Abigail Scott Duniway (1834-1915)
Abigail Scott Duniway was an Oregon pioneer, journalist, and suffrage leader in the Pacific Northwest. She managed Susan B. Anthony’s Northwest speaking tour (1871). Traveling by stage and horseback, Duniway toured Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, lecturing on suffrage and women’s legal disabilities. Her work was crucial to winning the vote in Washington state and Idaho, but several Oregon referenda were defeated. After suffrage passed in Oregon, she was given major credit, honored for her years of work, and became Oregon’s first registered woman voter.
Abigail was born in Illinois, one of nine children. Her mother died during the difficult journey to Oregon. Her childhood and early marriage were filled with the endless drudgery of frontier life. She married Benjamin Duniway, had six children, but her husband was soon disabled. She supported the family by opening a school, then a millinery shop, but moved to Portland and published a weekly woman’s rights newspaper, the New Northwest (1871), for 16 years. She was president of the Oregon Equal Suffrage Association but became estranged from the NAWSA over tactics in Oregon. In 1912, when suffrage finally passed in Oregon, she could not participate due to ill health.
Reprinted from NWHM Cyber Exhibit "Rights for Women"
Author Kristina Gupta
- PHOTO: Abigail Scott Duniway, Carrie Chapman Catt Collection,
Bryn Mawr College Library