Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Evelyn Beatrice Binz, 1882-?

By Elizabeth Cunningham, student, Rosemont College

Evelyn Beatrice Emsley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 11, 1882, to William Washington Harold Emsley and Helen A. Blaine. When her mother married William Upperman in 1889, Evelyn began using that surname. She attended Girls' High School in Philadelphia and then Bryn Mawr College. She left the college after a year and married Ralph E. T. Binz on November 9, 1901. They had four children: Evelyn Beatrice and Helen, who were twins, Ralph, and Lillian. Tragically, Ralph Binz took his own life in March 1907. Six months later, Binz gave birth to a daughter, Lillian, who died later that year.

The 1910 census indicates that Binz was living in Philadelphia with her daughter Helen. Binz led an adventurous life, and was a social worker, newspaper reporter and store detective. Binz was a state organizer for the Woman's Suffrage Party in 1915 and was actively featured in newspapers. Binz's suffrage activities involved organizing talks across Pennsylvania, where she spoke on suffrage, saying that allowing women equal suffrage would not "unsex women" but rather would allow women to be mothers within political life. Binz also gave talks on conditions in poorer districts, something she investigated, and how they affected the suffrage movement. When she spoke in York, Pennsylvania, on September 1, 1915, Binz brought her 10-year-old son Ralph with her and he handed out literature to the crowd. Binz regularly spoke in York, and once attracted a crowd of hundreds.

In 1915, The Carlisle (PA) Evening Herald reported on July 9, 1915 that Binz held a suffrage meeting at the A.M.E. Zion Church to interest African American women in the suffrage cause. During her time in Newville, Pennsylvania, Binz started a woman suffrage club, with 30 women joining. She spoke fervently about the conditions of the poorer areas of Philadelphia, saying, "The women suffer more from these conditions than the men yet they are not given as much chance to better them. Is it fair?" The audience was so moved that the ushers had to call for extra help in collecting the names and addresses of those who agreed to vote for the suffrage referendum on the ballot that fall.

Once the referendum failed, she worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. She also worked as associate director of employment and service for the Miller Lock Company. The 1920 census found her living in Philadelphia, widowed, with twins Evelyn and Helen, 17, and Ralph, 15, at this date. By 1930, Evelyn lived in the same house on Lansdowne Ave. with her son Ralph and a lodger. She owned her home, valued at $7,500. She remained in this home in 1940, and lived with three lodgers and daughter Evelyn, a public school teacher.

We cannot find a death record for Evelyn Binz.


Binz, Evelyn Beatrice. The Preservation of Foods: Canning and Drying of Fruits and Vegetables. Harrisburg, PA: J. L. L. Kuhn, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1917.

Binz, Evelyn B. (1920). Factory as a Community Center. Safety Engineering, 39 (3), 125-126.

"County Solid for Suffrage," Harrisburg (PA) Star-Independent, May 19, 1915, 3.

"Equal Suffrage Talk," York (PA) Daily, Aug. 27, 1915, 11.

"Fifty at Suffrage Lecture," Harrisburg (PA) Telegraph, June 26, 1915, 10.

"Good Speakers for Civic Club," Harrisburg (PA) Telegraph, Feb. 15, 1917, 6.

"Letters of Interesting News from Adams County Towns," Adams County (PA) News, July 10, 1915, 4.

"Local Suffragists to Continue Campaign," Carlisle (PA) Evening Herald, July 10, 1915.

"The McConnellsburg Institute," Fulton County News (McConnellsburg, PA), Dec. 28, 1916, 1.

"Official Death Returns," Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 16, 1901, 14.

Pennsylvania State Department of Public Instruction. Report of the Survey of the Public Schools of Philadelphia. Four Volumes. Philadelphia, PA: Public Education and Child Labor Association of Pennsylvania, 1922.

"Suffrage Meeting," New Oxford (PA) Item, April 29, 1915, 1.

"Successful Pupils," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 1896, 4.

"Suffrage Worker to Speak Here Next Week," Carlisle Evening Herald, July 1, 1915, 1.

"Twenty-Five Years Ago," The Gazette and Daily (York, PA), Aug. 23, 1940, 6.

Salamanca Republican Press (Cattaraugus, NY), Aug. 20, 1940, 5.

The Pennsylvania Manual: 1916. Department of General Services, 1916.

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