Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Flora R. Lindsay, 1865-1955
By Sarah A. Tropper, graduate student, and Prof. Liette Gidlow, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Club Woman, President, and Organizer
Flora R. Lindsay was born in Indiana in 1865 to William Roberts, a farmer, and Eliza Roberts, a housekeeper. Lindsay worked as a teacher in the public schools of Indianapolis. On October 22, 1885, she married a prominent lawyer, later turned judge, Frank P. Lindsay. After they married the couple moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas where Mr. Lindsay practiced law. Five years later they relocated to Topeka, Kansas. The couple belonged to the First Baptist Church of Topeka and were concerned with issues such as temperance. The Lindsays raised three children: Frances Russell Lindsay, Marian Lindsay, and James Frank Lindsay.
Lindsay's suffrage work was performed mainly through the Good Government Club. The Good Government Club was created in 1902 to carry out legislative work in support of woman suffrage. In 1911, Lindsay was one of eight female lobbyists who championed a Kansas suffrage bill. That same year Lindsay held the positions of 2nd Vice President and chairman of a precinct of the Good Government Club. She was particularly active in 1912, when Kansas passed a referendum giving women full voting rights. She helped to organize and host a "suffrage tea" that women attended to enjoy refreshments and lectures about suffrage. At a meeting of the Good Government Club, Lindsay presented a paper entitled, "Alimony." When the president of the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Anna Howard Shaw, visited Kansas, Lindsay helped to organize her lecture tour. Lindsay's daughters joined the battle for suffrage as members of the Jr. Good Government Club. Their meetings were held at the Lindsay home.
After suffrage was won in Kansas, Lindsay continued to campaign for a federal amendment. She remained active in the Good Government Club but also participated in the Kansas Congressional Union, a branch of the Congressional Union founded by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. In 1916, Lindsay joined a delegation of seventy-five women from the Kansas who met with President Woodrow Wilson. In the wake of this meeting, Lindsay penned two resolutions for the Kansas Congressional Union. Lindsay also supported a campaign to recruit women to move to Kansas in time to vote in the next presidential election. Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of ardent suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a suffragist herself, accepted the invitation.
In March of 1916, Lindsay's hard work culminated in her winning the office of President of the Kansas Good Government Club by a unanimous vote. She did not mention the federal amendment as one of the goals of her presidency but stated that she wanted to focus on obtaining better laws for women and children. In the "Society and Personal" section of the Topeka Daily Capital she stated, "I have been interested in this work since I was a young girl." Her agenda included obtaining closer connections with schools, perhaps stemming from her experience as a teacher.
The next few years saw a decline in Lindsay's suffrage activities, perhaps a consequence of her husband's declining health. In 1917, she resigned as president of the Good Government Club. She cited household duties and a differing personal agenda from that of the clubs which had turned from suffrage to helping with the war effort in the Great War. Lindsay's husband passed away in 1918. Lindsay died in 1955 at the age of 92 and was buried in Topeka, Kansas. Lindsay was a well-respected leader who worked hard not only to enfranchise the women of Kansas but women all over the nation.
A photograph of Lindsay can be found in The Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1916, p. 2A. [https://kansashistoricalopencontent.newspapers.com/image/64456108/]
Anthony, Susan B. and Ida Husted Harper. History of Women's Suffrage. Vol. IV (1883-1900). Rochester, N.Y., 1902. [LINK]
Blackmar, F. W., Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc., vol. 3, part 2 (Chicago: Standard Publishing Company, 1912) ,1331-1332. http://www.ksgenweb.org/archives/1912/13/lindsay_franklin_pierce.html
"History of Good Government Club." The Topeka Daily Capital, October 27, 1912, p. 18, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"In Society: Junior G.G." The Topeka Daily Capital, August 28, 1912, p. 6, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Invite Eastern Women to Make Topeka Home." The Topeka Daily Capital, February 5, 1916, p. 1, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Many Statesmen Indorse Suffrage." The Topeka Daily Capital, October 27, 1912, p. 6B, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Mrs. Johnson Denies 'Row' in Suffrage Camp." The Topeka Daily Capital, November 15, 1911, p. 9, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"National Woman's Party." Encyclopædia Britannica. May 5, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/National-Womans-Party.
"Noted Suffrage Leader Coming." The Topeka Daily Capital, October 19, 1912, p. 12, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Obituaries." The Topeka Daily Capital, p. 8, January 17, 1918, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Of 13 Lobbyist Registered, 8 Are Women Working to Secure Passage Suffrage Bill." The Topeka Daily Capital, January 14, 1911 p. 1, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Society." The Topeka Daily State Journal, March 15, 1912, p. 16, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Society." The Topeka State Journal, June 9, 1911, p. 10, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Suffragists will call on Gov. Hoch." The Topeka Daily Capital, January 13, 1908, p. 6. https://kansashistoricalopencontent.newspapers.com/image/637
"The Suffrage Tea." The Topeka Daily Capital, November 2, 1912, p. 6, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Suffrage Union Has Been Formed." The Wichita Beacon, February 24, 1916, p. 10, Kansas Historical Open Content.
Thoman, Kate, "Society and Personal: Good Government Club." The Topeka Daily Capital, March 19, 1916, p. 2A, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Timeline." feature part of MyHeritage.com
Topeka Cemetery (Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas), Headstone and Grave Marker for Flora A. Roberts Lindsay (1863-1955), Find a Grave Memorial no. 13942617
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880-Population. myheritagelibraryedition.com
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900-Population. myheritagelibraryedition.com
"Welcoming Reception for Mrs. Blatch." The Topeka Daily Capital, May 14, 1916, p. 2A, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Women Received by the President." The Topeka Daily Capital, February 3, p. 5, Kansas Historical Open Content.
"Women Voters of Kansas Organize Branch of Congressional Union." The Suffragist, March 4, 1916.