Women's Suffrage in Broome County
Suffrage Debate by Women in Binghamton Press, October 1915
Prior to Election November 7, 1915
"Best short arguments for and against votes for women will win prizes"

The result of the debate of the woman suffrage question by women readers of The Binghamton Press is announced today.

FOR Votes for Women
First Prize, $10
By Mrs. Jas. B. Puffer, 25 Court Street, Binghamton:
I believe the ballot is woman’s constitutional right. Majorities should have no governing influence in restraint of that right. If but one woman in the United States wished to exercise that right it should not be denied her. The ballot imposes no burden, being discretionary, not obligatory; but its restriction, in my opinion, violates my constitutional right. I am a freeholding citizen and maintain that “taxation without representation is tyranny.”

AGAINST Votes for Women
First Prize, $10
By Lulu Ruger Nablinger, 32 Second Street:
The foundation of government is in the home. If the foundation is neglected the superstructure is unsafe. Most women find that if they are thoroughly efficient homekeepers – not mere housekeepers – they have no time to cope with politics directly. But their influence over present and future voters and mothers of future generations is inestimable. Greater respect for law, which is needed rather than more laws, is most effectually taught by the homekeeper.

Two New Reasons For and Against Vote - October 28, 1915

The Press has received letters from women on the suffrage question, which came too late to be included in the debate. Two of them, however, one FOR and the other AGAINST suffrage, are of especial interest, and are printed today.

Mrs. L. Smith:
I am a young woman, 30 years old, and have been out in this world fighting all alone, and I will tell you I think that women ought to vote as well as men. They have to work in factory or office the same as men, and no one thinks it is wrong. I am not speaking of the girls or women who from babyhood have not had to go out in the world and make their own livings, but have every care taken of them to see that no harm comes to them. They meet a man who makes $4 or $5 a day and they can take the best of care of their children. They are all taken up with their own homes and think, “Oh, sweet motherhood,” and never stop to think of most men getting $10 or $15 a week and their wives washing and doing any kind of work to try and save their little ones. Now, I know what it is. I have had a try, and know that most women who work have to do just as much work as the men do and don’t get the same pay. The man boss will order them around like so many sheep. They can’t do that with the men. I think the women who never had to get out in the world and do for themselves should not find fault with the other half of the women, who know when they are still but babies, what a fight this life is. They ought to try and help them and their families and not think of just their own sweet selves.

Mrs. Charles Kellogg:
We are told that the question of suffrage is the great and overwhelming desire of the women of the land. The many agitators on street corners, the hikes over the country and spectacular parades may create this illusion. We, the anti-suffragists, protest against this movement that will throw back into politics the charitable and welfare work of this country – the work that only women can do as non-partisans – all those home and social problems where we can do in our quiet walks the most effective work. Who can doubt that if woman suffrage existed the political leaders and grafters who accomplish such feats of inquiry would see their way to utilize woman by hundreds of thousands. Are women to be bribed? They have not been tempted as yet. Politics is an untried field to them, and while we would assume that all women would be honest, still we must admit that that is taking a purely optimistic view, which real life teaches is not always true.

All of the letters which have been submitted in the debate will be delivered at once to the three judges, Frank J. Mangan, Rev. C.A. Ritchie and George B. Curtiss, who will render a decision at their convenience.

The last of the arguments submitted in The Press Suffrage Debate are printed today.

Jane Brewster Hyde:
Give woman the vote and she will remain in her home and read and study for the best interests of the country. Marching, carrying banners and advertising are not her pleasure, but she has been driven martyr-like to extremities. As a voter she will receive more of the old-time, oft-forgotten and much heralded chivalry of men.

Mrs. F.J. Stokes, 119 West End Avenue, Binghamton:
There is no time for a woman who likes to do her housework well, to mix and talk with the men in the booth, and walk around in tobacco juice.

Mrs. Cora Tucker, 61 Adeline Street, Owego:
Women are people; therefore in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, women should vote.

