Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Winifred Sullivan, 1876-

By Julie Greene, Undergraduate, SUNY Oneonta

Winifred Sullivan of New York was sworn in as a member of the bar in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in February 1900. She was enumerated in the Manhattan in the 1910 and 1920 federal censuses, living with her sister Katherine. According to the census she had been born in New York about 1876 and she was single and worked as a lawyer. By 1940, Winifred and her sister had moved to Mamaroneck, NY, where she owned her home, Winifred remained single, working as a lawyer.

Sullivan supported the woman suffrage movement and joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She served as chair of the Thirteenth Assembly District in New York State by 1909.

Sullivan supported the suffrage campaign in New York City by helping to organize Catholic suffragists as the Catholic Women's Association, under the leadership of Sara McPike, in 1911. The association sought to improve social and economic situations for women and children while promoting enfranchisement for women. Because the Catholic Church was widely considered to be opposed to the woman suffrage movement, members turned their attention to changing the views of Cardinal James Gibbons, archbishop of Baltimore, and long cited by anti-suffragists as opposed to women voting. After meeting with the Catholic suffragists, anti-suffragists no longer sought his statements. The Catholic association offered public suffrage meetings, invited prominent Catholic officials to speak, and affiliated with the state and national suffrage organizations. Even after women won the right to vote in New York State, leaders of the association contended that “suffrage is a sacred obligation.”

Sources: “Law Students Examined,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 21, 1900, 36; “New Lawyers of Both Sexes Sworn In,” New York Times, February 27, 1900, 14; “Free Tea for Suffragists: But None for Their Opponents in New Club Rooms,” New York Times, October 9, 1909, 3 “Debt of Suffrage to Catholic Women,” New York Times, November 19, 1917, 11; Ida Husted Harper, History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (New York: J. J. Little & Ives Co., 1922), 487 [LINK].

Federal manuscript censuses for 1910, 1920, and 1940, accessed online through

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