Biographical Sketch of Myra Browne Koenig

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Myra Browne Koenig, 1890-1971

By Kelly R. Horwitz, attorney at Benedon & Serlin, LLP

President and founding member of the Columbiana Equal Suffrage Association, 1915-1917(?); Auditor of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association, 1915-1916; Member of Alabama Equal Suffrage Association Resolutions Committee, 1915; delegate to National American Woman Suffrage Association Annual Convention, 1916.

Myra Browne was born in Columbiana, Alabama on January 27, 1890 to William and Mary Elizabeth (Roper) Browne. Her father was a lawyer, mayor of Columbiana and Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee in Shelby County. He also was a lineal descendent of William Bradford, the second governor of Plymouth colony.

Myra married Frederick Gilman Koenig, Sr., a lawyer, on April 15, 1914 in Columbiana, Alabama. Frederick practiced law with Myra's father in Columbiana until 1924 at which time they moved to Birmingham. Myra and Frederick had two children: Frederick, Jr. and Myra. Frederick Sr. died in 1949; Myra died on December 17, 1971 in Montgomery, Alabama. Both are buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Columbiana formed its Equal Suffrage Association on January 9, 1915 at which time Koenig was elected president. The following month, she attended the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association's convention in Tuscaloosa where she was appointed to the convention's Resolutions Committee. Koenig also was elected auditor of the state association at the convention.

When the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association filed articles of incorporation in the Birmingham probate court on February 7, 1916, Koenig was identified as one of its trustees. Incorporation of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association allowed the organization to "hold stock, to own real estate and to inherit fortunes."

Koenig was chosen to be part of the Alabama delegation to the National American Woman Suffrage Association's convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1916.

Koenig attended the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association's convention in 1917 in Birmingham and stayed to participate in suffrage school following the convention. Suffrage school was sponsored by the National Suffrage Association to train participants in such areas of suffrage work as organization, press and publicity, and public speaking.

In 1919, Koenig was appointed to a statewide committee of the Alabama Equal Suffrage Association which was focused on mounting an effort to lobby the Alabama Legislature to pass the Susan B. Anthony suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This effort proved to be unfruitful with the Alabama House of Representatives voting 59-31 to reject the constitutional amendment. Alabama did not ratify the 19th Amendment until September 8, 1953.

 

The Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama) · 2 Jul 1916, Sun · Page 26

Sources:

"Koenig-Browne Wedding," The Tuscaloosa News, April 16, 1914, p. 3.

"President of Columbiana E.S.A.," The Birmingham News, July 2, 1916, p. 26.

"Woman Suffrage," The Birmingham News, Aug. 20, 1916, p. 24.

"President's Report," Alabama Suffrage Report, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Feb. 1916) p. 3.

Alabama Suffrage Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 2, Feb. 1917, pp. 2-3.

"Suffragists of State Gather at Magic City Meet," The Montgomery Advertiser, Feb. 13, 1917, p. 5.

"Woman Suffrage," The Birmingham News, March 18, 1917, p. 38.

"State Committee for Suffrage Named," The Montgomery Advertiser, July 11, 1919, p. 11.

"Suffrage Given Final Blow Here," The Montgomery Advertiser, Sept. 18, 1919, p. 1.

Daniel, Myra Lewis & Lewis, Herbert J., "Shelby County Pioneers: The Sterrett, Roper, and Browne Families," Shelby County Historical Society Quarterly, Sept. 2002, pp. 6-9.

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