Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Elizabeth Lucey Duncan, 1878-?

By Beverly Wilson Palmer, Lucretia Mott Speaks, History Dept., Pomona College

Elizabeth Lucey Duncan, wife of Harold Duncan, a druggist, lived in Reno Ward 3, Washoe County, Nevada in 1910. She was born in Virginia City, Nevada, about 1878, of Irish immigrants. Her father Dennis was a miner, and her mother Helen, a housekeeper. Duncan graduated from high school, but apparently obtained no further education. When she was 23 she married Harold Duncan, a druggist; she had no outside occupation nor any children. Elizabeth Duncan's name (always referred to as "Mrs. Harold Duncan") appears regularly in the society pages of Reno newspapers as a member of the St. Agnes Society and various Reno bridge clubs.

Duncan's interest in women's rights seems to have begun in October 1913 when she attended a meeting of the Equal Franchise Society. In February 1914 she served refreshments at a tea given by the Society for the leading Nevada women's rights leader, Anne Martin. After Nevada voters approved suffrage for women in November 1914, Duncan was one of 80 signing the constitution for the "New Society" organized on January 14, 1915 when the Equal Franchise Society became the Nevada Women's Civic League. On May 6, 1915 the League named its new officers including Mrs. Harold Duncan as "financial secretary."

Elizabeth Duncan was not living in Nevada on February 7, 1920 when the state legislature ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Harold Duncan sold his drug store in January 1916, and sometime before 1917 Elizabeth and Harold had moved to San Francisco. The couple was frequently welcomed back to Reno, however, for visits in 1917-18. In 1920 Elizabeth and Harold were living in San Joaquin, California. Sometime before 1930 the two returned to San Francisco, with Harold continuing as a pharmacist. The two remained in San Francisco until at least 1940.


Austin, Mary and Anne Martin, "Suffrage and Government: The Modern Idea of Government by Consent and Woman's Place in It, " National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1914

Earl, Phillip, "Bustles, Broadsides, and Ballots: The Story of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Northeast Nevada, 1869-1914," Northeastern Nevada Historical Quarterly 6:3-73.

Goodwin, Joanne, "Nevada's Campaign for Woman Suffrage," Western Legal History, 30: Nos. 1-2, 115-24.

Harper, Ida Husted, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, 6: 390 [LINK]

Howard, Anne Bail, The Long Campaign: A Biography of Anne Martin, 1955

Hutcheson, Austin E., Ed., The Story of the Nevada Suffrage Campaign: Memoirs of Anne Martin, 1948

NAWSA Records, Nevada Suffrage Associations, 1851-1923, Folder 2, Nevada Vote

Nevada State Journal: October 5, 1913; December 26, 1913; October 15, 1914; January 14,1915; January 15, 1916; August 5, 1917

Reno Evening Gazette, January 13, 1915; January 14, 1915; May 6, 1915; January 15, 1916

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