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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Marian Perry Cruikshank and Service with the American Women's Hospitals in Serbia

More in this blog post on Portland surgical nurse Marian Perry Cruikshank, who worked with Esther Pohl Lovejoy at the Coffey Clinic group in Portland prior to the First World War and with the American Women's Hospitals from 1921-1924. One of the main primary sources we have about Cruikshank's service was her report to the American Women's Hospitals and the Medical Women's National Association (which sponsored the AWH) at the conclusion of four years of service in 1921, published as "American Women's Hospitals," Medical Woman's Journal 32, no. 2 (February 1925): 47-

Cruikshank went first to Serbia in 1921, serving with the feminist medical humanitarian relief organization the American Women's Hospitals, directed by Esther Lovejoy. "During my first year overseas," she wrote in her report, "I was in Serbia and worked under Dr. Eta Gray as her first assistant, and had charge of the surgical wards of her hospital. Three weeks after my arrival Dr. Gray sent me to Salonika to obtain supplies which had been given to us by the Red Cross people in Washington. The local Red Cross at Salonika not only gave me the supplies that had been ordered from Washington, which amounted to about one carload, but an additional two carloads, and I came home to Veles with three carloads of supplies, which pleased Dr. Gray very much." Cruikshank evidently had a strong knack with bureaucracies of all kinds, as an upcoming post will suggest.

The American Women's Hospitals Records are located at the wonderful Archives and Special Collections on the History of Women at the Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. An incredible image of Cruikshank and Dr. Etta Gray in their surgical scrubs in Veles, Serbia, is part of their online digital collections.

In her report of her work Cruikshank wrote with great feeling about the importance of the American Women's Hospitals and the meaning of her work with the organization to her own sense of identity, purpose and membership in a transnational group of women activists.

"The feeling of loyalty is a very strange thing. It is like being an American citizen. Here in the United States (she wrote, now home from 4 years of service) I thought nothing of it at all, but when Uncle Sam gave me a passport and said that he would back me up through thick and thin in any part of the world and I went forth, it suddenly became one of the greatest things in life to be an American citizen."

"I have had exactly the same experience with being a member of the American Women's Hospitals," she continued. "I went overseas fairly proud of the organization, but all through my first year, when there was no particular opposition and no danger to our organization, I still felt in a lukewarm way that it was a fine thing, but as soon as I got into the place where I realized that it was a matter of life and death to the organization that had given me my passport and had backed me up, I became 100 percent American Women's Hospitals."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Marian Perry Cruikshank -- Portland Origins for Transnational Medical Activism with the American Women's Hospitals

Portland's Esther Lovejoy, M.D. is a vital example of an activist nurtured in the Portland, Oregon Progressive Era matrix in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who built upon her local public health work in her subsequent career as a transnational activist. Her work with the feminist medical humanitarian relief organization the American Women's Hospitals spanned almost fifty years from 1919 to 1967.


But Lovejoy was not alone. Portland nurse and administrator Marian Perry Cruikshank joined Lovejoy's American Women's Hospitals and spent four years in Serbia and Greece from 1921-1925.

In this post, some information about Cruikshank's Portland years. 

Passport and death records indicate that she was born in 1882 in South Dakota and she came to Portland to pursue training in nursing. She attended the nursing school at St. Vincent's Hospital and graduated in 1914, twenty years after the school of nursing had been established there. 

Cruikshank's nursing education came at the time that Oregon nurses were professionalizing. Oregon passed legislation in 1911 to establish a process for examination and registration of nurses and created the Oregon State Board of Nurse Examiners. Cruikshank's cohort of graduates in 1914 was the first to take the exam for registration. The board tested them on "elementary anatomy, physiology, medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, surgery . . . dietetics, and home sanitation." ("An Act to Provide for and Regulate the Examination and Registration of Graduate Nurses," Oregon Laws 32 [1911] 48-52.) For more on nursing professionalism in Oregon for this period and after see Patricia Schechter, "The Labor of Caring: A History of the Oregon Nurses Association," Oregon Historical Quarterly 8 no. 1 (Spring 2007): 6-33.

The Pacific Coast Journal of Nursing 10, no. 9 (September 1914), 393 noted Cruikshank's graduation and registration with fifty other successful colleagues in Oregon:




Cruikshank went to work at the R. C. Coffey clinic and medical group practice in Portland as a surgical nurse. Esther Lovejoy was gynecological specialist there after 1913 and practiced with Coffey, T.M. Joyce, and C.E. Sears. Cruikshank was the "first assistant" nurse for Coffey for six years after her graduation. Portland was a leader in the public health movement in the years leading to the First World War with a visiting nurse association and a strong city health department (with Esther Pohl as health officer from 1907-1909). 

Esther Lovejoy took the chair of the American Women's Hospitals in 1919 and expanded the scope of this wartime all-female medical unit. Marian Cruikshank joined the group in 1921, in part, no doubt, because of her Portland work with Lovejoy. 



Her 1921 passport photograph from the National Archives shows a determined and thoughtful woman about to embark on a life-changing journey.




Two published sources chronicle Marian Cruikshank's work for the American Women's Hospitals in Serbia and Greece. The first is her four year report of service published in the Medical Woman's Journal in February 1925; the second is Esther Lovejoy's Certain Samaritans (1927, 1933). Over the next several posts I'll provide information about Cruikshank from these two sources, both of which emphasize the power of transnational work for women's empowerment.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks to Susan Denning and Literary Arts in Portland for Session with Stacy Schiff

Last Thursday Susan Denning and the staff of Literary Arts in Portland hosted a conversation with biographer Stacy Schiff. It was a pleasure to be a part of this writers' forum event.

Schiff discussed her recent biography of Cleopatra and her Pulitzer Prize winning Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov): Portrait of a Marriage, the biographer's craft, and the intersections of biography and women's history. I gained new insights from the questions posed by colleagues and appreciated the hour we shared in conversation about researching and writing biography.

Susan Denning has a post about the event on the blog Paper Fort.

Thanks Literary Arts, writing colleagues, and Stacy Schiff.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Callie Brown Charlton, M.D. in Hine's History of Oregon 1893

H.K. Hines published An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1893) when Esther Clayson was a student at the University of Oregon Medical Department in Portland. Like the Oregonian Souvenir, published the year before, this book provides some context for Portland and Oregon life and culture in this same period.

Hines, a Methodist minister and trustee of Willamette University published few biographical entries of women. But he did include Callie Brown Charlton, M.D., Esther Clayson's mentor in medicine.

She attended St. Mary's Academy in Portland and in 1872, widowed with a small daughter, Lorena, decided to study medicine. Charlton taught school in Portland's Holladay Addition and studied with Dr. C. H. Raffety (Willamette University Medical Department graduate of 1869) before being admitted to the Willamette University Medical Department, receiving her diploma in 1879. 

Hine places Charlton at the center of female student activism at Willamette without, alas, giving us much detail. He notes that "it was only the second year that the sex had been admitted to the college [this was not accurate -- Hine was omitting Mary Sawtelle] while many discriminating restrictions were placed upon them, and the course of study to which they were admitted was much circumscribed, essential features being eliminated." These "essential features" likely included dissection.

