Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Mrs. Ruth Holden Buschman, 1901-1998

By Ethan Crane, University of Missouri

Mrs. Ruth Holden Buschman, born July 10, 1901 in Warrenton, Missouri, was a St. Louis-area suffragist active during the early twentieth century. Before her work in the realm of women's suffrage, she attended Central Wesleyan College in Warrenton. Additionally, Mrs. Buschman was a chairwoman of the Boy's and Girl's War Canning of the United States Food Administration.

After her work with the United States Food Administration, and before national suffrage was granted in 1920, Ruth worked closely alongside the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company (NWSPC) and their efforts to spread information about women's suffrage through literature. While the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company was based in New York City, Ruth served as the St. Louis local chairwoman. During the final push by the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) to obtain suffrage, the AWSA hosted their national meeting at the Statler Hotel in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, attended by Ruth and many of her compatriots. Being the local chairwoman of the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, she helped to host the president of the NWSPC, Miss Esther Ogden. Esther later described Ruth as "...(an) exquisite person, competent guide, (and) gracious hostess..." The week following this conference, presidential suffrage was won for women in Missouri.

Following the passage of presidential suffrage for women, Ruth continued her work in the realm of women's suffrage by assisting in the establishment of citizenship schools in every congressional district across Missouri under the administration of Mrs. Olive B. Swan. Citizenships schools were establishments that helped to educate and organize newly enfranchised voters in 1920. These citizenship schools were not limited to just white women; nearly 300 women of color were in constant attendance in one such citizenship school. Many such citizenship schools used the slogan "Every Missouri Woman an Intelligent Voter in 1920," a goal achieved with the help of Ruth and her countless fellow suffragists. Ruth lived a long and happy life, dying at the age of 98 on February 22nd, 1998 in Dallas, Texas, where she and her husband Al had lived for over seventy years.

Sources:

Ruth Holden Buschman's work with the Boy's and Girl's Canning of the United States Food Administration was reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Her work with the National American Woman Suffrage Publishing Company can be found in Alice Stone Blackwell's The Woman Citizen, Volume 3 (New York: Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission, 1919). Additionally, her work with citizenship schools is recorded in Ida Husted Harper's History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920 (New York: Fowler & Wells, 1922).

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