Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mary C. Sauter Franzman, 1864-1952

NAWSA Suffragist, Leader of Nevada Women's Citizen Club

Written by, Pat Roberts and Serene Williams, faculty at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, Atherton, California

Mrs. Mary C. Sauter was born in Chaska, Minnesota in 1864. Her father was born in Germany and her mother was born in Pennsylvania. She was married at age 24 to John Franzman and they had four children: Hattie M. Franzman, Herbert J. Franzman, Eugene Roy Franzman and George W. Franzman.

Mary Franzman had a long career in civic engagement and was an active member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in the campaign for women's suffrage in the state of Nevada. The suffrage campaign in that state was difficult and at times contentious. In 1915 Mary Franzman and eleven other activists signed on to an editorial in the Reno Gazette-Journal written by suffragists affiliated with the Woman's Citizen's Club who distanced themselves from the militancy they felt was being promoted by Anne Martin. The editorial stated,

"The Woman's Citizens' Club is a democratic organization. Its purpose is the study of civic conditions and the participation in movements for public welfare. We consider the Nevada Civic League, of which Miss Martin is president, an autocratic organization...."

In 1917 Mary worked as an inspector who was tasked with checking school bond spending throughout Washoe County. In addition to this job, she continued to be involved in a large number of civic organizations. Mary served on a committee of women from Reno alongside Maud Gassaway and Minnie Flanigan who all helped to coordinate a citywide celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. She was also active in the Nevada Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and hosted a meeting for the WCTU at her home to organize a women's special train headed to a meeting of the Nevada legislature. In addition to work with the WCTU, she hosted a meeting at her home in 1920 of the Reno Woman's Americanization board, which aimed to help immigrants feel welcome in that city.

Mary Franzman remained politically active well beyond the ratification of the 19th amendment. In 1928 Mary was elected to the Republican National Committee. She passed away in 1952 and is buried in a shared plot with her husband John in Mountain View Cemetery in Reno Nevada.#x200e#x200e


1. "Americanization is Club's Program" Reno Gazette-Journal, September 27, 1922

2. Anthony, S. B., Gage, M. J., Harper, I. H., & Stanton, E. C. (1881). The History of woman suffrage. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association. [LINK]

3. Binheim, Max. "Women in the West; a series of biographical sketches of living eminent women in the eleven western states of the United States of America" 1928 edition,

4. "Citizens' Club Won't Affiliate" Reno Gazette-Journal, March 20, 1915

5. Mary C. Sauter Franzman,

6. Mary Catherine Souter Franzman,

7. "Reno Women Ready to Celebrate Victory" Reno Gazette-Journal, August 26, 1920

8. "Republicans Name Many Candidates for Delegates" Reno Gazette-Journal, March 17, 1920

9. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch( : accessed 23 February 2020), Mary E Franzman in household of John Franzman, Reno Ward 6, Washoe, Nevada, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 73, sheet 9A, family 222, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 859; FHL microfilm 1,374,872.

10. "W.C.T.U. Members Going to Carson" Reno Gazette-Journal, February 4, 1920

11. Year: 1920; Census Place: Reno, Washoe, Nevada; Roll: T625_1005; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 53

12. Year: 1930; Census Place: Reno, Washoe, Nevada; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0005; FHL microfilm: 2341032

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