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Antisuffrage activist dies

August
21
1928

On this day in 1928, antisuffragist Pauline Wells died of heart disease in Marlin. Wells, the daughter of Emma Henrietta Butler and Joseph Kleiber, was born in Brownsville in 1863. At the age of seventeen she married James B. Wells, who became a powerful South Texas political boss. Supported by her husband, she began working against the woman suffrage movement as early as 1912. Three years later she argued that suffrage was "identified with feminism, sex antagonism, socialism, anarchy and Mormonism." In 1916 she became the first president of the Texas Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage and in 1919 headed a drive by Texas "antis" to hold off ratification of a state constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote in the general election; their victory proved short-lived, however, as Texans soon ratified the federal Nineteenth Amendment.

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