Putnam Woman Played Important Role in Local Suffrage Movement

Marjorie Addis sitting at her desk in The Brewster Standard office. Photo courtesy of The Southeast Museum.

Putnam’s Marjorie Lobdell Addis was an important suffragist of her day.

In the fall of 1917, Addis marched into Central Park in New York City carrying a banner and the list of enrollments for Putnam County suffragists. She was part of a local contingent of New York women fighting for their right to vote. 

The Women’s Parade for Freedom was considered one of the most important events in the suffrage movement, the Putnam County Historian’s Office said. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which barred denying American women the right to vote on the basis of gender.

Addis was born in Brewster in 1890 and graduated Brewster High school in 1907.
In 1922, following the unexpected death of her publisher father, she ran The Brewster Standard newspaper, along with her brother.

In a 1976 interview with The Reporter Dispatch, Addis described her early newspaper days when she was met with fierce opposition from the Ku Klux Klan.
“They broke my window because we supported the repeal of Prohibition,” she explained.

Southeast Museum Director Amy Campanaro noted how the work Addis did with the newspaper “captured the everyday lives of community members, as well as the community’s reaction to local and national events.”

“This created the best gift a historical researcher could wish for, a complete picture of who we were as a community and how we rose to challenges,” Campanaro also said.

Addis was unflinching in her principles and beliefs. She resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 1939 after a Black woman was disallowed from performing in Constitution Hall because of her race.

She was a founding member of the Women’s Republican Club of Putnam County, a trustee of the Brewster Library, a member of the District Nursing Association and a supporter of the Southeast Museum.

Relatives of Addis remain in Putnam. Alexandra Johnson, her niece and a part-time Brewster resident, said her aunt was incredibly humble. “I never knew she was a suffragist and she never spoke of her work the Women’s Land Army, Red Cross, or Victory Gardens either,” Johnson stated.

Addis was also acquaintances with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who once spoke at the Wells Casino in Brewster. “Aunt Marj told me to go sit on the sidewalk with my dog Taffy and wait, because Mrs. Roosevelt loves dogs,” Johnson remembered. “So, I did, and sure enough, Eleanor Roosevelt walked down the path toward me, patted my dog on the head and chatted with me. I will always remember that day.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
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