Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ida Emma Wood Norvell, 1877-1959

By Gabrielle White, student, Michigan State University

Ida Emma Wood was born on April 30, 1877 in Batesville, Arkansas to Tennessee farmer W.A. Wood. She married Dr. Elijah Edward Norvell on December 26, 1897 in Alvarado, Texas. The couple moved to Wynnewood, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in 1902 where Dr. Norvell completed his residency. He also worked as the Wynnewood postmaster while Ida worked as a clerk for a time. They had two children, Lawton D. Norvell and Nell "Nellie" I. Norvell.

Norvell was active in a number of women's clubs and organizations as well as the Methodist church. At various times, she was parliamentarian of the Ladies Athenian Club, served as the grand clerk and guardian of the Woodmen Circle, served as the secretary for the Order of the Eastern Star, was a member of the Salvia Garden club, and was secretary and then president of the Fifth District of the Oklahoma State Federation of Women's Clubs. She often hosted meetings in her home and attended a number of local and state conventions.

A member of the Equal State Suffrage Association (later known as the Oklahoma Woman Suffrage Association), a NAWSA chapter, Norvell served as president of her local Equal Suffrage club in Wynnewood. She was selected to be a delegate to the state convention held on October 26 and 27, 1905 in Chickasha, Indian Territory and served as the convention's recording secretary. The following year in December, the Association held another state convention, this time in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. As the convention's second vice president, she gave the closing address. She said, "we ask that you give to the women of Oklahoma the ballot on the same terms as men. We believe that we are American citizens and claim the right of self government as a natural right. We know that we are human beings and there lurks in the breast of every human being the desire for freedom. We are asking for enfranchisement on the simple ground of justice!"

In 1907, the year of Oklahoma's statehood, Norvell served as the Oklahoma Woman Suffrage Association's recording secretary. She served as its auditor in 1908. She continued to host meetings in her home and attend local and state conventions. Interestingly, in 1912, she ran on the Democratic ticket for membership on the Wynnewood school board, but lost the election.

Little is known about Norvell after 1912. The family moved from Wynnewood to Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1927 and by 1940 Elijah and Ida were living in Oklahoma City. She enjoyed playing bridge, remained active in the Salvia Garden Club, and participated in several events at Epworth Methodist Church. Ida Norvell died on November 12, 1959 after a long illness and she is buried alongside her husband in Resthaven Cemetery, Oklahoma City.


The Chickasha Daily Express (Chickasha, Oklahoma), 27 October 1905 and 13 December 1906; The New Era Farmer (Wynnewood, Oklahoma), 21 September 1905, 21 December 1905, 13 December 1906, 20 December 1906, 24 December 1908, 4 February 1909, and 5 June 1924; Oklahoma State Register (Guthrie, Oklahoma), 13 December 1906

Ida Husted Harper, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6 (New York: J.J. Little & Ives Company, 1922), 521 [LINK]

The Wynnewood Gazette (Wynnewood, Oklahoma), 22 March 1912; Oklahoma City Times - Journal (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 12 December 1906; New State Tribune (Muskogee, Oklahoma), 31 January 1907; The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 13 November 1959; The Weekly Times - Journal (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), 4 May 1906; Chickasha Daily Express (Chickasha, Indian Territory), 26 October 1905; Elk City News - Democrat (Elk City, Oklahoma), 22 April 1920; The New Era Farmer (Wynnewood, Oklahoma), 22 February 1906 and 14 March 1912; The Wynnewood Gazette (Wynnewood, Oklahoma), 31 March 1927

U. S. Federal Census, 1910 and 1920, Wynnewood, Garvin County, Oklahoma; U. S. Federal Census, 1940, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma;

"Elijah Norvell" Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971,; "E. E. Norvell" Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965, Accessed on 14 May 2020.

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