Ethel Hurd

Ethel Hurd.
Ethel Hurd.

“We have done all of this year after year, month after month, day in and day out with no thought of self or fame, or recompense.”

Ethel Hurd, “A Brief History of the Minneapolis Political Equality Club,” 1921

Ethel Hurd’s dedication to votes for women spanned decades. She “campaigned for suffrage in the days of Susan B. Anthony,” according to her obituary. And she alone among Minnesota’s early suffragists lived to see the 19th Amendment passed.

Hurd was the first female graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She moved to Minnesota where, after her husband’s death, she enrolled in medical school at the University of Minnesota. She was one of the school’s first female graduates when she received her MD in 1897.

Ethel Hurd fought for public health reform as well as woman suffrage. She practiced with her daughter, Dr. Annah Hurd. They saw votes for women as key to advancing social reforms, and often held suffrage meetings at their Minneapolis office.

Hurd’s record shows how women worked across multiple organizations to achieve woman suffrage. She was editor of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association’s newsletter for ten years, and served on the MWSA’s board. She was a founder of the Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association and the Workers’ Equal Suffrage Club. Her greatest involvement was with the Political Equality Club of Minneapolis. One of this group’s many accomplishments was to nominate and support female candidates for school and library boards.

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