South Carolina Suffragists Collection Interviews

Wilhemina Behlmer

Charleston, South Carolina

“I think that my mother was interested in [suffrage] and being very close to my mother, she was a widow, and she had to rear four little girls, three, six, nine and twelve…naturally she had problems that a woman would have and sometimes men were not sympathetic with her.”

Rosamonde Boyd

Spartanburg, South Carolina

“When I came to Spartanburg in 1937 women were aware that we hadn’t taken the franchise as seriously as we might because, in the first place, the voting record for men and women was not too good in Spartanburg as far as trying to get a hundred percent participation was concerned. And so men and women both were indifferent. But they began to talk about how to get out the vote and to work on registration and things of this sort.”

Clara Hammond Buchanan

Columbia, South Carolina

“I think there was that crowd of people [who thought] that women in the South have always been on a pedestal and if they go getting down – voting and mixing in politics – they wouldn’t be on the pedestal anymore. And I think that that was true of a great many women and a good many men too.”

Niels Christensen III

Beaufort, South Carolina

“I think [my father’s position in favor of women’s rights affected Beaufort attitudes], that’s right, I really do.  The women’s organizations in town carried I think a little more weight than the other places. They weren’t just considered social clubs.”

Carrie Pollitzer

Charleston, South Carolina

“So I wrote…asked for [women’s suffrage] literature and I asked people I knew were interested in Charleston that women should vote. I didn’t have any committee but at strategic points in Charleston I asked certain women if they would distribute the literature. They were all in favor of it. It took so many hours a day.”

Alderman Duncan (1906-1998)

Aiken, South Carolina

“I can remember Mother [Bessie Davis Alderman Duncan (1885-1947)] and Mrs. [Eulalie] Salley constantly making trips out into the county areas and speaking at schools and at community meetings trying to drum up support among the local people for suffrage to have a bearing on our representatives in the legislature to ratify.”

Elizabeth Gaillard (1883-1976)

Georgetown, South Carolina

“[I think women shouldn’t vote and run for political office] because I think God didn’t make them for that. He made man and woman and a woman’s part was to marry the man. Don’t just have children so, but I think it’s getting to be that. But to marry the man, you took care of his children, you took care of him, as far as a woman can take care of a man and you kept his house and you tried to do your duty in that line.”

Portrait image courtesy of Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School website

Wil Lou Gray (1883-1984)

Columbia, South Carolina

“I never joined the Suffrage League here but it’s just one reason, I just felt like they had a capable group. They’ve always had a capable group and they didn’t need me. And in this other field [the fight to eradicate illiteracy], I was needed.”

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