Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Jessie Badley, 1866-1927
By Blair Stapleton, Assistant Dean of Public Services, Edith Garland Dupré Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Jessie Badley was born in November of 1866 in Louisiana. She married Elmo Badley in 1888. The Badley's lived in East Baton Rouge Parish. They had two daughters, Daisy and Nan. Jessie Badley died at the age of 60 on February 9, 1927.
Jessie Badley and her husband Elmo were well-known farmers in the Baton Rouge area. Elmo owned a plantation in East Baton Rouge Parish, and Jessie started her own farm in 1910. She grew hay and bred hogs on her farm. She started with 15 sows on 100 acres of land. By the end of the first year, her farm grew to include oats, potatoes, peas and soy beans along with several other crops. Jessie was very dedicated to her farm and attended a cohort course called the Farmers' Short Course at Louisiana State University. This course was offered for women of husbands that were farmers. In 1915, Jessie was the first, and only woman to attend the course. Mrs. Badley regularly encouraged her fellow suffragists to invest time and effort into their own endeavors as well and asked other women to attend the course.
Mrs. Badley was heavily involved in the suffrage movement. She was active in the Equal Suffrage League, founded in Baton Rouge in 1913. In 1917, Jessie was appointed special commissioner for the registration of women voters in East Baton Rouge Parish. Later, in 1921, she became a member of the board for the newly organized Association of City Clubs in Baton Rouge. The purpose of the club was to provide a space for all women's clubs and activities to host meetings and events for their clubs. Through her involvement, the association was able to purchase a building that was owned exclusively by women. The association was later known as The Woman's Club, Inc. Members paid dues to the association and there was considerable collaboration between members of the club and the individual organizations to which they belonged.
She also helped to form the Rest Room League and served on the committee as part of the Federation of Women's Clubs. The Rest Room League provided places for working women and women visiting the city of Baton Rouge to rest and stay for free while they were in the city. This effort served as a blessing for women working in the city who could not afford to stay in the city on their wages. Her efforts on this league, along with several others, allowed for the purchase of a property that was used to house the Rest Room League, as well as rooms for affordable rent and The Woman's Exchange that gave women a place to sell their hand-made goods. Jessie Badley also served on the Reception and Trains committee in the New Orleans Federation of Women's Clubs and was on the Finance Committee. Mrs. Badley was selected as a delegate for the 6th District Convention of the Federation of Women's Clubs in 1922 and presented the work of the Rest Room League to those in attendance.
Jessie Badley made sure to pass on her passion for women's issues to her two daughters, Daisy and Nan. Daisy served as the Chairman of the Baton Rouge League of Women Voters in Baton Rouge in 1921 and Nan worked on a historical records survey for the Works Progress Administration's Division of Women's and Professional Projects in 1937.
Badley Family Papers, 2009, Mss.3062. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University.
"Consider Lake Drainage: Police Jury and Council Hold Conference." The Weekly-Times Democrat, April 4, 1913, p. 5. Newspapers.com (Website)
"Interest the Farmers' Wives." The True Democrat, January 23, 1915, p. 1. Newspapers.com (Website)
Mildred M. Waterman. "The Woman's Club, Inc." Woman's Enterprise, July 22, 1921, p. 1. Newspapers.com (Website)
"Big Federation Meet is in Session, Elaborate Program Being Carried Out at Convention ." Woman's Enterprise, November 30, 1921, p. 1. Newspapers.com (Website)
"The Rest Room League." Woman's Enterprise, August 19, 1921, p. 2. Newspapers.com (Website)
"Entertainment is Planned for Meet of Women's Clubs." Woman's Enterprise, November 18, 1921, p. 5. Newspapers.com (Website)
"New Orleans Federation of Women's Clubs." Woman's Enterprise, November 18, 1921. Newspapers.com (Website)
"Louisiana State Federation Meets in New Orleans, November 8, 9 and 10: Delegates." Woman's Enterprise, October 27, 1922. Newspapers.com (Website)
"Mrs. Badley, Baton Rouge Civic, Club Leader, Dies." Alexandria Daily Town Talk, February 10, 1927, p. 3. Newspapers.com (Website)