"Against much opposition," Hine continued, "Mrs. Charlton led the contest for the rights of women, which proved successful, and by which she won the lasting esteem of the faculty and management, among whom are yet numbered some of her warmest friends; her genuine earnestness in the search of knowledge in the line of her chosen profession had much to do with this feeling, as well as with her success."

Willamette admitted women with restrictions after Mary Sawtelle's controversial time there. Materials at the Willamette University Archives suggest that many male faculty opposed women as students and for a time in the 1880s women were officially banned. We need to know more about this story and Charlton's role in challenging restrictions to women's medical education in Oregon.

Charlton embraced homeopathy, a popular therapeutics at the time [see Anne Taylor Kirschmann, A Vital Force: Women in American Homeopathy (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004)]. She studied for a second degree at Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago and graduated in 1886 (Hine's 1866 is a typo). She returned to practice in Portland and delivered Esther Clayson's sister Charlotte in 1884. Esther's mother Annie Clayson invited Charlton to dinner and Charlton became a role model for Esther and her medical ambitions.
Here is Charlton's entry in H.K. Hines An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1893). The text appears on pages 973 and 974 and her image faces page 973.


 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oregon Woman Suffrage at the Western History Association Meeting at Oakland, October 16, 2011

I was honored to be a part of a session exploring Oregon woman suffrage history at the Western History Association meeting in Oakland October 16, 2011.

Historian of Pacific Northwest women, women's clubs and women teachers Karen Blair, chair of history at Central Washington University chaired the session. Panelists included Sheri Bartlett Browne, who teaches history at Tennessee State University and gave a paper on Frances Fuller Victor's suffrage philosophy and Jean M. Ward, professor emerita at Lewis and Clark College, who presented on Bethenia Owens-Adair and her suffrage ideas and activism. I gave a paper on Esther Pohl Lovejoy and her idea of civic health, forged during her Portland suffrage and public health days, something she expanded to a transnational view of international health with the Medical Women's International Association and the American Women's Hospitals.

We appreciated Karen's comments and the questions and ideas from the audience. Thanks, too, to supporter Eliza Canty-Jones, editor of the Oregon Historical Quarterly and president of the board of the Coalition for Oregon Women's History.

The papers explored the particular Oregon threads of these women's suffrage ideas and activism and their ties and contributions to broader national and transnational suffrage and social justice movements.

Eliza Canty-Jones, Karen Blair, Jean Ward and Sheri Bartlett Browne, Oregon Woman Suffrage session, Western History Association, Oakland, California, October 16, 2011.


Kim Jensen, Karen Blair, Jean Ward and Sheri Bartlett Browne, Oregon Woman Suffrage session, Western History Association, Oakland, California, October 16, 2011.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Portland Medicine in the Oregonian Souvenir 1892: The University of Oregon Medical Department

The Oregonian Souvenir 1850-1892: October 1, 1892 (Portland: Lewis & Dryden, 1892), published by the Oregonian newspaper to boost Portland and the state, provides one view of Oregon medicine as Esther Clayson (later Pohl Lovejoy) attended medical school. The last post featured the Oregonian Souvenir's take on St. Vincent's and Good Samaritan. Today a look at the representation of the University of Oregon Medical Department, newly-installed in its grand new building at 23rd and Lovejoy.

This copy of the McCaw, Martin and White architectural drawing of the new 1892 UOMD building appears on p. 77 of the Oregonian Souvenir. (Compare it with this image in the Historical Collections & Archives, Oregon Health & Science University.)

The editors provided a brief history of the founding of the UOMD in 1887. "After great effort, and the consequent annoyance in arranging the details of an enterprise of this magnitude and importance, it was decided by the board to erect a small temporary building on ground owned by the Good Samaritan Hospital" where the first sessions were held.

The new building, they said, had it all. "The beautiful and commodious building occupied by the Medical College at the present time, was erected with a view of its adaptability to the very best and most advanced instruction in medicine, more especially in laboratory and other practical work in the science." It was "fitted with all of the best appliances of a modern medical school."

Clinical facilities at St. Vincent's and Good Samaritan hospitals "are unexcelled by any colleges located in cities the size of Portland, in the United States." And the faculty "has kept pace with the advances in medical education and the curriculum of the school now covers four years' study, and three winter courses entitle the student to the degree of M.D." The faculty wanted "to make and keep the school prominent among the standard colleges of the United States."

In a final flourish the editors noted: "The members of the faculty are strong, vigorous and enterprising, highly successful in the practice of their chosen profession, and thus far having succeeded in maintaining the high excellence of their school, they will not allow it to fall behind in the race for supremacy among medical colleges on the coast." (Oregonian Souvenir, 77-78)




Monday, October 10, 2011

Portland Medicine in the Oregonian Souvenir 1892

In the middle of Esther Clayson's (later Pohl Lovejoy) medical school years from 1890 to 1894 at the University of Oregon Medical Department in Portland the Oregonian newspaper published a large folio volume to boost Portland and Oregon towns and also to boost the Oregonian. Portland medicine in Esther Clayson's years got a favorable report in The Oregonian Souvenir 1850-1892: October 1, 1892 (Portland, Lewis & Dryden, 1892).

Esther Clayson and other students at the UOMD received practical instruction and experience at clinics and dispensaries at nearby St. Vincent's and Good Samaritan Hospitals. 

This image of St. Vincent's Hospital, the Children's Home and Good Samaritan Hospital appears on p. 28 of the Oregonian Souvenir in a photo by McAlpin and Lamb. St. Vincent's, located on 12th and Marshall, had been in operation since 1875 and would move to its new building in 1895. Good Samaritan had also opened in 1875 on Hoyt Street. [See Olof Larsell, The Doctor in Oregon: A Medical History (Portland: Binfords & Mort for the Oregon Historical Society, 1947), 514-27.]

Esther Clayson pursued her medical education at the same time that Portland nursing was professionalizing. Bellevue-trained nurse Emily Loveridge established the first Pacific Northwest training school for nurses at Good Samaritan in 1890. St. Vincent's followed in 1894, the year that Clayson received her M.D.

The editors of the Oregonian Souvenir wrote with enthusiasm about hospitals and charitable institutions in Portland as they hoped to boost the city and state. "Benevolent societies, public charities and hospitals are here in large representation," they wrote. "Poverty is almost unknown and want is very uncommon, but those who by sickness or misfortune are rendered helpless are well cared for." St. Vincent's, they reported, "has admitted about 15,000 patients" since its establishment in 1875. Good Samaritan "is one of the most thoroughly equipped institutions of its kind on the coast." (Oregonian Souvenir, 74.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oregon Attorney General's Decision December 10, 1912: Women Can't Serve on Juries -- Historical Connections and a Few Loopholes

We've been discussing Portland's experimental all-female jury, whose members participated in a trial concerning a woman accused of keeping a house of prostitution on December 4, 1912. There was spectacle, speculation, and some important claims for women's fuller citizenship through this service.

