Biographical Sketch of Jane Wilkie Manning Skolfield

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Jane Wilkie Manning Skolfield, 1866-1935

By Patricia Lyn Scott, independent historian, co-editor, Women in Utah History: Paradigm or Paradox? Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2005.

Member, Utah State House of Representatives.

Board member, Utah Council of Women Voters.

Jane Wilkie Manning was born May 19, 1866, on a farm in Wilson Lane in Weber County, Utah, the sixth of ten children of Henry William and Margaret Galbraith Manning. Her father was a skilled carpenter born in England while her mother was born in Scotland. Both were Mormon Church converts whose families immigrated in 1854 to Utah and were married shortly after their arrival. On February 15, 1886, she married Jedediah Ballantyne (1867-1950). They became the parents of two children, Jennie Manning Ballantyne (1887-1968) and Jedediah Mazel Ballantyne (1889-1965). Their marriage was an unhappy one and they divorced in 1891.

As a single mother, Jane Manning Ballantyne attended classes at Weber Academy and established a dress shop with seven assistant seamstresses. She raised enough money to attend Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in Provo graduating in 1895. Furthering her education, she received a special diploma from the Chicago Kindergarten College and continued her studies in Mothers' Kindergarten work in Chautauqua, New York. She returned to Provo and was appointed as a supervisor and instructor in the kindergarten department at BYA. She also organized two kindergartens and three training classes for kindergarten teachers in Ogden and at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, plus organizing the Ogden Free Kindergarten Association.

Jane Manning married Samuel Reed Skolfield (1860-1930) on April 11, 1897 and they soon moved to Denver, Colorado, where he worked as an electrical engineer. They became the parents of two more children, Samuel Howard Skolfield (1899-1974) and Elizabeth Skolfield (1902-1979). In Denver, she became involved with family, church, and various civic organizations, including the Denver Philosophical Society and the local Federation of Women's Clubs.

Jane Manning Skolfield was determined to fulfill her life's dream of becoming a doctor and entered medical school just months after the birth of her last child. On May 16, 1907, she graduated from the Denver and Gross Medical College. The family moved to Salt Lake City where she became Utah's first female intern admitted to any Utah hospital staff. For twenty-five years, "Dr. Jane" served as a member of the staff of the LDS Hospital and an instructor and supervisor of its nursing school. Reportedly, she delivered more than 3,000 babies. She was a widely known lecturer and an active member of local, state, and national medical associations. On February 11, 1935, Dr. Jane Wilkie Manning Ballantyne Skolfield died in Salt Lake City, Utah.

While Dr. Jane was a supporter of civic activities, she was committed to women's causes and member of numerous organizations including the Ladies Literary Club, Utah Women's Press Club, and a charter member of Utah Businesswomen's Club. On September 20, 1912, she was one of four women nominated as Republican candidates for the Utah State House of Representatives. During her campaign, the Salt Lake Tribune reported she expressed her commitment to "measures pertaining to the betterment of women." In November, all four Republican women were elected. During her term she sponsored two bills. She introduced the first eugenics legislation proposed in the U.S. While it failed, it would later be modified, reintroduced, and passed in 1925. The second bill created a commission to determine minimum wages for women and children. It was passed and signed into law. On March 3, 1913, Dr. Jane became the first woman to "occup[y] the speaker's chair" when she presided during the address of University of Minnesota veteran educator Maria Stanfield.

Dr. Jane was committed to equal suffrage. She was a member of the Utah Council of Women Voters and served on its Board of Directors. In September 1915, she served as a delegate to the Congressional Union Convention in San Francisco. The following year, she spoke on women's suffrage in New York City's Carnegie Hall during the biennial conference of the General Federation of Women's Club in July. She was elected as a delegate by the State Council of Woman Suffrage to the February 1917 Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C.


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"Wants to Aid in Breaking Shackles," Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), October 20, 1912, 20. Accessed: August 31, 2018.

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