Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Cora E. Morlan
By Donna Greene, independent historian
Census entries for Cora E. Morlan provide two different birth years—either 1872 or 1882 according to the 1900 federal manuscript census or the 1905 New York state census. She was recorded as an actress in both censuses. In 1900 she resided with her parents, Robert J and Helena S. Morlan of Berkeley, Colorado and was said to have been born in Missouri. By 1905, she boarded in a Brooklyn, NY household.
Her activities on behalf of woman suffrage are not well documented. What we know is she was an editor of the newsletter of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association probably around 1913. (A short article she wrote is included in the sources below.)
Her theater-related activities are mentioned briefly in a variety of news articles that preceded her known suffrage activities. She was at one time the personal business representative of Mary Gibbs Spooner, manager of the Spooner Stock Company in Brooklyn. (Spooner appears to be the owner of the home in which Morlan was a boarder in 1905.) Morlan was the treasurer in 1904 of the Actors Church Alliance. An 1899 article in the San Francisco Chronicle noted that “Cora E. Morlan makes the widow a fine woman” in “A Milk White Flag.”
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds.., History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK]
Ancestry.com for 1905 NY census.
1900 Federal Manuscript Census entry for Cora E. Martin and her parents in Berkeley, Colorado, accessed via HeritageQuest.com.
“The Theaters for This Week,” San Francisco Chronicle, 23 October 1899, p. 5.
https://www.suffragewagon.org/suff-whirlwind-campaign-of-long-island-part-2/ includes a newsletter article by Cora E. Morlan.