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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.





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