“I met a committee of Socialists a few evenings ago . . . in connection with our Equal Suffrage Club about support for a speaker, but we didn’t let the conversation stop there.”
Elsa Ueland, in a letter to her sister Anne, February 5, 1908
From a young age, Elsa Ueland was a suffrage leader. While majoring in sociology and psychology at the University of Minnesota, she was president of the school’s Equal Suffrage Club. She advanced the cause by convincing her mother, Clara Ueland, to join the movement.
At the University of Minnesota, graduates wrote pro- and anti-suffrage articles for the alumni magazine. Students debated the topic of equal suffrage, resolving in 1914 that the right to vote should be extended to women. Young women on college campuses across the nation held similar debates and joined suffrage-related clubs and activities.
Elsa Ueland travelled across Minnesota and to neighboring states to campaign for votes for women. She later moved to Pennsylvania, where at age 28 she became president of Carson College for Orphan Girls, a progressive educational training school.
Carson teachers were all single, divorced, or widowed women. Elsa’s life partner was Kate Tucker, a nurse and healthcare instructor. Ueland taught young women to be independent, self-reliant, and community minded — traits she had honed during her years as a suffragist.
Elsa Ueland speaking at a Congressional Union rally, about 1915. Courtesy Library of Congress. Ueland was an organizer for the Congressional Union, which became the National Woman’s Party in 1916.
Equal Suffrage Club, University of Minnesota, 1913. MNHS collections. While majoring in sociology and psychology at the University of Minnesota, Ueland was president of the school’s Equal Suffrage Club.
Mother Goose Cottage at Carson College for Orphaned Girls, 1933. Courtesy Library of Congress. As president of Carson College, Ueland taught young women to be independent, self-reliant, and community minded — traits she had honed as a suffragist.
Ueland family portrait, about 1920. MNHS collections. Elsa Ueland convinced her mother, Clara Ueland, to join the suffrage movement. Clara went on to lead the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association through the passage of the 19th Amendment.
University of Minnesota girls’ basketball team, 1910. Courtesy University of Minnesota Archives. Ueland, who played right guard, is pictured at center in the top photo on this yearbook page.
- Jacqueline DeVries. “‘Those Who Came from Curiosity Remained from Interest’: Militant Suffragettes Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst in Minnesota.” Minnesota History 67, no. 3: 146-52.
- Loetscher, Elizabeth. "Ueland, Clara (1860–1927)." MNopedia, August 13, 2018.
- Brenda Ueland and family papers, 1857–1993. MNHS collections.
- University of Minnesota President’s Report, 1913–14.
- 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.