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From Mother to Activist

October 7, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Political history

The idea of civic duty for a woman living in the late 19th century and early 20th century differed highly from woman to woman. Most women were happy with the lifestyle of the ‘stay at home mom,’ whose main concern was tending to the kids, the house and her husband. While this was popular for the majority of women, others simply could not continue living with women being subservient and unequal to the men.

            The lack of respect given to women from around the country, lead to the creation of the Women’s Club of Louisville by Susan Howes Cook, in the year 1890.[1] Many women across the country were forming similar women’s clubs to advance themselves in the political and economical realms of the world as well. Susan Cook, also known as Mrs. B.F. Avery, used her club to spread ideas of equal suffrage, free trade, municipal ownerships of public entities, labor rights, no capital punishment and war only for self-defense.[2]

She did not become political until her 6 children were grown. I found this extremely important because she did fit the ‘cookie cutter mold’ of a housewife and it wasn’t until her children were grown that she set her mind onto her personal responsibilities of influencing the equality of women around Kentucky and the nation.[3] After being a loving mother, she could no longer just stay at home. She became an activist and a leader for future women from Louisville and Kentucky. Mrs. B.F. Avery was a person for future women to follow and surpass in the women’s suffrage movement for Kentucky.  


[1] “Women’s Club of Louisville.” http://www.wcl1320.com/Woman’s%20Club%20of%20Louisville%20History.htm

[2] “Women’s Club of Louisville.” http://www.wcl1320.com/Woman’s%20Club%20of%20Louisville%20History.htm

[3]Elroy McKendree Avery and Catherine Hitchcock Avery. “The Gorton Avery Clan, Vol. 1.” Cleveland: 1912.