Ribbon cutting event commemorates Missouri Hanna and the Woman Suffrage Movement in Edmonds

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Missouri Hanna
Missouri Hanna, newspaper publisher, champion of women’s suffrage and Edmonds resident of the early 1900s, is finally getting her due. 

A new historical interpretive panel on the corner of Sunset Avenue honors the valiant woman leader. Hanna Park Road, just steps away from the panel, marks the entry to Hanna Park, the residential area she developed and where she lived during her years in Edmonds. 

The interpretive panel was created by the League of Women Voters, paid for by grants, and will be temporarily sited on City of Edmonds right of way for the next year.

The ribbon-cutting is part of the upcoming nationwide celebration marking 100 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. It will be held at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Caspers Street on Friday, November 8 at 2pm.

Speakers will include Snohomish League of Women Voters President Vicki Roberts-Gassler, Project lead Rita Ireland, and Teresa Wippel, publisher of My Edmonds News, Lynnwood Today, and current Edmonds Citizen of the Year.

Known as the “Mother of Journalism”, Missouri Hanna became the first woman newspaper publisher in Washington State when she purchased the Edmonds Review in 1905. Edmonds was still a young waterfront mill town, and Hanna faced an uphill battle to win the support of the community. In short order The Edmonds Review became known for being politically independent, objective, fair, and a source for reliable local, national and international news.

She brought a civility to the paper that suggested readers to “…always find some good in each and if we cannot, we shall hesitate, look over the beautiful Sound to the snow-covered Olympics and glorious sunset and use our best judgement.”

Five years later Missouri Hanna started Votes for Women, a monthly Northwest suffrage newsletter providing updates on local, state and national activities that added vigor to the suffrage movement. The 32-page journals influenced many women and men, and helped move Washington voters to enact women’s suffrage in 1910, a decade before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution finally gave U.S. women the right to vote nationwide.

What better timing than to honor her now —in celebration of the upcoming 2020 Suffrage Centennial. The spark was ignited when Katie Kelly, Director of the Edmonds Historical Museum, shared Hanna’s documents with Rita Ireland, of the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County.

Ireland’s “Missouri Hanna and the Suffrage Movement” project was awarded two grants this past spring: a “Votes for Women” Centennial Grant from the Washington State Women’s Commission and the Washington State Historical Society, and a grant from the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission.

With the help of the LWVSC’s Centennial Committee, led by President Vicki Roberts-Gassler, other educational programs that are part of the project are in progress. These include League volunteers currently reading donated suffrage books to third graders in over 60 school libraries around Snohomish County, from Edmonds to Darrington. Suffragist stories are also being shared on the League’s KSER radio program.

Two more celebratory activities are happening in June 2020. Look for a public forum at the Edmonds Historical Museum and “Where’s Missouri Hanna?”, a children’s scavenger hunt in downtown Edmonds.

Ireland concluded, “Few history books provide more than a sentence or two about the early women’s rights movements. The persistence of women suffragists like Missouri Hanna is worthy of recognition. After all, the long struggle was not smooth. But the more we learn about the courage and boldness of women and men who fought for equality, the more we recognize the light it sheds on how precious our democracy is.”

The panel was designed by Core Creative, a graphic design firm in Edmonds. Check out the QR code on the panel for credits and more information about Hanna’s life.

Information about Votes for Women Centennial events across Washington, here.


Anonymous,  November 6, 2019 at 9:13 AM  

Fabulous! There are so many buried/hidden treasures in our history about which we would never know without the persistence of a few hardy souls to keep them from becoming extinct. Many thanks!

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