Biographical Database of Militant Woman Suffragists, 1913-1920
Biography of Edith (Mrs. H. S.) Turner
By Kathleen Melendy, with Julia Vogt Undergraduate students, Simmons College
Edith (Mrs. H. S.) Turner was one of the suffragists arrested for "loitering more than seven minutes" during a National Woman's Party protest for suffrage in Boston on February 24, 1919. The activists leveraged the publicity of President Wilson's return from Europe to force the national spotlight onto suffrage and to pressure Wilson into supporting a suffrage amendment.
While much of the media coverage vilified the protest and demeaned the actions of the suffragists, the metaphorical burning of Wilson's speech and arrests of 16 to 19 NWP activists undoubtedly garnered attention. The names of those sent to Charles Street Jail, including Mrs. H. Turner of Allston, were listed in the Boston Globe. Irwin confirms Mrs. Turner's presence, but names her Mrs. H. L. Turner.
There were several active suffragists from Massachusetts with the surname Turner at the time, and it is unclear whether the Mrs. Turner at the Boston Common protest was the same as any of them. The Boston Daily Globe mentions a Miss Harriet E. Turner as the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) corresponding secretary at their annual meeting. Likely referring to the same woman, the 1908 Fortieth Annual Report of the National American Woman Suffrage Association lists a Miss H. E. Turner as MWSA's chairman. No connection between Miss H. E. Turner and Mrs. H. S. Turner can be found at this time. The dates of Mrs. H. S. Turner's birth and date remain unknown.
"19 Suffragettes Spend Night in Jail: Four Get Bail, Two Are Released--Demonstration a Fizzle." The Boston Globe, February 25, 1919. Accessed March 15, 2016.
Irwin, Inez Haynes. The Story of the Woman's Party. New York, NY: Brace, Harcourt, 1921. Accessed April 12, 2016. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.rslfcb.
"Told By Mrs. Livermore.: What the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association Has Accomplished--Annual Meeting Held." The Boston Globe, January 14, 1903. Accessed March 27, 2016.
Upton, Harriet Taylor, ed. Fortieth annual report of the National American Woman Suffrage Association [Convention], held at Buffalo, October 15th to 21st, inclusive, 1908. Report. Warren, OH: The Association, 1908. Accessed April 14, 2016. HathiTrust.
James J. Kenneally, "'I Want to Go to Jail': The Woman's Party Reception for President Wilson in Boston, 1919," Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 45 (Winter 2017), 103-34.