Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Margaret Scott Walser, 1878-1942

By Evelyn Rose, PharmD, Project Director, Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project, San Francisco,

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Scott of Warsaw, Benton County, Missouri, Margaret Belle "Maggie" Scott was born on March 16, 1878. Her future husband, Mark Walser, a native of Illinois, would also be raised in Missouri. After serving as assistant district attorney of Fresno County, California in the 1890s, he returned to Missouri where he married Margaret Scott when she was 26 years old.

By the early 1900s, the Walsers had relocated to Lovelock, Nevada, about 90 miles northeast of Reno. Over the following decade, Mark Walser became a prominent corporation and mining attorney, an owner of a large copper mine, and president of the Nevada Packard Mining Company.

Mrs. Walser's first became involved in suffrage in Reno in 1912, when she spoke at the Nevada Equal Suffrage League. She next spoke in 1915 in front of a large crowd attending a joint meeting of the Parent's and Teacher's Association and the Women's Civic Club in Reno. During her speech, she voiced her opposition to bills proposed for six-month divorces and a legalized system of racetrack betting. According to American suffrage historian Ida Husted Harper, in the year spanning 1912 and 1913, Mrs. Walser served as assistant to the chair of the Humboldt County State Executive Committee, Mrs. M. S. Bonnifield. While the women of Nevada won state suffrage in 1914, it appears Mrs. Walser's prominence in the suffrage movement would not crystallize until later, in the years leading up to 1920 and the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In the spring of 1918, Mrs. Walser was elected president of the Twentieth Century Club in Reno. Organized in 1894, the club was open to "all women of good repute" and focused on education and social issues. Still active in the 21st century, the Twentieth Century Club is the oldest woman's club in Nevada.

Mark Walser appears to have been a supporter of equity in the workplace. In 1918, all employees of the Packard Mining Company - men and women - were given the opportunity to invest in company stock, with Mrs. Walser giving the principal address at one of the company's subscription meetings. The next year, she was elected second vice president of the Woman's Civic Club of Reno and Sparks. At the same meeting, the organization put itself in favor of the national woman's suffrage amendment. She continued to serve as chair of social functions for the Twentieth Century Club, as well as president of the organization. When President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson visited the state, the mayor of Reno selected the Walsers and other prominent citizens to formally receive them.

Carrie Chapman Catt appointed Mrs. Walser to the Suffrage Ratification Committee of Nevada in January 1919. In this role, she participated in a joint meeting with the Nevada State Federation of Women's Clubs at the Century Club clubhouse to help plan for the upcoming special legislative session for ratification of the 19th Amendment. Members of the ratification committee, representing the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Nevada, held several meetings with the governor of the state, Emmet L. Boyle. Mrs. Walser is listed in the Congressional Record for the United States Senate, February 10, 1919, in the presentation of a letter from Governor Boyle requesting that the Susan B. Anthony Amendment be accepted. Mrs. Walser's name and those of other women from Nevada in attendance were read aloud in session. The Nevada state legislature ratified the amendment in February 1920 and with ratification by the 36th state, Tennessee, in August 1920, Mrs. Walser and the ratification committee organized a celebration in Reno.

Following national enfranchisement, many former suffragists continued their work and became proponents of civic participation, encouraging women to not only become informed but to also follow through with their hard-won right to vote. As one of these women, Mrs. Walser was appointed to the nominating committee for the newly organized League of Women Voters of Nevada. She and her husband spent a year in southern California and when they returned to Reno in 1922, she was appointed as a delegate to the Washoe County Republican Convention, and as a delegate-at-large to the Nevada State Republican Convention. In 1924, Mrs. Walser was elected treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Nevada.

By 1930, the Walsers had retired to Santa Cruz, California. After Mark Walser died in 1936, Mrs. Walser relocated to Monterey, California. While visiting her sister in Missouri on January 11, 1942, Margaret Walser died suddenly at the age of 63. She is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri. Five years later in 1947, Mrs. Walser was recognized as one of the pioneers of Nevada women suffrage in a recollection of the history of suffrage in the State.


1. Find-a-Grave Memorial, Margaret Belle "Maggie" Scott Walser. Available at Find-a-Grave.

2. Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri), January 12, 1942, pg 2. Available at (subscription required).

3. United States 1930 Federal Census. Available at (subscription required).

4. United States 1870 Federal Census. Available at (subscription required).

5. San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California), April 19, 1894, page 2. Available at (subscription required).

6. San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California), May 5, 1896, page 16. Available at (subscription required).

7. Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada), December 5, 1911, pg 5. Available at (subscription required).

8. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), March 1, 1916, pg 8. Available at (subscription required).

9. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), May 30, 1916, pg 5. Available at (subscription required).

10. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), October 8, 1912, pg 5. Available at (subscription required).

11. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), January 30, 1915, pg 2. Available at (subscription required).

12. Harper IH (editor). The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume VI. J.J. Little & Ives Company, New York, New York, 1922. Available at Google Books.

13. Women in Nevada History. Nevada suffrage. Available at Women in Nevada History, a Legacy Digital Project.

14. Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada), January 20, 1918, pg 8. Available at (subscription required).

15. United States Senate Congressional Record, February 10, 1919, pg 3048. Available at the Government Printing Office.

16. Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), May 18, 1918, pg 3. Available at (subscription required).

17. Harmon M. The Twentieth Century Club. No date. Available at the Reno Historical Preservation Society.

18. Community Foundation of Western Nevada. Twentieth Century Club Looks Ahead to 2100. Available at

19. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), April 25, 1918, pg 6. Available at (subscription required).

20. The Daily Appeal (Carson City, Nevada), January 9, 1919, pg 1. Available at (subscription required).

21. Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada), January 26, 1919, pg 7. Available at (subscription required).

22. State Journal (Reno, Nevada), May 25, 1919, pg 10. Available at (subscription required).

23. Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada), September 17, 1919, pg 8. Available at (subscription required).

24. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), January 30, 1920, pg 8. Available at (subscription required).

25. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada),), August 26, 1920, pg 2. Available at (subscription required).

26. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), November 12, 1920. Available at (subscription required).

27. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), May 5, 1922, pg 4. Available at (subscription required).

28. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), June 10, 1022, pg 8. Available at (subscription required).

29. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), June 13, 1922, pg 1. Available at (subscription required).

30. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada), March 29, 1924, pg 8. Available at (subscription required).

31. United States 1930 Federal Census, California. Available at (subscription required).

32. Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada), October 26, 1947, pg 20. Available at (subscription required).

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