Annie Belle Boss Papers (League of Women Voters)
The papers pertain to the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana and its successor, the Indiana League of Women Voters, and especially to the activities of Annie Belle Rittel Boss (Mrs. John C. Boss) (circa 1874-1946), a middle-class woman of Elkhart, Indiana who was active in these organizations on the local, district and state levels. Mrs. Boss’s papers became the property of her daughter, Helen K. Boss Winterhoff, and upon Mrs. Winterhoff’s death were obtained by members of the League of Women Voters of Elkhart. They presented the collection to IUSB in 1984.
(3 Hollinger legal size boxes)
These papers include publications, correspondence, internal records and other memorabilia of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana (1915-1920) and the Indiana League of Women Voters (1920-1931) as well as a history of the latter organization compiled in 1977. Some of the materials concern the local Elkhart branch of the two organizations.
Many of the items originated with Helen Beardsley of Elkhart, who founded the Elkhart chapter of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana in April, 1913. Serving on the board of the state organization, she became the first president of the Indiana League of Women Voters in 1920. During her years as president (1920 - 1922), the state headquarters was at Elkhart, after which time it was moved to Indianapolis. Mrs. Beardsley was the wife of Andrew Hubble Beardsley, a leading Elkhart businessman, who as a state legislator included woman suffrage in his platform and was influential in the passage of suffrage legislation in Indiana.
Annie Belle Rittel Boss
Annie Belle Rittel Boss was the daughter of an Elkhart butcher, Philip Rittel, and the wife of John C. Boss, an engineer and inventor. She helped organize the Elkhart YWCA and served as its president. She was active as an early member of the Elkhart branch of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana, and chaired its fund raising project. In the state organization she held the important position of 13th District chairman from 1915 or 1916 to 1920, organizing numerous chapters in northern Indiana. Later, in the Indiana League of Women Voters, she held a number of offices and committee chairmanships, serving as a board member and treasurer of the state League, and attending a number of national conventions. Her daughter, Helen K. Boss, also was active in the Leagues.
Of special interest are manuscripts of Mrs. Boss’s speeches, her correspondence, her financial records, clippings and other items pertaining to her work, as well as some personal correspondence of Mrs. Boss, including letters to and from her cousin, James A. Zellers, an executive with Remington Rand.
Annie Belle Boss Papers (League of Women Voters)
The papers had apparently been filed by Mrs. Boss in cardboard secretarial boxes. After donation to IUSB, some of the materials had been sorted and place in twenty acid-free folders. Folders had been made for some of Mrs. Boss’s correspondence, for items pertaining to Boss Engineering Co., her husband’s company, and for items documenting various aspects and locations of the women’s organizations and their work. Many other items, such as additional correspondence and memorabilia, communications and publications of the state organizations, and a correspondence course on woman’s issues, were still unfoldered in the boxes. Some of the papers were in a soiled condition, some were too large for the boxes in which they had been kept, and a large number, especially the communications of the state organizations, are quite fragile.
The papers have been used a number of times by researchers since their donation to IUSB in 1984. In the absence of any sort of inventory, it was difficult to tell how much care had been taken to keep the items in the order in which they were received.
In processing the collection, a listing of the folder headings was made, as well as a general description of the nonfoldered items. Then, following the general outline of these groupings, all the papers were more closely sorted for easier retrieval, so that there are now 83 folders. These folders have tentatively been placed in three series, each filling a Hollinger box: one pertaining chiefly to the overall history of the Indiana League of Woman Voters and its Elkhart branch, and a third to Mrs. Boss’s own work in these organizations as well as other personal papers.
In some cases it was difficult to draw the line, and some “splitting” of related items into different files has occurred. Therefore, anyone using this collection to research the history of woman suffrage and woman voter activities in Indiana should be sure to take the time to check all the inventory listings or folders covering a given time period.
An added difficulty presents itself in a host of items which have no dates. Using the League of Woman Voters history and other sources, it was possible to place a number of items into a time sequence. However, many other items still are “orphans” and are tentatively placed next to items with which they seem to belong, or in “undated” folders. Further research needs to be done to locate another set of these materials, perhaps in League of Women Voters repositories, not only to compare parts of the collection but also to find out more about the significance of this collection as a record of state activities.
Most soiled items have been cleaned, and as time permits, fragile items are being copied onto acid-free paper. At the same time, copies of some of the items pertaining to Mrs. Boss and the Elkhart organizations are being made for use by the Elkhart County Historical Society.
