Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Ethel Amanda Edgerton Hurd, 1846–1929
By Alec Hepp, student, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI
President/Historian, Minneapolis Political Equality Club; Recording secretary, Minneapolis, MN, National College Equal Suffrage League
Ethel Amanda Edgerton Hurd was born August 11, 1846 or 1845 near Galesburg/Knox , Illinois to Solomon Everest Edgerton and Martha L. Belding Edgerton. Ethel grew up on a farm with three siblings Mary, Ida, and Clark. According to the 1850 census, she was 5 years old and her father was a farmer. Ethel married Tyrus I. Hurd February 22, 1865 according to the Illinois marriage index (1851-1900). Ethel and Tyrus had a daughter named Anna and another daughter Addie who passed relatively young because no living census data was available for her.
Ethel sought out higher education and gravitated to medicine. Attending public school in Illinois, she went on to Knox College in Illinois, and then the University of Minnesota. After graduation she took coursework in Electro Therapeutics. Her daughter Anna, also being interested in the medical field, graduated from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota in 1896. Ethel worked as a physician almost all of her adult life, while also being involved in numerous suffrage clubs and leagues.
Ethel was heavily involved with women's suffrage clubs in the Minneapolis area. Ethel moved to the Minneapolis area and Hennepin county MN soon after being married in Illinois. Ethel was a lecturer on eugenics and hygiene. Like other women suffragists, she viewed winning the vote as an all-encompassing political accomplishment to move forward on social subjects. She was active in the Political Equality Club for many years-- her most important role was serving as their last president and also as historian. In the (MNHS) magazine “She Will Marvel that it should have been Possible,” Ethel can be summarized as saying she enjoyed recording movements of the club so women of the future would be able to recognize how far they have come.
Ethel also was on the Executive board of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA). According to the History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 she founded the Minnesota Scandinavian woman suffrage association jointly with Mrs. Jenova Martin in 1907. She formed this club to draw on the lobbying power of the large Scandinavian population in Minnesota. Acting as the recording secretary for the National College Equal Suffrage League, she edited “The Bulletin,” the official organ of the association. Ethel Served on the MWSA board in different capacities for 22 years. Throughout her life and even following the passing of her husband Tyrus, she and her daughter would continue to support Minnesotan suffrage clubs-- holding club meetings at their medical office in downtown Minneapolis to help save club funds. Ethel not only campaigned for suffrage, but her most important contribution was the way she chronicled the history for many years.
Ethel's death occurred while she was traveling to New Brunswick, New Jersey According to her Obituary.
Harper, Ida H., et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK].
Bloomberg, Kristin Maple. Parrish Erin. “'She Will Marvel That it Should Have Been Possible': The Political Equality Club of Minnesota.” Accessed online athttp://collections.mnhs.org/mnhistorymagazine/articles/60/v60i03p113-122.pdf
Illinois. Illinois, Marriage Index, 1851-1900. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2017.
Leonard, J.W. Woman's Who's who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915. American commonwealth Company 1914. [LINK]
Minnesota. Hennepin County. 1905 census. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2017.
Minnesota. Hennepin County. 1900 U.S. census. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2017.
Peterson, Anna Marie. “Adding ‘A little Suffrage Spice to the Melting Pot': Minnesota's Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association.” Accessed online at http://collections.mnhs.org/mnhistorymagazine/articles/62/v62i08p288-297.pdf
“Story of fifty years work for the cause.” The Standard (Albert Lea, MN), January 6, 1916,
“Plead for suffrage on americanization day.” The Standard (Albert Lea, MN). July 6, 1916.
The Brainerd (MN) Daily Dispatch, September 21, 1914
“City Briefs” Eau Claire Leader, May 22, 1919.