Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Baker Anderson

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.

Sources:

Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

Ancestry.com Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2004.

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).

"Franchise League at JAX Be Affiliated State Ass'n." The Miami News, 8 Feb. 1916, pp. 10–10. Newspapers.com, www.ancestry.com/search/categories/np_newspapers/.

Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds. History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 (1922). [LINK]

Liddington, Jill. "Era of Commemoration: Celebrating the Suffrage Centenary." History Workshop Journal, no. 59, 2005, pp. 194–218. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25472793. Accessed 12 Feb. 2020.

State of Florida. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. Florida: Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, 1998.

"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/

The Ocala evening star. [volume] (Ocala, Fla.), 14 Jan. 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84027621/1914-01-14/ed-1/seq-6/

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.

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