Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Adda Gould [Mrs. Winfield S.] Quigley, 1864-1920
By Anne M. Boylan, University of Delaware, Emerita
President, Wilmington, Delaware, Equal Suffrage Association; Vice-President, Delaware Equal Suffrage Association
Despite years of dedication to the cause of women's suffrage, Adda Gould Quigley actually voted only once, in 1914 when she ran as a candidate for local school commissioner and won. She did not live to cast a ballot in 1920. In October, 1920, not long after American women won full voting rights through the 19th Amendment, Adda Quigley died at the farm in Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland, to which she had recently retired.
Born Adaline Gould in Wilmington, Delaware, on February 25, 1864, Adda was the daughter of Joseph Harrison Gould, a wholesale and retail butcher, and his wife Charlotte Shaw Gould. In June, 1889, in an Episcopal ceremony at her parents' home Adda married Winfield Scott Quigley, a widower with two children who owned a wholesale grocery business. Adda was the niece of his first wife, Dolores (Lola) Gould Quigley. The couple had two children of their own, Winfield, Jr. (1892-1976) and Charlotte (1898-1988). Winfield S. Quigley was well known in Wilmington as a "stalwart Republican" and defender of African American men's voting rights. A 32nd degree Mason, he held elective office as New Castle County Clerk of the Peace (a salaried position) from 1900 until 1908. In his time, the Clerk of the Peace was a position of great influence, involving serving as clerk of the levy court and having the power to issue all county licenses and to supervise tax collections.
Adda Quigley's public activism began in the 1890s, when she served on a committee seeking a "local option" temperance law from the state legislature and then became State Superintendent for Young Women's Work for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The Delaware WCTU had endorsed woman suffrage in 1888 and its franchise committee chair, Martha Churchman Cranston, a staunch suffrage advocate, became president of the Delaware Equal Suffrage Association at the group's founding in 1895. In that era, the two causes--temperance and suffrage--were closely tied and attracted like-minded women. At WCTU meetings, she would have met and worked with Martha Cranston, and also with leading clubwomen and suffragists such as Emalea Pusey Warner. In 1904, Adda Quigley became president of the Wilmington Equal Suffrage Association, the oldest and largest affiliate of the Delaware Equal Suffrage Association; she remained in the post until 1915, when she and her husband left Wilmington. In addition, she served as vice-president of the Delaware Equal Suffrage Association from 1912 until 1915.
During her term as president, the Wilmington Equal Suffrage Association advocated for a variety of suffrage-related causes, including a municipal suffrage clause in the new Wilmington city charter; school suffrage for tax-paying women; an amendment to the state constitution that would enfranchise all adult women in the state (Delaware's 1897 constitution did not disfranchise African American men); and a suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 1914, she ran for and won a position on the school commission for District 20, encompassing schools in Elsmere, a streetcar suburb on Wilmington's western boundary, where the Quigleys had moved in 1902, and the adjoining Wilmington district of Richardson Park. In February 1913, she and her teenage daughter Charlotte were part of an enthusiastic crowd welcoming Rosalie Gardiner Jones and her suffrage marchers to Wilmington. While Charlotte joined the group as they walked the fifteen-mile segment from Wilmington to Newark, on their way to the March 3 procession in Washington, D.C., Adda followed in her carriage. A march and procession were fine in her estimation, but she took a decided stance against suffrage militancy. When the newly formed Delaware Congressional Union invited the radical British suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, to visit Wilmington during a speaking tour of the U.S., Adda Quigley opposed the move. Speaking as president of the Wilmington Equal Suffrage Association, she told a local reporter, "I would be very sorry to have Mrs. Pankhurst come to Wilmington, and most decidedly would not attend her lecture." Indeed, "I would object to Mrs. Pankhurst coming to Wilmington" at all. (Unlike American militants, Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union sanctioned fire-bombing and other violent actions.)
In 1915, Adda Quigley stepped down from her roles in the Wilmington and Delaware Equal Suffrage Associations, moving to Atlantic City, New Jersey, in order to assist her husband in seeking treatment for his Bright's disease, a life-threatening kidney ailment. He died in June, 1916. Along with her widowed mother, son Winfield and daughter Charlotte, Adda Quigley moved to a farm in Maryland. She died of a stroke in Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland on October 16, 1920, four days after her mother's death (her father had died by suicide in 1900). Her funeral and burial service at the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery was attended by a fifteen-person delegation from the Wilmington Equal Suffrage Association. She was laid to rest alongside her husband and parents.
Basic genealogical information on the Gould and Quigley families can be gleaned from the vital records, decennial censuses, and other materials found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Local newspapers digitized via ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov and Newspapers.com, provide useful details on Adda Quigley's suffrage work, civic commitments, and personal life.
In particular, see these obituaries from Wilmington newspapers:
"Mrs. A. G. Quigley Dead," Morning News, October 18, 1920, p. 2.
"W.S. Quigley Dead After Long Illness," Morning News, June 1, 1916, pp. 1-2.
"Joseph Gould Commits Suicide," Evening Journal April 3, 1900, p. 1.
These articles from Wilmington newspapers proved informative:
"Suffrage Marchers Have a Big Day," Every Evening, February 20, 1913, p. 3
"Local Suffragists Bar Mrs. Pankhurst," Morning News, October 20, 1913, pp. 1, 9.
"To Parade for Equal Suffrage," Every Evening, March 31, 1914, p. 8.
"School Commissioners for Rural Districts," Evening Journal, June 8, 1914, p. 1.
The following secondary works provide context on Delaware's suffrage story and Adda Gould Quigley's activism: Mary R. de Vou, "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Delaware," in Delaware: A History of the First State, ed. H. Clay Reed and Marion Bjornson Reed (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1947), I: 349-70; Carol E. Hoffecker, "Delaware's Woman Suffrage Campaign," Delaware History 20:3 (Spring-Summer, 1983): 149-67; and Anne M. Boylan, Votes for Delaware Women (Newark: University of Delaware Press, forthcoming).