Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Florence Huberwald, 1860-1926

By Chen Yu, undergraduate student, Tulane University

Florence Huberwald was a dedicated and active suffragist in New Orleans and Louisiana, an internationally recognized musician, and an advocate for arts and music education. President, Louisiana, Portia Club; President, Teachers' Benevolent Association; Vice President, Teachers' Benevolent Association; Chairman, New Orleans, Tulane Sacred Concert; President, New Orleans, New Orleans Musical Society; Officer, Louisiana, the Cercle Harmonique; Director, Music Teachers' Association; Representative, Young Women's Christian Association; President, Louisiana Music Teachers' Association; director, the Troubadour Chorus; President, Saxon-Merrick Club.

Florence Huberwald was born in 1860 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Miss Rubburd's Young Ladies' Institute, and spent many years in Europe, where she studied music. There was no record of her marrying anyone or having any kids, and she was always addressed as Miss Florence Huberwald.

Florence Huberwald made it possible for Louisiana artists to present at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. On November 26, 1892, the members of the musical committee of the Woman's Auxiliary discussed the idea of a concert by Louisiana artists, but lamented that the group had little funding. Florence Huberwald offered to host a concert to raise funds to send the amateurs to participate in the concert in the Woman's Building at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. On Louisiana Day, August 10, 1893, she performed a free concert with other Louisiana artists in the Woman's Building at the World's Fair.

She did not appear in the African American newspapers at all so we could infer that she was very likely to be a white woman. She advocated for racial equity in addition to women's suffrage. At the Constitutional Convention in February 1898, she caucused with a group of white and African American women who supported the expansion of educational opportunities for African Americans and suffrage for all women.

Huberwald believed that children should have access to musical education, regardless of their financial background. In October 1909, the Music Teachers' Association launched musical scholarships for talented students who did not have the means to pursue their musical studies. She served as the chair of the committee on free scholarships.

She also helped preserve the artistic heritage of New Orleans. In November 1909, she helped to organize a concert at Tulane University to celebrate President Taft's visit to the city. She later served as the president of a choral society called New Orleans Musical Society. The organization supported the musical culture and development of its members and the people of New Orleans and served to permanently keep in existence of a mixed chorus, so as to foster the possibilities of its members by giving public concerts as often as may be determined by the governing committee.

Huberwald was very active in the women's suffrage movement in the 1910s. She was appointed as the chair of the first rally and spoke at the Suffrage Rally on December 9, 1913 at St. Maurice's Hall. In 1914, at the meeting of the Woman's Suffrage Party of Louisiana, she talked about how man-made fashion confined women and that when women could vote they could make their own fashions. She also offered a resolution to invite the Louisiana State Suffrage Association to co-operate with them in forming and presenting bills for women's suffrage, which was passed unanimously. In 1915, she said to the Woman's Suffrage Party at a meeting of the Orleans Parish Branch of that organization held in the Association of Commerce that Representative Bowdie's speech against suffrage was used especially to appeal to the indifferent, and was meant to obscure any serious consideration of the issue. In December, 1917, she was elected by the Louisiana Equal Rights Party of New Orleans as a delegate to the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Washington D.C from December 11-16. In March 1918, she made a tour of Louisiana throughout the week in the interest of the war savings campaign for the Woman's Committee of the State Council of Public Defense: she spoke Marksville on March 19, Cottonport on March 20, Jena on March 21, Columbia on March 22, Harrisonburg and Jonesboro on March 23.

On May 12, 1920, she traveled to Baton Rouge to fight for ratification of the Federal Amendment as the representative of the Louisiana Equal Rights Party. In response to the argument that women's suffrage should be up to the states, she said firmly that the only solution is the Federal Amendment and that there was only one question, whether the legislature wanted to grant women voting rights.

In February 1924, she announced that she was a candidate to succeed Mr. Dupre in Congress. She rented a room in New Orleans's Roosevelt Hotel and invited her friends to hear her launch her candidacy and discuss her platform and principles. On March 8, 1924, she withdrew from the Congressional race. In August 1924, she planned a membership campaign with her assistants for the Saxon-Merrick Club, which was organized for women's political advancement. She was later elected President of the club.

On December 1, 1926, Huberwald died in New Orleans.

Work Cited:

"Closing Exercises. Miss Rubburd's Young Ladies Institute." The Daily Picayune, December 19, 1873.

"World's Fair Matters. The Musical Committee." The Daily Picayune, November 27, 1892.

"Woman's Plea For An Equal Ballot. Mrs. Chapman-Catt and Miss Huberwald Deliver Addresses For." The Daily Picayune, February 25, 1898.

"Music Taught Free. Teachers Generously Offer to Give Time and Talent to Train Talent." The Daily Picayune, October 17, 1909.

"Musical Society Formed by the Participants in Taft Sacred Concert. Only Hume Talent to Be." The Daily Picayune, November 11, 1909.

"Suffrage In Ninth Ward." The Daily Picayune, December 7, 1913.

"Delegates Appointed. Miss Florence Huberwald and Mrs. J. M. Morton Represent Louisiana." The Times-Picayune, December 3, 1917.

"Sales of Sayings Stamps Approach Half Million Mark Miss Florence Huberwald to Tour State for." The Times-Picayune, March 19, 1918.

"Suffrage Leader Keeps Up Battle Miss Florence Huberwald at Baton Rouge to Stay in Fight to." The Times-Picayune, May 13, 1920.

The New Orleans Item, February 29, 1924.

The New Orleans Item, March 8, 1924.

The New Orleans Item, August 20, 1924.

New Orleans States, December 2, 1926.

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