Biographical Sketch of Emma Marion Hamlin McCandless

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Emma Marion Hamlin McCandless, 1858-1922

By Sabrina Heggan, undergraduate, Rosemont College

Emma Marion Hamlin was born on December 26, 1858 to Henry Hamlin, a wealthy merchant and banker, and Hannah L. McCay. After attending school in Smethport, Pennsylvania, she was sent to a private school in New York City. In October 1885 she married Reverend John Herber McCandless, an Episcopal priest, architect of his own mansion in Smethport, and the rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The couple never had children. Having suffered from pain and weakness all her life, Emma H. McCandless died on February 13, 1922 from heart failure following an operation. She had lived in Smethport her entire life.

Between 1910 and 1920, McCandless's name was mentioned in several newspaper articles regarding her involvement with the suffrage movement. She was elected director for McKean County at the 1919 Pennsylvania Women Suffrage Association annual convention. She also served as a delegate for the League of Women Citizens at a conference in Pittsburgh in 1920, where she was elected director. Until the time of her death, McCandless remained active in the League of Women Voters as a leader both locally and within her state of Pennsylvania. She often hosted meetings at her home.

At the time of her death, McCandless was remembered by her peers in the League of Women Voters as a "woman of unusual abilities and keenly interested in public affairs." She was also remembered by her neighbors as possessing a "rare personality enhanced by unusual and winning charm." Other than her involvement with women's suffrage, she was also a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, the Travelers Club, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.


"1891: McCandless Mansion." Accessed April 25, 2017.

"Bradford Era, February 15, 1922: Front Page." Accessed April 25, 2017.

"Death of Mrs. McCandless." The Bradford Era, 15 February 1922, p. 1., Accessed 25 April 2017,

McKean County Miner, 14 November 1918, p. 1.,

Mrs. Emma H. McCandless Enters Into Rest Eternal." The McKean Democrat, 16 February 1922, p. 1., Accessed 25 April 2017,

New Castle Herald,19 November 1920, p. 3.,

"Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964 -" Accessed April 25, 2017.

"Smethport League of Women Voters Active." The Bradford Era, 4 March, 1922, p. 2., Accessed 25 April 2017,

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