Suffragist leader. 2nd female Secretary of State in Texas. Was born to Alvaro Leonard and Mary Fullerton (LeGette) Yelvington in La Vernia, Texas, on December 30, 1877. Yelvington was a pioneer sheriff of Wilson County in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Jane attended schools in Wilson County and Dr. Zealey's Female College in Mississippi in 1892-93. She studied at the University of Texas from 1912 to 1915 and in 1923-24 but never received a degree. On October 29, 1896, she married Arthur Newell McCallum, Sr., a North Carolina native who had ventured to Texas in 1895. She moved with him from La Vernia to Kenedy, then Seguin, and finally Austin, where he served as school superintendent from 1903 to 1942. The couple had a daughter and four sons. Jane McCallum first entered politics by campaigning for prohibition and woman suffrage. On October 22, 1915, the Austin Women's Suffrage Association elected her president. She also teamed with Minnie Fisher Cunningham, president of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association, in leading statewide campaigns for suffrage; she served as state manager of press and publicity for the state constitutional amendment on full suffrage and state chairman of the ratification committee for the federal, or nineteenth, amendment. To further promote suffrage, Jane McCallum delivered public speeches and wrote a suffrage column that appeared in the Austin American and later the Austin Statesman (see AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN). During World War I, as women's chairman of the fourth Liberty Loan Drive, she led Austin women in raising nearly $700,000 for the war effort.
After suffrage was won she concentrated on political reforms. She was state publicity chairman for the Education ("Better Schools") Amendment to the Texas Constitution, approved in November 1920. She also headed publicity efforts for the League of Women Voters of Texas and served a term as first vice president. From 1923 to 1925 she served as executive secretary of the Women's Joint Legislative Council, a coalition of six statewide women's organizations that lobbied for education bills, prison reform, stronger prohibition controls, maternal and child health funds, and eradication of illiteracy and child labor. Known as the "Petticoat Lobby," the coalition became an important lobbying group of the era. Jane McCallum was also a member of the Texas Committee on Prisons and Prison Labor. In 1926 she led the Petticoat Lobbyists in campaigning for Daniel J. Moody's gubernatorial bid against Miriam A. Ferguson. Moody appointed her secretary of state in January 1927, and she retained the position under Governor Ross Sterling from 1931 to 1933; she was thus the only person in Texas to hold the position under two governors and for more than two terms. Shortly after assuming office in 1927, she discovered in a vault in the state Capitol an original copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence. She considered her role in restoring and displaying the document to be one of her important contributions to the state.
She was the first married woman at the University of Texas to join a sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. She retained usage of her maiden name along with her married name, always using the initial "Y". Although baptised and confirmed as Episcopalian, in Austin she attended the First Southern Presbyterian Church, where her husband served as an elder. On August 14, 1957, Jane McCallum died. She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin.
Mary Fullerton Le Gette Yelvington
Arthur Newell McCallum
1865–1943 (m. 1896)
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