Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragist, 1890-1920

Biography of Mamie Perkins Claflin,1867-1929

By Syntiche Bokango, Undergraduate student, and Dr. Amy Forss, Professor

Metropolitan (Omaha, NE) Community College

Mamie Perkins was born in 1867 in Kentucky. She came to Nebraska with her parents in 1874 and married Jason L. Claflin on February 10, 1886. She had two daughters. Mamie Claflin lived in Lincoln, Nebraska for ten years. Mamie and Jason Claflin were co-publishers of the St. Paul Phonograph Herald for nine years after they moved to Lancaster, Nebraska. Mamie Claflin died at Bryan Memorial Hospital in Lincoln on Sunday July 19, 1929 following a broken hip.

Mamie Claflin was the president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U) from 1912 to 1918. She was in office when Nebraska went dry in 1917 and editor of the Union Worker, an official state publication of the organization from 1898 until 1912 and from 1927 until illness forced her retirement. In 1921 she was elected president of the Lancaster County W.C.T.U. Besides being in the W.C.T.U and the business with her husband, Mrs. Claflin was involved in church work and for many years she was a school leader at the First Methodist Church, where her funeral occurred.

On July 28, 1914, she received the gold medal contest at the Temple Theater and she was among board members who signed the Nebraska Dry Federation petition. She spoke to the junior civic league from Prescott and Park school about "What Girls can do to help make Nebraska dry." On December, 31, 1926 she led the devotion at the annual mothers' meeting of the W.C.T.U at Mrs. H.R. Joy's home. During her tenure as state president she authorized the selection and purchase of a building in Lincoln for state W.C.T.U. Headquarters. In a speech at the 44th annual W.C.T.U convention in 1917 she said, "this is a patriotic convention our flag stand for righteousness justice and truth so the fight against intemperance is patriotic. The spirit of America women is helping to win the war." Mamie Claflin also spoke at Mrs. C.S. Clayton's campaign about "prohibition win if Hoover is elected as national president of W.C.T.U. She was also one of the speakers at Raphal E. Bailey, Minister of Omaha Unitarian church. She spoke about life of war president. Mamie Claflin apologized for W.J. Bryan who was accused of betraying trust behalf of HICHCOCK at the state convention.

Mamie Claflin joined other suffragists in a 1917 lawsuit against anti-suffragists who had submitted a petition calling for a referendum that would have struck down the Nebraska law that gave women presidential suffrage. The suffragists' brief exposed numerous irregularities in the signatures and the court threw out the anti-suffragists' effort to repeal the law.


"Death Comes to Mrs. J.L. Claflin," The Lincoln Star, Dec. 2, 1929.

"Prominent W.C.T.U Leader Dies Sunday," Lincoln Evening Journal, Dec 2, 1929.

"Nebraska W.C.T.U. Annual Convention," The Lincoln Star, Oct, 15, 1927.

"Dry Mass Meeting on Bryan Birthday," The Commoner (Lincoln, NE), March 1, 1918.

"Personals," The Lincoln Star, Sept. 15, 1929.

"University Place," The Nebraska State Journal, Sept. 24, 1922.

"W.C.T.U. News," The Red Cloud (NE) Chief, April, 1919,

"Deaths and Funerals," Lincoln Evening Journal, Dec. 02, 1929.

"Mrs. C.S. Clayton is Head W.C.T.U," Lincoln Evening Journal, Oct. 4, 1928.

"Ten Years Ago Today," The Nebraska State Journal, Dec. 1, 1939.

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