Women’s History Month in March is an appropriate time to remember the leaders of the fight for woman suffrage in Nebraska. Harriet S. Brooks (1828-1888) was the most senior of this state’s woman’s rights activists in the years leading up to 1882. She promoted suffrage in the pages of the Omaha Republican, at one time edited by husband Datus C. Brooks, and in 1880 was a founding member of the Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association. In February 1882, she addressed the Nebraska Legislature on “What Impartial Suffrage Means.”
As a result of Nebraska’s failure to pass a constitutional amendment establishing woman suffrage in 1882, Brooks, perhaps out of frustration, retired from suffrage work and turned to “the congenial study of sociology.” She died on June 22, 1888. Her papers are in the Historical Society Archives.
For more information on Brooks and other Nebraska suffragists, see Kristin Mapel Bloomberg’s “‘Striving for Equal Rights for All’: Woman Suffrage in Nebraska 1855-1882,” in the Summer 2009 issue of Nebraska History. You can read an excerpt here or contact our Landmark Stores to purchase a copy.