Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Amelia Ely Scranton Taylor, 1870-1956
By Jennifer P. McLaughlin, Instructor of History, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
Chair, Litchfield County Chapter of the CWSA and President, Norfolk Equal Franchise League
Amelia Ely Scranton was born on May 30, 1870 in New York City. The daughter of Gerard Banker Scranton and Amelia Augusta Ely of New Haven, Connecticut, she married architect Alfredo Samuel Guido Taylor, an 1894 graduate of Harvard College, on November 12, 1896 at Brick Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Taylor's lineage traced back to seventeenth-century Connecticut on her mother's side and Connecticut became the central focus of her fight for women's suffrage.
The Taylors were members of New York society and maintained homes in Manhattan and Norfolk, Connecticut. Taylor was an ardent supporter of women's suffrage in both states. As a member of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association (CWSA), she was elected to attend the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky in 1911. As president of the Norfolk Equal Franchise League and chair of the Litchfield county chapter of the CWSA, Taylor organized meetings and hosted guest speakers, such as CWSA president Katherine M. H. Hepburn, to encourage women to join both local and state suffrage organizations. Described as "one of the most forceful and experienced suffrage workers in the state," Taylor was the featured speaker at the Fairfield County Suffrage Association meeting in July 1920 and was a regular guest speaker at events across the state and the region. She was often featured as speaker alongside national figures like Carrie Chapman Catt.
In 1915 local newspapers reported that Taylor recently spent time outside of Connecticut to work on suffrage campaigns in Massachusetts and New York. She was sometimes accompanied by her husband, who served as secretary of the Men's League for Women's Suffrage. When women's suffrage was placed on the New York State ballot that year, suffrage leaders in Connecticut encouraged their members to march in the Banner Parade on October 23rd. The Bridgeport Evening Farmer reported that "on the day of the parade Connecticut marchers are invited to make the [West 57th Street] apartment of Mrs. A. E. S. Taylor of Norfolk their headquarters."
In 1916, Taylor served as the chair of Congressional Work for the CWSA and made sure that Connecticut was well represented in Chicago at the suffrage parade scheduled to coincide with the Republican National Convention, where suffragists planned to demand that a "suffrage plank" be added to the party's platform. As more state legislatures passed women's suffrage laws, Taylor focused on convincing members of the Connecticut General Assembly to allow the people of Connecticut to vote on women's suffrage. As chair, Taylor was also responsible for garnering support across the state for the national Susan B. Anthony Amendment. In February 1917, she "organized a deputation to Congressman [James P.] Glynn and promoted several going away parties for the Congressmen and Senators before they left for the opening of the 64th Congress," as reported in the local press. In August 1920, Taylor was part of a state delegation that traveled to the New York office of Will H. Hays, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, to discuss ratification of the 19th Amendment.
In addition to her work as a suffragist, Taylor was an active member of several civic organizations, including the Norfolk Farm Bureau and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. During World War I, Taylor helped the state's Council of Defense committee on women's activities promote Herbert Hoover's food rationing. A member of the Connecticut League of Women Voters, Taylor was among 27 Connecticut women chosen to have their names inscribed on the state honor roll of the national headquarters of the League of Women Voters in 1931.
Amelia Taylor died on December 15, 1956 in Norfolk, Connecticut.
"Connecticut Suffrage News," Bridgeport Evening Farmer, September 25, 1915.
"Hays to meet Conn. suffrage delegation," Norwich Morning Bulletin, August 6, 1920.
New York Social Register. New York: Social Register Association, 1911, p. 579. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002129284
"News from nearby towns: Norfolk," Connecticut Western News, September 19, 1918.
"Seven food shows on week's program," New Britain Herald, January 23, 1918.
"State suffragists will meet Monday in Hotel Bond, Hartford," Bridgeport Evening Farmer, February 19, 1916.
"Suffrage Pro and Con," Connecticut Western News, February 17, 1916.
"Suffs' closed meeting a cause for curiosity," The Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer, July 13, 1920.
"Women suffrage," Stamford Daily Advocate, July 17, 1915.
"31 Conn. women to be honored," Stamford Daily Advocate, March 26, 1931.