The experimental jury may also have influenced the next policy decision about women and jury service in the state. As we've seen, the Oregonian reported on November 3, 1912, two days before the successful ballot measure for woman suffrage, "considerable opposition has developed to the suffrage amendment among voters who express themselves as being highly favorable to giving the women the ballot, but who are opposed to their being harassed with the onerous duties of the juror." Attorney General Andrew Crawford did not make a ruling at the time but he told the Oregonian that he had no doubt "but a law could be passed by the legislative assembly exempting women from jury duty and that such a law would be constitutional and not deny to all the equal protection of the laws."
 
In Attorney General Andrew M. Crawford's correspondence files (archival materials that the ever knowledgeable Austin Schulz helped me to locate this summer at the Oregon State Archives -- thank you, Austin!) backed with newspaper coverage we find additional information about the connections between the experimental jury and the subsequent decision. The AG decided that women were NOT eligible for jury service because of the successful woman suffrage ballot measure, yet provided two loopholes.

From the correspondence files we learn that on December 4, 1912, the very day of the experimental all-woman jury in Portland, J. D. Venator, the Deputy District Attorney for Lakeview, Oregon, in Lake County in the central part of the state, wrote to ask for the Attorney General's formal opinion "as to whether a woman is, under the new law, qualified to serve upon Juries, providing she has all other qualifications as required by law."

Crawford responded on December 10, referring to Section 990 of Lord's Oregon Laws that contained gendered language: "he" and "a male inhabitant" when referring to jury qualifications. Crawford concluded: "The recent amendment to the constitution [woman suffrage] did not change the status of women as far as citizenship is concerned. It only made them qualified electors, and did not in any way change their condition as far as jury service is concerned." Women, he said, could not serve on juries "until further legislation."

Newspaper coverage adds to the intrigue.

The Oregon Journal, which as we've seen was the most supportive of the Portland newspapers of jury service, reported that the opinion was "unexpected" and reprinted the decision.
"Women of State Not Eligible for Juries--Crawford," Oregon Journal, December 11, 1912, 1.




The Oregon Statesman of Salem indicated that the decision was by "common consent of counsel" for the AG's office. Both Attorney General Crawford and Assistant Attorney General DeLong were there for the briefing, it appears.

"Can't Serve On A Jury," Oregon Statesman, December 12, 1912, 1.

The Statesman's report also featured Attorney General Crawford holding open a few loopholes for women's jury service in spite of the ruling. "The opinion will have the effect of excluding all women from juries where a felony charge is involved," he said while "commenting on the opinion to newspapermen." But he said that he did not think "it will interfere with them serving as juries in civil cases" or misdemeanor cases. In these latter two cases jurisdiction could be waived by participants "and I see no reason why women should not serve on them, if is agreeable to the litigating parties."

In other state constitutions voting qualified persons for jury service (Nevada, 1914, Michigan 1918, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania in 1920 with the federal woman suffrage amendment -- Burnita Shelton Matthews, "The Woman Juror," Woman Lawyer's Journal, 15 no 2. (April 1927): 15-16.) In other states, like in Oregon, the process was more complicated.

Did the hoopla over the experimental all-woman jury influence any of the advice counsel gave to the AG? Did they take a negative view as a result?

Could Crawford have overruled? And was he influenced by the all-female jury? In November he responded to those who were worried about women having "onerous" jury duty and said that he had no doubt that a law exempting women from jury service would be constitutional. But in explaining the decision on December 10 by "common consent of counsel" denying women full jury service he opened the door for women to serve in civil and misdemeanor cases. Did the all-female jury nudge him toward support? Was this as far as he could go given the constitution?

What followed was over thirty years of wrangling: a 1921 law for a "mixed jury" that was quickly amended. Until legislation in 1943, women could "opt out" of jury service because they were women. Some few women did serve on civil and misdemeanor cases in the years after 1912. But like most other states the concept of women's jury service in Oregon was highly contested.

I'm researching more about the rest of the story but will turn to some other topics for the next blog posts. Thanks for your attention to these accounts of Portland's first "experimental" all-woman jury.







Friday, July 29, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury -- Editorial Reviews: The Oregon Journal -- "They Have Done No Worse"

In the last of the three Portland newspaper editorial reactions to the December 4, 1912 all-female "experimental" jury, the Oregon Journal weighs in with a bit of equity about the process and the verdict.

"We have had a jury of Oregon women," the editors noted in an editorial titled "The First." Those who read about it will be chiefly impressed that it failed to agree." But it took an hour and forty minutes, "to convince the members that agreement was hopeless. Was it because it was a woman?" they asked? Or (and they could not resist taking a jab) "because of the blandishments of 'Pike' Davis in his tearful appeal with its sprinkling of modest references to his efforts as a pillar of suffrage?"

But then the editors ask some important questions. Was it because the defendant was clearly not alone and was being set up to take the blame. "Perhaps the jurors for acquittal reasoned that the woman was an instrument in the hands of underworld men, and that she was brought to bay while the men escaped."

Perhaps the evidence was not there to prove guilt. And there was, perhaps, an equal argument for both points of view. Lawyers thrive on such things, they said.

"It might have looked better to a waiting world for this first jury of Oregon women if there could have been an agreement. The news has gone to the country, and the disagreement will bring out a chorus of 'I told you so.'"

But, the editors insisted, "juries of men do the same thing. Groups of judges" including those serving on the United States Supreme Court "similarly perform."

"The women of the first Oregon jury have the satisfaction," they wrote, "of knowing that they have done no worse."

"The First," Oregon Journal, December 5, 1912, 8.





And so? The next blog post will explore how the fallout about this "experimental" all-female jury may have influenced the Oregon Attorney General's decision about women and jury service . . .

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Portland's Experimental Woman Jury -- Editorial Reviews: The Evening Telegram -- "Why Drag Women Into the Filth of It?"

We've seen the Oregonian's editorial about the experimental all-woman jury in Portland. Now here is the reaction of the other Republican-leaning daily, the Evening Telegram.

In "The Woman Jury" the Telegram editors decried the "stage effect" of the trial, but emphasized that "like men jurors they could not agree" on a verdict. Therefore, the editors concluded, there was "not the slightest evidence that women are better fitted than men" for the trial of cases of other women, "and if that's the fact why drag women into the filth of it simply because it is possible to do so?"

Women may eventually "constitute the best tribunal for the trial of cases of this sort" but "at all events id does not appear that there is anything to be gained by breaking down the barriers of womanly delicacy, which must be done every time that women who are worthy are called upon to sit in a case like that of yesterday." (The case involved accusations of prostitution).

It appears that the Telegram editors feared most that women on juries would be harmed, would lose their "womanly delicacy."

In the final paragraph of the editorial the editors reiterated their concern about the theatrical, staged aspects of the experimental woman jury, noting that "thoughtful people" would not conclude that it was "edifying." But they also signaled ambivalence about women's jury service as a right of citizenship. "If women vote with good judgement they may also render good jury service. But the selection of women for such service should be made with discretion."

"The Woman Jury," Evening Telegram, December 5, 1912, 6.
 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury -- Editorial Reviews: The Oregonian -- "Don't Depend Too Much On Their Being Fools"

All three of Portland's major daily newspapers provided extensive coverage of the first all-female jury on December 4, 1912 just weeks after the achievement of woman suffrage. And all three weighed in with editorial commentary after the fact.

