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Anne Dallas Dudley

Anne Dallas Dudley
Anne Dallas Dudley, circa 1900
Born Annie Willis Dallas
(1876-11-13)November 13, 1876
Nashville, Tennessee, US
Died September 13, 1955(1955-09-13) (aged 78)
Belle Meade, Tennessee, US
Resting place
Mount Olivet Cemetery (Nashville)
Known for Women's suffrage activist

Anne Dallas Dudley (née Annie Willis Dallas;[1] November 13, 1876 – September 13, 1955) was a prominent activist in the women's suffrage movement in the United States. After founding the Nashville Equal Suffrage League and serving as its president, she moved up through the ranks of the movement, serving as President of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association and then as Third Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where she helped lead efforts to get the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution ratified. She is especially noted for her successful efforts to get the Nineteenth Amendment ratified in her home state of Tennessee, the final state necessary to bring the amendment into force.


  • Early life and family 1
  • Women's suffrage movement 2
  • Later life 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6

Early life and family

Anne Dallas Dudley was born Annie Willis Dallas in Vice President of the United States under James K. Polk.[2]

Annie Dallas was educated at Ward's Seminary and Price's College for Young Ladies, both in Nashville.[3] In 1902, she married Guilford Dudley (1854–1945), a banker and insurance broker.[2] Together they had three children, Ida Dallas Dudley (1903–1904), who died in infancy, Trevania Dallas Dudley (1905–1924), and Guilford Dudley, Jr. (1907–2002).[3]

Women's suffrage movement

A few years after being married, Anne Dallas Dudley became involved in the temperance movement as a supporter of alcohol prohibition.[4] Through her work in the temperance movement and her association with friends such as Maria Daviess and Ida Clyde Clark, Dudley became convinced that women's place in society could only be improved if women were allowed to vote.[2] At the time, however, almost all men and a majority of women opposed the idea of women participating in the political process.[2]

"I have never yet met a man or woman who denied that taxation without representation is tyranny. I have never yet seen one who was such a traitor to our form of government that he did not believe that the government rests upon the consent of the governed. This is a government of, for, and by the people, and only the law denies that women are people."

— Anne Dallas Dudley, 1913[5]

In September 1911, Dudley, Daviess, Clark, and several other women[note 1] met in the back parlor of the Tulane Hotel and founded the Nashville Equal Suffrage League, an organization dedicated to building local support for May Day suffrage parades, usually led by Dudley and her children.[2][7] Dudley also helped bring the National Suffrage Convention to Nashville in 1914.[7][8] At the time, it was one of the largest conventions ever held in the city.[7]

This photograph of Dudley with her children was widely circulated with suffrage publicity materials in an effort to counteract stereotypes of suffragists as mannish radicals.[9]

After serving as president of the local league for four years, Dudley was elected to head the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association in 1915. During this time she helped to introduce and lobby for a suffrage amendment to the state constitution.[10] Although the amendment was defeated, a later measure to give women the right to vote in presidential and municipal elections was eventually passed by the state legislature in 1919.[2]

In 1917, Dudley became the Third Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where she contributed significantly to advancing legislation on the issue of women's suffrage.[7] In 1920, Dudley, along with Catherine Talty Kenny and Abby Crawford Milton, led the campaign in Tennessee to approve ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.[7][8] On August 18, Tennessee became the 36th and deciding state to ratify the amendment, thereby giving women the right to vote throughout the country.[7]

Later life

A Celtic cross stands in the center of the Dallas family burial lot.

Following the success of the suffrage campaign, Dudley became the first woman associate chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Committee. She was also selected as the first female delegate-at-large to the Democratic National Convention in 1920.[7] Dudley's involvement in politics declined significantly in subsequent years,[10] with her efforts being focused on civic and charitable causes during the remainder of her life. She was an active worker for the American Red Cross during World War II and later served as board chairman of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities.[7]

Dudley died unexpectedly on September 13, 1955, of a coronary occlusion at her home in Belle Meade, Tennessee.[7] She was 78 years old. She is buried with her family at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.[4][9]


Dudley's legacy has been honored in numerous ways. She is one of three women featured in the Tennessee Woman's Suffrage Memorial in Knoxville, Tennessee, along with Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis.[11][12] She is featured along with ten other prominent Tennesseans in The Pride of Tennessee, the official Tennessee State Bicentennial Portrait which hangs in the Tennessee State Capitol.[13] There is also a historical marker in Nashville's Centennial Park dedicated to her.[14] Dudley was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995.[15]


  1. ^ The initial members of the Nashville Equal Suffrage League included: Mrs. Guilford Dudley, Mrs. Blair Smith, Mrs. Willoughby Williams, Mrs. Ida Clyde Clarke, Mrs. C. T. Hixon, Mrs. E. T. Page, Miss Amelia Terrett, Miss Maria Thompson Daviess, Miss Mary Louise Baxter, Mrs. Yarbrough, and Mrs. T. G. Settle.


  1. ^ 1900 U.S. Census. District 91, Davidson County, Tennessee.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Goodstein, Anita Shafer (1992). "Anne Dallas Dudley, 1876–1955". Franklin County Historical Review 23 (1): 61–65. 
  3. ^ a b "Mrs. Dudley Sr. Dies at Home". The Tennessean. September 14, 1955. 
  4. ^ a b Wills, W. Ridley (1993). "Dallas Celtic cross". A Walking Tour of Mt. Olivet Cemetery. John W. Wagster. pp. 28–29. 
  5. ^ "Mrs. Guilford Dudley Talks Equal Suffrage". Nashville Tennessean. February 20, 1913. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Antoinette Elizabeth (1957). The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee. Octagon Books. p. 33.  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Services For Mrs. Dudley To Be Held Thursday". Nashville Banner. September 14, 1955. 
  8. ^ a b Anastatia Sims (1998). "Woman Suffrage Movement". In Carroll Van West. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Tennessee Historical Society.  
  9. ^ a b Carole Stanford Bucy (1998). "Anne Dallas Dudley". In Carroll Van West. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Tennessee Historical Society.  
  10. ^ a b Lindenmeyer, Kriste (2000). Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives: Women in American History. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 200–209.  
  11. ^ "Tennessee Woman's Suffrage Memorial". East Tennessee Foundation. Archived from the original on July 7, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  12. ^ Mason, Doug (March 26, 2006). "Marching into history - Memorial honors women who got voting rights cast in stone". Knoxville News-Sentinel. 
  13. ^ Tennessee Blue Book: 1995-1996 Bicentennial Edition (1796-1996). p. 397. 
  14. ^ "Remember the Ladies!: Women Struggle for an Equal Voice". Tennessee State Library and Archives. Archived from the original on 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  15. ^ East, Jim (September 15, 1995). "Suffragist leader Dudley going into Women's Hall of Fame". The Tennessean. 
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