Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Elizabeth Perrault Titus, 1871-1930
By Elizabeth Sturm, Assistant Professor, Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
Elizabeth (Bessie) Perrault was born in June, 1871 in Brooklyn, NY to George and Rebecca Perrault. George Perrault was a naturalized citizen who had emigrated from Prussia while his wife Rebecca was born in New York. The family moved to East Orange, NJ in the mid 1890's and there Elizabeth Perrault met and married Charles Parkhurst Titus, an auditor, on April 8, 1895. The couple had two children, their daughter Hilda born September 27, 1989, and one who died in infancy. Family was important to the Tituses and their home at 32 New Street in East Orange became a multigenerational house with Elizabeth's widowed mother Rebecca Perrault joining them by 1900 and later, after Hilda married John W. Johnson in 1921, the Johnsons also resided in the Titus home.
The first record of Elizabeth Titus' work in the suffrage movement comes during the November 1912 22nd annual convention of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association (NJWSA) held in Trenton, NJ. At the convention, Mrs. Charles P. Titus was elected corresponding secretary, the liaison between the executive committee and the membership, and she maintained this position in 1913 and 1914. Mrs. C.P. Titus made national suffrage news when she sent out a press release for the NJWSA delegation that traveled to Washington DC in November, 1913 to lobby for President Woodrow Wilson's support of the suffrage amendment that was sitting in Congress that year.
In addition to her corresponding secretary duties, during 1914, according to the Elizabeth Daily Journal (1914, p.11), she was also placed “in charge of New Jersey's share in the demonstration work of the Nation-wide celebration of Suffrage Day on May 2.” This endeavor was state-wide with “rallies, dances, street meetings, bazaars, plays, band concerts, essay contests for school children, and special editions of newspapers devoted to the interests of the Suffragists of New Jersey” (Trenton Evening Times, 1914, p.11).
Later in that decade, Elizabeth Titus took a lead role in the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs. In 1917, this organization took a referendum among their membership and based on the overwhelming support for suffrage, resolved that the NJ State Federation of Women's Clubs would use all of their power to help with the suffrage movement. According to membership publications, Titus served as the vice-president for the seventh district in 1918. She also served in other civic organizations, such as serving as the president-elect of the Charlotte Emerson Brown Club of Orange, and holding membership in the Women's Club of Orange.
After the passage of the 19th Amendment, Titus maintained her activism through membership in the League of Women Voters of the Oranges. This local chapter was founded soon after the founding of the state league in 1920. According to an announcement in the New York Times, she acted in the cast of “The Session of the Senate” presented by the League of Women Voters of the Oranges on March 12, 1929. Her activism continued until the end of her days. One year after her performance, Elizabeth Titus passed away from an illness on April 28, 1930 in East Orange, NJ and is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Springfield, NJ.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Blackwell, A.S. (1919). The Woman Citizen (Vol. 4). New York: Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission.
Elizabeth Equal Suffrage League. (1914, March 19). Suffrage campaign progress. Elizabeth Daily Journal, p. 11. Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
Harper, I.H. (Ed.). (1922). The history of woman suffrage (Vol VI 1900-1920). New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association. [LINK]
Harris & Ewing, W. (1913) New Jersey delegates in front of Congressional Union headquarters. New Jersey United States Washington D.C, 1913. [Nov] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000338/.
Jersey suffragists elect. (1913, November 17). Bridgeton Evening News, p. 5.Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
Jersey women to see the president. (1913, October 31). Duluth News Tribune, p. 7.Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
Jim Tipton, indexed database. Find a Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed July 10, 2018), Presbyterian Cemetery, Springfield, NJ, Bessie Perrault Titus memorial #138459908
Marriage Records. New Jersey Marriages. New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey. Retrieved from www.ancestry.com
Mrs. Charles P. Titus. (1930, April 30). The New York Times, p. 17. Retrieved from https://timesmachine.nytimes.com
Mrs. Feickert again leader of suffragists. (1913, November 15). The Jersey Journal, p. 3. Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
New Jersey. (1929, March 12). The New York Times, p.32. Retrieved from https://timesmachine.nytimes.com
New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels.
New Jersey women will be honored. (1913, October 28). Washington Times, p.5. Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
New York Department of State. 1892 New York State Census. New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education. New York State Library, Albany, NY.
State suffrage convention to be in Newark. (1913, November 11). Jersey Journal, p.2. Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
Suffrage day is observed in all parts of New Jersey. (1914, May 2). Trenton Evening Times, p. 11. Retrieved from www.newspapers.com
Suffragists go to Washington. (1913, November 15). Aberdeen Daily News, p.1. Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
Suffragists to pursue Wilson. (1913, October 30). Washington Times, p.6.Retrieved from www.genealogybank.com
Suffragists will meet in Camden. (1914, November 2). Trenton Evening Times, p. 5. Retrieved from www.newspapers.com
U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1880, 1900-1930 --population. Ancestry.com website
Figure 1 1913 New Jersey deputation. “A delegation of women from New Jersey which waited upon President Wilson in November 1913 to ask him to give his support to the national woman suffrage amendment then pending before Congress. The President replied that he was interested in the subject and would give it his consideration.” Photograph from the Library of Congress collection.
Elizabeth Perrault as a baby with her mother, 1871. Courtesy of her granddaughter, Anne Johnson Anspach.