Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Genevieve Saunders, 1873-1943

By Thomas Dublin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University

Genevieve Saunders was born in Mississippi in 1873 to William and Agnes Saunders. Agnes was the second of three children in the family; her father was recorded as a dry goods merchant in Starkville in the 1880 census. By 1900 the family had moved to Edgewood, near Atlanta, Georgia. Genevieve was a stenographer at that date. She attended college for two years, where she may have picked up the skills for this white-collar employment. Genevieve never married and in the 1910 and 1920 censuses she was recorded living in Kirkwood, Georgia in the household of her widowed mother and married brother. She worked as a bank teller in 1910 and a bank superintendent in 1920.

In a 1919 article in the Atlanta Constitution titled "Southern Women in Business Executive Positions," Saunders was listed as the "official secretary" of the Fourth National Bank. The story commented on "her interest in younger business girls." It concluded with words of praise: "At the top of the ladder herself, Miss Saunders is helping others to climb."

She was also active in a variety of voluntary organizations, particularly within the YWCA. In February 1915 she was described as the "popular president" of the S.I.S.P. club at the YWCA. In addition, she served as the YWCA treasurer, overseeing an annual budget of $15,000. During World War I she volunteered for war work and served as treasurer of the YWCA war work council.

Saunders's suffrage activism is hard to tease out of surviving sources. The sole reference notes that she attended the annual meeting of the Georgia Woman Suffrage Association in July 1914 and served as the association's auditor.

In 1940, now 67 and single, Genevieve continued to reside with her married younger brother and his wife, living now in Atlanta. She was still working, recorded now as a clerk. She passed away in Atlanta in June 1943.


Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6 [LINK to GA state report].

Federal Manuscript Censuses: 1880, Starkville, MS; 1900, Edgewood, GA; 1910 and 1920, Kirkwood, GA; 1940, Atlanta, GA. Accessed via Ancestry Library Edition.

Atlanta Constitution:
"YWCA Summer Camp Opens," 11 June 1916, p. 2.
"YWCA Banquet," 27 Feb. 1917, p. 4.
"War Work Council Given High Praise by Miss Friedmann," 2 January 1918.
Louise Dooly, "Southern Women in Business Executive Positions," 4 May 1919, p. 2.
Funeral notice, Genevieve Saunders, 24 June 1943, p. 16.
All accessed via

back to top