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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 911

Additional papers of Mary J. Coggeshall, 1867-1912


Writings, speeches, and suffrage-related memorabilia of Iowa suffrage activist Mary Jane Coggeshall.


  • Creation: 1867-1912

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary J. Coggeshall is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


3.58 linear feet ((2 file boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 2 photograph folders)

These papers of Mary J. Coggeshall document her involvement in suffrage activism, both in Iowa and nationally, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The collection includes handwritten notes and drafts for Coggeshall's speeches before suffrage clubs, as well as at local women's clubs. Many of these dealt with women's legal rights in different states and nations, as well as philosophical inquiries into women's status in the United States, and United States history. A few of the speeches found here are related to those in A-13, another collection of Coggeshall's papers held by the Schlesinger Library; these are noted in the inventory. Also included is a small notebook containing Coggeshall's handwritten minutes from meetings of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association in 1884 to 1887. Suffrage memorabilia includes ribbons from many years of Iowa Equal Suffrage Association and National American Woman Suffrage Association conventions, as well as "votes for women" pennants and small flags. Suffrage print ephemera includes an 1897 calendar with images of suffrage leaders; brochures, leaflets, flyers, and convention programs. The collection includes some family correspondence, and numerous postcards received by Coggeshall during the last years of her life. Some postcards are from suffrage activists, or had suffrage messages, but most describe travels or everyday activities of friends. Several are from Maud Wood Park while on her around-the-world trip to learn about international women's rights. Also included are pages from a scrapbook (with small portrait prints glued on) and a few photographs. One folder contains Coggeshall's daughter Corinne Coggeshall Lingenfelter's speeches to fellow Drake alumni, and an agenda for the Portia Club.

The collection is arranged alphabetically; folders were titled by the archivist.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall was born on January 17, 1836, in Milton, Indiana, to Lydia and Isaac Whiteley. On November 10, 1957, she married John Milton Coggeshall (1829-1889). The Coggeshalls had six children, only three of whom lived to adulthood: Olan T. (1863-1872), Anna (1865-1865), George Whiteley (1867-1944), Carl Carlton (1872-1890), Harry Haden (1876-1958), and Corinne (1880-1930). Mary Jane and John Coggeshall were both raised as Quakers, though in slightly different sects. They moved from Indiana to Des Moines, Iowa, sometime between 1867 and 1870. In 1870 Mary Jane Coggeshall was a founding member of the Polk County (Iowa) Woman Suffrage Society, and edited The Woman's Hour, which the Society produced between 1877 and 1880. She also held numerous positions in the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association (which became the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association in 1897), including three terms as president. Coggeshall was elected an auditor for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1902 and 1904, attended several National American Woman Suffrage Association conventions, and was a speaker at those held in Washington, DC (1904), and Chicago (1907). She also served as editor of The Woman's Standard for its first two years of publication (1886-1888) and its last (1911). Mary Jane Coggeshall died on December 22, 1911, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 92-M140

These papers of Mary J. Coggeshall were given to the Schlesinger Library by John Gray, widower of Coggeshall's granddaughter, Helen Lingenfelter Gray, in August 1992.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall Papers (A-13).

The Schlesinger Library holds another collection of Mary J. Coggeshall's papers (A/C6764), as well as the papers of her granddaughter, Helen Lingenfelter Gray (MC 781).


Donors: John Gray

Accession number: 92-M140

Processed by: Jenny Gotwals

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and published material department:

  1. Woman's Hour, 1877-1878 (Vol. 1, No.2; Vol. 2, No. 1-2, 4-5) and 1880 (September)
  2. Woman Suffrage Leaflet, 1893-1895 (Vol. 6, No. 1; Vol. 7, No. 6) and 1904 (Vol. 11, No. 1)

Processing Information

Processed: May 2017

By: Jenny Gotwals

Coggeshall, Mary J., 1836-1911. Additional papers of Mary J. Coggeshall, 1867-1912: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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