Mrs. C. Atwater, 230 Robinson Street, Binghamton:
Wake up and be men and vote for woman suffrage, for then the saloon will be closed and our boys and girls will be safe.

Mrs. Closey, 197 Chapin Street, Binghamton:
I regard suffrage as a fad of the new woman who seeks notoriety, and who thinks the obligation of housewife and motherhood as contrary to divine and moral law. Tim 1:12: “But I permit not a woman to teach nor to use authority over the men.” Women instead of clamoring for suffrage should try to eliminate the evils of race suicide and divorce, which is undermining the foundations of society and government.

Mrs. C.E. Cook, Town of Vestal:
I certainly believe the women whom no one would want to vote would predominate if woman suffrage prevailed, the evils outweighing any and all benefits.

Miss D.E. Lyston, 197 Chapin Street, Binghamton:
I am opposed to suffrage, because in women mixing in politics they are usurping the privileges and authority that God intended man should exercise. Gen. III, 16: “And he shall rule over thee.” Men will cease to respect woman as a helpmate and companion when she becomes a politician.

Mrs. Charles H. Fiske, Coventry:
Suffrage is insulting to present officials, insinuating their incompetence. Women’s political work and place is in the home.

Mrs. Anna Jones McDonough:
I am opposed to suffrage for women on an equality with men. God made the man first, and then the woman as his helpmate (not as the man’s ruler).

Mrs. A.K. Harvey, 110 Laurel Avenue, Binghamton:
Woman don’t want to vote because she is not “built that way,” any more than man is built to keep house and fulfill woman’s obligations.

Mrs. Elizabeth J. White, 176 Main Street, Binghamton:
Retain your dignity and remain at home; bring up your children in the right path; have a well-cooked meal and a kind word for the husband when he returns home tired from his day’s work. This is the noblest vote a woman can cast.

Miss Laura M. Keegan, 103 Chapin Street, Binghamton:
There is no superiority of sex. Men and women should have equal rights and privileges. Every man, good or bad, educated or illiterate, taxpayer or not, votes unless he is a criminal, lunatic or idiot. No woman can vote, however good, hard-working or well educated she may be. She must pay taxes, but can she say who will spend them, or how they will be spent?


Mrs. Elfred H. Bartoo, 102 Oak Street, Binghamton:
Women should be given the ballot primarily because it is justice, and according to the principles of democracy. Their position in the last century has changed vastly. They are not only the home-makers, but work shoulder to shoulder with men in the business and professional world. Women head many great enterprises and are large taxpayers. They are amenable to the laws, but have no voice in making them. Their only recourse is the ballot.

Dr. Jennie Young:
You state in Monday evening’s editorial: “What the men need to know, and all they need to know, is that women in any large numbers are determined to get the ballot.” I would like to inform your readers, especially the men, that there are one million women enrolled in the Empire State Suffrage Association. This is exclusive of the large numbers in the Women’s Political Union. Looks as if “women in large numbers, etc.”

Miss Carrie L. Mathewson, Lisle:
Do not class the native American woman with the Indian and idiotic. Allow them an equal chance with the foreign naturalized male citizen. Let the sunshine of her vote help dispel political corruption, whisky, vice, resulting in justice, protection and the equalization of conditions for the greatest degree of enjoyment for all.

Mrs. W.A. Rockwood, 87 Oak Street, Binghamton:
The ballot is the symbol that women have attained an equality in all respects – social, economic, political – with men.

Mrs. Carlotta Conrad, Susquehanna, PA:
Give mothers a chance to abolish the devil’s recruiting stations.

Mary Eddy, Johnson City:
Woman has always had to bear sorrow, shame and degradation by laws that men have made and upheld in licensing the liquor traffic and houses of prostitution, laws that she could have no voice in. Woman cannot be a true helpmate and homemaker unless she can be equal with man in making the laws that govern her and her children the same as they do the men.

