Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Mrs. Agnes J. Robert, 1843-1926
By Ariana Cavoretto, University of California, San Diego
Agnes J. Robert was born on November 22, 1843 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to Sylvanus Thomas and Agnes J. Thomas. She married Dr. James A. Robert, a professor and principal of the Dayton Cooper seminary for girls, in 1866 and in the 1870's moved to Dayton, Ohio. Both Dr. and Mrs. Robert were very involved and interested in educational matters in their community.
Agnes Robert helped to organize the Woman's Literary Club in Dayton and became its second president in 1896. The club, which is still active today, provides opportunities for women to enjoy intellectual discourse and study, which was hard to find at the time of its establishment. The club helped to bring connections to other suffragists and authors. Many notable people would come to the club to give presentations. She was also the president of the Mozart Club in 1895 which is still active today and is known now as Dayton's Music Club.
Mrs. Robert was also the second president of the Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs after being appointed in 1894. 1894 is also the year that Ohio women secured the right to vote in board of education elections. However, she had to step down when her health began to decline. In 1901, at the Federation's 7th annual convention, Agnes delivered an address on "Permanent Factors in Club Work."
One historian describing the emergence of a women's suffrage movement in Dayton, included Mrs. Robert in a short list of "upper class women [who] served on the executive committees for [suffrage] organizations."
James Robert died in 1923, leaving Agnes a widow at age 79. Agnes Robert died on September 27, 1926, aged 82.
"Opening of the Seventh Annual Convention of the Ohio Federated Clubs," The Dayton Evening Herald, 30 October 1901, p. 1 https://www.newspapers.com/image/392087264/?terms=agnes%20robert&match=1
"Random Notes," The Enquirer, Cincinnati, 3 October 1926, p. 96 https://www.newspapers.com/image/100534520/?terms=agnes%20robert&match=1
"Music Notes and Reviews," The Dayton Daily News, 3 October 1926, p. 33 https://www.newspapers.com/image/397604110/?terms=agnes%20robert&match=1
"Agnes Robert Dies Monday at Gorsuch Home," The Dayton Herald, 27 September 1926, p. 20 https://www.newspapers.com/image/391774454/?terms=agnes%20robert&match=1
"Agnes Jackson Thomas Robert," Find a Grave" (accessed 7 May 2021) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/191785395/agnes-jackson-robert
"James Alexander Robert," Find a Grave" (accessed 7 May 2021) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/153148231/james-alexander-robert
Sharon Short. "Local Literary Club soon to reach major milestone," Dayton Daily News. December 20, 2013. https://www.daytondailynews.com/entertainment/books--literature/local-literary-club-soon-reach-major-milestone/Npn1Jj62q2FpZi2dWDSJ2I/
Conover, Charlotte Reeve. "The Women's Clubs," Dayton, Ohio - An intimate History, Chapter 18: Clubs and Movement. New York: Lewis Publishing Company, Inc. 1932. https://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/an_intimate_history_18.html
Conover, Charlotte Reeve. "Education of Girls in Dayton Cooper Seminary," https://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/page/page/1540552.htm
Meredith Moss. "Dayton Music Club celebrates 125 years," Dayton Daily News. September 14, 2013. https://www.daytondailynews.com/entertainment/music/dayton-music-club-celebrates-125-years/V1IoCXnlqUvNc1m0KwGXiP/
Michelle Schweikert, "Through the Eyes of Pioneers: Accounts of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Dayton, Ohio (1890-1920)" (M.A. Thesis, Wright State University, 2015). Accessible online at https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=humanities.