A mild push for women’s suffrage began in San Diego after the Civil War but it failed. Although there were suffrage advocates no concerted movement began until the great crusader Susan B. Anthony herself arrived in San Diego in 1895 carrying her banner of ballot equality. A year later a state-wide vote was taken on women’s suffrage. It passed in San Diego County but was narrowly defeated in California.
In 1911, a move for equal voting rights was once again undertaken—this time with a fairly sympathetic press. The San Diego Union was friendly towards the idea. The Sun was ardent in its support. Spearheading the push was a San Diego physician, Dr. Charlotte Baker, who is seen above with her husband and two children. Dr. Baker was president of the Equal Suffrage Association and a crusader for shorter labor hours for women and children.
On Friday, October 13, 1911, women won the vote in California by a hairline margin. A new day had come.
Flora Kimball was a San Diego feminist and suffragist. She was also a teacher and prolific writer. Her devotion to equal rights for women began as a child when she dropped seed corn for a nickel a day while a young boy working alongside her received a dime. She never forgot the experience.
A tireless campaigner for the women’s vote was San Diego’s first school teacher, Mary Chase Walker Morse. This photograph was taken in the 1870’s.