Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists 1890-1920

Biography of Alice Bertha Locke, 1873-1926

By Clara Sodon, Student, Saint Martin's University, Lacey, Washington

Alice Bertha Wilson was born to Joseph and Anne Wilson on June 3, 1873 in Ontario, Canada. By 1880, the Wilson family had moved to New York. Little else is known about Alice Locke's early years.

Throughout her life, Alice Wilson Locke was dedicated to the Maccabees and the cause of women's suffrage. In October of 1904, Wilson played a pivotal role in expanding the order in Michigan. As the deputy supreme commander of the Ladies of the Maccabees, Wilson served as the installing officer of the newly established Detroit Banner hive, the second hive in the state of Michigan. At this meeting, Wilson was elected Lieutenant Commander of the hive. By December of that same year, under her leadership, the Detroit Banner hive closed its charter with more than 500 members, the largest charter in the history of the order to that point. As of 25 December, Wilson was the Commander of Hive no. 2, and was also a trustee and served on the press committee. Commendations were given to Wilson in the Detroit Free Press for the role she played in leading the Detroit Banner hive to earn the state banner. Wilson also organized the Cadillac hive, the Clover Leaf hive, the Enterprise hive, and the Detroit hive, several of the 21 hives that had been organized in Michigan in the last two months of 1904.

On December 16, 1905 Alice Wilson married Arey D. Locke at Saint John's Episcopal Church.

After her marriage, Mrs. Locke continued to be active in the Maccabees. She was a member of the Maccabees drill corps and performed at the Michigan state fair's fraternal day in 1906. By 1908, the Lockes had relocated to Colorado where Alice continued to play an active role in the Maccabees and Arey worked as a civil engineer. Locke is commended for her oratory prowess in a May 16, 1908 issue of the La Junta Tribune after a speech she gave as the state commander after she had initiated a large class of Maccabees in La Junta. In March, 1910, Locke represented Colorado at a conference of the commanders of the Ladies of the Maccabees of the world from 25 states. At this conference, a council reviewed the work of each state and state commanders received instructions from the supreme officers of the order. In September of 1910, Locke gave a lecture on the order and its insurance feature at a social gathering of The Ladies of the Maccabees, The Knights of the Maccabees, and a party of invited guests. Locke was the state commander for Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and she travelled across the region speaking to the various hives.

On May 24, 1915 Alice Locke represented Colorado as the state commander in the great convention of every World's Maccabees in the US and Canada. By August of that year, Mrs. Locke had returned to Michigan where she served as Supreme Trustee of the Port Huron Woman's Benefit Association. In this capacity, Locke attended a board meeting of the order in Chicago and went on to Minneapolis where she attended the sessions of the National Fraternity Congress of America.

Locke came to hold national office as the assistant supreme commander of the Maccabees in 1916. She attended the National Fraternal Congress of America again, this time as deputy supreme commander of the Maccabees, in August 1917. As deputy supreme commander, Locke helped raise $75 for the Women's Association of the First Congregational church.

The State Woman's Suffrage Organization charged Locke with the responsibility for organizing support for the November 5, 1918 referendum on women's suffrage in Michigan's 10th Congressional district. Locke worked toward this cause with enthusiasm and optimism stating, "The entire country is awake to the fact that while we are fighting in the world battle for democracy at home and abroad, we must not overlook the fact that the women of our country must be enfranchised in order that the principles for democracy for which we stand may be something more than an empty phrase."

Locke was a noted guest at the Escabana Conference of War Workers as the delegate of the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association. At the conference, Locke assisted in organizing campaign committees to advance suffrage in the Northern counties of Michigan. Afterwards she delivered a speech to all those interested in suffrage.

In September 1918, Locke met with the county committee in Lansing, Michigan in her official capacity as the assistant supreme commander of the Woman's Benefit Association and as a member of the state suffrage campaign committee. At the meeting, Locke conferred with the county committee on the program for the suffrage campaign, which was well underway. In her address to the committee Locke capitalized on WWI sentiments asking "who will represent [our soldiers] at the polls? Their mother or a disloyal citizen?" From July through October 1918, Locke travelled extensively throughout the state garnering support for women's suffrage. The efforts of Mrs. Locke and her fellow Michigan suffragists paid off when the resolution passed in November.

After this victory, Alice Locke continued to be active in the Maccabees. Locke's organizational abilities proved again to be indispensable as she went to Ogden, Utah to help prepare for the great review, or state convention, on April 11, 1919. The Ogden Standard expressed gratitude for Mrs. Locke's expertise and notes that Locke spent the past year actively participating in the liberty loan and suffrage campaigns in Michigan. Throughout 1919, Locke traveled across the country helping plan state conventions and install new officers in Texas, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. In March of that year, the Utah chapter of the National Fraternal Congress hosted a luncheon in honor of Alice Locke. At this event, Locke gave an address on "Fraternal Societies Writing Insurance Upon the Lives of their Members," in favor of providing adequate rates.

