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U.S. Senator Joseph Frelinghuysen of New Jersey congratulates suffragist Betty Gram on New Jersey's ratification of the 19th Amendment, February 1920. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Records of National Woman's Party Collection.

Trailblazer: Betty Gram

27-year-old was the professional political operative of the suffragist movement

By David Wildstein, February 09 2020 3:20 pm

Betty Gram (1893-1969) was essentially Alice Paul’s top political operative who came to New Jersey in 1919 and 1920 to run the campaign to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. }

Gram joined the National Woman’s Party in 1917, taking charge of the organization’s grassroots organizing.

After Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, Gram was given responsibility for ratification in New Jersey and four other states.

In early 1920, Gram led the effort to defeat a bid by political machines in Essex and Camden counties to skip a ratification vote by the legislature and go directly to a statewide referendum.  Only men would have been able to vote in that election.

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