IUSB Archives Worker
NEW YORK STATE WOMAN SUFFRAGE PARTY
Correspondence Course #2, 1917- 1918 lessons
Includes Women in Home, Women in Industry,
Children in Industry, Homeless Children, High
Cost of Living, Health and Amusements, Women and
War, Immigration and Americanism, White Slave
Traffic, Women & Children & the Law.
WOMAN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF INDIANA – ELKHART – YEARBOOKS
|Yearbook, 1914 - 1915||1|
|Yearbook, 1916 - 1917||1|
WOMAN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF INDIANA – HISTORY
Includes copies of pages from History of Woman
Suffrage, Volume VI; Catt & Schuler, Woman Suffrage
and Politics; Phillips, Indiana in Transition
WOMAN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF INDIANA – CONVENTIONS
|1916 Clippings from The Elkhart Truth||1|
WOMAN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF INDIANA – DIRECTORIES
|1917- 1918 Includes list of all chapters & when formed||1|
|1919 Includes list of all chapters & when formed||1|
WOMAN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF INDIANA – CORRESPONENCE
Includes bulletins and official correspondence
from state headquarters, from president and
other officers, mostly to Boss and Helen Beardsley
|1917 (Marie Stuart Edwards, president)
Includes items on General Assembly legislation, adverse court decisions
|1918 (Marie Stuart Edwards, president)||1|
|1919 (1) (Marie Stuart Edwards, president)
Includes NAWSA “14 Points” leaflet
|1919 (2)-1920 (Helen Benbridge, president)||1|
WOMAN’S FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF IN – PRESS BULLETINS
Issued by state headquarters press bureau
|1918 (1) January – July
Nos. 1-24, 1 no date (gone: 5, 8, 9, 11, 19, 23)
|1918 (2) August – December
Nos. 25-46 (missing: 41)
|1919 (1) January – April
|1919 (2) May – September
Nos. 84-99 (new number sequence)
Note: incorporates “notes” undated, may sometimes be misfiled
|1919 (3) September – December
|1920 January – March
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – ELKHART – HISTORY
Includes copies of articles from The Elkhart Truth,
April 19, 1969 and February 14, 1988
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – ELKHART – CONSTITUTION
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – ELKHART – YEARBOOKS
Includes 1923- 1924, 1924- 1925, 1925- 1926, 1926- 1927,
1927- 1928, 1929- 1930
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – ELKHART – MISCELLANEOUS
Meeting postcards, 1927 - 1929
Admission cards, 1926 - 1930 (3)
Elkhart Truth story on opening of headquarters
building, February 5, 1924
(see also Annie Belle Boss Speech file)
Typed description of lectures
Program for visit by Ada Schweitzer, Director,
Indiana Division of Infant/ Child Hygiene
|Meeting memorabilia, 1969 anniversary meeting||2|
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – HISTORY
History of the League of Women Voters of Indiana
1920-1952, by Katherine Croan Greenough,
edited by Donna Langfitt, 1977.
Also copied pages from Indiana through Tradition and Change:
A History of the Hoosier State and Its People, 1920-1945
(Indiana Historical Society Series) by James Madison.
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – ORGANIZATION
Includes early flyer describing the League, letter.
from Maud Wood Park, chairman National League of Women Voters,
lists of director candidates, March 8,1920 and April 6, 1921
with notes on number of votes cast for each at annual conventions
(probably by Boss).
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – MINUTES
Includes Directors’ meetings June 1, August 4,
September 27, November 15 & 29, 1921; January 10,
February 16, 1922; Treasurer’s Reports, 1920 – 1922;
Headquarters Reports May 1921- May 1922.
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – CONVENTIONS – YEARBOOKS
|1921 (May 4-6, Indianapolis)
Includes advance program, program book.
|1922 (May 9-11, Lafayette)
|1923 (May, Indianapolis?)
|1924 (May 14-15, Michigan City)
Program book; resolution probably by Boss.
|1926 (March 24-26, Indianapolis)
|1927 (May 9-11, Elkhart)
Yearbook (now more than a program book); typed.
convention report; Elkhart Truth clipping.
April 30, 1927; two items concerning Hoosier Salon.
Exhibit (note: Boss was local arrangements
|1928 (March 14-16, Indianapolis)
|1929 (April 11-12, Evansville)
|1930 (March 30, Indianapolis) 2
Clipping from The Indianapolis Star.
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – CORRESPONDENCE
From period when headquarters was in Elkhart,
1921- 1922, includes letters and communications from
Helen Beardsley and other leading officials
of Indiana and National League of Women Voters;
flyers, 1921- 1922.