Lucy Stilwell, Phelps Building, Binghamton:
The percentage of morality being higher among women than among men, her vote would tend to raise the moral standard of the laws.

Mrs. A.A. Sevens, 52 Margaret Street, Binghamton:
The reason I want to vote is because I am an American citizen, do my share toward the support of the Government and am thoroughly tired of being classed with idiots and criminals.

Miss Ruth E. Ostrander, 504 Jackson Avenue, Susquehanna:
While man continues to look after the business affairs of the national home, why not give woman an opportunity to protect, by her ballot, her offspring, the rising generation? Uncle Sam needs Miss Columbia as his bride, but let him marry all of her.

Mrs. E.M. Cadwell, 14 Newton Avenue, Binghamton:
God made woman next to divine. She was the mother of His Divine Son. Man has made her slave. Man, no matter how bad he is he can have a vote and say in government affairs. Woman, no matter how good she is, or how wealthy, she cannot have anything to say in government affairs. Is that right?

Mrs. Irene Clemens McElroy, 16 Second Street, Binghamton:
Woman Suffrage would weaken the government. Would cause more offices created, more parasites for producers to support, reputations tarnished. Women corrupted by bribery and graft would be one more topic for discord in the home. The women who serve good, clean, nourishing, home-cooked food, don’t want the vote. Voting is a man’s duty and not a privilege. When women vote we can put For Sale on our churches.

Mrs. J.J. Meade, 42 Cary Street, Binghamton:
Give heed O, foolish women, before it is too late; Leave man alone in his mighty strength, to govern our Empire State.

Miss M.L. Lester, Bennett Hotel, Binghamton:
The founders of our Republic didn’t favor petticoat government, as the tyrannical reigns of Bloody Mary and Elizabeth was still remembered.

Mrs. William D. Fuller, Nanticoke:
It was not the Wise Creator’s plan that woman should ape the ways of man. Let woman learn in silence with all subjection. Suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Mrs. M.J. Pope, 23 Chestnut Street, Binghamton:
Since the majority of good women can not neglect their homes for politics while all immoral ones can, the result would be more corruption; unprotected girls would become a prey to grafters, brewery men, etc., who want their votes and would stoop to any resort to get them. Husbands and fathers have hearts and will protect the rights of their families and benefit others.


Mrs. Van De Bogart, Candor:
If women voted it would tend to introduce discord into family life by setting husband against wife on political issues. It would destroy their feminine qualities by forcing them into political campaigns, causing them to neglect the care of their homes and children, which it is their position to look after.

Mrs. Tracy W. Doolittle, 115 Henry Street, Binghamton:
I have been trying to find one single reason for a woman’s wishing to vote in New York State. Men have made our laws and by courtesy have given us more rights and privileges than any one of us would feel justified in asking for ourselves. I am in sympathy with the woman who said she had no desire to become man’s equal – she was quite satisfied to remain his superior.

Mrs. C.A. Charles, 3 Townsend Street, Walton:
Right thinking women do not desire the ballot. Man considers her his superior in all things, pure. She does not wish to fall from the high position where he has placed her and be only his equal.

Mrs. R.A. Fletcher, 10 Centenary Street, Binghamton:
This state has a law requiring a man to support his family and he can be made to do it or go to prison. If we have equal suffrage, the wife can be held for the support of the family equally with the husband. Why give up a good thing in hand for the uncertain good of a vote?

Mrs. M.E. Blair, 282 Vestal Avenue, Binghamton:
If the men could get along without the care of their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, then I would not favor votes for women, but as I see that the women have to do their part to help men get along through life’s troubles, I think it is no more than right that the women be given equal rights with the men.

Mrs. Jennie E. Chandler, 4 Maple Street, Binghamton:
Suffrage will give women a weapon more effective than tears, will enable them to protect themselves, their children and their homes, help to regulate industrial conditions giving women a fair working day with living wage, improve the schools, making them safe and sanitary, check child labor, control the liquor traffic and eliminate white slavery and graft. In simple justice women should have the right to say under and by what conditions they should be governed.

