Jennie Gilbert Gerome, Class of 1911, letter to mother, November 1908

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Jennie Gilbert Gerome, Class of 1911, letter to mother, November 1908


In a letter to her mother written mid-November, Jennie ‘11 gleefully describes leading a parade of her friends through campus dressed as suffragists. The group was clad in identical black gowns and gloves, white stockings, hats, glasses, and umbrellas — except Jennie, who wore red stockings and carried a scroll. Jennie led her seven “suffragettes” on a march to Mary Lyon (now Abbey) Chapel, with one companion clanging the dinner bell to arouse interest. Upon the landing of the Chapel steps, Jennie unfurled her scroll and read a speech on women’s suffrage to a crowd of faculty members and approximately half the student body. Jennie described the fantastical and seemingly impromptu event as “‘more fun than a goat.’”


Jennie Gilbert Gerome


November 1908









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Yesterday at noon after lunch, I gave a speech on Woman’s Suffrage in the character of Miss Wallace-[Smythe?] accompanied by a band of Suffragettes. Dear Mother, I wish you could have seen us. At 1.20, the procession formed. My seven Suffragettes were variously attired in black gowns, white stockings, low shoes, hair drawn tightly back, s--dle(?) hats, black gloves, and umbrellas imperfectly tied. The procession was headed by myself similarly clad, but for red stockings, and bearing a huge roll that contained my speech in preference to an umbrella. Glasses adorned every nose. Valesca trotted beside me bearing the great dinner bell to arouse the campus. Polly, Bessie, Helen, and three others charming to behold brought up the rear. We had a huge crowd by the time we reached the back of Mary Lyon. I mounted the steps that lead to the chapel to stopped on the first landing. Polly most peculiarly clad, accompanied me, so as to hold the roll that people might read what was written on the back. You shall hear my speech at Thanksgiving, so I will omit details. Miss Morris, Miss Galt, were among the faculty present, and in addition half I should think of the college. My companions grouped themselves at the bottom of the stairs and wept at the proper moment. Oh! it was rich, and “more fun than a goat.” It was almost impossible to calm down afterwards. Celia took some pictures of us, so I hope you will be able to see what we looked like. (Pages 4-6)

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Jennie Gilbert Gerome letter.pdf



Jennie Gilbert Gerome, “Jennie Gilbert Gerome, Class of 1911, letter to mother, November 1908,” Digital Exhibits of the Archives and Special Collections, accessed November 30, 2023,

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