Historical accounts of the Progressive Era in the United States generally lack any discussion of the nation’s Catholic laywomen. Yet Catholic laywomen played key roles in Progressive Era history. Some, for example, were active in suffrage reform, and one necessary step in that struggle was the bridging of the problematic divide between supporters of suffrage and the Catholic Church – more specifically, between suffrage advocates and the votes of the Catholic faithful, which were greatly influenced by the church establishment, and which became critical in the years leading up to the ratification of the nineteenth amendment. One Catholic laywoman in particular, Jane Campbell (1845–1928), maintained leadership roles in both the Catholic community and the suffrage community (specifically the National American Woman Suffrage Association). This article provides some necessary historical context regarding the Catholic Church’s history in the Progressive Era United States and discusses Campbell’s influence in both the suffrage and Catholic communities during the two-year span of 1913–1915, which was a critical period of growth and change for both the church’s identity and the suffrage cause.


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pp. 23-45
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