Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Minnie Lindsay Bellamy, 1859-1934

By Kyle Jackson, graduate student, UC Berkeley

Minnie Lindsay Bellamy, in addition to being "one of the best-known pioneer business women of Georgia," was a committed member of women's suffrage organizations in Atlanta for three decades. A stenographer, notary, business owner, and active member of St. Luke's Episcopal church, Minnie Bellamy's professional career and political activism made her a trusted and reliable figure in her city and state and earned her a distinguished place in the local history of the suffrage movement.

Born into a "prominent family" in Columbus, Georgia, in 1859, Bellamy received her education at Spring Hill College for Girls in Mobile. In 1895--the same year in which the first equal suffrage bill was placed before the Georgia legislature--she began her career as a public stenographer at an establishment called the Kimball House. Just a year later, she was attending and participating in meetings of the Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association. Her professional stock continued to rise as she worked as a private secretary to prominent businessmen and politicians. Her skill and reputation eventually enabled her to start her own company, the Bellamy Business Agency, which included the state's first multigraphing letter service. After getting to know all of the major employers in the area, she opened a second enterprise, the Bellamy Employment Agency, cementing her status as one of the foremost women in business in Atlanta.

By 1906, Bellamy's professional activities and political activism had converged. She took on a leading role as an elected director of the Georgia Business and Professional Woman's League (Auxiliary to the National Woman's League), and remained active in the state's branch of the League of Women Voters when it was organized in 1919, and in 1920 she became its auditor. As an expert typist and business mind, she likely contributed to the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia's extensive propaganda campaign, which distributed "tens of thousands of letters, leaflets, books and speeches" to women's groups and other organizations across the state. A fitting reward for her considerable exertions came in the form of her appointment as the first female public notary in the state of Georgia in 1922--a full ten years after activists like herself had successfully pushed for the right of a woman to hold such an office. An article highlighting her accomplishments in The Atlanta Constitution described her as "capable, energetic and industrious," and noted that she is "usually as busy as a butterfly in a flower garden, and as attractive."

Minnie Bellamy remained active in her business affairs and church activities until falling ill near the end of her life. Though she never married, her home at Prescott and Peach streets was, according to her obituary, considered "a landmark in Atlanta, being one of the oldest residences of the city." She lived there with her beloved adopted brother, Albert Whitman, until her passing at the age of 75.

Works Cited:

Harper, I. H. (ed.). The history of woman suffrage, volume VI: 1900-1920 (1922), Chapter 10, "Georgia," pp. 121-144. [LINK]

"Atlanta Equal Suffrage Association." The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), March 30, 1896, page 9.

"Georgia Business and Professional Woman's League." The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) March 11, 1906, page 2.

"Miss Bellamy State's First Woman Notary." The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), August 6, 1922, page 11.

"Miss Minnie Bellamy Passes at Residence." The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), July 25, 1934, page 18.

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