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Susanna Madora Salter

Birth Date: 1860
Death Date: 1961
State: Kansas
Marital Status: Married
General Occupation:
Occupation:
Political Party Activism: Republican · Prohibition
Social Reform Activism: Temperance

Biography

In 1887 Susanna Salter, a 27-year old temperance activist, became the first woman in the United States to be elected to the position of mayor. The town was Argonia, Kansas, a small Quaker village with a population of less than five hundred that had only incorporated in 1885. She was nominated, without notification, by men intent upon embarrassing and defeating temperance. Local Republicans uncovered the plan early on election day. They asked if she would serve, if elected. Salter agreed and with the support of Republicans and Prohibitionists, she was elected with a two-thirds majority. She became famous in the United States and abroad for this "first," but did not desire a life in politics and, after serving the mandated one-year term, did not seek re-election. Salter attended Kansas Agricultural College before marrying Lewis A. Salter, son of former lieutenant-governor Melville J. Salter. Salter's father had served as Argonia's mayor and her husband had been selected as town clerk. The family was respected and Salter knew a great deal about politics. She had four children and was pregnant at the time of her election. Even opponents of woman suffrage were won over, however, by her reputation and her commitment to temperance.
In October of 1887, Salter attended the annual conference of the Kansas woman suffrage organization, held that year in Newton, Kansas.

Additional Notes

 

Susanna Madora Salter's Campaign for Mayor, 1887

Political Office: Mayor
Election Year: 1887
Political Party: Prohibition
Elected: Yes



Photographs


Resources

Author Title More
Gehring, Lorraine A. Women Officeholders in Kansas, 1872-1912 Details
Billington, Monroe Susanna Madora Salter-First Woman Mayor Details
Woman Seeks Nomination Details