Mrs. Beulah R. Watrous, 3 Green Street, Binghamton:
The government is the greatest business concern in the world. The chief capitalists are women, for through them the stock, in the form of human beings, is produced. However, men have usurped women’s rights by monopolizing directorship. This is unbusinesslike and the concern needs reorganizing, with a square deal for women.

Mrs. Myrtle L. Turner, Sidney:
The law in this state in regard to women and their rights to their children and to property that they have helped to accumulate is a disgrace to every self-respecting husband and father. Therefore, women should vote.


Miss Vine Crandall, Athens, PA.:
If women get the ballot, the illiterate vote will be more than doubled, the immense foreign – the 2,000,000 negro women of the South, a contributing influence, shall we help matters by more than doubling this dangerous mass?

Mrs. L.A. Wood, 9 Haynes Avenue, Johnson City:
Wil not the women when they have the vote want the public offices that men are receiving compensation to support their families with? Many deserving men will be deprived of positions that are uplifting and step back in the ditch to dig, because women have the vote, women have the power.

Mrs. H.M. Gitchell, 122 Henry Street:
Woman is the equal, mate and comrade of man, and by giving her the vote she shall find a new and stronger bond of comradeship.

Helene M. Meagher, 189 West End Avenue, Binghamton:
Some women have a queer idea of woman suffrage. Does giving the vote to women mean that she must go out and climb telephone poles and paint church steeples? No! It means giving her a right which the Constitution says she should have.

Mrs. Almira G. Alberger, 523 E. State Street, Ithaca:
After all has been said, the only real reason why women should have the ballot is – because it is just and fair and right. If man needs it, woman needs it.

Mrs. N.C. Woodard, Hallstead:
Women should not be afraid of their husbands. Men are cowards in many ways. They use their wives as slaves. They never care how much they displease her.

Mrs. J.F. Denison, Greene:
Whatever may be said on the other side of the question has little real value, because one can always hark back to this fundamental principal which cannot be overturned or controverted - Woman Suffrage is an essential part of a true democracy.

Mrs. Endora Allen, 8 Glen Avenue, Binghamton:
The saloon keeper trembles and shakes in his shoes. He knows Woman Suffrage will drive out his Booze.


Mrs. John Manler, 199 Main Street, Binghamton:
Woman’s work is wherever she is needed and whatever she can do, which is practically everywhere and everything. In homes and factories, behind counters, in the physician’s office and the lawyer’s chair. She is doing that work well. She wishes to continue devoting her time and energy to doing it well, instead of using part of it informing herself how best to vote, knowing that the needed reforms will come whether she votes or not.

Mrs. W.O. Bickford, Coventry:
What is gained by equal suffrage? Nothing – and the standard of politics will not be raised, but lowered by placing her on a common level.

Miss Frances O’Brien, 14 Park Place, Johnson City:
Replying to that well-known argument against woman suffrage used by one woman in The Press of Oct. 18, that “women can best serve their husbands by caring for the home, and let the men provide and govern,” does she stop to consider the hundreds of self-supporting unmarried women, who are homemakers and taxpayers, having no representative husband to vote for them. Is suffrage a question of wives’ rights or women’s rights?

Mrs. George Meade, Norwich:
Taxation without representation is tyranny. Our country claims to be the land of liberty and freedom, still half its citizens who have proved themselves mentally, morally and otherwise equal to the other half are denied the same rights and privileges. Let the antis stay at home, play cards, attend sewing circles, gossiping parties, etc., but give the woman who would do something the chance by granting her the ballot.

Mrs. M.E. Pomeroy, 55 St. John Avenue:
New York State is the loser, because it does not have the benefit that would accrue from the moral nature of woman.