Today -- the Oregonian. This Republican-supporting morning paper had been editorially opposed to woman suffrage until the death of editor Harvey Scott (brother of Abigail Scott Duniway) in 1910. The paper's editorial views about lessons learned in "The First Woman Jury" might best be characterized as damning with faint praise and halfhearted

The first lesson for the Oregonian editors was that women would not automatically support a lawyer because he had supported the votes for women campaign. As we've seen, W.M. Pike Davis was one of the defense attorneys at the trial and he used his suffrage credentials in his argument. The Oregonian got back at him in the editorial.

"The account of the various antics performed to beguile and bemuddle the first woman jury makes at least one thing perfectly clear," they wrote. Women jurors cannot be depended on to give their verdict to a lawyer because he worked for suffrage. They may give it to him for his good looks or his elegant manners or his dulcet voice. That remains to be seen. But lawyers who have hoped to win all of their cases for the next year or two by pleading that they made stump speeches for suffrage are clearly doomed to woeful disappointment."

The second lesson -- some women might eventually make good jurors but they are easily distracted. The women jurors "gave some attention to the evidence and the judge's instructions though perhaps did their job as jurors. "We are persuaded that the women gave some attention to the evidence and the judge's instructions, though perhaps not very much." The editors acknowledged that this was a very public trial with a media following and this "must naturally have diverted their minds" from the task at hand.

"It is only by experience," they continued, "that some women can be taught that an oath is a little more serious than a new ribbon and that to be chosen foreman of a jury is not quite the same sort of distinction as to take a prize at bridge whist." The editors acknowledged "these lessons will be learned in time. Some men need them quite as much as any women."

And the third argument was that "it is unsafe to treat women like simpletons" (though to this reader's eyes the Oregonian had done just that) "even in the most novel situations." The editors warned "politicians seeking women's vote not to depend too much on their being fools. The sex has belated specimens, no doubt, whose vanity is more conspicuous than their common sense, but their very prominence proves their rarity." In the final analysis, to the Oregonian editors, "with women as with men, the appeal that wins in the long run must not be too superficial or utterly silly."

"The First Woman Jury," Oregonian, December 6, 1912, 12.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part XI: Oregonian Claims Facing a Woman Jury is Deterrent to Crime

As part of its coverage of the December 4, 1912 all-female jury I've been blogging here, the Oregonian printed this accompanying article suggesting that a "woman jury in Municipal Court" was a deterrent to lawbreaking. Whether the story was true or not it contributed to the debate going on in the city about the impact of this "experimental jury."

Captain Brown of the U.S. Steamer Leelenau had docked at the Irving dock at the foot of Dupont Street in Portland with improper lighting and unsafe gangplanks. The patrolman on duty told him he would have to comply with regulations or face arrest and fines.

"From his berth, whither he had retired early, Captain Brown commended the parolman to a 'warm climate.'"

"'They have a woman jury in Municipal Court,'" the patrolman told him, "'and you will have to face that.' Instantly," the Oregonian reported, "the captain raised his hand to his whistle and the watchman came running." He ordered repairs to be made. "'I won't face a woman jury in any court,'" the captain said, '''and me 60 years old.'"


"Woman Jury Has Effect," Oregonian, December 5, 1912, 12.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part X: Oregonian Coverage Continued: "Mrs. Duniway Absent" and "Gloved Hands Take Oath"

We're reviewing the extensive Portland newspaper coverage of an all-female "experimental jury" in Municipal Court on December 4, 1912. In addition to featuring Leone Cass Baer's account of serving on the jury, the Oregonian provided a long article about the trial, part of which I excerpt here.

This excerpt provides some additional information about the trial. We learn that the first order of business was the clerk calling "the name of Abigail Scott Duniway, under a pre-arranged agreement to give her the honorary position of being the first woman in Oregon to be called into a jury box." As we've seen, Duniway was not the first -- Hattie Corkett of Bend, Oregon served as foreperson on a jury the week of November 25, 1912. Duniway was not present for her honorary position.

The Oregonian used a dramatic and class-related image to describe the first all-female jury. "Ten gloved hands were raised" as the jurors swore to tell the truth in voir dire and as they were empaneled. And the drama continued: "It was just the same old sordid story, so threadbare to male jurors, but throbbing with novelty and interest to the new arbiters."

Excerpt from "Unable to Agree, Woman Jury Quits," Oregonian, December 5, 1912, 12.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part IX: Leone Cass Baer Reports on Her Experience with Jury Duty for the Oregonian

The Oregonian provided extensive coverage of the December 4, 1912 Portland trial with the "experimental" all-female jury. One of its features was an account of jury service written by columnist and drama critic Leone Cass Baer, who was one of the ten women on the jury.

Cass Baer used humor to create a lively picture of the day. The court "sent the biggest policeman on the force to serve me," she said, and "one half as large would have been as legal." She learned a new vocabulary ("pinched" meant being arrested) and joked about what she felt was defense attorney Pike Davis's grandstanding. "It seems everybody in Portland but that jury of women and Mr. Piker Davis and oh, maybe Mr. Farrell, are grafters."

She also challenged the way the media had inflated the case. "While the crowd was trying to tack the individual juroresses onto the libelous, fac-simile, after-taking pictures the papers have published, we went through the necessary form of telling each other who each other was." And one, "whose picture in the paper had seemingly been made from a cut of Lydia Pinkham" (whose very maternal picture acccompanied advertisements for her nineteenth century vegetable compound and contraceptive) "looks really more like Edna May" (a glamorous actress known for her beauty) "after you see her."

All of the newspapers had hyped the large crowds and worried that the floor would collapse. But Cass Baer wrote of the "sea of faces about us. (N.B. It wasn't exactly a sea--but at least a small ocean.)"

Is seems quite possible that in her account of "Going-a-Courtin'" Cass Baer demystified the courtroom and the process of the trial for other women readers, women who would themselves be possible future jurors. "Judge Tazwell talked to us and gave us our instructions," she wrote. "D'ye know, I think I'd like my next divorce case tried before him. He's so gentle, and so sensible, and he doesn't waste words." She ended her story as the jurors set off to deliberate. "Just what went on in that room I promised nine perfectly nice women I would not tell. But, gee -- I wish I dared."




"Jury 'Woe' is Told: Leone Cass Baer Writes of 'Going a-Courtin','" Oregonian, December 5, 1912, 12

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part VIII: The Oregon Journal Coverage of the December 4, 1912 Trial--"The Courtroom Was Unsafe"

The Oregon Journal, the Democratic evening paper in Portland, included many of the same details as the Portland Evening Telegram's report and also demonstrated ambivalence about women jurors and repeated negative stereotypes about women. The Journal report, however, gives voice to some of the complexities of the jury deliberations and, significantly, a "demonstration" by women spectators claiming their own view of justice. All of this served to make the "unsafe" just as much as the reported structural weakness and quivering floor of the temporary municipal court.

