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Texas suffragist dies

August
14
1957

On this day in 1957, Jane McCallum, suffragist leader and Texas secretary of state, died in Austin. McCallum was born in La Vernia, Texas, in 1877. She married Arthur Newell McCallum Sr. in 1896 and first entered politics by campaigning for prohibition and woman suffrage. The Austin Women's Suffrage Association elected her president in 1915. She also teamed with Minnie Fisher Cunningham in leading statewide campaigns for suffrage. After suffrage was won she concentrated on political reforms. From 1923 to 1925 she served as executive secretary of the Women's Joint Legislative Council, a coalition of six statewide women's organizations that lobbied for education bills, prison reform, stronger prohibition controls, maternal and child health funds, and eradication of illiteracy and child labor. Known as the "Petticoat Lobby," the coalition became an important lobbying group of the era. In 1926 she led the Petticoat Lobbyists in campaigning for Dan Moody's gubernatorial bid against Ma Ferguson. Moody appointed her secretary of state in 1927, and she retained the position under Governor Ross Sterling from 1931 to 1933; she was thus the only person in Texas to hold the position under two governors and for more than two terms. She remained active in civic affairs throughout her life.

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