 9, 1916, Page 2.
  • “Suffrage Bill for New Jersey: Women to Ask Vote in Presidential Elections,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), January 17, 1917, Page 11.
  • “Suffragists to Offer Services to Gov. Edge,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), February 13, 1917, Page 9.
  • “New Jersey ‘Suffs' Opposed to Picketing at White House,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), August 9, 1918, Page 11.
  • “Will Entertain Legislators,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), January 27, 1919, Page 9.
  • “Women Unite for Suffrage Fight,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), July 9, 1919, Page 9.
  • “Big Suffrage Rally in Asbury Park,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), August 4, 1919, Page 3.
  • “Women to Help Run Campaign for Democrats,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), August 24, 1920, Page 1.
  • “Franklin Roosevelt to Speak in New Jersey,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), September 9, 1920, Page 4.
  • “Democrats of State to Name Women Among Presidential Electors,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), September 15, 1920, Page 5.
  • “Nugent's Wet Plank Rejected by N.J. Democrats,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), October 6, 1920, Page 3.
  • “New Jersey Women Called for a Jury,” Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey), October 12, 1920, Page 10.
  • “Orange Women First in State as Jurors,” Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), October 12, 1920, Page 15.<
  • “Middlesex Experience Recalled by Silzer,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), October 30, 1922, Page 2.
  • “Democratic Women to Meet at Asbury Park, July 11-12,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), May 16, 1923, Page 13.
  • “Mrs. Garrison on Democratic Ticket,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), March 25, 1924, Tue · Page 3
  • “Abandon Women's Democratic Rule: Not to Create State Organization Until After Next General Election,” Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey) June 5, 1924, Page 11.
  • “Delegates Want Silzer to Attend Convention So They Can Have a Look at Him,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), June 261924, Page 1.
  • “Will Ask Davis to Address Woman's State Convention,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), July 23, 1924, Page 3.
  • “Democrats Urge Repeal of Hobart Prohibition Act,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), October 1, 1924, Page 2.
  • “Women Too Active to Suit the Men,” The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), June 1, 1925, Page 4.
  • “Women of Jersey are Interested in Conservation,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), February 2, 1928, Page 12.
  • “Women Organize to Fight the Dry Law,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), May 29, 1929, Page 1.
  • “Women's Prohibition Reform Organization to Meet Monday,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), October 2, 1931, Page 7.
  • “N.J. Dry Reform Group Plans to Continue Efforts,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), April 10, 1933, Page 7.
  • “1,000 Expected at Housing League Dinner,” The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), May 26, 1937, Page 7.
  • “Housing League Warns Federal Enterprises,” Asbury Park Press (Asbury Park, New Jersey), June 4, 1937, Page 19.
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