"That old wolf cry of the anti-suffrage fold that giving the ballot to women would masculinize the sex and that no more would woman be womanly, received its death blow here yesterday," the Journal reported. "For Oregon's first woman jury, put for the first time in the setting of a police court and hearing for the first time the sordid and brutally frank testimony of a police court, did the typically feminine thing of being unable to agree." The defense argued that Marcelle Bortell was an "inmate" and not the operator of a house of prostitution as she had been charged. Eight of the ten women jurors, the Journal said, acted on "moral certainly of guilt," while two "held out unswervingly for a legal certainty according to the evidence." At the end of the process the jury was divided five to five.

By 7:00 in the evening, when they could not come to agreement, Judge Tazwell "sent them home to dinner. . . the decision proved vastly popular with a handful of husbands waiting hungrily for their wives to get through balloting and set the table."

"Woman Jury Splits on Rock of Moral Guilt: Eve, to Eve Erring, Is Still True to Tradition," Oregon Journal, December 5, 1912, 1 (article continued on p. 2 not reproduced here) 

When interviewed, the jurors revealed a more complex situation. "The five women who insisted on conviction throughout proposed to soften it a bit by asking Judge Tazwell to remit the fine against the woman, and to commend her otherwise to the mercy of the court." Viola Coe, "the forewoman, thought it would be a good idea to let the woman herself go, but bring into court some of the men mentioned by the police officers who testified, and convict and fine them instead." Mary Cachot Therkelsen noted that they all wanted leniency. ""We didn't place much credence in the testimony of those five policemen,'" she insisted.


The Journal recounted the back and forth between prosecutor Sullivan and defense attorney W M "Pike" Davis, who "'with Patrolman Sherwood on the stand, smilingly chided him for being 'the only member of the police force who didn't vote for woman suffrage.'"

"'Your honor,' cried Mr. Sullivan, 'I don't think this should be permitted, even in fun.'

'''You didn't vote for suffrage yourself,' shot back Attorney Davis.

"'No, I didn't vote for suffrage, and I make no bones about it,' retorted Sullivan warmly. And later in his argument, he said, 'I don't know whether lady jurors are going to be a success. Judging from remarks in the courtroom and soft applause to the sentimental pleas of the attorneys for the defense, I fear for where it is a question of convicting women by women, but you must lay aside your sympathy and find according to the law and your oath.'"

The lawyers had other "hot exchanges." "Once, after the arguments were finished, one of the jurors complained of being cold. Attorney Davis hastened to the jury box and closed a window. Sullivan objected to "'these little attentions' and told the judge 'I would rather have this done by some anti-suffragist.'

"'Huh, you'd let them freeze to death yourself,' snorted back Mr. Davis."

Women spectators at the trial "who had taken every chair and standing place in the municipal courtroom" weighed in on a case before the judge that preceded the one with the woman jury. They "showed their contempt for a man who had turned informer against a woman of the underworld." Judge Tazwell "dismissed the charge against Pauline Bernard, the woman, on the plea of her attorney, A. W. Parshley, on the ground that the man was equally guilty with her, but had not been prosecuted" and "the audience of women broke into a demonstration" of support for the verdict.

This demonstration, the women who participated in it while in the spectator seats waiting for the next trial, and the ten women on the subsequent jury posed a threat to the established gendered order of things. "Judge Tazwell had to call sternly for order, and only quieted the applause when he said that the courtroom was unsafe."

The fears of the collapsing floor, as we've seen reported in this series, served as a metaphor for fears of women out of bounds and a change in the gendered order. "The courtroom was unsafe" -- but for whom?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part VII: Portland Evening Telegram Coverage of the December 4, 1912 Trial and Mattie McArthur

Portland's three daily newspapers all covered the December 4, 1912 trial that featured an all-female "experimental" jury. The Portland Evening Telegram, a Republican daily, presented the police court as a dramatic stage on which gender relations and ideology played out.

"Defendant Flees From Woman Jury," Portland Evening Telegram, December 5, 1912, 1.


The Evening Telegram began its extensive coverage on the front page. "One glance at the courtroom, packed to suffocation with women who wanted to see and hear her, and Marcelle Bortell, of the underworld, exclaimed 'Not for me!' and fled. And then, in her absence, she was tried on a charge of keeping a disorderly house by the first woman jury in Oregon."

The "scene" was one of a kind, the paper noted. "So great was the crowd of women who wedged their way into the dingy, smelly courtroom of Municipal Judge Tazwell that the building threatened to collapse." The police "weeded out" men in the chairs but women stayed. "The lobby was thronged, the office downstairs was filled and a crowd assembled outside. Several times during the afternoon yesterday the floor quivered under the strain, but there was no accident."

Photo from "Woman Prisoner Flees Jury of Her Own Sex," Portland Evening Telegram, December 5, 1912, 12.
The Telegram reported on the dress and deportment of the mostly "middle-aged, matronly women" who remained in their seats after Judge Tazwell admonished that there would be frank language and information during the trial. "In court, a spade is called a spade," he said, "and things are called by their right names." The women on the jury (the Telegram referred to them as "juroresses") were sworn in and the trial began.

Defense attorney W. E. Farrell presented the defendant, Marcelle Bortell, as a woman with whom all the other women in the courtroom could relate. She was so disturbed by the assembled crowd that she could not appear. "Remember, she is a woman -- weak-kneed, perhaps -- but a woman and she faltered when she came to the door of the courtroom. She had the chagrin and fright any lady would have."

Deputy city attorney Ray Sullivan used gender differently and emphasized the differences between the defendant and the women in the jury and audience. "A woman of the underworld . . . it one of the boldest creatures in the world and would not be afraid of facing a jury. A woman can size up one of this character instinctively--that's why the defendant did not appear. The question now involved is whether a jury of women will convict a woman of the underground and you will have to put your sentiments aside and remember the facts."

Bortell was charged with keeping a house of prostitution. "It was one of those cases so common in the Municipal Court," the Telegram reported, "distinctly nasty in details, but the audience was game and remained. When the testimony became too-off colored for repetition in the presence of women Judge Tazwell tilted back in his swivel chair and looked out the window across the street. One juror riveted her eyes to the floor throughout the trial; another gazed unblinking out a window; another flushed to her brow, several gripped their nether lip with their teeth and the rest stared, without displaying the least trace of emotion, at the witness."

Attorney W M "Pike" Davis joined Farrell for the defense. Davis had been a strong suffragist and chair of the Men's Equal Suffrage League of Multnomah County in the recent 1912 campaign. The Telegram noted that Davis placed the women jurors "in the same class with the defendant" when he told them that "this woman is your sister," something the Telegram felt was insulting. The report was critical of Davis in other ways: "Davis inserted a bouquet for himself for his campaign for suffrage, and, seeing a window open near the jury, he gallantly climbed through the crowd and shut it with ostentation." Davis, the Telegram noted, spent his time "interjecting his suffrage record and panning the police." The Telegram concluded "women resent being called sisters of the denizens of the underworld and . . . have great confidence in the police."

The jury was out for an hour and 40 minutes. The jurors selected were Mrs. W.T. Pangle, Mary Cachot Therkelsen, Leone Cass Baer, May (Mrs. A.C.) Newill, Viola Coe, Mrs. Paul C. Bates, Mrs. O.C. Bortzmeyer, Mrs. A.E. Clark, Laura Vinson and Ida M. Kayser. The group elected Viola Coe as foreperson. As the Telegram told it, "the jury agreed that Marcelle was a woman of loose character, and there they stuck." The final vote was divided five to five "and the court discharged the first jury to women in Oregon because they could not agree." (Much more on this in subsequent reports . . .)

