Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Irene Galloway Adams, 1838-1931

By Shante Riley, undergraduate, Binghamton University

Contributor, Jacksonville Times,Howard County Times, Aberdeen Daily News; Secretary, Florida, Political Equality Club; Press Superintendent, Florida, W.C.T.U.

Irene Galloway Adams (also Irene Drake Adams) was a white woman born in 1838 in New York, USA to Minerva Jane Martin Pound and Ebenezer Drake. Both of her parents were born in New York. She had a sister named Austin Sherman Drake and a brother named Howell Drake. She married Elias Galloway when she was 18 years old and had her daughter Ada Galloway Barke (1860-1960). Then, her husband died and she remarried to James C. Adams and had her second daughter, Ora Galloway Wanless (1861-1955). James C. Adams died in 1902 leaving Mrs. Adams to be a widow again. According to a 1910 Florida Census she had three children but there is no name provided for the third child. Irene Adams was both a writer and journalist along with being involved with various progressive movements including the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.), Political Equality Club, League of Women Voters, Jacksonville Times, Howard County Times, Woman's Relief Corps and the suffrage movement serving for about 50 years.

The first evidence of Irene Adam's reformist inclination started in 1888 with an article entitled "An unjust discrimination," in which she criticized society's double standard when judging white men and women in their intimate relations with Native Americans. In addition, a Howard County newspaper noted, that she had worked within literary circles as early as 1868 under the name of Irene G. White but no surviving writings have been found. Then, in 1889 she was reported writing from Webster, South Dakota against the influence of saloons on woman suffrage conventions. The following year she wrote "Marching Song for Children of Election," which was a spirited marching song in support of woman suffrage, being featured in Woman's Journal. In 1890 she was elected president of the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Club. While there, she contributed several pieces of writing to the causes of the group including Woman and the ballot, A Plea and a Protest and Shall God or the Devil Win South Dakota? She even had the privilege of meeting with Susan B. Anthony, which she wrote about in her paper entitled Miss Anthony in South Dakota. She also is mentioned in annotations to a document featured in The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: Their Place inside the Body-Politic, edited by Ann D. Gordon.

In 1893, Irene Adam's career with her husband, James C. Adams, began at the Howard (S.D.) County Times which was sold from W.W. White who had the company for 20 years. She was one of the editors and co-publishers within the newspaper based in Cresco, Iowa and worked there until 1904. James C. Adams was also the publisher of the Reporter and Farmer and after he died in 1902 his son, W.S.D. Adams, ran it for ten years. After which, J.J. Adams took it over and later sold the company. In that time period Mrs. Adams was also a delegate of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association. Then, in 1906 it was reported that she was an editorial writer for the Jacksonville Times based in Florida and by 1908 there were newspaper letters showing her position as Superintendent of the Press Department of W.C.T.U. in Lake Helen, Florida which supported temperance and continues to be a thriving organization until today. In the newspaper The Tampa Tribune she wrote a column on what the press department was as well as a description of the press superintendent's responsibilities. Along with this position Irene Adams also was cited engaging in several other activities in W.C.T.U. including doing scripture reading and prayer for convention, reading the bible in public schools, conducting evangelistic service and speaking on prohibition between 1915 to 1921. In 1915 she also served on the Legislative Committee of the Florida Equal Suffrage Association, while in 1917 she served on the Association's press committee. At the November 1917 Suffrage Convention in Miami, Florida she was involved in a symposium entitled "Why I am a Suffragist," as reported in the Orlando Sentinel of 20 November 1917. Following the passing of the 19th Amendment Mrs. Adams was still reported working in W.C.T.U. and in 1924 she had been elected to honorary membership in the League of Women Voters in Daytona, Florida for 50 years of advocacy and support within the suffrage movement.

Irene Adams died on April 22, 1931 at the age of 93 at the home of her daughter, O.G. Wanless, in Florida where she had been staying for several years. She had died of a lingering illness and was well recognized in several newspapers following her death. She was buried at Oak Lawn cemetery, Cresco, Iowa. She had made her home in Florida for many years to maintain her health but as seen above she had worked in Iowa and South Dakota as well. Mrs. Adams was the quintessential women's advocate working in a multitude of organizations that shaped the progressive movement.


Adams, Irene G. "Press Department." The Tampa Tribune, June 23, 1908.

Grant, N. A. "Woman's Christian Temperance Union." The Tampa Tribune, August 23, 1908, 20.

Hardy, H. E. "Program for Today of W.C.T.U." The Orlando Sentinel, November 10, 1915, 5.

"Irene G. Adams." Ancestry. 1920. Accessed October 02, 2017.

Kellogg, W. R. "The Jamestown Alert." Jamestown Weekly Alert, April 4, 1889, 4.

Riessen-Reed, Dorinda. The woman suffrage movement in South Dakota. Pierre: South Dakota Commission on the Status of Women, 1975.

Scott, DM. "Irene Drake Adams." Find A Grave. March 28, 2014. Accessed October 02, 2017.

Scott, DM. "Minerva Jane Pound." Find A Grave. March 29, 2014. Accessed October 02, 2017.

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Ann D. Gordon, and Susan B. Anthony. The selected papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Vol. 5 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers #x00a0University Press, 2009), pp. 306-07.

"Temperance Advocates Attack "Demons" of Liquor Reports Cresco Time Editor." The Times-Plain Dealer, June 15, 1966.

"Mrs. Irene G. Adams, Widow of Webster Editor, Dead." The Daily Argus-Leader, May 3, 1931, 9.

"Howard County Pioneer is Dead." The Mason City Globe-Gazette, April 23, 1931, 4.

"White Ribboners Meet in New Symrna at State Convention." The Miami Daily Metropolis, November 18, 1921, 10.

"Funerals." The Minneapolis Star, April 23, 1931, 13.

"The National Tribune." The National Tribune, September 8, 1892.

"League Celebrates on 14th." The Palm Beach Post, August 2, 1924, 3.


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