Flora Dunlap

Lived:February 27, 1872—August 26, 1952 (aged 80)

Flora Dunlap was a social worker and suffragist in Iowa.

Dunlap was born on February 27, 1872, in Pickaway County, Ohio. She graduated from Cincinnati Wesleyan College. The following year, she served an apprenticeship at the Kingsley Settlement House in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following the apprenticeship, she spent a winter in the Goodrich House in Cleveland, Ohio and then lived at Hull House in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1904, Dunlap accepted the position of head resident at Roadside Settlement House in Des Moines, Iowa. One of her first assignments was to lead a fundraising campaign for and then oversee the construction of a new building for the settlement house. The house was open to whites and African Americans, and also hosted activities for the Jewish community until they established their own location.

In 1912, Dunlap won election to the Des Moines school board, the first woman to serve on that board. She decided not to run for re-election for a second term because the male members of the board had ignored her and she decided the board was not ready for a female member.

From 1913 to 1915, Dunlap served as legislative chair of the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs, and from 1913 to 1916, she was president of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association. In 1913, she and other Iowa suffragists staged an automobile tour from central Iowa to the state's eastern border, passing through 30 towns. In 1916, when an amendment to the state constitution giving women the right to vote passed the state legislature, Dunlap led the campaign to have the referendum ratified by Iowa voters, but the referendum was defeated in a fraudulent election.

In 1916, Dunlap left Des Moines to head the Neighborhood Guild House in Brooklyn, New York, and she was regional director of the girls' division of the War Camp Community Service in 1917 and 1918. In 1918, she returned to the Roadside Settlement, where she again served as head resident until 1924.

After passage of the 19th Amendment, the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association became the Iowa League of Women Voters, and Dunlap served one year as the first president. In 1922, she was elected head of the Polk County Women's Democratic Club. From 1924 to 1930 she lived in Ohio before returning to Des Moines. During the Depression, she was a member of the Polk County emergency relief committee and head of the Polk County women's division of the Works Progress Administration. In 1943, she again returned to Ohio.

Dunlap passed away on August 26, 1952.

Mason, K. M. (2009). Dunlap, Flora. In The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. University of Iowa Press. Accessed on September 23, 2019 at http://uipress.lib.uiowa.edu/bdi/DetailsPage.aspx?id=106.