Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Frances M. Standrod Nicholas, 1872-1929
By Margaret R. Curry, attorney (retired); Vice Regent, Captain John Oldham Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution; member of Nevada County Historical Society, Nevada City, California.
Activist - Woman Suffrage in Reno, Nevada
Frances M. Standrod was born in 1872 at Rockcastle, Trigg County, Kentucky to Dr. Samuel "Sam" Standrod and Elvira Campbell Standrod. Dr. Standrod was a well-known physician and surgeon in the area. Sometime after 1873, following the death of his wife, Dr. Standrod moved to Malad, Idaho with Frances, and two of her brothers.
Frances was educated at the Sacred Heart Academy in Ogden, Utah, where she received various academic awards. She married Frank R. Nicholas, a civil engineer, at Salt Lake City, Utah on July 3, 1891. In 1892, while living in Omaha, Nebraska, Frances gave birth to her son, Robert Lee Nicholas. Sometime thereafter, the Nicholas family moved to Pocatello, Idaho and lived there until about 1902, when Frances' husband relocated to Nevada for work.
In 1907, Frances' husband was appointed the State Engineer for Nevada. He and Frances became well-known Reno socialites and participated in community activities. Frances was active with the Reno branch of the Twentieth Century Club, a national woman's club, involved with welfare and educational projects, social activities, and discussion groups focusing on current events. She became the club's president in 1909.
Frances was no stranger to politics. Her brother, William Drew Standrod, an attorney and judge in Idaho, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Idaho and for the U.S. Senate. Her husband, Frank R. Nicholas was often embroiled in political issues as the state engineer. In 1910, after being forced to resign from that position, Mr. Nicholas ran for governor of Nevada; while Frances became involved with the woman's suffrage movement.
The movement in Nevada began when the president of the New York Equal Suffrage Association asked University of Nevada history professor, Jeanne Weir, to start a Nevada branch of the association. Professor Weir called an organizational meeting for this purpose in 1910, and Frances was among many prominent women, who attended. Frances was appointed corresponding secretary at that meeting.
The Reno Equal Franchise Society formally started in January 1911, and Frances was an active member. She worked to ensure the success of the society's goals holding meetings at her home and attending numerous other meetings and events. She became one of organization's vice presidents and was instrumental in getting the suffrage resolution for a constitutional amendment before the Nevada State legislature.
She was not afraid to speak out in support of the movement. In response to an interview by Mary Garden, a world-famous operatic soprano of the day, critical of the suffragists, Frances stated: "When Mary Garden says that woman who believe in equal suffrage are 'frumps,' she does not know what she is talking about. . . . I think a little investigation on her part would convince her that she is wrong. . . . I am interested in the issue of women's suffrage because I believe the women should have equal representation in political matters with men and should be able to talk learnedly with their husbands on the subject of politics and also have a voice in the making of the laws. . . . "
Frances's efforts on behalf of woman suffrage seems to have ended when her husband relocated to Seattle, Washington for work. Frances died on March 23, 1929 and is buried at the Queen Anne Columbarium in Seattle.
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In the Realm of Society (column). Nevada State Journal, August 13, 1911; p. 5.
"Large Entertainment by Century Club." Nevada State Journal, May 28, 1911; p. 8.
"Mary Garden Has Aroused Reno Women, Her Interview in which She Brands Suffragettes in General as 'Frumps' Does Not Meet with Approval of Local 'Workers for Votes for Women.'" Reno Evening Gazette, May 12, 1911; pp.1-2
"Nevada's Banner, in a New York Parade." The Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1911; p.3.
"Official Explanation of 'Steam Roller' Tactics Contained in Report of Executive Committee of Equal Franchise Society." Reno Gazette Journal, March 11, 1913; p 10.
"Organization of Equal Suffrage, Woman Plan State Association and Campaign in Next Two Years." Nevada State Journal, Saturday, April 15, 1911; p. 3.
Reno Society Notes (Column). Reno Evening Gazette, September 17, 1910; p. 6.
Society (column). Nevada State Journal, March 28, 1909; p. 8.
Society (column). Nevada State Journal, August 29, 1909; p. 9.
Society Notes, Notice of Equal Franchise Society Meeting. Reno Evening Gazette, June 15, 1911; p. 6
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper. 1887. History of Woman Suffrage Volume VI, pp. 384-387. [LINK]
"Suffrage Movement is Launched Great Enthusiasm is displayed at First Mass Meeting." Nevada State Journal, January 29, 1911; p. 1.
"Suffragists to Invade Nevada." Carson City Daily Appeal, January 12, 1910; p. 2.
"The Sacred Heart Academy, an Ogden Institution which Stands Foremost – Creditable Record of Idaho Pupils." Wood River Times (Hailey, Idaho), July 26, 1887; p.3.
"Woman's Suffrage Has Friends in Senate in Hour of Great Need, Resolution Has Passed Both Houses." Nevada State Journal, March 14, 1911; p. 1.