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – PUBLICATIONS
|1921 The Woman Voter, May 5, volume I, #6.||2|
|1926 The Woman Voter, October, December, volume VI, #9, 12.||2|
|1927 The Woman Voter, April, June, July, 2
September, volume VII, #4, 6, 7, 9.
The Indiana Woman Voter, October, November, December,
#10, 11, 12.
|1928 The Indiana Woman Voter, January, February, May, 2
June, October, November, volume VIII, #1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9.
|1929 The Indiana Woman Voter, January, April 2
volume IX, #1, 3.
INDIANA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – UNDATED
List of officers, committees.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – CONVENTIONS
|1921 (Cleveland) – clipping.||2|
|1922 (Baltimore) – flyer.||2|
|1930 (Louisville)- invitation.||2|
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – FINANCE MEETING
Banquet program; clipping from Chicago Herald Examiner April 26.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS – PUBLICATIONS
1929 Bulletin, March, May.
1930 Bulletin, March.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – BIOGRAPHY
Includes sketch from Women of Indiana
(1947); obituary, The Elkhart Truth May 8, 1946; articles,
The Elkhart Truth, August 11, 1984; copy for use in South Bend
News Times April 23.
JOHN C. BOSS ITEMS
Includes speech June 1917 regarding private ownership of
public utilities; letter C.M. Beckner, Sales Department,
Boss Engineering Company, other miscellaneous items.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
Copy of the U.S. Constitution 1921; Railroad ticket to the South,
1914; map of Elkhart; miscellaneous clippings.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – ARTIFACTS
Wooden hatchet “Mount Vernon” 1895 5”.
Gold velvet pennant with pin, “Votes for Women,” 3”.
Gold ribbon, “Delegate League of Women Voters Convention
May 1923,” 6” Gold ribbon, “Director,” 8”.
Purple ribbon, “Director, League of Women Voters Convention
May 1922,” 6”Gold ribbon, “Page,” 6” and smaller ribbon.
“Delegate” with two small brown buttons, “Votes for Women”.
Purple ribbon, “Delegate,” 6” with small gold ribbon, “Delegate”.
Blue ribbon, “Visitor, League of Women Voters National Convention,
Louisville 1930,” 4”.
2 paper delegate tags, League of Women Voters State Conventions,
1924, 1928 Tag, Marion, Ohio Social Justice Day, October 1, 1920.
Red ribbon, excursion, UB & MPS Schools, Winona Park, July 22, 8”.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – UNDATED WRITINGS
Note: it may be possible to place some of these
Items after further study.
Notes on suffrage movement, League of Women Voters (3 pages).
Three items introducing speakers, one possibly
Carrie Chapman Catt.
Quotes from Maud W. Park, Rudyard Kipling.
Page 2 of a letter.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – 13TH DISTRICT CHAIRMAN,
WOMANS FRANCHISE LEAGUE OF INDIANA
|1916- 1920 General file – includes:
Annie Belle Boss’ notebook-expense book, 1916- 1921.
Copy of Directory listings, 1917- 1918.
Indiana map, northern counties.
Sample by-laws and other documents for organizing chapters.
Undated speeches pertaining to district work.
Clippings on state convention 1916 (1915?).
Speeches form 1916 convention by Annie Belle Boss and Helen Boss.
Clippings on October 1916 tour of Elkhart County with
Mable Dunlap Curry.
Speeches October 23, 1916; October 28, 1916 (New Carlisle);
November 27, 1916 (Elkhart?).
Text of letter Annie Belle Boss sent to stir interest.
Fragment of speech, Plymouth circa 1917.
Speeches February 26, 1917 (Elkhart); March 9, 1917 (Bristol);
March 15, 1917 (Middlebury).
Items from District Meeting, March 16, 1917
Speeches March 24, 1917 (Milford); May 22, 1917 (Goshen-
Letter from Helen Benbridge May 23, 1917.
Speech circa Spring 1917, Marshall County, circa Spring,
no date, June 5 (Mishawaka), June (Marshall County)
Clipping on registration, Elkhart June 11, 1917
Items on tour of Effie McCullum Jones, July 1917,
includes items from state office.
Letter from Woman’s Journal, August 14, 1917.
Speeches August 19, 1917 (Plymouth), August 31, 1917 (Elkhart).
Letter, Summer 1917.
Report of state meeting January 1918, fragment.
Typed “Vote Federal Amendment in the House January 10, 1918”.
Annie Belle Boss’s copy of Women’s Franchise League Questionnaire 1918.
Letters for Annie Belle Boss regarding district organization.
Act of meeting for co – chairman, February 27, 1918.
Press bureau correspondence to Annie Belle Boss.
