Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Dr. Florence Manion, 1865-1937
By Willa Reising, student, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Dr. Florence Manion was born in Carlisle, Illinois on January 6th, 1865. She lived in Portland, Oregon and worked as a physician for forty years. In the 1900 federal census for Portland she was listed as living with her husband. William, also a physician, and a ten-year-old son Harold. The couple had married in 1886. By 1930 Manion lived alone in Portland as a physician, though she was now listed as widowed.
She was a member of the Portland Women's Club and served on the Club's finance committee that helped with launching state work. At this time, the Women's Club was traveling to Salem, Oregon to lobby Secretary of State Ben Occolt in support of the passage of the right to vote in Oregon.
In addition to her work with the Women's Club, Manion was also a speaker for the College Equal Suffrage League. One of her prime moments was when she was discussing why women should have the vote with Portland lawyer John F. Logan. Manion said, “she has fought valiantly as the men. Woman is valiant by nature; in man it is vanity that prompts him in every time and every clime.”
Manion served as a poll watcher for the unsuccessful statewide suffrage referendum in June 1906, but in 1912 Oregon voters did approve woman suffrage. Manion continued to be active in the suffrage effort after the Oregon success. She served as the state chairman of the Oregon Congressional Union. Because of her position, she was able to represent Oregon at the different conventions for the National Woman's Party (NWP) in Chicago and Colorado Springs in 1916. The NWP was a group of suffragists who opposed President Woodrow Wilson because Wilson would not endorse the 19th amendment for his presidential campaign of 1916. She even wrote a letter to Woodrow Wilson on why he should endorse the rights of women.
In later years she stayed with the Women's Club and was active in another women's organization, the Business and Professional Women's Club. She also went on many tours for the Women's Club through the east and west coasts of the U.S.
Even though Florence Manion was not one of the well-known suffragists of the time, she was still a big contributor to women's right to vote and was among the few omen who were physicians. She also helped other women achieving their goal of a professional job by creating the Business and Professional Women's Club and the College Equal Suffrage League.
Florence Manion died in Portland in December 1937. She was said to have been a practicing physician in Portland for forty years and was survived by a daughter and a son, neither of whom lived in Oregon.
Kimberly Jensen, Oregon's Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and a Life in Activism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012), p. 103.
Federal manuscript censuses of Portland, 1900 and 1930. Accessed through HeritageQuest.com.
Find-a-Grave listing for Florence Sharp Manion. Accessed at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/133420529/florence-manion.
"Ciry News in Brief." Oregonian, vol. LII, no. 16005, 12 Mar. 1912, p. 9. NewsBank
"Suffrage Victory Seen John F. Logan Declares Women Will Win in Oregon." Oregonian, vol. LII, no. 16006, 13 Mar. 1912, p. 4. NewsBank
"Woman's Party Active State Committee Seeks to Arouse Interest in Convention." Oregonian, vol. LVL, no. 17319, 25 May 1916, p. 10. NewsBank
"East Pleads with West by Telephone. Unenfranchised Women Ask for Help of Those Who Have Vote in Fighting Wilson." Oregonian, vol. LVI, no. 17459, 6 Nov. 1916, p. Copy of 8. NewsBank
"Dr. Manion Gone to Convention." Oregonian, vol. VLI, no. 17385, 11 Aug. 1916, p. 5. NewsBank
"Vote Is First Object National Woman's Party Gives Up Work For Peace. Dr. Florence Sharp-Manion." Oregonian, 1 Apr. 1917, p. 17. NewsBank
"Women Give Pledge to Oppose Wilson Party Conference Decides to Put Forth Best Efforts in." Oregonian, vol. VLI, no. 17386, 12 Aug. 1916, p. 2. NewsBank
"Suit Appeal is Lost. Breach of Promise Judgment of $3500 Affirmed." Oregonian, vol. LIX, no. 18636, 17 Aug. 1920, p. 2. NewsBank
Oregonian, CITY ed., 18 July 1929, p. 12. NewsBank
Oregonian, CITY ed., 19 Dec. 1937, p. 34. NewsBank