Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Jenova Martin, 1866-1937

By Victoria Cudmore, undergraduate, State University College at Oneonta

Jenova Martin was born in Norway in 1866. According to Anna Marie Peterson, she may have married a working-class man, but his name is unknown.

Martin took great pride in her Norwegian roots. She was one of the founders of the Scandinavian Voting Association and first president of Minnesota's Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association from 1907 to 1913. She made sure that these organizations differed from any other in Minnesota by strongly emphasizing the ethnic background of the members. Martin wrote poetry, plays, and books as well as delivered suffragist speeches in her native language. In 1914, for example, when the legislature in North Dakota prepared to vote on an women's suffrage amendment to the state constitution, Martin traveled to the state to deliver speeches in both English and Norwegian, and to advise suffragists there.

For at least thirteen years (1909 to 1922), Martin utilized her literary talents and often contributed editorials to newspapers such as the Star Tribune and the Minneapolis Star, expressing her progressive ideas. She belonged to several clubs, including the Progressive Literary Club.

Jenova Martin died March 5, 1937 at the age of 71 in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Sources: The most useful source is Anna Marie Peterson, Minnesota's Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association (accessed December 15, 2018). See also, Jenova Martin, Zoharita: Play in Five Acts by Mistocles & Jenova (Minneapolis, MN: Hamann Press, 1917; Alma A. Guttersen, Souvenir: Norse-American Women 1825-1925 (Saint Paul, MN: Lutheran Free Church Publishing Company, 1926), 198-99; "State Suffragists Hear Dr. Anna Howard Shaw," Star Tribune November 11, 1908, 8; "Home Life Suffers by Commercial Life," Star Tribune, November 12, 1908, 1-2; "An Appeal in Behalf of the Suffrage Right for Women," Star Tribune, January 24, 1909, 9; "Suffragists Plan Campaign," Star Tribune, February 18, 1910, 7; "Workers' Equal Suffrage League," Star Tribune, May 29, 1910, 18; "Reform Uplift Seen in Votes for Women," Star Tribune, October 25, 1910, 6; "Minneapolis Women's Committee," Progressive Woman, February 1, 1911, 16; "Woman Suffragists Clash at Election," Star Tribune, October 8, 1911, 14; "Miss Isabel Austin Lauds Co-education," Star Tribune, December 28, 1913, 48; "Minneapolis Women Speak for Suffrage in Dakota Campaign," Star Tribune, October 18, 1914, 38; Elizabeth Loetscher, "Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association, (accessed December 15, 2018); Jenova Martin's papers are located Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN:; Minnesota Historical Society Death Certificate Index [online]: (accessed December 13, 2018).

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