Biographical Sketch of Margaret Cameron Topliff

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Margaret Cameron Topliff, 1878-1972

By Lexi Yost, student, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York

Margaret Cameron was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 16, 1878. She married George Wilbur Topliff when she was 28 years old. The couple moved to Binghamton, New York where they remained for the rest of their days. George W. Topliff was the manager of the Ansco Company. They lived together in a house located on 100 Henry Street in Binghamton.

Margaret Topliff was extremely interested in fighting for women's rights. She played a crucial role in the women's movement as an active suffragist serving as director of the “Votes for Women Club” in 1912-1915. This position enabled her and her vice president to bring the New York State Women's Suffrage Association convention to Binghamton in October 1913. She marched in the parade on October 15, 1913, holding the banner that represented Broome County. During the parade, she also planted an American flag between the train tracks, prompting the person running the train to run over the flag. The planted American flag remained until the parade finished, in which she was cheered for her bravery. She spoke briefly at the convention and discussed the methods of how to win attention to the cause of suffrage among politicians. Following this event, Margaret C. Topliff was elected as the Binghamton Director of the New York State Women's Suffrage Association. She also helped with the 46th convention held in Rochester, New York in October 1914 where 500 women participated in the councils for the convention. She served as the main director until Broome County split into 2 districts in 1917 when she became the Binghamton 1st District Director of the New York State Women's Suffrage Association. Margaret C. Topliff was often acknowledged and honored for her contributions to the multiple clubs she had membership in and positions she held.

After successfully helping to attain women's suffrage, she served as a Canteen Captain for the Red Cross in Broome County in 1928, where she ran blood drives and tested Girl Scouts. Margaret C. Topliff was also interested in gardening, antiquing and interior design. She was known specifically for her flower arrangements and table decorating skills that were displayed at her club events such as, Binghamton Garden Club events, and IBM Country Club events. Following her activism, she also was an instructor for the IBM Study Club, in which she taught interior decorating as a class. George W. Topliff died in 1938. Margaret C. Topliff died later on December 1, 1972. “Mrs. George W. Topliff” lived a life full of passion and dedication to everything that she was a part of.

 

Source: “Votes for Women Club.” Clio. Accessed April 25, 2018.
https://www.theclio.com/web/entry?id=29738

Sources:

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"Endicott Bulletin. (Endicott, N.Y.) 1914-1937, January 13, 1928, Page 7, Image 7." NYS Historic Newspapers. Accessed March 30, 2018. http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn84031049/1928-01-13/ed-1/seq-7/#date1=01/01/1725&index=3&date2=12/31/2016&words=Topliff&to_year2=2016&se archType=advanced&sequence=0&from_year2=1725&proxdistance=&page=1&county= Broome&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=topliff&andtext=&dateFilterType=range&SearchType2=phrase .

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Endicott Bulletin, “IBM Women Give Tea for Mrs. Topliff.” December 10, 1941. From NYS Historic Newspapers. http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org (accessed April 25, 2018).

Luther, Roger. "Women's Suffrage in Broome County Persistence Overcomes Resistance." Treasures of the Tier. Accessed March 30, 2018. http://nyslandmarks.com/treasures/17may.htm.

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“Margaret Topliff Obituary.” Newspaper Archive. Accessed April 25, 2018. https://newspaperarchive.com/margaret-topliff-obituary-210173822/

New York Tribune, “Suffragists Start To Raise $150,000.” October 16, 1914. From Fulton History. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html (accessed April 25, 2018).

The Binghamton Press, “Flower Arrangements Are Demonstrated Before Garden Club.” April 2, 1943. From Fulton History. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html (accessed April 25, 2018).

The Binghamton Press, “Matters Personal and Social.” Jan. 13,1928. From Fulton History. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html (accessed April 25, 2018).

The Binghamton Press, “Same Forces Oppose Prohibition Law and Suffrage—Mrs. Topliff.” June 11, 1917. From Fulton History. http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html (accessed April 25, 2018).

The Record, “Send'Em A Way With A Smile—How the Red Cross Does It.” July 20, 1918. From NYS Historic Newspapers. http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org (accessed April 25, 2018).

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“Margaret Topliff Obituary.” Newspaper Archive. Accessed April 25, 2018. https://newspaperarchive.com/margaret-topliff-obituary-210173822/

Source: “Votes for Women Club.” Clio. Accessed April 25, 2018.

https://www.theclio.com/web/entry?id=29738

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