Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Amy Cresswell Bell Dunne, 1873-?
By William V. Scott
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/fdunn>. Accessed September 15, 2019.
DUNNE, AMY CRESSWELL BELL (1873–?). Amy Cresswell Bell Dunne, teacher and suffragist, was born at Harrisburg, Van Buren County, Iowa, on November 17, 1873. She was the daughter of John Creswell and Sarah Elizabeth (Johnson) Cresswell. Amy Cresswell moved to San Antonio, Texas, at an early age and was a graduate of San Antonio High School; she later became a schoolteacher. Cresswell married Bascom Bell, a San Antonio attorney, on January 10, 1897, in Brewster County, Texas. Bell and Cresswell divorced; however, they had one daughter, Eleanor C. Bell. By 1910 Cresswell was society section editor for the San Antonio Light and Gazette and married her fellow newspaperman William Louis Dunne on March 17, 1911. They had one son, William L. Dunne, Jr. Her husband was involved in a colonization attempt in Mexico under Porfirio Díaz. He took part of a counterrevolution with San Antonio liquor dealer, Dan de Villiers, in an attempt to assassinate Francisco Madero. The conspirators were agents of Andres Garza Galan, an avid Diaz supporter.
Throughout Texas, suffrage organizations formed in Dallas, Houston, Galveston, and San Antonio. In 1913 the Texas Equal Suffrage Association held its convention in San Antonio, and seven local chapters sent delegates. At the convention Mary Eleanor Brackenridge, the organizer and leader of the San Antonio society, was elected as president. Amy Cresswell Dunne served on the legislative committee in 1915. Soon after, the Texas Federation endorsed woman suffrage. By 1925 Dunne lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, and in 1927 she moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Department of the Interior. Amy Cresswell Dunne also worked for a sugar economist and finally as a clerk for the Veterans Administration. In 1933 she served as Historian General for the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and in this role edited a variety of publications including the 1933 Lineage Book of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Census records for 1940 place her, William, and their son William L. Dunne, Jr., and daughter-in-law Bessie C. Dunne in Washington, D.C. The date and location of her death and burial is unknown.
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). Minnie Fisher Cunningham Papers, University of Houston Library Archives. Jane Y. McCallum Papers, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. Ruthe Winegarten and Judith N. McArthur, eds., Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Texas (Austin: Temple, 1987; College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2015).