“We believe that we are on the last stretch of the road to the attainment of political freedom for women.”
Clara Ueland, in a letter to members of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, August 30, 1918
Clara Ueland joined the suffrage movement after her daughter Elsa inspired her to do so. Before becoming a suffrage leader, Clara Ueland was an advocate for kindergartens and infant welfare. A mother of eight, she was a progressive parent. She resisted traditional gender roles for her children and taught them to become informed citizens.
Clara Ueland used her social connections to organize, fund, and streamline Minnesota’s woman suffrage movement. After founding the Equal Suffrage Association of Minneapolis in 1913, she was elected president of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) in 1914. Ueland believed in organizing by political districts. This was a tactic championed by Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1915 to 1920.
Ueland’s prowess as a leader earned her great respect among her peers. With strategy and tact, she helped steer Minnesota suffragists through the final hurdles to passing the 19th Amendment. After its passage, Ueland oversaw the transition of the MWSA to the Minnesota League of Women Voters.
Garden party flyer, 1915. MNHS collections. Ueland used her social connections to organize, fund, and streamline Minnesota’s woman suffrage movement. Regular admission to her garden party was 25 cents. Voters (i.e., men) were charged 50 cents.
Ueland family photo, 1895. MNHS collections. Before joining the woman suffrage movement, Ueland advocated for kindergartens and infant welfare. She resisted imposing gender roles on her eight children, and taught them to become informed citizens.
Plaque, 1927. MNHS collections. Ueland’s leadership earned her great respect among her peers. With strategy and tact, she steered Minnesota suffragists through the passage of the 19th Amendment. She is honored with a plaque at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Letter from Ueland, 1918. MNHS collections. As energy for the 19th Amendment grew, Ueland kept Minnesota suffragists organized. Her letters to legislators included talking points to be used in support of women’s right to vote.
- Egge, Sara. “Woman Suffrage and Ethnicity in Rural Minnesota: Local Agitation in Pipestone and Lyon Counties.” Minnesota History 67, no. 3 (Fall 2020): 116-26.
- Green, William D. “Nellie Griswold Francis: The Vicissitudes of Activism for Women and Race.” Minnesota History 67, no. 3 (Fall 2020): 128-38.
- Loetscher, Elizabeth. "Ueland, Clara (1860–1927)." MNopedia, August 13, 2018.
- Brenda Ueland and family papers, 1857–1993. MNHS collections.
- Zahniser, J. D. “The Fifteenth Star: Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party in Minnesota." Minnesota History 67, no. 3 (Fall 2020): 154-161.