Women Voting to Support Women Teachers in 1905

All of us have gaps in our knowledge, it’s a matter of realizing and admitting that we have gaps in our knowledge that can be the problem. Being willing to deal with those gaps in a constructive way helps as well.

One way to discover those gaps is to read somewhat random things…and to think while reading. Thinking is always advised.

Good headlines help, especially when one is reading newspapers.

This item from a 1905 issue of the St. Louis Post Dispatch was titled “Sweethearts Win Election for Women,” subheaded by “Married Men The Losers.”

It then said “Wives and Daughters…Casting Ballots for Fair Instructor Rule.”

I tried not to get bogged down in whether the headline meant that the ballots for the fair instructor ruled the election or whether the vote was for some “Fair Instructor Rule” as opposed to a rule for unfair instructors. Headlines are not always to be taken entirely literally as they usually are written to grab the reader’s attention.

Women voting?

In Illinois in 1905?

The rest of the article discusses the Millstadt, Illinois, school district and its “female situation” in 1905. Details mentioned include how long it has been since the district has had a female teacher, the belief that female teachers cannot handle Millstadt students, the refusal of male board members to support female teachers at any instructional level, and the resulting election in which women voted.

At one point, two board members refused to attend board meetings when they discovered that four board members supported women teachers. The County Superintendent warned them they needed to attend to their duties or resign.

Louis Kalbfleish resigned. The other board member, A. Marxer, stayed on apparently in an attempt to attempt to keep up the fight.

“Many women voted in favor of the schoolma’ams” and the resulting board was now five to one in favor of “schoolma’ams.”

Women voting?

But could women vote in 1905? What about the United States Constitution?

Yes they could in specific Illinois elections.

And that’s the subject of our next post.

The law.

Ya gotta know it.


3 thoughts on “Women Voting to Support Women Teachers in 1905

  1. Charlene Whitaker says:

    My Grandmother was a teacher in Illinois starting a couple years fter this. I did not know about this law, but I’m glad it happened.

  2. Michigan allowed women teachers much earlier BUT women teachers had to be single and to BOARD AROUND at all the students homes. One month or two at each. My Great-grandmother was a big one for pushing the rights for women to vote. “If women could vote WE would change the rules and pay women teachers a living wage like they do men, and women could live there they wanted to.” It was 1919 before Michigan women could vote in state wide elections. Unfortunately Adelia died in 1915 and didn’t see it happen.
    She was born 1864 and taught in a one room school when she was 16 (1880) and had 10 students. The school (southern Michigan) had windows but no glass and she cut old sheets to cover the holes in winter. Her wages $1.50 plus board. They built fire outside and brought in coals to warm the room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.