Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Matilda Allison Porter, 1873-1961

By Rogers Barde, Genealogist and Researcher, Paris, Kentucky

Matilda Porter was born in Nashville in 1873 to Alex and Minnie B. Porter. Her father worked for the Tennessee Oil Company. Matilda lived in Nashville for over eight decades.

Porter held a number of positions with the Nashville Woman Suffrage Association, including chair of ward organization, and the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Association in the years leading up to ratification of the 19th amendment. During World War I, Porter was state war chairman of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association. She headed fundraising activities of the state organization that contributed to the National American Woman Suffrage Association goal of providing four all-female staffed hospitals in France. She also chaired the Red Cross and War Work Committee for the Nashville Woman Suffrage Association. Each Wednesday throughout the war, she supervised suffrage workers making surgical dressings at the Tulane Hotel in Nashville.

After the war, Porter continued her work as organization chairman for the state association. Throughout the months leading up to ratification, she worked incessantly as a member of the lobbying committee for the state association. She was part of a small group that met with legislators at the capitol in Nashville and traveled throughout the state advocating for ratification. With years of organizational and lobbying experience behind her, Porter contributed a great deal to the ultimate success of the Tennessee suffragists.

Matilda Porter never married, died in 1961, and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in the city she loved, Nashville.

Sources, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

"Suffrage League Has Meeting," The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn., November 7, 1916.

The Woman Citizen: The Woman's National Political Weekly, New York, June 1, 1918 and April 26, 1919.

Yellin, Carol Lynn and Sherman, Janice. The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage. Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Iris Publication Group, 1998.


Rose Long Gilmore, Davidson County Women in the World War, 1914-1919 (Nashville, Foster & Parker,1923), p. 184.

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