The Telegram reported a straw poll among women in the spectator seats "at 6:30 among the women who had not gone home to prepare supper" and it revealed 25 for aquital and 22 for conviction. The paper printed what it represented as a discussion among the remaining women that ranged from sympathy to a discussion of the "white slave trade" to criticism of the defendant.

The Telegram review of the day of the trial concludes with this sentence: "There was one colored suffragette in the courtroom, Mrs. Mattie McArthur, Tenth and Stark Streets." McArthur does not appear in the 1912 Portland City Directory but the 1920 Census lists her as 31 years of age living with her husband Joseph, a drill press operator. (thanks Ancestry.com!).

Stay tuned for the other newspaper reports, editorials, Leone Cass Baer's "eyewitness" narrative, and how this might have influenced the Oregon attorney general's decision about women and jury service a week later . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part VI: Mary Cachot Therkelsen on Full Citizenship

The first all-female "experimental" jury in Portland convened for trial on Wednesday,  December 4, 1912 in the municipal court. The trial began in the late afternoon and so the morning newspaper, the Oregonian, and the two evening papers, the Oregon Journal and the Portland Evening Telegram, had one more day to print anticipatory information before having actual trial events. This coverage perpetuated the contradictory images and assessments of women jurors that we've seen in prior posts.

That morning the Oregonian reported that in anticipation of large crowds some suggested to Judge Tazwell that "the trial should be adjourned to some more roomy chamber, but this idea was abandoned, on the ground that the first woman jury in Oregon should have a stage-setting under ordinary working conditions such as the husbands and brothers of the new electors have had hitherto." So the proceedings would be held in the "second story room in the dingy old City Jail building" with room for only 100 people. These news accounts, we may suppose, also contributed to the swell of the crowds.

The paper also noted that "fearing that some embarrassment might be caused Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway through the serving upon her yesterday of an honorary summons to the jury" the court reassured her that her appearance was voluntary "but if her health permitted her to attend she would be the first to be called into the box." Husbands, the Oregonian noted, would attend. And the article quoted "a suffragist" as saying that women were not prepared for jury duty but rather "fitted for afternoon teas."

"First Woman Jury Tries Case Today," Oregonian, December 4, 1912, 17.




The evening Oregon Journal went to press as the courtroom was filling. The paper reported in detail the efforts some Portlanders made to get in -- "Judge Tazwell and Court Clerk Beutgen have been besieged for reserved seats the last 24 hours" -- and repeated the fears of a collapsing floor.

The Journal continued its supportive stance regarding the women jurors." The "women who have been subpoenaed on the jury panel are not curious," the Journal reported. "They are entering the case with too much seriousness for that, for they regard it as a sort of test for all women of their ability to exercise the requirements of citizenship." It noted also that the subpoena for Duniway was "made honorary" because of her health.

Mary Cachot Therkelsen, one of the jurors, noted that she was "glad to serve . . . I'm anxious to acquaint myself with all the duties of citizenship." And, she continued, "the sooner we begin the better, too, for it's necessary for us to know all the duties that go with citizenship before we can exercise it intelligently. Before very long, I expect the various women's clubs to resolve themselves into civic organizations, and we must know all about such things as jury duty in order that we may teach other women who do not."

Cachot Therkelsen's comments, captured by the Journal in the midst of the building spectacle of the trial, are vital clues to the way many Oregon women may have approached the question of jury service. Cachot Therkelsen, trained as a physician and active in the suffrage campaign, believed that full citizenship required understanding and experiencing all of the civic obligations it entailed.

"Ten women have been subpenaed [sic]," the Journal noted, "but the subpenas [sic] really are not necessary to insure their attendance, they made it clear today, because, like Mrs. Therkelsen, they desire to serve."

"Woman Jury is Biggest Attraction the Municipal Court Ever Has Had," Oregon Journal, December 4, 1912, 1.
The Portland Evening Telegram repeated some of this information and provided additional details. Officials had discovered a "large crack in the front wall" of the temporary building for the municipal court and jail and Police Chief Slover was limiting the spectators to 200 in number.

"Stylishly dressed women mingled with poorly dressed men in the scramble for seats" and some brought their lunches "and to pass the time poured over novels and magazines." This reinforced the idea that "society women" were interested and participating.

The Telegram also reported continuing interest on the part of Portland women to participate as jurors. "Telephone calls have kept Municipal Clerk Beutgen and Assistant Neil Crounse busy all morning informing women that the jury panel had been filled. Many applicants have expressed their desire to serve, one enthusiastic woman routing Judge Tazwell out of bed a 6 o'clock this morning with a request to be subpenaed [sic]."

"Crowd to Trial by Woman Jury," Portland Evening Telegram, December 4, 1912, 1

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury Part V: 10 to 8 Odds for Conviction and Fears of Women in the Jury Box

Many thanks to Sara Piasecki for commenting on the last blog post -- men were not flocking to the court for jury duty either! A "scarcity" of male jurors was one of the factors prompting the call for this all-female experimental jury. One of the complicating and interesting issues concerning this aspect of civic participation and equality is that jury service was not, and as Sara points out still is not, one of the most favored ways to express citizenship. Many people in December of 1912, male and female, appeared to see it as an "obligation" that was onerous and unpleasant. And this would figure into the continuing debate about women's jury service in the state.


The newspaper coverage of the experimental jury continued to be full of ambiguity, too, with some praise for the women who served but also with sensational claims that placed the women in a negative light and hostility and jokes about such service and the status of women as citizens. This ambivalence had been part of the suffrage campaign and newspapers were now applying it to this next phase of the campaign for women's civic rights.


As we've seen, the Oregonian published the "results" of the telephone summons of a number of Portland women and as the trial approached newspapers named various women as potential jurors. The articles suggested that most women did not want to serve. Even the Oregon Journal, more supportive of the just-completed successful woman suffrage campaign in Oregon, headlined "Women Anxious to Dodge Jury Duty" even though the text of the article recognized that men were not lining up for service. "That women are as anxious to escape jury service as men is shown by the efforts of the municipal court clerk to secure a list for the women jury," the paper noted, but the headline focused on women only.
"Women Anxious to Dodge Jury Duty," Oregon Journal, December 3, 1912, 17.
Meanwhile, as the municipal court prepared for the trial, the Portland Evening Telegram reported "a lively movement in the betting line and probably a score of wagers have been put up on the result" with 10 to 8 odds that the women would return a guilty verdict. "If the defendant was a man the betting might be different," the Telegram noted, "but the prisoner at the bar is a woman." And "to make the affair as interesting as possible, extra chairs will be provided in the courtroom to accommodate women spectators who may attend with the desire of learning some of the duties of citizenship"(to say nothing of other interested parties).