Mrs. Clara L. Brewster, Ithaca:
Our government of the people, by the men, is an injustice not only to womanhood but to the entire nation, depriving it of one-half its intelligent guiding force.


Mrs. J.J. Knapp, 11 River Street, Deposit:
A good mother should be at home, to make it cheerful and happy, where the husband, after his day’s toil is over, can find some consolation and rest with his wife and children.

Mrs. Lula Graham, Candor:
I think the women are very foolish to try to take from the men the right that they gave them nearly 2,000 years ago; for I think we have more than equal rights with men now. If we are put in their place, I don’t think we would look very nice hiking telephone poles or painting church steeples. It would look better to stay home and keep out of political affairs.

Mrs. M. Orcutt, Mt. Upton:
Hope and pray our country will continue under its manly government.

Mrs. R.B. Case, 486 Chenango Street, Binghamton:
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. Suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over man, but to be in silence, for Adam was first found then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Is woman more susceptible today than in the time of Eve? I think not. God, the leader, is not a woman, neither any of his disciples.

Mrs. E. Malen, 11 Willard Street, Binghamton:
It is not woman’s place at the polls. There would be many unharmonious homes if women should become man’s political opponent.

Julia E. Terwilliger, 260 Main Street, Binghamton:
Equal suffrage is Constitutional right and simple justice. Many slaves did not want freedom. That was no adequate reason for not abolishing it. Every good movement has a majority opposition for a time.

Mrs. Marilla F. Prostey, Bainbridge:
Women are convicted of and imprisoned for crimes, pay same tax rate on property as men, receive less income for their labors, with no voice in laws governing such affairs, or the home. It is neither right nor just and men, under such condition, would fight for the franchise, which women so desire.

Belle Marie Benedict, 119 Main Street, Johnson City:
When men become housewives and women become politicians, they ignore psychological laws that govern the human family. Woman’s enfranchisement caused the disintegration of classic Greece and invincible Rome, because the home life of those nations atrophied and died when women violated the immutable laws of God.

Mrs. Florence E. Carr, North Broad Street, Johnson City:
It is purely nonsense to tell a bright, intelligent woman who bears, rears and fits men to perform a duty, that she is not eligible for that same duty herself. The inevitable is coming! Get ready for it! Godspeed the day!


A suffragist called on the telephone today to tell The Press the reason why more women who want the ballot do not write arguments for the “Votes for Women” debate, is because many of them are afraid of their husbands. “I know a woman,” she said, “who wants to vote, and who would write an argument in favor of suffrage, but she is afraid of what her husband would say when he saw her name in the paper.”

Miss Ina Hallett, 55 Lincoln Avenue, Binghamton:
Women are loving, gentle and kind, but most of them are illogical, and therefore unequipped for voting. Men as a class do not claim to be cooks, why should women claim to be stateswomen and diplomats?

M. Mae Hathaway, 178 Hawley Street, Binghamton:
The intelligence and integrity of the vote would be raised by equal suffrage, since one-third more girls than boys attend high school, and only one criminal in 20 is a woman. As tax-payers, consumers, and mothers, women should have the ballot.

Ella DuBois, Hallstead, PA: I want to vote to abolish the liquor traffic, believing it to be the greatest enemy of mankind. I want to vote to eliminate capital punishment, believing that some men have more to contend with in their natures than other men. I want to vote against bad, unprincipled men. I want to vote to preserve all that is good in the old order of things and to embody what is best in the new.


Mrs. N.F. Glidden, Jr., 72 Riverside Drive, Binghamton:
I don’t know just the one reason why I want to vote, but it may be because I get “fighting mad” and “hot under the collar” when I realize that the right to vote is withheld only from paupers, insane, idiots and women!

Mrs. William H. Terry, 98 Endicott Avenue, Johnson City:
Is not an educated, intelligent woman better qualified to vote than an ignorant wine bibber, who don’t know one letter from another? In union there is strength, speed the ballot.

