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Title | Creator | Date Made Visible | None

Annie (Le Porte) Diggs

Snyder

A portrait of Annie (Le Porte) Diggs, who was born in 1848 in Canada to an American mother and French father. Two years later the family moved to New Jersey, where she attended school. Diggs moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1873 and married Alvin S. Diggs shortly thereafter. While in Kansas, Diggs began to attend the local Unitarian Church and developed a strong sense of moral responsibility that prompted her to work for temperance and women?s suffrage. During 1882, Diggs and her husband published the newspaper Kansas Liberal, and beginning in 1890 she was the associate editor of the Alliance Advocate. As a radical reformer seeking to wipe out injustice, Diggs also allied herself with the Farmer?s Alliance, aiding in the creation of the People's (Populist) Party, serving on the Populist National Committee, and supporting the fusion of the Populist and Democratic parties in the 1898 election. Throughout this time she continued to work actively for women?s voting rights and served in the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association. In 1898, she was appointed the state librarian of Kansas, and she was also elected president of Kansas Press Women in 1905. Diggs moved to New York City in 1906, where she worked on two publications: The Story of Jerry Simpson (1908) and Bedrock (1912). She relocated to Detroit, Michigan, in 1912 and died there on September 7, 1916.

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Mary Elizabeth Lease

Deane

Mary Elizabeth (Clyens) Lease is perhaps the best-known Kansas Populist. She was born in Pennsylvania on September 11, 1850 to Irish immigrants. At the age of twenty she moved to Osage Mission, Kansas, in order to teach school at St. Anne?s Academy. While there, she met and married Charles L. Lease, a local pharmacist. After several unsuccessful attempts at farming, Lease turned her attention to the plight of her fellow farmers, and by 1890, her passionate criticisms of railroads and big business made her a formidable force in the newly formed People's (Populist) Party. She became a well-known lecturer for the Populist cause, traveling throughout the West, Midwest, and South. Although this statement has in fact been misattributed to her, she is most known for her assertion that farmers must "raise less corn and more hell.? Her zeal and refusal to compromise eventually alienated her from mainstream Populists, and by 1896 she had turned her attention toward other reform causes, including prohibition and suffrage. She divorced Charles in 1902, spending the remainder of her life living with various children on the Atlantic coast. She passed away on October 29, 1933 in New York state.

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Lorenzo Dow Lewelling

This photograph represents Lorenzo Dow Lewelling (1846-1900). Born and raised in the Quaker lifestyle in Iowa, Lewelling moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1887, after working a variety of jobs and serving in the Civil War with his second wife and child from his first marriage. As a founding member of the Farmers? Alliance, Lewelling ran as a Populist for the 1892 governor?s race. Notable events during his administration was the ?Populist War? in 1883, clash with activist Mary Elizabeth Lease over the fusion of the Populists and Democrats, and removing Lease from her position as President of the Kansas Board of Charities. Failing to be re-elected as governor, Lewelling was elected to the Kansas State Senate, a position he held until his death.

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