Ida H. Harper

Lived:February 18, 1851—March 14, 1931 (aged 80)

Ida Husted Harper was an author, journalist and suffragist.

Harper was born on February 18, 1851, in Fairfield, Indiana. She attended Indiana University for one year, but left to become a teacher and high school principal. She married in 1871 and soon after began her career as a journalist, writing articles for Terre Haute and Indianapolis newspapers under the pseudonym of "Mrs. John Smith." She did not begin using her own name on her work until 1881. For twelve years, she wrote a column for the Terre Haute Saturday Evening Mail that discussed traditional women's topics as well as issues such as temperance, women's rights and women's suffrage. She also wrote a woman’s column for the Firemen’s Magazine (later the Locomotive Firemen’s Magazine), a union publication, and was editor of their Women's Department from 1884 to 1893.

Harper met Susan B. Anthony in 1878 when Anthony spoke in Terre Haute. In 1887, she helped organize a state woman suffrage society and became its secretary. In 1890, two weeks after divorcing her husband, Harper became managing editor of the Terre Haute Daily News, but left that position after two months to move to move to Indianapolis, where her daughter was attending school. There, she worked for several years on the editorial staff of the Indianapolis News. She then moved to California in 1893, where her daughter attended Stanford University. Harper also attended Stanford from 1893–95, but did not graduate.

In 1896, Harper joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The next year, Susan B. Anthony asked Harper to come to New York to write her official biography, and Harper moved to Anthony's home in Rochester, New York. Harper also co-edited and collaborated with Anthony on volume four of the six-volume "History of Woman Suffrage" and authored volumes five and six after Anthony's death. During this time, Harper traveled extensively with Anthony, delivering lectures is support of women's rights and writing columns on women's issues for newspapers across the country. Harper also chaired the press committee of the International Council of Women from 1899 to 1902 and was a delegate to their conventions in 1899 and 1904. In addition to editing a woman’s column in the New York Sunday Sun from 1899 to 1903 and the woman’s page in Harper’s Bazaar from 1909 to 1913, Harper was a correspondent for newspapers in several cities.

In 1910, Harper became head of NAWSA's national press bureau, and in 1916, she moved to Washington, D.C, when Carrie Chapman Catt asked her to head the Leslie Bureau of Suffrage Education within NAWSA. Harper's department was responsible for writing articles and pamphlets advocating woman suffrage and responding to newspaper editorials.

Harper died March 14, 1931.

Speeches