Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Georgiana (Mrs. C.H.) McMahon, 1868-?
By Libby Stroup, student, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
Georgiana (or Georgia) McMahon (maiden name uncertain) was born in Illinois in 1868 and married Charles H. McMahon in 1892. By 1900 the couple was living in Salt Lake City and in census listings through 1920 they remain without children. Charles was a traveling salesman and Georgiana was active in the General Federation of Women's Clubs. She campaigned for public support and lobbied a variety of bills within the Utah Federation of Women's Club. Because Utah had granted women the right to vote in 1896, Mrs. McMahon became more actively involved the national suffrage movement.
Starting in 1911, a committee dedicated to legislative matters worked to investigate and approve bills to be endorsed (copies of the bills were attained by the committee up until 1917). If endorsement was agreed upon, the collection of councils and organizations (including such Mormon organizations as the Relief Society and the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association) would make every effort to ensure its passage. Mrs. McMahon was the president of the Utah Federation of Women's Club (from 1911 to 1917) which was one of the organizations that had a major role on the committee. Mrs. McMahon was a leader who inspired and advocated for change at the local, state, and federal levels.
After the passage of the 19th amendment, Mrs. McMahon shifted her interest and focus in 1921 and 1922 toward the improvement of education in Utah through government involvement. She worked through government agencies to institute educational programs for home economics, agricultural trades and industries, and implemented state funds for vocational work. While on the Federal Board for Vocational and Education, Mrs. McMahon worked alongside C.N. Jensen, George Thomas, George A. Eaton, Jean Cox and many others who hold a variety of educational backgrounds and experience. The annual Report to Congress of the Federal Board of Vocational Education highlights the struggles and restrictions on the board's state and local funding capabilities due to the financial depression that was sweeping the country.
No death record has been found for Georgiana McMahon nor further details of her life after her presence on the Federal Board.
Annual Report to Congress of the Federal Board for Vocational Education. (n.d.).
Brown, Barbara Jones, Naomi Watkins, and Katherine Kitterman. "Gaining, Losing, and Winning Back the Vote: The Story of Utah Women's Suffrage." Better Days 2020. Accessed online at https://www.utahwomenshistory.org/2018/02/receiving-losing-and-winning-back-the-vote-the-story-of-utah-womens-suffrage/.
Federal Manuscript Censuses, Salt Lake City, 1900-1920. Accessed online via HeritageQuest.com.
Harper, I. H., et al, eds., The History ofWoman Suffrage, Volume VI. (1922) [LINK]
Stauffer, S. (2011). "A Good Social Work: Women's Clubs, Libraries, and the Construction of a Secular Society in Utah, 1890-1920." Libraries & the Cultural Record, 46(2), 135-155.