Biographical Sketch of Jane Mitchell Brown Haskell

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Jane Mitchell Brown Haskell, 1872-1940

By Janice P. Dreiling, Independent Historian

Jane Mitchell Brown Haskell was known only as “Mrs. Frank Haskell” in the newspaper coverage of Oklahoma suffrage activity and even in the History of Woman Suffrage. Jane Haskell led a very active suffrage campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was chairman of the local chapter of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She organized and conducted meetings, canvassed voters and publicized the cause through a column in the Tulsa Democrat. Jane Haskell also served as Vice-President of the state suffrage association based in Oklahoma City.

Born Jane Mitchell Brown in Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, in 1872, she was the daughter of Alexander W. Brown and Minerva M. Mitchell. She married her childhood schoolmate, Frank Aretas Haskell, on June 24, 1896. The Haskell family, including their children Richard, Frances, and Rebecca, first appear in Tulsa in 1914. By 1918 Frank was the vice-president and manager of Tidal Oil Company. Jane was a homemaker.

Tulsa was slightly over 75,000 people in 1918, the year that the male voters amended the state constitution to extend the vote to women, making Oklahoma one of fifteen states where women had full suffrage rights.

In April 1918, Jane Haskell conducted a meeting at Liberty Square in downtown Tulsa to launch an educational campaign to convince women (and the male voters) why women should have the vote.

NAWSA President, Carrie Chapman Catt, had instructed NAWSA members, when the U.S. entered World War I, to support both the war effort and suffrage. Accordingly, Jane Haskell engaged in selling Liberty loan war bonds and is said to have sold more than anyone else in Tulsa.

Haskell's leadership secured a suffrage headquarters at Liberty Square. Pro-suffrage placards were displayed in almost every business on Main Street prior to the November 5 election.

While the state organization struggled financially, Haskell's efforts enabled a paid secretary for the Tulsa headquarters, financed the local educational effort and contributed $500 for distribution of suffrage materials throughout the state.

In late September, Haskell was joined by NAWSA corresponding secretary and field worker, Marjorie Shuler (known in the Tulsa press only as “Mrs. Frank Shuler”). At a large open-air meeting at Liberty Square, Shuler addressed the crowd on “The Enfranchisement of Woman as a War Measure.” A speaker of national reputation, Shuler had spoken earlier that day at a “parlor conference” at Haskell's fashionable home, to which all Tulsa women interested in the suffrage amendment were invited.

Election Day, November 5, 1918, Haskell had organized suffrage volunteers to assist at the polls in every precinct. It was the first time women had participated as workers in an election in Tulsa County. Woman suffrage carried the county by several hundred votes and the state by over 21,000 votes.

Haskell later served on the Oklahoma Ratification Committee for the NAWSA for the proposed Nineteenth Amendment.

The 1920 Tulsa City Directory includes Frank and Jane Haskell at the same address they had in 1914. But by 1921, the family had moved to New York. Frank Haskell, having been an early pioneer of the oil and gas industry, became very affluent. The Haskell family lived on Park Avenue in New York City for two decades after they left Tulsa. Jane Mitchell Brown Haskell died there in 1940.

Sources:

Ancestry.com (Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books), Mrs. Jane Brown Haskell, date accessed 15 August 2018; Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK) 11 November 1918. Ida Husted Harper, ed., History of Woman Suffrage, National American Woman Suffrage Association, Volume VI (New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922), 531, 536. Mattie Louise Ivie, “Woman Suffrage in Oklahoma, 1890-1918” (M. A. thesis, Oklahoma College for Women, Chickasaw, OK, 1971), 54, 58. Tulsa Daily World (Tulsa, OK) 27 September, 1918. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK) 17 April 1918. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK) 28 September 1918. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK) 29 September 1918. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK) 30 September 1918. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK) 27 October 1918. Tulsa Democrat (Tulsa, OK) 5 November 1918. Tulsa City Directories (Tulsa, OK: Polk-Hoffhine Directory Company, 1914, 1918, 1920, 1921).

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