Biographical Sketch of Franny Laura (Mrs. Willard) Pope

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Franny Laura (Mrs. Willard) Pope, 1875-

By Elliott Barrett, independent historian

Born in July 30, 1875, Fanny Laura Shaw married Willard Pope. Fanny was educated, as she could read and write. After marrying her husband, Willard Pope, in 1899, she moved to Detroit, Michigan where they had their first child. Her husband made his living as an engineer. Their family life was comfortable, and all of their children attended school. She dedicated a large portion of her life to the Women's Rights Movements of the 20th century. Her education levels, and time dedicated to furthering women's suffrage may indicate she was from a wealthier family. During her life as a suffragist, her husband Willard stayed supportive to her and other women of the movement. Fanny Pope died in Michigan in 1961.

Mrs. Pope and many other women contributed to the Michigan win for suffrage in a 1918 state referendum by gathering support from various organizations. With World War 1 happening, many suffragists felt there would be support for voting rights. The results of the election demonstrated this to be true, Mrs. Pope, and many other women campaigned through word of mouth in congressional districts. Campaigning included organizing, petitioning, and budgeting. In addition, fundraising to support their cause was a campaign responsibility. Their campaign had support from organizations that were not suffragist organizations. These organizations included the Michigan Federation of Labor, Anti-Saloon, State Farmers and the Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense. Finally, The Women's Benefit Association, an organization that specialized in life insurance, helped finance these congressional district campaigns along with help from the press. There were, indeed, a wide variety of organizations that were supportive of the Suffrage Movement of the early twentieth-century.

In the History of Woman Suffrage, vol.6, Mrs. Pope and her husband were noted as major fundraising contributors to the 1918 campaign.

Another contribution by Fanny Laura was her help in the organization of The Men's League in Detroit. The Men's League originated in London, eventually finding its way to the United States. The goal of this organization was to help further women's suffrage, but mostly involved men. Her involvement in The Men's League furthered the success of the 1918 Michigan campaign.


Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds, History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, vol. 6 (Fowler & Wells, 1922). [LINK]

Vital Records in Ancestry Library Edition.

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