Speech March 27, 1918 (Elkhart).
Letter to Congressman H. Barnhart April 12, 1918.
Letters to Annie Belle Boss regarding district organization.
Her letter to chairmen regarding a convention.
Report of membership in district.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – ELKHART DEPARTMENT STORE PROJECTS
|1919 (Women’s Franchise League) Bills, accounts
(note: see also her 13th district notebook).
|1920 (League of Women Voters) Bills, accounts, correspondence, poster.||3|
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
CORRESPONDENCE AND RELATED ITEMS
1920 Miscellaneous correspondence.
1920 - 1921 correspondence on Shepard-
Towner Bill, includes also correspondence of John C. Boss.
1920 - 1922 Correspondence on Anna Howard Shaw Memorial.
1921 Miscellaneous correspondence, including letter
endorsing President Harding’s conference on limitation of armaments.
1921 Acting Treasurer, Indiana League of Women Voters, accounts of
chapters with pledges/payments.
1921 Correspondence regarding Elkhart County Infirmary
(to retain support), and school board (to secure
a resignation) includes copy by A.H. Beardsley.
1922 Chairman Nominating Committee,
Indiana League of Women Voters, many letters.
1922 Miscellaneous correspondence.
1923 Miscellaneous correspondence.
Includes several letters to/from M. Curry.
1923 - 1924 Treasurer, Indiana League of Women Voters,
Treasurer’s Reports, Good Citizenship Bond.
1924 Miscellaneous Correspondence
Includes clipping regarding visit to Terre Haute, Indiana.
Letter from Ella Kehrer May 8, 1924 “We want you for
next president of Indiana League of Women Voters”.
1927 Miscellaneous correspondence
Letters on state convention at Elkhart.
1927- 1928 Chairman, Committee on
Efficiency in Government, Indiana League of Women Voters.
“The Convention & the Primary”- National League of Women Voters.
“Ballot Changes for Illinois”-I11 League of Women Voters.
“Act for Registration of Voters” 1919.
1927-1928 Chairman, Committee on Efficiency (continued).
“Facts About the Presidential Primary”- Massachusetts League
of Women Voters.
Correspondence, article for yearbook, Clippings.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – SPEECHES FOR OPENING OF
ELKHART LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS (LOCAL CHAPTER) HEADQUARTERS, 1923 - 1924
Speeches, December 11, 1923 and February 4, 1924.
ANNIE BELLE BOSS – PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE
IUSB ARCHIVES INVENTORY OF COLLECTIONS
Annie Belle Boss Papers (League of Women Voters)
Addendum to Inventory June 29, 1995
Carrie Chapman Catt items
(1 folder with letter and 4 photographs)
Apparently was give to the Archives along with the Boss Papers.
Includes a letter to Mrs. Nettie A. Downey, South Bend, March 29, 1943, from Carrie Chapman Catt, sending her photo. Three small printed photos of Mrs. Catt also are enclosed with the studio portrait in folder.
Carrie Chapman Catt served as president of the National Suffrage Association at the height of the battle for National female suffrage.
Placed in Box 2.
Flexner, Eleanor, Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States, New York: Atheneum, 1968.
Catt, Carrie Chapman and Nettie Rogers Shuler. Woman Suffrage and Politics. The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement. New York Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923.
Harper, Ida Husted. History of Woman Suffrage Volume 5, 1900-1920. New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1969. (reprint).
Greenough, Katherine Croan. History of the League of Women Voters of Indiana, 1920-1952. Indianapolis: League of Women Voters of Indiana, 1977.
Phillips, Clifton J. Indiana in Transition: The Emergence of an Industrial Commonwealth, 1880-1920. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau and Indiana Historical Society, 1968.
Madison, James, Indiana Through Tradition and Change: A History of the Hoosier State and Its People, 1920-1945. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1982.
CHRONOLOGY – NATIONAL
Re-birth of Women’s Suffrage movement in New York State
Carrie Chapman Catt – re-activated old Suffrage Association.
Suffragette Harriet Stanton Blatch – inspired by English workers,
forms the Women’s Political Union.
The first suffrage parade in New York City is organized by the
Women's Political Union.
The state of Washington re-enacted Women’s Suffrage.
Huge successful campaign for Women’s Suffrage in California Referendum. Theme common cause between women of all classes.
Women’s Suffrage referenda failed in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin.
Progressive Party platform included Women’s Suffrage.
Full Women’s Suffrage in 9 states, including Kansas, Arizona, Oregon.
Illinois Women’s Suffragists won presidential suffrage.
Advocates question whether to return to national level action.
