Ellis Meredith, an accomplished journalist who led Colorado’s suffrage movement, was widely known as the “Susan B. Anthony of Colorado.” She attended the Women’s Congress in Chicago in 1893, and she convinced Susan B. Anthony to send organizer Carrie Chapman Catt to Colorado, saying, “If Colorado goes for woman suffrage, you may count on a landslide in that direction throughout the West.”
Meredith and her parents made significant contributions to Colorado. Her mother was a suffragist and her father was an editor for the Rocky Mountain News. In 1889, Meredith began writing a column for the News, titled “A Woman’s World.” She became the first Colorado woman to cover the State Legislature in 1894, and she was one of four female delegates to the 1902 Denver City Charter Convention, which drafted the City’s first charter. Meredith testified in 1904 before the U.S. House of Representatives in support of a Constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote. From 1904-1908, she served as Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party State Central Committee. A 1910 newspaper headline claimed Meredith was the first woman elected to office in Denver. She became the Election Commissioner with 20,997 votes – more than the combined total of votes cast for all seven of the men running for the same office. She died 1955.
After Colorado granted women the right to vote in 1893, Meredith became a national leader. She was a featured speaker and published in magazines including Atlantic Monthly, Twentieth Century Magazine, and The Woman Voter Magazine. She moved to Washington D.C. in 1917 to work at the National Democratic Headquarters.
This quote captures the essence of her message, “Equal suffrage is not an end; it is a beginning. It is the commencement of responsibilities and opportunities so vast that time itself is hardly long enough to work out the problems set before us. For years our resolutions have begun with the familiar preamble, ‘We, as women.’ The enfranchised woman has passed to a higher plane. It is not we as women, nor we as men who will make this world better, but all of us, working together as human beings.”