Agnes Ludwig Riddle
Agnes Ludwig Riddle
Date of Birth
Born 1865 Died 1930
Described as a “Wonder Woman”, “modern Joan of Arc”, and “one of the most forceful characters in Colorado for integrity in politics and government”, Agnes Ludwig Riddle was a champion to all underrepresented Coloradoans. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of a State General Assembly, in the whole country; as a two-term State Representative (1911-1915) and Colorado’s second woman State Senator (1917-1920).
At the age of 16, Riddle immigrated from Germany, became a nurse/midwife and moved to work at a hospital in Colorado. She married dairyman Joseph Riddle, became an authority on farming and drastically improved conditions for the farmers, wives, and children. Through her eﬀorts as Secretary & Organizer of the Colorado State Grange, it became one of the strongest organizations in Colorado. The Riddles donated land to create the Glendale Grange, becoming the center for education and social life in the area. As a member of the State Board of Agriculture, she was instrumental in securing state appropriations for the women’s building at the Agriculture College in Fort Collins, where she was on the advisory board, creating health and educational programs for the farmers in the most rural areas. Riddle’s faith was extremely important, and she served as Superintendent and Sunday school teacher of an all-faith school for more than a dozen years.
Riddle continuously and tirelessly fought for all women, children, orphans, people of color, the poor, immigrants, workers/ laborers, farmers, and miners. Serving on many legislative committees, she sponsored and passed numerous amendments and laws, including: the eight-hour workday, 40-hour work week, minimum wage, child welfare, workplace safety, dairy and farm improvements, compensation and protection for destitute mothers’ appropriations to the State Board of Health and State Board of Agriculture, among others. She helped to create and establish the State Child Welfare Bureau, Oﬃce of State Dairy Commissioner, and a State Home for Women. She sponsored joint resolutions for Colorado’s support to establish the National Department of Education, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and was the only woman Senator in the US to bring forth the Ratification of the 19th Amendment – Women’s Suﬀrage – to U.S. Constitution. Although winning her oﬃces as a Republican, Riddle always voted her conscience, often crossing party lines. She also ran as a Progressive, and established the National Anti-Klan party. Labeled as “one of the country’s ablest speakers”, she traveled throughout the country promoting the Grange, National Suﬀrage, and the Red Cross.
Integral to Allied success during WWI, Riddle was chosen by President Wilson and Hoover (US food Administration) to aid in the “great food problem”, she rallied support traveling across the state speaking and teaching methods of food preservation and conservation, while coordinating with farmers on food shipments. Serving as Executive Committee member of the Women’s Council of Defense, she worked to safeguard crops and in legislature, proposed a bill that outlawed the monopoly and destruction of food and to stop price rigging.
Agnes Ludwig Riddle’s extraordinary life of service inspired and influenced generations, she changed ingrained, social attitudes and institutions, and raised the standard of living for all. Internationally, she was not only used as an example for Suﬀrage, but a case for women in leadership roles and serving in oﬃce.