Scope and Contents
Papers of Ada Haldeman Ford, women's suffragist of Taylor County, West Virginia. Includes reminiscence, letters, and clippings documenting Ada Haldeman Ford's active role as a suffragist in Taylor County through 1920. There are also clippings and other materials regarding political matters dating through 1970. There are photographs and genealogies regarding the Ford and Haldeman families, and a collection of books (including bibles, foreign language textbooks, poetry, etc). Artifacts include suffrage-era 48-star U.S. flags scaled to a size convenient for hand portability. These flags were labeled as the property of the Women's Democratic Club and Daughter's of Democracy, circa 1925-1940.
Her reminiscence describes how the grassroots suffrage organization in Taylor County began, struggled, and grew to a politically influential force in both the county and state. Several newspaper clippings from the period supplement this history, following state-wide efforts to ratify the 19th amendment.
The reminiscence by Mrs. Ford's son, Layne H. Ford, tells of his memories as a six year old during Taylor County Suffragists' most active time of speeches, meetings, fund raising, and lobbying. He describes the campaign in the U.S. as 'non-violent,' working within the political system to change the law, contrasting it to England's suffrage movement which experienced confrontations with police.
There are detailed genealogies of the Haldeman and Ford families dating back to 1718, and several photographs of family and friends (circa 1860-1983).
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
No special access restriction applies.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
Biographical / Historical
Ada Haldeman Ford (1883-1979) was born in Minnesota and raised in Thornton, West Virginia. She received a teaching certificate from Fairmont Normal at the young age of sixteen and taught 3 to 4 years. She also worked as a secretary. In 1909 she married Gene Worth Ford. They had one son, Layne Haldeman Ford.
In 1916, Mrs. Ford helped to organize the Women's Suffrage League in Taylor County, serving as president, and became a recognized state leader in the campaign for ratification of the 19th amendment. After ratification she helped establish the first Democratic Women's Committee and was the first woman from Taylor County to be elected to the Democratic State Executive Committee, 1924-1936. Mrs. Ford was appointed the first Register of Vital Statistics in Taylor County.
During World War I, Ada H. Ford was a 'Four Minute Woman,' a speaker for the purchase of Liberty Bonds. She sold $40,000 worth of bonds in one meeting. Other war contributions included 18 hand knit sweaters and numerous socks.
Mrs. Ford was a published author of short stories and poems, and a reporter for several newspapers. She died in 1979, in Grafton, West Virginia.
Gene Worth Ford (1878-1950) was the husband of Ada Haldeman Ford for 41 years. He had a distinguished career in law, serving 2 terms as Prosecuting Attorney of Taylor County, attorney for the city of Grafton and for several banks. He was active in community service and he received the Selective Service Medal, awarded by Congress for his services as an appeal agent in the system.
Layne Haldeman Ford (1910-1988), son of Ada Haldeman Ford, was a well known attorney. He held a number of state and federal positions in Charleston, Martinsburg, and Clarksburg. During World War II, Layne Ford served in the Army Signal Corp, mostly with the 12th Tactical Air Command. He was awarded five Battle Stars for involvement in campaigns from North Africa and Italy to Germany. He was attached to the French Army during the Alsace-Lorraine campaign under General LeClerc, as communications specialists and received a Personal Citation from the French Army.
3.3 Linear Feet (Summary: 3 ft. 4 in. (2 document cases, 1 records carton, 2 large flat storage boxes, 1 unboxed artifact))