Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Sarah Ruth Frazier, 1872-1956

By Julia Huskey, Librarian, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee

Sarah Ruth Frazier was born in 1872 in Athens, Tennessee to Samuel Josiah Abner Frazier and Annie Keith Frazier. Her father had been a Confederate General. She never married, and although she traveled extensively, she spent most of her life in Chattanooga, where she died in 1956. She was buried in Chattanooga's Confederate Cemetery.

Frazier graduated from Wesleyan Female College (now Wesleyan College) in Macon, Georgia, in 1894. She also studied at the Ford School of Expression in New York City.

She was frequently mentioned in the society pages of Chattanooga newspapers for her activities with the General A.P. Stewart Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and with the Nancy Ward Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also known for her involvement in the League of American Pen Women. A song of hers, “Sunshine and Love,” was performed at a Confederate reunion on the White House lawn in 1917. In addition, Frazier was an organizer of the Tennessee Women's Press and Authors' Club. A letter of hers, written while she was visiting friends in Oklahoma oil country, was printed in a column in the Chattanooga News in 1918. She also won statewide awards for her painting.

The earliest dates of her suffrage work are unclear. She was active in several suffrage organizations by 1915, including the Business Woman's Suffrage Club of Chattanooga, and she was an officer of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association. She was a member of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. She was part of Tennessee's delegation to the League to Enforce Peace Meeting in Atlanta in 1919.

She was the first woman elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives, where she served one term (1927-1928).


“Chattanooga honored: Miss Sarah Frazier appointed delegate-at-large to League Congress to Enforce Peace.” Chattanooga News, February 19, 1919.

“Miss Sarah Frazier writes from the West: interesting account of Oklahoma oil district.” Chattanooga News, October 11, 1918.

Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922) [LINK].

Moore, John Trotwood, and Austin Powers Foster Tennessee: The Volunteer State, 1760-1923. Vol. 2. Chicago, Illinois: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1923.

back to top