Nicole Evelina

Maryland Heights
About the Speaker

Nicole Evelina is an independent scholar and author who specializes in stories of little-known women and events in U.S. history. She holds a BA in English, BS in International Business, MA in Public Relations and is self-taught in history. She has written 10 books (five fiction and five non-fiction), most notably, America’s Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor, the first biography of this St. Louis suffrage couple, to be published by Two Dot/Globe Pequot on March 1, 2023. She has also studied with historian and #1 NY Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness, who teaches at the University of Southern California. 

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Underwritten Presentations Available

Virginia and Francis Minor: Forgotten Suffrage Pioneers

In Missouri, a husband and wife couple, Virginia and Francis Minor, were key early leaders in the quest for female suffrage. Virginia founded the Woman Suffrage Association of Missouri, the first organization of its kind in the country —possibly the world— in 1867, pre-dating the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) founded by Susan B. Anthony and the American Woman’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) founded by Lucy Stone by two years.  This unusual and forward-thinking couple were at the vanguard of women’s rights, developing a philosophy of how the gender-neutral language of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution inadvertently gave women the right to vote, an argument that would become the official position of the NWSA for nearly five years. In putting this theory to the test, the Minors went on to face the highest court in the land in defense of women’s voting and citizenship rights in the 1873 Supreme Court case Minor v Happersett. Although they were ultimately overruled, and their case isn’t widely-known, it helped shape the current definition of state and national citizenship and their associated rights.  Learn about  the impact of their case today, their role in the suffrage movement, and lesser-known aspects of the couple’s lives. 

Suffrage in the Show-Me State

USA Today Bestselling author and St. Louisan Nicole Evelina will take you through 54 years of Missouri history, showing how the battle for the franchise began in the Gateway to the West in 1865 and spread out across the state over the next 30 years before finally being ratified in 1919, making Missouri the 11th state to grant full suffrage to women.  Along the way, you’ll meet inspiring figures from Kansas City, Hannibal, Joplin, and St. Louis such as: • Virginia and Francis Minor, the only people to argue the issue of women’s suffrage before the Supreme Court. • Phoebe Couzins, Washington University graduate and one of the first female lawyers in the US. • Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, which began in St. Louis. • Edna Gellhorn, women’s rights advocate, right-hand woman of Eleanor Roosevelt, and suffrage leader. • Emily Newell Blair, suffragist who came up with the idea of the Golden Lane silent protest in 1916 along with Edna Gellhorn. In addition to profiling these women and their accomplishments, Nicole will explain  the many groups of women formed to band together over 55 years to raise their voices in demand of the vote. 

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