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A look back to women’s equality

Today, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day. The items included in this column reflect only a few of the contributions which women have made to Hartselle since its founding in the early 1870s. Here are a few examples of feminine leadership (along with a little humor) over a period of many years.


April 9, 1893—It is said that a Huntsville woman has invented self-patching trousers and that a newspaper editor in that city is setting up a company to manufacture the same. There is millions in this concern.

Aug. 28, 1899–Mrs. D. W. Day of Hartselle has been selected as one of the associate vice presidents of the women’s department of the Alabama State Fair.

Sept. 16, 1906–A Woman’s Press Club is to be organized by Mrs. J. A. Rountree, wife of the former Enquirer editor.

 March 19, 1915—Simultaneously all over Alabama tomorrow night the first of a series of high school debates will be held in competition for the state high school debating championship. Along with their classmates at other schools Morgan County High School students will be debating the question: ] “Resolved, That Woman Suffrage Should be established by Constitutional amendment in Alabama.”

April 7, 1917— It is a very dangerous thing to prescribe the rights of women, married or single, especially if any discrimination in favor of man is involved. If smoking be an evil, if the cigarette be the worst form of the evil, then let all alike be forbidden the indulgence. Does the husband who prevents his wife by force from an occasional whiff himself disdain the habit? Unless he does, what moral ground of action has he?

 Feb. 7, 1926–The Culture Club of Hartselle is having a course in travel–”Seeing America.” The club roster is full, the limit being 25 members with the addition of three ministers’ wives as honorary members. Every meeting is of interest, the president being a live, progressive woman.

Sept. 23, 1937–Alabama has a woman United States Senator, a woman probate judge, a woman member of the House of representatives, five women circuit clerks, 14 women registers in equity, six women county treasurers, three women tax collectors, and one woman tax assessor. More women than men are employed at the state capital.

Feb. 19, 1942–Miss Buford Kracke of Hartselle has been named one of the chairmen for the Victory Book Campaign for Morgan County.

 Jan. 26, 1944–Miss Annie Ruth Waldsmith spoke on “The Sonata Form with Its Four Movements: Allegro, Andante, Minuet or Scherzo, and Finale” at the Book Lovers Club meeting this afternoon.

Nov. 8, 1946–Mrs. Street Sandlin of the Danville club was selected Morgan County’s Woman of the Year among home demonstration women at the annual luncheon held today at the Dinner Bell cafe in Hartselle.

Aug. 30, 1956—Hartselle’s first woman candidate for mayor, Lola Mae Bettertson, says that, if elected, she will give this community clean and progressive government.

Aug. 12, 1975–Martha Witt Burleson Smith died. She had been a member of the Madison County Board of Registrars since 1949. She was the first woman elected to the “A” Club at the University of Alabama. She guest-wrote a Grantland Rice sports column before a Tide Rose Bowl football game.