Jessie Ashley (199754298)
Suggested edit: Jessie Ashley was born in New York City on August 6, 1861. She was the daughter of Ossian Doolittle and Harriet A. Nash Ashley. She lived a privileged lifestyle with her three siblings. They attended private schools and studied abroad. At the turn of the century, Jessie went to law school. There she met feminist attorneys Ida Rauh and Madeline Doty. The women bonded around their mutual interest in women’s issues and law. The three women were involved in progressive activism. Ashley worked with Rauh and Margaret Sanger to form the American Birth Control League.
In 1905, Jessie became the treasurer of the National College Equal Suffrage League. Later, she became its president. In 1908, she was elected to the treasurer position of the NAWSA. Many conservative members of the NAWSA did not support her because of her socialist views.
From 1907 to her death, Jessie practiced with Elizabeth Pope or independently as one of the few firms led by women in New York. Ashley taught courses in the woman’s class at NYU. Jessie joined the New York County Lawyers’ Association in 1908. It was one of the first significant American bar associations that did not discriminate based on sex.
Jessie had joined the Socialist Party in 1907. She wrote a series of letters to the Woman’s Journal, which addressed class and gender inequality. These letters drew criticism from suffragists who felt that she had used the NAWSA’s journal to express Socialist views. Several state suffrage organizations denounced Ashley. The NAWSA reprimanded her. In 1912, she gave up her post and did not run for re-election.
Jessie focused most of her energy on Socialist issues but continued to fight for suffrage.
On January 20, 1919, Jessie Ashley died after contracting pneumonia.
Contributor: md rudder (49492160)
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