Emily Newell Blair
WRITER, SUFFRAGIST, national Democratic Party political leader and feminist, Emily Newell Blair was born in Joplin, Mo., on Jan. 9, 1877. She attended the Women’s College of Baltimore (later Goucher College) and the University of Missouri in Columbia. She returned to Carthage upon her father’s death to help support and care for her brother and three sisters.
Blair became active in the local suffragist campaign. In 1914, she became publicity chair for the Missouri Equal Suffrage Association and the first editor of its monthly publication, “Missouri Woman.”
After United States’ entry into World War I, Blair became vice chair of the Missouri Woman’s Committee of the Council of Defense. When her husband went abroad for the YMCA, she accepted a position in the publicity department of the Women’s Committee of the Council of Defense, working for Ida Tarbell and Anna Howard Shaw. In 1920, Blair published its history, “The Women’s Committee, U.S. Council of National Defense: An Interpretive Report.”
She had been a founder of the League of Women Voters, but realized that since gaining suffrage, women had lost political clout. Although they had the right to vote, they tended not to vote in blocks. Women must, Blair contended, organize and support strong women candidates for office who could lead the demand for equality.
Blair was active in securing positions for women in the New Deal. Appointed to the Consumers’ Advisory Board of the National Industrial Recovery Act, she became its chairman in 1935. Her last public service came in 1942 when she was appointed chief of the women’s interest section of the War Department’s Bureau of Public Relations.