Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Grace A. Savage Seldon, 1870-1952

By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian

New Jersey suffragist Grace A. Savage was born on April 6, 1870, in Stamford, Vermont. Her parents were John Arthur and Emma (Morrison) Savage. Five years after her birth the family moved to Greenbush, Rensselaer County, New York. After graduating from Bridgewater Normal School, Grace Seldon taught school before her marriage. John Savage, a minister of the Unitarian church, performed the marriage ceremony for his daughter Grace and Charles Albert Seldon on October 13, 1895, in Medfield, Massachusetts. By 1900 the Seldons with their three-year-old daughter Eva lived in Hoboken Ward 2, Hudson County, New Jersey. A son named John Charles Seldon was born in 1912. Charles Seldon worked as a reporter for the New York Post, the New York Sun, and the New York Times. In the 1920s they lived in London and Paris where he worked as the director of the New York Times' bureaus in those locations.

Grace A. Seldon appears to have been involved in the women's suffrage movement from 1909 to 1914. In December 1909 she attended an Equal Suffrage League evening talk by Professor Charles Zueblin on "Representative Government vs. Democracy." At a January 1911 suffrage meeting she, Luella Morrow, Clara Laddey, and Florence Howe Hall were appointed to work on a suffrage measure to be presented before the New Jersey legislature. In December 1911 four New Jersey suffrage associations formed the Joint Legislative Committee headed by Mrs. George T. Vickers. The committee submitted a resolution, to have a woman's suffrage amendment put to a vote of the people, that was presented to the New Jersey legislature in January 1912.

Also, in October 1911 Seldon oversaw the selling of tickets to New Jersey lawyer Mary Philbrook's eight lectures relating to government. The lectures were offered to the Equal Suffrage League in Plainfield and North Plainfield. The first lecture was held in the league's new headquarters in the Babcock Building. Philbrook provided an outline of the lectures as well as book references for self-study. In May 1914 Selden was appointed chair of the press committee of the Equal Suffrage League of Plainfield and North Plainfield. No other extant records report her suffrage work.

In addition to suffrage, Grace Seldon was a member of the Monday Afternoon Club, a women's self-improvement organization. In April 1913 she attended a luncheon celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the club's organization. In October 1917 she wrote a paper entitled "History of Our Island Possessions" for the club's Literature Department.

Grace Seldon died on July 1, 1952, in Nantucket, Massachusetts and was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in that town. Her husband Charles Albert Seldon preceded her death. He died in Nantucket on February 9, 1949 and was also buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Sources:

Boston (Massachusetts) Globe, October 14, 1895, and February 10, 1949.

Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), December 9, 1909, October 6, 1911, April 25, 1913, May 27, 1914, and October 12, 1917, January 19, 1929, March 26, 1938, and July 3, 1952.

Ida Husted Harper, The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 6 (NY: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922). [LINK]

Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Records, 1840-1915.

New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1915.

New York, U.S., State Census, 1875.

U.S. Census, 1900, Hoboken Ward 2, Hudson County, New Jersey.

U.S. Census, 1910 and 1920, Raritan, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

U.S. Census, 1940, Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts.

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995, Nantucket, Massachusetts City Directory, 1927.

U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current for Grace Seldon and Charles Albert Selden.

U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925, for Grace S. Seldon, issue date November 8, 1920.

Vermont, U.S., Vital Records, 1720-1908, for Grace A. Savage.

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