Biographical Sketch of Christine Orrick Fordyce

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Christine Orrick Fordyce, 1873-1919

By Francesca Griffero, University of Missouri

Christine Orrick was born on August 12, 1873 in New Haven, Connecticut to John Cromwell Orrick (1840-1900) and Penelope Pope Allen Orrick (1841-1915). Christine received her Bachelor of Arts degree, in Latin and French, from Bryn Mawr in 1899. After graduating, Christine when on to teach at Mary Institute from 1899 until her marriage to William Chadick Fordyce (1871-1966) in 1902. Together they had four children; William C. Fordyce (1903-1995), Allen Orrich Fordyce (1905-1987), Christine Fordyce (1910-1960), and Garard Fordyce (1912-1933). Christine Orrick Fordyce died on April 15, 1919 at the age of 45 from carcinoma of the stomach.

Suffrage work was in Christine's blood. Her grandmother, Mrs. Beverly Allen, and her mother, Mrs. John Orrick, were both prominent in the first St. Louis suffrage organization in 1867. As president of the St. Louis Equal Suffrage League from 1916-1917, Christine petitioned the Missouri Legislature and is most famously quoted as saying "Gentlemen, 50 years ago, my grandmother came before you asking for the enfranchisement of women; 25 years ago, my mother came to make the same request; tonight, I am asking for the ballot. Are you going to make it necessary for my daughter to appear in her turn?" For her memorable words and dedication to suffrage, her name was posted on the Missouri League of Women Voters Honor Roll plaque installed at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City in 1931. Christine wrote an essay about the beginning of the suffrage movement in Missouri titled "Early Beginnings" that was published posthumously in volume 14 of the Missouri Historical Review. Unfortunately, Christine died just before the 19th amendment was ratified to the U.S. Constitution.

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