By January of 1920, the Locke's had moved back to New York where Alice continued her political engagement. In January, Mrs. Locke addressed a meeting of the Maccabees on the compulsory health insurance bill before the state legislature, which she opposed. She brought her opposition before the state finance committee on April 7, 1920. The Kansas Workman later published her address in which she argued "state paternalism is not wanted, and I feel sure will not be tolerated in this country."

According to the 1924 New York, New York voters list, Alice Locke was a registered voter, a tremendous achievement for a woman who dedicated her life to the cause of suffrage.

On November 14, 1926 Mrs. Alice B. Locke died of a sudden illness at the age of 53, well before her time. Locke spent the last months of her life as a noted lecturer for the Maccabees throughout the country. Her sudden death left her fellow Maccabees shocked and feeling that the organization had suffered a great loss. Indeed, Mrs. Alice Locke's oratory and organizational skills were undeniably important in the campaign for women's suffrage in Michigan and the country as a whole through her dedication to the Woman's Benefit Association of the Maccabees.


"Alice B. Locke Here to Prepare for Great Review." The Ogden Standard, 8 Apr. 1919, p.7. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

"Baltimore,Maryland, City Directory,1936.", 2011,

"City in Brief." Lansing State Journal, 21 May 1918, p. 2.

"Commanders of the Ladies of Maccabees of the World From 25 States Holding Conference." The Times Herald, 16 Mar. 1910, p. 1.

"Death of Mrs. Locke Shocks Maccabees." The Chat, 27 Nov. 1926, p. 47.

"Dinner Party." The Times Herald, 4 Oct. 1916, p. 2.

"Dr. Alice M. Ridge Elected Delegate by Women." 11 Apr. 1919, p. 8.

"Exhibition by the Lady Maccabees Drill Corps Is One of the Most Striking and Interesting Features at the State Fair." The Detroit Free Press, 6 Sept. 1906, p. 2.

"First of the Order in Detroit." Detroit Free Press, 11 Oct. 1904, p. 5.

"Flood of Radical Bills Is Expected." The Kansas Workman, 1 Jan. 1921, p. 6.

"Fraternal Congress." The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Mar. 1919, p. 5.

"Health Insurance Talk to Maccabees Auxiliary." The Standard Union, 18 Jan. 1920, p. 43.

Kirchhoffer, A.H. "Davenport Bill Highly Fought by Employers." Buffalo Evening News, 8 Apr. 1920, p. 24.

"Ladies of the Maccabees Initiate Large Class." The Larimer County Independent, 11 Aug. 1910, p. 5.

"Ladies of the Maccabees of the World." Detroit Free Press, 25 Dec. 1904, p. 31.

"Lady Maccabees Initiate." La Junta Tribune, 16 May 1908, p. 12.

"Lodges and Clubs." El Paso Herald, 1 Feb. 1919, p. 11.

"Local and Personal." The Larimer County Independent, 17 Nov. 1910, p. 16.

Locke, Alice B. "Praises Stand Taken on Woman's Suffrage." Detroit Free Press, 28 Oct. 1918, p. 4.

"Maccabee Association to Install Officers." The Houston Post, 17 Jan. 1919, p. 9.

"Maccabees Interested in News of Big Convention." The Daily Sentinel, 26 May 1915, p. 1.

"Maccabees Official to Visit Salt Lake." The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Mar. 1919, p. 26.

"Miss West Entertains at Home 'Westhaven.'" The Times Herald, 9 Nov. 1917, p. 1.

"Mr. and Mrs. Arey Locke." Detroit Free Press, 24 Dec. 1905, p. 27.

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 02; Assembly District: 04; City: New York; County: Queens; Page: 27

New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Queens; Year: 1926

"Off to Minneapolis." The Times Herald, 18 Aug. 1915, p. 2.

"Plans Address on Suffrage Here." Escabana Morning Press, 11 June 1918, p. 11.

"Social Gatherings." The Times Herald, 18 Aug. 1917, p. 2.

"Society." The Daily Sentinal , 19 Sept. 1910, p. 6.

"Supreme Officer Coming." Stevens Point Journal, 3 June 1919, p. 1.

"Thousands See W.B.A. Parade-Dedication." The Times Herald, 2 Oct. 1917, p. 9.

"Visiting Maccabee Here." Las Cruces Sun, 7 Feb. 1919, p. 1.

"Women Will Sign Petition to Show Demand for Passage of Amendment." Lansing State Journal, 11 Sept. 1918, p. 11,

Year: 1880; Census Place: New York City, New York, New York; Roll: 880; Page: 225D; Enumeration District: 286

Year: 1910; Census Place: Denver Ward 8, Denver, Colorado; Roll: T624_115; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0101; FHL microfilm: 1374128

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