Suffragist Mary Jane Coggeshall

Jan 24, 2020  | 1 min 56 sec  | Ep 2020

As pioneer suffragist, Mary Jane Coggeshall helped launch the suffrage movement in Iowa and helped mentor Carrie Chapman Catt.


Mary Jane Coggeshall was at the center of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Iowa for over 40 years. National suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt considered Coggeshall as her greatest inspiration.

“The movement has never produced a nobler, more unselfish, consecrated woman than Mrs. Coggeshall.” - Carrie Chapman Catt.

Being an early suffragist, Coggeshall holds the title of several “firsts.”

First editor of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association’s “The Woman’s Standard.”

First woman west of the Mississippi elected to the National American Woman Suffrage Association board.

She served several terms as president of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association between 1890 and 1911.

And was also a charter member of the Polk County Woman Suffrage Society.

Coggeshall died nine years before the 19th Amendment was ratified, but her longtime dedication to women’s suffrage was a great inspiration to those who followed in her footsteps.

“We who have toiled up the steps of the Old Capitol only to see our bills defeated upon final vote. We who took our baby boys with us to those early meetings, now find those boys are voters, while their mothers are still asking for freedom. We only hope that the next generation of women may find their work made easier because we have trodden the path before them.” - Mary Jane Coggeshall