"It's 10 to 8 That Woman Jury Convicts," Portland Evening Telegram, December 3, 1912, 1.
The Telegram's editorial cartoonist prepared this front page commentary on women jurors the day the trial began, Wednesday, December 4, 1912:


"Trial by Jury," Portland Evening Telegram, December 4, 1912, 1.
"Trial by Jury" portrays a jury box filled with fashionable young women in front of a young and nattily dressed male defendant arrested ("pinched") and on trial for burglary. Their thoughts are not on justice nor their obligations as citizens; rather they coo "Isn't he handsome" as the exasperated judge strikes his gavel to restore order. Women jurors, the cartoon suggests, would disrupt the order of a courtroom and its civic proceedings and the community cannot expect justice from women who only consider the appearance of a criminal and can be easily fooled. (Throughout the subsequent campaign for women's jury service supporters would work to counter this image with that of serious female citizens on the one hand and male jurors dazzled by a well-dressed, beautiful female defendant on the other).


Come back to find out if the floorboards of the Portland Municipal Courtroom could withstand the stress of the crowds . . . and more on the construction of the image of the woman juror for Oregonians in this "experimental" all-female jury.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury, Part IV: The Oregonian Prints the Results of the "Telephone Summons"

On December 1, 1912 in a very long article (part of which is reproduced here) the Oregonian presented the specific reactions of the women telephoned about service on the "experimental" all female jury in police court. The list was different from the one reported by the Oregon Journal, with some of the same names but many others.

Judge Tazwell "appointed a citizen to draw the special venire, and he spent most of the afternoon at the telephone with a list of addresses before him and a very puzzled woman at the other end of the wire," the Oregonian reported. "Just for curiosity he jotted down the substance of the answers he received, and here they are. . ." Just for curiosity?

The paper did not identify this "citizen" but the Oregonian made much of the list, and of course mined the "substance" of the answers for press value. We can't know how accurate these "responses" were, but the report seems designed to highlight the idea that most women did not want to participate. The "experimental" all female jury came about, in part, because of a scarcity of men who would serve. But the humor that slid into ridicule at times in this report was loaded with negative views about the women who would not serve and shadowed even some of the women who agreed to serve with sarcasm.

"First Women Jury Has Woman's Case," Oregonian, December 1, 1912, 1, 13.
Mrs. A.E. Clark would "serve if needed, but I would not be tried by a jury of women myself." She also told the caller she would like to consult her husband (a lawyer). The caller noted that with emancipation women "don't have to consult the mister," to which Clark replied that women were not yet "accustomed to our new liberty."

Mrs. J.A. Dougherty thought it was a joke and "refused."

Esther Goodman, an opponent of woman suffrage, said she was not ready for jury service and declined.

Mrs. H. L. Chapin asked "who will the other women be?" and would serve "if my husband doesn't object."

Mrs. A.J. Capron said it "would be a great trial to me to go" and declined.

Mrs. Peter Borgan was at a loss for words and didn't think she could do it. She also wanted to consult with her husband and was dismissed.

Mrs. O.C Bortzmeyer accepted, as did teacher and suffragist May Newill (though she first said she "always understood that teachers were exempt.") Oregonian columnist Leone Cass Baer also agreed. "I always want to go where I can learn something new," she said, "even if it is to Police Court." (She would write about her experience as we'll soon see.)

Mrs. Jessie G. Bennett said no, and Mrs. George E. Bingham expressed only "frank personal distaste." Mrs. H. H. Herdman did not feel competent to serve.

Mrs. E. N. Blythe said that she had to care for her children, and Mrs. Harrison Allen also claimed "home cares." Mrs. William Beck declined due to illness in the family. Mrs. Byron Miller said she was no politician and would have to ask her husband.

Mrs. Lansing Stout declined, but noted that "I should think that you could get any number of the women who advocated suffrage." Mrs. T.L. Perkins said she needed more time to study and prepare.

Paul Bates had joked with his wife that she was now liable for jury service after reading about the experimental jury in the paper and she thought that the call was his joke. After finding it was real she agreed to serve. Mrs. O.K. Jeffrey also thought it was a prank, but she agreed when she found the call was legitimate. Mrs. W.T. Pangle agreed, stating that "if they are all women, I have no objection." She wanted, the Oregonian reported, to know who else was serving.

Suffragist Mary Cachot Therkelsen agreed, noting "I have the privilege of voting, and I will take all the responsibilities. And the Oregonian gave a paragraph to Viola Coe's response with different details that the Oregon Journal's version.

"'Yes, certainly, I shall be very pleased,' was the hearty response of Mrs. Henry Waldo Coe . . . Later the new 'juroress' burst in upon the assemblage at a room in her house where Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway, Governor West, and a delegation of prominent suffragists had assembled to proclaim the adoption of the suffrage amendment, with the news of her selection. She and her announcement were received with hearty applause by those present, Governor West joining the acclaim."

The report concluded: "Wherefore, tomorrow morning, the blue-coated policeman on the beat will ring the bell at the doors of mansions, apartment houses and cottages, and will hand to ten delighted women their credentials as members of the first body of its kind to be brought together in the state. And two days later, the grimy Municipal Court will witness what it never saw before, six well-dressed and reputable women sitting upon the question of the guilt or innocence of one of their less fortunate sisters. It is predicted that there will be standing room only, and little of that, when the case is called."

Under the editorial watch of Harvey Scott, brother of suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway, the Oregonian had opposed woman suffrage until his death in 1910 and had given lukewarm attention to the 1912 campaign. The paper's coverage of the all-female jury contributed to the spectacle, and this particular report questioned most women's commitment to jury service as a civic duty and opportunity to exercise citizenship.

More on the build-up to the "standing room only" trial in the next post.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury, Part III: Abigail Scott Duniway Subpoenaed . . . for Jury Duty . . . and it's Optional . . . and Dangerous?

On December 2, 1912 the Portland Evening Telegram reported a new development in the building drama about the all-female "experimental" jury being formed: Judge George Tazwell decided to subpoena aging and controversial suffrage activist Abigail Scott Duniway for the jury panel.

"Mrs. Duniway Called to Serve Upon Jury," Portland Evening Telegram, December 2, 1912, 1

The Telegram reported Tazwell announced "that it would be no more than fitting to have her a member of the first woman jury." But the ill and aging activist was in "feeble health" and "if Mrs. Duniway feels equal to the occasion she will have to attend but if her health is such as to prohibit her appearance reply to the subpoena will not be insisted upon." As we'll see, this would later become an "honorary subpoena."

Given Duniway's contentious role in the suffrage campaign just completed in November 1912 and her desire for the limelight, it's interesting to note that Viola Coe, not Duniway, was the first woman to be called for this experiment. Duniway is not mentioned in the first list of women drawn. It would appear that Duniway or her supporters contacted the court or made a request that she be included to honor her work in suffrage and to signal the links between suffrage and jury service.

The Telegram article is also interesting because it reflects the growing interest in the trial among women who volunteered to serve. "Numerous applications have been received by Clerk Beutgen from women in all parts of the city who have volunteered their services, and several were quite insistent that they should be selected." Perhaps Duniway was among them?

"Much interest is being displayed in the case," the Telegram reported, "and a packed courtroom is expected. Special precautions will be taken by the police to check any demonstration, and several patrolmen will be assigned to special baliff duty." It's not clear whether the reporter believed that the women were going to demonstrate and be a dangerous threat or whether the danger came from others who felt threatened by women jurors.