Lucy Evelyn Kinney, 7 Amsbry Street, Binghamton:
Woman is a human being. It is not right for one-half the human race to arbitrarily govern the other half.

Theodora R. Steffens, 264 Vestal Avenue:
Suffrage will deprive woman of the chivalry and respect with which she has been enveloped and man will be compelled to regard her as a competitor. All the finer instincts which man loves in womankind will be lost through the degrading influence of daily intercourse with all types of mankind and the sordid effects of responsibility which suffrage will thrust upon her. Man can’t rise with woman as his competitor instead of his helper.

Louise Ingraham Owen:
As a worker for uplifting humanity, I have the deepest scorn and contempt of women gadding around the street and in offices. And I beseech thee to save the name and honor of true and pure mothers from being enticed into the streets by suffrage, which is ruining motherhood. Of which will run out our race and bring children of all foreign birth.


Miss Lucy H. Eddy, 23 St. Charles Street, Johnson City:
When man and woman are united as one, they are still two separate beings with distinct ideas of their own. They argue that the husband can vote for his wife, but how many would place her thoughts in the ballot box in preference to his own? Give us an opportunity to express our views in behalf of our government; so that we may help sound the death knell of the licensed saloon and all connecting evils.

Mrs. Lottie M. Mallery, Smithboro:
For centuries men have been clamoring that they are “monarchs of all they survey,” but silently and surely a hidden force (embodied in that saying “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”), has been moving onward and upward, until now. When man’s power seems inadequate to stem the current of drink and vice, woman’s hidden force asserts itself and says “Let me help. It is my Divine right.”

Mrs. Fred Ford, Nichols:
I think if women would lay aside the question of votes for women and start a general crusade of home reform – keep and entertain their children at home – we would have less divorces, better wives, happier homes and a better class of men to care for the ballot. Women can best serve their husbands by caring for the home and children and let the men provide and govern, as God intended they should.

Miss Lillian Huffcutt, 63 St. John Avenue, Binghamton:
The Constitution of the United States reads thus: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State,” etc. We claim our constitutional right.


Mrs. Fannie Roosa, 141 Robinson Street, Binghamton:
At the creation man was made first. For centuries mothers and teachers taught us that father was the head of the house, and I think if we mothers would stay at home and teach our boys and girls to have more respect for father, we would have better husbands and better fathers, better children, happier homes, less crime, better laws, with no use for the ballot.

Mrs. Rora Balch, R.D.5, Binghamton:
Why should women vote? First, because it is their inherent right; second, because they should have a voice in forming a government by which they are governed and taxed for its support.

Mrs. Alice Hiller, Bainbridge: There are many reasons why the women of the United States should vote, but the biggest one I can think of is this: Women are individual human beings, whether married or single, and in this “Land of the Free” should enjoy the same privileges that men do.

Thus far, antis fail to present arguments in Press Contest.

Mrs. L.S. Cook of Tunnel:
Women should vote because they are mothers. If they have the right to bring children into the world, care for, influence, guide and control them until they leave home, they should have the right to help make the laws that control the youth outside the home. There would be fewer saloons and such places of vice to lead young people downward if the mothers had a chance to vote and help make the laws.

Mrs. S.A. Fisher, 8 Bromley Avenue, Binghamton:
When foreigners become naturalized, no questions are raised regarding what influence will result from their voting. The privilege is granted as their undisputed right. If woman is denied this inalienable right by man’s vote it would appear she stands lower intellectually in his estimation than the uneducated foreigner.


First entry, by Agnes Ryan, 4 1/2 Florence Avenue:
Fifteen million women in America are demonstrating their ability in earning a livelihood. Each of these women must submit to laws, in the making of which she had no participation whatever. At the age of 21, man is considered competent to assist in governing this nation. He may be an idler, gambler or thief, but, because of deep-rooted prejudice, he is considered more worthy of the ballot than intelligent woman. Is this justice?


Roger Luther - 2017