Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 13, Number 2, Fall, 2001 Page: 34
This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Dallas Historical Society.
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DESA officers accepted positions of leadership
in the local war effort. One chaired the Woman's
Liberty Loan Committee for the Eleventh Federal
Reserve District; another organized the
"thrift clubs," or war savings societies in Dallas
and Dallas County; and a third supervised the
savings stamps booths throughout the city.13
With more than 600 dues-paying members,
the Dallas suffragists also volunteered for the war
effort as an organization. Like countless individuals
and numerous civic groups, they planted and
tended a "victory garden." The DESA members
served as hostesses (or chaperones) in the canteen
organized by the Dallas Federation of Women's
Clubs for the soldiers stationed at Camp Dick.14
The suffragists gave a great deal of time to the
Red Cross, too. They organized a forty-woman
auxiliary to sew surgical dressings and hospital
gowns, and knitted their quota of garments for
the Red Cross to ship to soldiers and European
refugees. Discussions of political tactics, planning
of future events for their campaign, addresses by
visiting speakers or the DESAs own officersduring
the suffragists' regular Monday afternoon
meetings, all were accompanied by the constant
clicking of knitting needles.15
By the early months of I918, the suffragists
had formal support by organizations throughout
the state, as well as by leading politicians. Early in
March 1918, Governor Hobby called a special
session of the legislature to consider changes in
the state's election laws. Among the bills to be
debated was one giving women the right to vote
in party nominating conventions and primary
elections. In a one-party state, such a law would
be close to full suffrage.6
The suffragists focused their attention on the
primary bill's opponents in the legislature. One
of the most vocal was Dallas representative Barry
Miller, whom the Texas suffrage president,
Minnie Fisher Cunningham of Galveston,
described as "smart and watchful and nasty."17
Whatever Miller's talents in legislative debate
and maneuvering, one day in late February I918,
he found himself at loggerheads with Dallas suffragist
Nona Boren Mahoney. Probably just to
Nona Boren Mahoney (Mrs. J P Mahoney), lastpresident
of the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association (1918-19) andfirst
president of the League of Women Voters in Dallas (1918-20),
in aphotograph taken around 922.
get her out of his office, he promised that if the
DESA could find 5,000 women in Dallas
County willing to sign a pro-suffrage petition, he
would vote for the primary bill.
The DESA spent three days getting organized
and the following three days gathering more
than io,ooo signatures. Early the next week,
Mrs. Mahoney went by train to Austin with the
signatures in a large suitcase, which she presented
to Barry Miller on the floor of the House of Representatives."8
The long lists of women's signatures
from Dallas County were strong evidence
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 13, Number 2, Fall, 2001, periodical, 2001; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35099/m1/36/: accessed April 4, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.