More on the continuing developments in this "experiment" that was creating such a stir -- and causing anxious officials to take "special precautions."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Portland's "Experimental" Woman Jury, Part II, Oregon Journal December 1 and 2, 1912

On Sunday, December 1, the Oregon Journal linked suffrage and jury service for women solidly in readers' minds by reporting on Viola Coe's response to the call to jury duty in Portland's "experimental" all-female jury.
"Suffrage Leader on Jury," Oregon Journal, December 1, 1912, 4.
 Coe was acting president of the Oregon Equal Suffrage Association, one of the groups that had worked to achieve the votes for women victory several weeks before. "Mrs. Coe was hostess at the gathering in her home . . . at which Mrs. Abigail Scott Duniway signed Governor West's suffrage proclamation" when she received the telephone call asking her to serve on this jury. "'I accepted,' Mrs. Coe went on, 'because I think it is a woman's duty to perform jury duty when she is called now that she has all the rights of a citizen. I'd like to set a good example for future women jurors. I don't want to see women shirk jury duty as some of the men do. I don't believe they will.'"

The Journal also noted that the case would be "a little experiment by Municipal Judge Tazwell in the psychology of woman jurors." And further, that "Mrs. Coe and her five fellow juroresses" would try a case involving "a woman of the underworld, who is charged with maintaining a disorderly house."

The next day, Monday, December 2, the Oregon Journal provided the names of sixteen women who would receive a summons. The assistant city attorney Raymond Sullivan "called for a list as representative as possible, suggesting that the 16 names be drawn, thus giving each side a chance to object to any one considered prejudiced or not a fair juror for the respective sides."
"Panel of Sixteen Women is Called to do Jury Duty," Oregon Journal, December 2, 1912, 2.
The Journal listed those on the list with their addresses. With help from the 1912 Portland City Directory and other resources we can see who comprised this group and if they were indeed representative.

"Mrs. Levy Young, of Meier & Frank's department store"
(listed in the Directory as Levi and as a department manager at Meier and Frank)

"Mrs. Gee, employed with Neustadter Bros."
(Lizzie Gee was the president of United Garment Workers Local 228 in Portland ["Garment Workers' Officers, Portland Labor Press, January 11, 1912, 8] and listed in the Directory as the widow of David H Gee. Gee would be a candidate for Oregon State representative, 18th district, with the progressive party and was part of the Esther Pohl Lovejoy for Congress Committee in 1920 -- you'll have to wait for the Lovejoy biography to learn more!)

"Miss Mamie Gaffney, 93 East Fifteenth Street"
(listed in the Directory as Mary F Gaffney, a bookkeeper at C R Winslow Company, press agents. Gaffney worked on the 1912 suffrage campaign with Esther Lovejoy and others. See "Suffragists Hold Initial Banquet," Oregon Journal, February 11, 1912, 4.)

"Mrs. Julia Kirk Sayer, Yeon Building"
(listed in the Directory as Julia Sayre-Kirker, Public Stenographer, with her office at 1404 Yeon Building -- she took out the following ad in the business section under "Stenographers" suggesting a good measure of success in her field. Many stenographers were members of the Stenographers Equal Suffrage League -- see Karin Traweek's article on the Century of Action website.)
"Mrs. Julia Kirker Sayre, Stenographer," Portland City Directory, (Portland, Polks, 1912), 1926.
"Mrs. Fowler, with the Pacific Telephone Company"
(not identifiable in Directory listings)

"Mrs. John F. Logan, wife of attorney Logan"
(Mrs. Logan worked on the 1912 suffrage campaign with Esther Lovejoy and others. See "Suffragists Hold Initial Banquet," Oregon Journal, February 11, 1912, 4.)

"Mrs. O. C. Bortzmeyer, 704 East Ankeny street"
(The Directory lists O.C. Bortzmeyer as a cashier for Merchants Savings and Trust with no listing for her.)

"Mrs. I. M. Bohansen, 405 Jefferson street"
(not listed in Directory)

"Mrs. J. H. Ray, East Thirty-second and Flanders streets)
(Joseph H Ray at this residence listed in the Directory a part of the real estate firm of Wyatt, Estabrook & Ray)

"Laura Vinson, 1024 Holgate Street"
(Laura Vinson is not listed in the Directory but Burr Vinson, a carpenter, Iliff J. Vinson, a clerk at the U.S. News Company, and Truman Vinson, a blacksmith, are listed at 1024 Holgate Street. The 1910 Census lists Laura as Burr's wife and the mother of Truman and Iliff. Thanks Ancestry.com!)

"Mrs. W. T. Pangle, Oregon hotel"
(W.T. Pangle, according to the Directory, was the manager of the Helig Theater)

"Mrs. L.W. Therkelsen, 329 Eleventh Street"
Mary Cachot Therkelsen had trained as a physician in San Francisco and was a strong suffragist in the 1912 campaign and a member of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage through 1920. She was the widow of Portland business leader and former manager of the Portland Pacific Lumber Company Lauritz Therkelsen. You'll be able to find more information about her in my upcoming biography of Esther Lovejoy.)

"Mrs. A.C. Newell, 744 Hoyt Street"
(May E. Newill (sometimes spelled Newell in the press reports) was a teacher and an active suffragist with the Portland Woman's Club Campaign Committee and other organizations. See, for example, "Suffragists Name Central Committee," Oregon Journal, March 9, 1912, 2)

"Mrs. Henry Waldo Coe, 841 Lovejoy street"
(As we've seen, Viola Coe was acting president of the Oregon Equal Suffrage Association. Trained as a physician she was apparently not practicing; she was the wife of prominent Portland doctor Henry Waldo Coe. See Jennifer Newby's essay on Coe on the Century of Action website for more information.)

"Mrs. Paul Bates, 493 Hassalo"
(Directory lists Paul Bates as an agent with McCargar, Bates & Lively, Insurance Agents)

"Mrs. A. E. Clark , 319 Johnson street"
(Mrs. Clark was a prominent and active suffragist with many local organizations including the Portland Equal Suffrage League, the College Equal Suffrage League, and the Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association. See, for example, "Cartoon Theories on Suffrage are Generally Supplanted Now, Oregonian, September 22, 1912, 2:18. Her husband A. E. Clark was a prominent attorney.)

Representative? Well, this initial list included stenographers, a labor leader, working and professional women and wives of prominent businessmen. Many had been suffrage supporters.

The Journal reported that two women had called "volunteering their services as jurors." We will see more women doing this in the next several days of reporting about this story -- they wanted a chance to show their support and to participate.

At this point the two women who volunteered were:

"Mrs. Ida B. Kayser, 491 East Thirty-third street"
(Listed in the Directory as the widow of Clement E Kayser)

"Mrs. L. G. Carpenter, 972 East Stark Street"
(As you'll see from the entry in the Directory below, her husband L.G. Carpenter was the Superintendent of the Coast Detective Bureau.)
"L.G. Carpenter, Superintendent, Coast Detective Bureau, Portland City Directory (Portland: R.K. Polk, 1912), 1784.
Next -- the Oregonian weighs in -- and gives transcriptions of the telephone conversations with prospective women jurors -- both those who wanted to serve and those who declined.