Skip to main content

A Suffragette Bouquet

March 2024
1min read

Mrs. John F. Daley (née Elsa McGill) of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, wrote us recently in regard to Carol Lynn Yellin’s “Countdown in Tennessee, 1920” (December, 1978). Mrs. Daley said she was delighted to find herself pictured (page 33) as part of the struggle for final ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment—and described as “one of the most ardent suffragists.” The photograph was published in the Nashville Tennessean of September 5, 1920, and Mrs. Daley tells how it came about—and more: “My picture was taken by a news photographer as I came down the steps of the capital after placing a yellow rose on each legislator’s desk. I was asked to take Betty Gram, a cute, pretty thing, and the two young, unmarried, and very countrified legislators who were very doubtful to dinner. Betty and I were supposed to turn on the charm and get them to be sure ‘Ayes.’ It was really funny. I saw so many friends at the Belle Meade Club, where I was a member and where I was asked to take them, to impress them I guess, and my friends were signaling, ‘Who on earth are those people?!’ with their lips behind our guests’ backs. One of the young men stirred his iced tea so noisily that all eyes turned on us. The waiter asked him if he’d like some more something , and he answered: ‘Don’t keer if I do!’ Maybe his mother did influence Harry Burn, but Betty and I believed we had something to do with it!” It was Burn, of course, who cast the deciding vote in the Tennessee State Legislature that made the Nineteenth Amendment a reality. Betty Gram went on to marry a radio commentator who made her last name part of his ownRaymond Gram Swing.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate