Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Getty Whitcomb Drury, 1852-1923
By Isabelle Roberts, undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park
Born in Hawkesbury, Canada on January 27, 1852, Getty Whitcomb was the eldest of nine children born to James and Margaret Whitcomb. While both her parents had been Canadian residents all their lives, Getty's family immigrated to Hustisford, Wisconsin in 1855 when she was just four years old. James Whitcomb worked as a farmer and a banker. At 19 years old, Getty Whitcomb married Walter E. Drury of Girard, Pennsylvania, becoming Getty Whitcomb Drury in 1871. After the birth of their first child, Clementina, in 1875, their family moved to Pender, in Thurston County, Nebraska, where Getty gave birth to their second daughter, Frances, in 1879. It is in Pender that Getty's activist career began.
For many years, Getty worked with Nebraska's Equal Suffrage/Women's Suffrage Association, serving in various positions, including state treasurer, district president, vice president, and corresponding secretary. As the president of her district and a local leader, Getty worked with local women in continuing to raise moral and financial support for the suffrage movement. She would often hold meetings in her house and host banquets for the women working with her in the fight for suffrage. Most work, written and spoken, included: tributes to past/prominent suffragists, voting etiquette, local work reports, and tips on successful fundraising. The majority of recorded pieces consist of these local work reports, which were essentially detailed summaries of the specific and current work Getty and the women of her district were doing in order to further develop their movement. Getty W. Drury and the women from her district set an exemplary model of the type of work being achieved on a small local scale. Getty's name often appeared in both local and suffrage newspapers such as The Women's Tribune. She also edited columns in the Republican, a Nebraska-based newspaper.
In a newspaper piece written and edited by Getty, she stated, "Oh, man! Blind and stupid, not to see why woman should have a hand in the government: come here and learn." This came in response to visiting a group home in San Francisco, built and managed by girls, aged 6-14 years old. She was superbly passionate about women's suffrage as well as ethical practices regarding general human and voting rights. In many articles and speeches given by Getty, she would discuss her observations about corrupt voting practices, such as selling votes, and discrimination against Native American men.
At conferences held by the Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association, Getty W. Drury often appeared as a speaker. In 1892, the 24th annual meeting for the National Woman Suffrage Association was held in Pender, Nebraska. Getty W. Drury and citizens of Pender had covered all expenses for this conference, undoubtedly relying on Getty's knack for fundraising.
As early as 1890, Getty was reportedly widowed but her suffragist work continued until she moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1905. Once relocated, Getty worked as a home keeper. On February 5, 1923, Getty W. Drury died from a heart attack at the age of 71 years old. Her obituary stated, "Pioneer Woman Dies."
"Abstracts of State Reports." Woman's Tribune, 11 Feb. 1893, p. 34+. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
"Among the Workers." Woman's Tribune, 16 Feb. 1889, p. . Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
Colby, Clara Bewick, et al. "Letter of Nebraska... W. S. A. to the Republican Party Convention." Woman's Tribune, 11 June 1892, p. 148. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
"Constitution of the Nebraska... Woman Suffrage Association." Woman's Tribune, 30 May 1896, p. 55. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
"Extracts from Correspondence." Woman's Tribune, 23 Sept. 1905, p. 67. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
Gregg, Laura A. "Nebraska." Woman's Journal, 10 Nov. 1900, p. 360. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
Idaho Evening Times; Publication Date: 6 Feb/ 1923; Publication Place: Twin Falls, Idaho, United States of America; URL: https://www.newspapers.com/image/566230773/?article=2ffb7883-5454-44af-a71e-3f7a700cf10d&focus=0.3170321,0.35365966,0.44623008,0.48346704&xid=2378
Idaho, Death Records, 1890-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Mead, Rebecca. "The Woman Suffrage Movement in The United States." Oxford Research Encyclopedias, March 2018, American History, DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.013.17
"Mrs. Getty W. Drury Edits a Column for Woman Suffrage in the Pender, (Neb.) Republican." Woman's Tribune, 15 Feb. 1890, p. 53. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
National American Woman Suffrage Association. The Handbook of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the ... Annual Convention. Stormont & Jackson, 1893. Washington. Accessed via GoogleBooks