Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists
Biography of Elizabeth Baker Anderson, 1861-1950
By Lisa Taylor, Adjunct Librarian, Florida State College at Jacksonville
Elizabeth Baker Anderson, Founder of the Equal Franchise League, 1912
Elizabeth Baker was born on April 4, 1861, in Evansville, Indiana. She was the only child of Conrad Baker and Charlotte Frances Chute. Her father, Conrad Baker, served as governor of Indiana from 1867 to 1873, and census records show that the family lived in Indianapolis during that time. Elizabeth Baker married Herbert Lee Anderson on September 4, 1883. The couple's two daughters, Frances Baker Anderson and Lillian Anderson, were born in 1887 and 1890, respectively. By 1900, the Anderson family had moved to Ocala, Florida, and by 1910, they resided in Jacksonville.
It was in Jacksonville that Elizabeth Baker Anderson became involved in the movement for women's suffrage. The Jacksonville Woman's Club was sympathetic to the suffrage movement, but did not endorse it because the Club eschewed politics. Mrs. Anderson, however, embraced the politics of suffrage. On June 15, 1912, at her home on Market Street, Elizabeth Baker Anderson, Katherine Livingstone Eagan, and approximately thirty women formed the Equal Franchise League. Among the members was Elizabeth's daughter, Frances. A January 9, 1914, edition of the Ocala Banner noted that subsequent meetings were held at the Saint James Building on the second Monday of each month at 8 p.m. Elizabeth Anderson and Eagan, the organization's first president, publicly rebuked critics who likened their efforts to "fun-making." In 1916, the League, then renamed the Jacksonville Franchise League, joined the statewide Florida Equal Franchise League. The Florida Equal Franchise League met in the Heard Bank Building on the corner of Forsyth and Laura Streets. The League edited a paper called "The State," and painted Votes for Women on their window. Elizabeth Anderson served as the second vice president, and later as an auditor at the 1916 Florida Equal Franchise League convention. The Florida Equal Franchise League later affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1921, the Florida legislature finally passed legislation granting suffrage to women. In 1929, Elizabeth Baker Anderson became a charter member of the Jacksonville Historical Society. Her husband died in 1945, and Elizabeth died on November 26, 1950. She is buried in Jacksonville's Oaklawn Cemetery. Florida legislators did not ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution until 1969.
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Cassanello, Robert. To Render Invisible : Jim Crow and Public Life in New South Jacksonville. University Press of Florida, 2013. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=562429&site=ehost-live.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed 12 February 2020), memorial page for Elizabeth Baker Anderson (4 Apr 1861–26 Nov 1950), Find A Grave Memorial no. 114669421, citing Oaklawn Cemetery, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida, USA; Maintained by Pass It On (contributor 47860215).
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"Suffrage Mass Meeting in Jacksonville Today." The Miami News, 3 Mar. 1914, pp. 5–5. Newspapers.com, www.ancestry.com/search/categories/np_newspapers/.
The Ocala banner. (Ocala, Marion County, Fla.), 09 Jan. 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88074815/1914-01-09/ed-1/seq-1/
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The Woman Suffrage Movement in Florida Author(s): A. Elizabeth Taylor Reviewed work(s): Source: The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jul., 1957), pp. 42-60. Published by: Florida Historical Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30138972. Accessed: 15/03/2012
Weatherford, Doris, and Florida. They Dared to Dream: Florida Women Who Shaped History. University Press of Florida, 2015. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=879238&site=ehost-live.