Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Lillian Story Griffin, 1875-1945
By Jodi Oaks, Librarian, Mohawk Valley Community College
Lillian Story was born in July 1875 to William and Catherine Story. On September 12, 1899, she married Robert M. Griffin, who was born in November 1872. They lived in Manhattan, NY and on the 1910 United States Census her occupation was listed as "Christian Science Practitioner." Later, Griffin attended the Woman's Law Class at New York University. This was a three-year course in the University's School of Law, sponsored by the Woman's Legal Education Society. Griffin graduated from the program in 1917.
Griffin was active in the Woman Suffrage Party, a New York City political organization founded in 1909 by Carrie Chapman Catt. Griffin served as chairman of the party's Political Committee and Political Workers' Organization. She is often noted as a speaker during the party's campaign for woman suffrage. In 1915 she headed up the Congressional committee of the Woman Suffrage Party. In 1917, Griffin served as chairman of the Elections Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Griffin also served as vice president of the Post Parliament Club, and on the board of directors for the Honest Ballot Association, an election reform association.
After ratification of the 19th Amendment, Griffin remained politically active, speaking on various issues, including prison reform efforts. In 1930, as a member of the Crime Commission of New York State, she presented a talk on the "problems of New York prisons" to the Westchester County Women's Republican Club and was referred to as a "penal expert." Griffin was active with the New York City Federation of Women's Clubs, serving in various roles, including chairman of the Legislative Committee. In addition, Griffin served as chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Women Lawyers' Association in New York City. Griffin died on May 8, 1945 in Manhattan.
Name variations in sources include, Lillian S. Griffin, Lillian Griffin, and Mrs. Robert Griffin. Her work for the Woman Suffrage Party is documented in The Woman Voter, a monthly journal published by the NWP. For more on her suffrage activities, see "Talk Suffrage In Squares: Votes For Women Advocates Plan Tour Of The City Today," New York Times, August 2, 1913, 3; "Big Suffrage Doings," South Side Signal, June 5, 1914, 1; "Suffrage Campaign Begun," New York Times, June 8, 1914, 4; "Suffragists Plan Market," New York Times, June 22, 1914, 4; "Suffragists Seek to Reach Hearts Through Stomachs," New York Tribune, July 1, 1914, 2; "Discuss New Constitution," The Evening Post, July 24, 1914, 4; "Stimson To Head Platform Drafters," New York Times, July 25, 1914, 6; "Suffragists Swoop Down on Saratoga," New York Tribune, August, 15, 1914, 14; "Suffragists at Camden," The Evening Post, November 6, 1914, 4; "To Speak for Five Parties," New York Tribune, October 21, 1914, 4; "School for Watchers," The New Rochelle Pioneer, August 14, 1915, 5; "Week's Social Doings on Staten Island," New York Tribune, August 15, 1915, part IV, p 2; "Report Elections Committee" in The Hand Book of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the Forty-Ninth Annual Convention, ed. Nettie Rogers Shuler (New York: National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, Inc., 1917), 69-70. On her time in NYU Women's Law Class, see "Woman's Law Class" in Women Lawyers Journal, v.6, 1916-1917 (New Jersey: Fred B. Rothman & Co., 1971), 68; "Woman's Law Class," New York University Bulletin, Annual Catalogue, February 1918, 326. On other political and club work, see "What the Women's Clubs are Doing," New York Tribune, March 18, 1917, part IV, p 1; "Women on Board of Honest Ballot Body," New York Tribune, October 10, 1918, 11; Club Women of New York, 1921-1922 (New York: Club Women of New York Company, 1921) 253; Rose Falls Bres, "Clubwomen Working For Motor Law Uniformity" New York Times, January 6, 1924, A4; "Women Want Only Americans High Up: Adopt Resolution Favoring Bar Against Foreign-born In Important Government Posts," New York Times, February 7, 1925, 17; "Favors Fining Non-Voters," New York Times, February 5, 1926, 9; "Woman Lawyer to Give Address at Club Meet," The Daily Press, March 7, 1930, 7; "G.O.P. to Hear Woman Lawyer," Tarrytown Daily News, March 10, 1930, 12; "Present Defects of Parole System Blamed for Unrest in Prisons by Penal Expert," The Daily Press, March 16, 1930, 3; "Clubwomen Urge Matrons In Courts: Federation Also Seeks Better Female Prisoners' Facilities In Kings And Queens," New York Times, October 24, 1931, 15; "Mrs. Kross Scores Vice Case Methods: Convinced By First Week On Bench Prostitution Should Be Taken Out Of Courts," New York Times, January 14, 1934, 24. Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, 1895, "New Jersey State Census: Lillian F Story in household of William E Story, Montclair Township, Essex, New Jersey, United States." Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, "New Jersey, Marriages, 1670-1980: Robert M Griffin and Lillian F Story, 12 Sep 1899." U.S. Census Bureau, 1900, "Lillian Griffin in household of Robert Griffin, Borough of Manhattan, Election District 32-33 New York City Ward 31, New York County, New York, United States." New York County Clerk, 1905, "New York State Census: Lillian S Griffin in household of Robert M Griffin, Manhattan, A.D. 31, E.D. 30, New York, New York." U.S. Census Bureau, 1910, "Lillian S Griffin in household of Robert M Griffin, Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York, United States." New York Municipal Archives, 1945, "New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949: Lillian Story Griffin, 08 May 1945; Manhattan, New York, New York, United States."
Image of Lillian (Story) Griffin, 1875-1945:
"(Original Caption) Suffrage committee that met a committee of Republicans at Republican headquarters, July 24th, to discuss suffrage question. Left to right: Miss Carolin Lexow, Mrs. John W. Brennan, Harriet Stanton Blatch, Miss Roberta Hill, Mrs. Raymond Brown, Mrs. Lillian Griffin, Mrs. Martha W. Suffern."
Getty Images, Bettmann, Suffrage Women Posing for Camera, July 24, 1914, https://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/news-photo/suffrage-committee-that-met-a-committee-of-republicans-at-news-photo/515108626.