Mabel Vernon (1883-1975)
A suffragist and a pacifist, Mabel Vernon worked boldly for the two issues, women’s rights and peace, to which she devoted her life. Vernon organized Sara Bard Field’s transcontinental trip to deliver a suffrage petition to President Wilson as well Anne Martin’s successful campaign for Nevada suffrage and unsuccessful Senatorial campaigns.
Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Vernon graduated from Swarthmore College in 1906. She worked as a teacher before joining the National Woman’s Party. As a member of the National Woman’s Party, she was one of the first women arrested for picketing Wilson’s White House. Vernon also interrupted President Wilson’s July 4, 1916 speech by asking, “Mr. President, if you sincerely desire to forward the interests of all people, why do you oppose the national enfranchisement of women?” Wilson ignored her provocative question.
During the 1920s, Vernon supported women candidates for Congress and lobbied for the ERA. By 1930 Vernon left the National Woman’s Party to devote her life to issues of peace and disarmament. She joined the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and became a successful fundraiser and organizer for it and several other international peace organizations and caravans. Because of her diligent peace work, Vernon attended the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco as a member of the Inter-American delegation. Throughout her life Vernon tirelessly organized, lectured, lobbied, petitioned, fundraised, and canvassed for issues of equality and peace.
Reprinted from NWHM Cyber Exhibit "Rights For Women"
Author Kristina Gupta
- PHOTO: Mabel Vernon, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division (mnwp 157015)