Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Alma B. Sasse (Troxell), 1893-1967
By Koffi Lewis and Emmalee Shields, undergraduate students, Northwest Missouri State University. Edited by Dr. Elyssa Ford, Northwest Missouri State University.
Alma Benecke Sasse was born January 26, 1893, in Brunswick, Missouri, to Frederick and Dora Sasse. Her family was influential in the community, and her father and grandfather were involved in politics when she was a child, perhaps sparking her own interest in political action.
In 1911, Alma attended Vassar College in New York, with her family's status helping secure her a spot at the prestigious women's school. After two years there, she moved to the University of Missouri and was a student in the College of Arts and Sciences. While in school, she started to get involved with women's suffrage. In 1915, she was appointed chair of the suffrage committee. She graduated later that same year, and her commitment to suffrage only grew.
The following year, in 1916, Alma took part in the silent suffrage protest in St. Louis, known as the Golden Lane demonstration, held in response to the Democratic National Convention. During this event, the women lined shoulder to shoulder and stood in silence. There were more than 2,000 women involved, filling twelve blocks. The same year, Alma also become secretary of the Missouri Equal Suffrage League, a group that focused on educating Missouri citizens on suffrage and earning the right to vote.
Later in 1916, Alma traveled the country to campaign for suffrage. She spent three months campaigning in West Virginia and Michigan. Due in part to her efforts, women in Michigan were granted suffrage that year. She also was sent to Oklahoma to be part of the state headquarters board there. Throughout this work, Alma continued her involvement in Missouri. She was elected the chair of the Missouri Republican Women's Executive Committee in 1919, making her the youngest ever to be the chair of a political organization. She established the group's headquarters in St. Louis and was sent to different senatorial districts to gain support from influential people to vote women's suffrage into legislation.
Following the passage of the 19th Amendment, Alma released a book called A Handbook for Republican Women, a guide for new women voters. In 1920, she publicly encouraged women to vote for Republicans, arguing that was the party that had granted women suffrage. During the election of 1920, she put her support behind Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge and gave speeches in their favor.
In 1927, Alma wed Alexander R. Troxell, and the two never had children. She began to write more books after her time as a suffragist. She wrote The Mystery of the Chinese Box and Terry Carvel's Theater Caravan and also was the ghost writer for the Nancy Drew novel The Mystery at the Ski Jump. After a long and varied career, Alma Sasse Troxell died on December 18, 1967, in Seattle, Washington, at the age of seventy-four.
- Alma Sasse in a theatrical costume, no date. Photograph from the Benecke family papers at the State Historical Society of Missouri. https://digital.shsmo.org/digital/collection/imc/id/27980
- Alma Sasse with three of her nephews, c. 1910. Photograph from the Benecke family papers at the State Historical Society of Missouri. https://digital.shsmo.org/digital/collection/imc/id/27915/rec/261
- Alma Sasse as a child. Photograph from the Benecke family papers at the State Historical Society of Missouri. https://digital.shsmo.org/digital/collection/imc/id/27843
- Note: there are also images of her in newspaper articles if they are wanted – contact Elyssa Ford, firstname.lastname@example.org for those, if desired.
Alma Sasse appeared regularly in newspapers, including Chariton Courier, MarshalltownEvening Times-Republican,Mexico Weekly Ledger, Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat, ColumbiaEvening Missourian, Greenville Daily Sun, Monett Times, Taney County Republican, St. Louis Star and Times, and Columbia University Missourian. The Benecke family papers, available at the State Historical Society of Missouri, also provide information about Alma's life and work. Some of her suffrage work can be found in the National American Woman Suffrage Association's The History of Woman Suffrage (New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922): 314, 358, 532 [LINK to MO state report] and "History of Woman Suffrage in Missouri," edited by Mary Semple Scott, Missouri Historical Review XIV:3-4 (April-July, 1920): 336, 339, 367. For more on the 1916 silent protest in St. Louis, see Margot McMillen's The Golden Lane: How Missouri Women Gained the Vote and Changed History (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2011).