Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Edith Hinkle League, 1871-1960
By Dylan O'Hara and Jessica Brannon-Wranosky
This entry has been republished with special permission from the Handbook of Texas Women, a project of the Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association. <https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fleau>. Accessed September 15, 2019.
LEAGUE, EDITH HINKLE (1871–1960). Edith Hinkle League, suffragist and social worker, was born Edith V. Hinkle in Cumberland, Maryland, on October 30, 1871, to William A. Hinkle and Laura Virginia (Rizer) Hinkle. The Hinkle family moved to Galveston, Texas, sometime in the 1870s. Edith married Clinton Marcus League in April 1892. Edith and Clinton lost three nieces in the Galveston hurricane of 1900, a storm that claimed between 6,000 and 12,000 lives and devastated the city of Galveston and its residents, including the Hinkle and the League families. By 1901 records show Edith was living in the home of her parents in Galveston and by 1903 worked as a stenographer and treasurer. Records indicate that the couple divorced prior to 1908, because Clinton M. League remarried that year in Butte, Montana. For the rest of her life, Edith listed herself in records as a "widow," a common practice for divorced women during the time.
By 1910 Edith Hinkle League lived in San Antonio and worked as a stenographer in a law office. In 1916 she accepted a paid position as the headquarters secretary of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association (TESA), where she worked alongside Minnie Fisher Cunningham, a fellow former Galvestonian and TESA president. As secretary for TESA, League helped organize the association's activities and catalog finances. The majority of her office work dealt with correspondence, keeping track of where key suffragists could be reached. TESA executive board member Jane Y. McCallum, who authored the chapter on suffrage in Texas in History of Woman Suffrage (1922), made note of League in her chapter and credited her with making much of Cunningham's travels and advocacy possible by logging long hours, organizing paperwork, and raising money. League worked especially closely with Cunningham and other state suffrage leaders, and she also regularly corresponded with national suffrage leaders and organizers, including Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. League also served with Cunningham and other Texas suffragists and clubwomen on the Woman's Campaign for Good Government, a committee of Texas women leaders who served a critical role in the impeachment and removal of Texas governor James E. Ferguson from office in 1917.
After the federal suffrage amendment passed in 1920, Edith League did not remain in Texas much longer. That year she worked as a mailing clerk for the Texas Department of Education in Austin. By the following year she moved to California, and by 1930 she was working as a caseworker/social worker for "County Charities" and living with her sister and niece and in Los Angeles. California voter registrar records show that she consistently registered to vote (as a Democrat) for decades, not surprising for someone who was such an active suffragist.
She died in Los Angeles on March 12, 1960, and her ashes were interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Jessica S. Brannon-Wranosky, "Southern Promise and Necessity: Texas, Regional Identity, and the National Woman Suffrage Movement, 1868–1920" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas, 2010). Jessica Brannon-Wranosky and Bruce A. Glasrud, eds., Impeached: The Removal of Texas Governor James E. Ferguson, A Centennial Examination (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2017). Minnie Fisher Cunningham Papers, University of Houston Library Archives. Judith N. McArthur and Harold L. Smith, Minnie Fisher Cunningham: A Suffragist's Life in Politics(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). Jane Y. McCallum Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.