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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 3, 1912: Esther Pohl Speaks to University of Oregon Alumnae -- a "Notable Suffrage Affair" in Portland

On February 3, 1912 members of the University of Oregon Alumnae Association in Portland met at their regular monthly meeting. Votes for women was the topic and Esther Pohl was one of the speakers. The Oregon Journal reported that it was a "notable suffrage affair," and "in accord with the signs of the times."
"Notable Meeting," Oregon Journal, February 5, 1912, 2.

Pohl and other women who had attended the University of Oregon (and this included the University of Oregon Medical Department, now Oregon Health & Science University, where Pohl received her medical degree in 1894) were eligible for membership. Their guest was Charlotte Anita Whitney, president of the California branch of the College Equal Suffrage Association.

Esther Pohl was in Vienna in 1910 for graduate clinical medical studies when women in Washington State achieved the right to vote. She told her audience of college women, according to the Oregon Journal, about "being abroad at the time Washington women were given the enfranchisement, how the news reached her at once, and was generally known. She laid great stress on how much a single state gaining suffrage meant all over the world."

Pohl Lovejoy's later transnational career in public health and feminist activism had roots in her Portland suffrage and city health work. It was also nurtured by her early transnational experiences like this one in Vienna, where she learned "how much a single state gaining suffrage meant all over the world." Born in Washington Territory, she claimed that heritage when Washington State women achieved suffrage. Her subsequent home in Oregon and Portland claimed her suffrage attention in 1912.

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