Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Nellie Merrill
By Lauren Javarone
Undergraduate, State University of New York at Oneonta
In 1913, Nellie Merrill, one of the organizers, served as treasurer for the Minnesota Equal Suffrage Association. She often acted as hostess for public events promoting suffrage and suffrage speakers. She served on the committee for a conference when Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a prominent suffrage supporter, visited Minneapolis in December 1913. She and other officers planned statewide campaigns for women's rights, and she often participated as one of the speakers. In 1914 she joined an extensive automobile tour of the southern part of Minnesota, when members gave suffrage speeches. She was on the “suffrageade” committee at a very popular festival in August 1915. By November, Merrill became the chair of the Hennepin County Suffrage Association, helping to coordinate its merger with the Equal Suffrage Association.
She also joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association and served as a delegate to the fiftieth Jubilee Convention of the association in New York City in 1919. This convention's main purpose was to “secure protection, in the right to vote, to the women citizens in the United States by appropriate national and state legislation and to increase the effectiveness of women's votes in furthering better government.”
There is little information on Nellie Merrill outside of her life as a suffragist.
Justina Leavitt Wilson, ed., Handbook of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the Jubilee Convention (New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1919), 310; Ida Husted Harper, ed., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922), 323 [LINK]; “New Men's League to Help Women Secure Suffrage, Star Tribune, January 26, 1913, 52; “Suffragists Organize a New Vote Club,” Star Tribune, September 18, 1913, 8; “Women Organize for the Vote,” Willmar Tribune, September 24, 1913, 2; Dr. Gillies Tells Why He Favors Militancy,” Star Tribune, October 28, 1913, 1; “Women Take Boxes for Rabbi Wise Address at Auditorium Next Week,” Star Tribune, December 4, 1913, 15; “Suffrage Leaders Meet to Lay Plans for Summer Work,” Star Tribune, July 2, 1914, 10; “Moving Pictures Will Argue Equal Suffrage,” Star Tribune, August 2, 1914, 18; “Suffrage Leaders Will Make Missionary Auto Tour of Southern Minnesota This Week,” Star Tribune, August 16, 1914, 4; “Suffragists to Hold Meeting in Excelsior Town Hall Tonight,” Star Tribune, October 20, 1914, 6; “Equal Suffragists Elect Mrs. Simpson President,” Star Tribune, May 4, 1915, 8; “500 Guests Attend Suffragists' Fete,” Star Tribune, August 21, 1915, 16; “Suffragists to Hear Madam Belouseff,” Star Tribune, November 14, 1915, 32; “Local Suffragists Will Attend the Conference at Albert Lea,” Star Tribune, January 23, 1916, 30; “The Work of Womankind,” Star Tribune, June 4, 1919, 4; “Women Hail New Era at Victory Dinner,” Star Tribune, October 29, 1919, 9; “Minnesota Women to be Prominent in Suffrage Convention,” Star Tribune, February 8, 1920, 33; “National Leaders Who Will Attend Convention Here,” Star Tribune, December 5, 1920, 54.