Alice Paul & Lucy Burns began their work for a national suffrage amendment, first within the National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
March: 5,000 paraded in Washington D.C. before Wilson inauguration; street fight.
April: NAWSA formed their Congressional Union for sole purpose of passage Women’s Suffrage Amendment.
Split between NAWSA and the Congressional Union. Latter set up
its own organizations in states which had NAWSA chapters.
Montana and Nevada adopted Women’s Suffrage.
March 19th: Senate defeated Women’s Suffrage amendment.
Election campaign: Congressional Union sent organizers into
the nine western states that had Women’s Suffrage – to oppose Democrats.
NAWSA weak, four of its member states lost state referendums: New York, Massachusetts (in November), Pennsylvania, New Jersey (in October).
January 12: House of Representatives defeated Women’s Suffrage amendment
Spring: Congressional Union started organizing in all 48 states, got ?million signatures on Women’s Suffrage petition.
May 9th – Congressional Union presented petition to President Wilson.
December – Carrie Chapman Catt took over NAWSA.
January – sudden strengthening of NAWSA. NAWSA president Carrie
Chapman Catt unveils her "winning plan" for suffrage victory at a convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Catt's plan required the coordination of activities by a vast cadre of suffrage workers in both state and local associations. Carrie Chapman Catt sent directives: more activity in Washington; conferences between state, national leaders; schools for organizers; ideas on fundraising; planning based on questionnaire sent to each state association.
June – National Women’s Party (NWP) organized in twelve states where women could vote to lobby for federal woman suffrage amendment and oppose Democratic Party candidates.
October 20th: NWP members attacked by mob while demonstrating against Woodrow Wilson outside a Chicago auditorium.
Catt then began to persuade Wilson regarding Women’s Suffrage. Her strategy: win more state fights by 1920, get the national platform for Amendment by 1920, ratify it by 1921.
December 5th: NWP members demonstrate silently with banner unfurled during President Wilson’s annual address to Congress.
Wilson finally took position that Congress should act on Women’s Suffrage.
Early in year: Congressional Union applied militant tactics: pickets, arrests; NAWSA did not endorse.
January: North Dakota grants presidential suffrage.
April: Jeanette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
Presidential suffrage won in Ohio, North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan and Rhode Island. Arkansas grants primary suffrage. New York, South Dakota, and Oklahoma state constitutions grant suffrage.
November: All Congressional Union pickets released.
December 12th to15th: NAWSA convention.
January 10: U.S. House of Representatives passed Women’s Suffrage amendment 274-136 (Wilson endorsed it on January 9th).
January 10: House of Commons in the United Kingdom passed Women’s Suffrage into law.
September 30 – Wilson appealed to the U.S. Senate for Women’s Suffrage as a war measure – this was resented by the Senate, it was generally felt to be a states’ rights issue, but almost won, 62-34. South feared black vote.
NAWSA worked to defeat anti-Women’s Suffrage senators.
South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma won Women’s Suffrage referendums.
NAWSA pressured for Senate passage before adjournment so there would be ample opportunity for ratification before the 1920 election.
February 10: U.S. Senate defeated Women’s Suffrage amendment.
NAWSA set up a League of Women Voters division.
6 more states present amendments for women’s suffrage: Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine.
May: U.S. House of Representatives re-passed Women’s Suffrage amendment 304 to 89.
June 4: Federal Suffrage Amendment passed by Senate.
June: Women’s Suffrage Amendment ratified in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan (June 10th), New York, Kansas.
July: Death of Anna Howard Shaw.
August: Ratification in Montana.
September: Ratification in Utah.
November: Ratification in California.
December: Ratification in Colorado.
January: Wyoming & Indiana ratified.
February: Annual Convention NAWSA Chicago – Annie Belle Boss attended.
February 14th: Last meeting NAWSA, first of League of Women Voters
Purposes: “foster education in citizenship,” “support improved
legislation” Maud Wood Park first president. Mrs. Edwards treasurer.
March: State of Washington ratified.
June: U.S. Supreme Court ruled referendums on constitutional amendments invalid.
August 26th: Tennessee supplied final ratification.
Sheppard-Towner Act gave direct & matching funds to states
to educate regarding maternal and infant hygiene. League of Women Voters fought for. This Act faced strong opposition from American Medical Association and the Indiana Medical Association. The Act was overturned in 1929. Ultimately it helped to save many infants’ lives.
First concerns of national League of Women Voters: American citizenship, protection of women in industry, child welfare, food supply and demand, social hygiene, unification of laws concerning women, election laws and methods (these its first committees).
Last Reviewed: 03/2014