Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Almira Elizabeth Hood Sweeten, 1863-1949
By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian
Suffragist Almira Elizabeth (Hood) Sweeten, the daughter of Louis and Martha (Price) Hood, was born in November 1863 in Howard County, Maryland. Almira Hood married William Clark Sweeten. They had a son named George Clark Sweeten, born on October 16, 1880. She and her son, an attorney, established a real estate business in Washington, D.C.
In November 1913 Almira Sweeten was among one hundred suffragists who stood near polling places in Baltimore, Maryland, to hand out suffrage literature. She remarked to the press that generally she met courteous people except for a politician who threw the literature to the ground and claimed that he would have nothing "to do with suffrage."
In 1914, to help stimulate the cotton market in the South, the National American Woman Suffrage Association's treasurer sent checks to southern states' suffrage association presidents. As a member of the Just Government League (JGL) in Baltimore, Maryland, Sweeten was appointed chair of a committee to buy a bale of cotton in October that year. Also, in October 1914, Sweeten represented the Baltimore JGL at a semi-annual convention held in Annapolis, Maryland. The Baltimore association was among the seven local leagues attending the event.
The Just Government League participated in many activities of the Congressional Union, later the National Woman's Party. Sweeten organized a contingent of Democratic women from Maryland to meet with President Woodrow Wilson in January 1915. Edna Latimer, of Annapolis, assisted Sweeten. A large group, including women from other states, made their way in "gayly decorated" automobiles and on foot to the White House. They met the president on January 6, urging him to support the Bristow-Mondell suffrage resolution before the next session of Congress. In February 1915 Sweeten hosted the JGL at its headquarters. By September 1915 Sweeten was in San Francisco, attending the convention announced by Lucy Burns, vice president of the Congressional Union.
In March 1916 Sweeten hosted the suffragists of Baltimore at her home. She invited Mary O'Toole, a Washington, D.C., lawyer, to make an address to the group. By April Sweeten was in charge of transportation for Maryland suffragists to travel to Chicago in June. Suffragists from across the United States would participate in a suffrage parade to impress upon the national Republican Convention delegates, who were meeting in Chicago, the importance of enfranchising women. In January 1917 Sweeten was among the Congressional Union delegates from Maryland who picketed in front of the White House.
After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Sweeten continued to be active in the JGL of Baltimore. In April 1920 she submitted names of delegates to its annual meeting. In April the following year, Sweeten joined a group of National Woman's Party members, who talked to President Warren G. Harding about removing discriminatory verbiage against women in federal laws. Sweeten, a delegate of the National Woman's Party from Maryland, attended the Women's Industrial Conference held in Washington, D.C., in January 1916. In February 1927 a National Woman's Party group, including Sweeten, had a meeting with President Calvin Coolidge, asking him "to support the pending equal rights amendment to the Constitution of the United States and to make more appointments of qualified and experienced women to Federal offices." The Maryland Branch of the NWP reported at their February 1929 meeting that Sweeten and other Maryland women had attended the equal rights hearing in Washington, D.C. During the 1930s and 1940s she was active in the Federation of Republican Women.
Between 1920 and 1940 Almira Sweeten and her son George lived in Elk Ridge, Howard County, Maryland and continued working as real estate agents. He preceded her in death, dying on November 27, 1942. She died on March 24, 1949, in Baltimore. Both mother and son are buried in the Melville United Method Church Cemetery in Elk Ridge.
Baltimore (Md.) Sun, November 30, 1942. District of Columbia, Marriage Records, 1810-1953, accessed on Ancestry.com on April 10, 2020. Equal Rights 12 (January 23, 1926) and 15:1 (February 9, 1929). Evening Sun (Baltimore, Md.), November 4, 1913; January 2 and 6, 1915; March 20, 1949. Evening Sun (Washington, D.C.), January 3 and August 29, 1915; April 7, 1921; February 13, 1927; July 15, 1931; October 27, 1940; November 28, 1943. Maryland Suffrage News (Baltimore, Md.), October 3 and 24, 1914; January 2 and February 27, 1915; April 1, 1916; April 17, 1920. The Suffragist (January 24, 1917). U.S. Census, 1870, District 1, Howard County, Maryland. U.S. Census, 1910, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland. U.S. Census, 1920, 1930 and 1940, Elk Ridge, Howard County, Maryland. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, for Baltimore, Maryland, in 1895, 1905, and 1911 accessed on Ancestry.com on April 10, 2020. U.S. Find A Grave Index for George Clark Sweeten and Almira Elizabeth Sweeten, 1600s-Current, accessed on Ancestry.com on April 10, 2020. U.S., WWII Registration Card for George Clark Sweeten. "Women Gather in Washington to Demand Industrial Equality" Equal Rights 12 (January 23, 1926).