Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Pleasaunce Baker (later Parsons and von Gaisberg), 1886-1942

By Lisa Butler, independent scholar and Thomas Dublin

Pleasaunce Baker was born in Pennsylvania, August 27, 1886, to Charles and Jane Paul Baker. A younger brother, Charles Henry Baker, Jr., was born in 1895.

Pleasaunce graduated from Bryn Mawr College, Class of 1909, where she was an active thespian and played the part of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in 1908. She was also the editor of the Bryn Mawr literary magazine, Tipyn o'bob. Baker continued her education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1909 through 1912. Pleasaunce then returned to Florida and was a supporter of women suffrage and an activist for the Florida State Equal Suffrage League. Baker worked as a volunteer suffrage worker from 1915-1917 and lived in Zellwood, Fla.

Pleasaunce Baker married Arthur Bowker Parsons in 1919, but he committed suicide in 1920. In 1919 and 1920 Pleasaunce did relief work with the American Friends Service Committee in France and lived in Paris. Entries in Bryn Mawr Alumni Bulletins reported her living in Florida with her brother and father in 1922 and then residing with fellow Bryn Mawr alumnae in Cambridge, Mass. in 1924. She married a fellow Quaker relief worker, Erwin von Gaisberg, in 1926. She reported working in the printing field in the Boston area and also lived briefly in Brooklyn, NY. In 1928 the couple moved to Europe and in the 1930s the von Gaisbergs translated numerous books from German, many focused on mountaineering.

Pleasaunce von Gaisberrg died of pneumonia in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England in 1942.


Bryn Mawr College Alumnae File and online versions of Bryn Mawr alumnae bulletins.

Harper, Ida Husted, editor., The History of Women Suffrage, New York: Little and Ives, 1922. [LINK]

See entries in Worldcat for works translated by Erwin and Pleasaunce Gaisberg.

Death record and obituary for Pleasaunce Baker von Gaisberg in Find-a-Grave, accessed online at

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