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Ellen Martin Day
April 6, 1891
(As recreated on April 6, 2008)

Warm thanks to The Maple Street Chapel, our co-sponsor.

suffragists march
Attorney Ellen Martin (right, carrying a legal book) marches with other suffragists on the way to vote on April 6, 1891.
waiting to vote
The suffragists gather before entering Maple Street Chapel to cast their ballots.
ellen martin votes
Ellen Martin (portrayed by May Anstee) casts her historic ballot at the Maple Street Chapel before three polling judges (played by Ken Bohl, Marlyn Meyer, and Rich Mauer).
winning hat
Pat Shaver models her sumptuous lilac hat, the winner of the Victorian Hat Contest.

Ellen Martin's Historic Vote

Lombard resident and Chicago attorney Ellen Martin made regional news in 1891 when she used her wit and courage to cast a ballot in a local election. She demanded the right to vote, basing her legal claim on the fact that the town charter enfranchised all citizens, with no mention of gender. After Martin voted, another fourteen women followed her to the poll.

The polling judges were completely stunned by Martin. "Mr. Marquardt was taken with a spasm, Reber leaned stiff against the wall, and Vance fell backward into the flour barrel." However, the victory was short-lived when the men reorganized the town charter in line with the state charter so that women were only allowed to vote in school elections.

In Illinois, the right to vote was given in 1913. Ellen Martin returned to her native New York and died in 1916, four years before the 19th amendment was passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote in all elections.

 

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