Devin Chandler

Adolfo Camarillo High School | Camarillo, CA | 10th

Inspirational Family Member
Audrey Holts

Audrey Holts was the first lady on my mother’s adoptive family’s side given the right to vote. Holts was born in Perham, Maine in April of 1893 to her parents, Charles and Greta Dickson, and had only one sister whose name was Gertrude Dickson. As a child and into her adolescent life she worked on a potato farm and served as a cook to all of the farmhands. She eventually got married to her husband, Ashley Holts, and later had two daughters, Maxine and Natalie Holts. Mrs. Holts only received a six grade education, but was, “one of the smartest people I knew” said my grandma, Linda Ropes, (daughter of Natalie). In her spare time Mrs. Holts enjoyed sewing, baking, knitting and writing poetry, as well as competing in roller derby events. 

Mrs. Holts’ favorite television show was “The Lawrence Welk Show” where the host, Lawrence Welk, would provide a variety of entertainment, but was most known for the music. She was always up for an adventure, especially if it involved driving. She was also an animal lover. There was always an animal in Mrs. Holts’ house. Linda vividly remembers Buttons and Smokey, the dogs, which were two of the many pets Mrs. Holts owned. She attended church every Sunday and had a full house after church when she hosted her annual Sunday dinner. “She couldn't carry a note in a bucket, but was always the loudest in church,” Linda states. 

After many years in Maine, Mrs. Holts and her family moved to Bardsdale, California where Mrs. Holts created a wonderful life for her and her family. Soon after, Mrs. Holts lost her husband, Ashley, in 1937 in the oil fields. After the horrific loss of her beautiful husband, Mrs. Holts fell into a deep state of depression and refused to leave her room for an entire year, but recovered and reverted back to being her normal loving, strong and independent self. Many years later, Mrs. Holts fell victim and died from a broken heart in 1977 due to the tragic loss of her daughter, Natalie, to cancer. 

My grandma will always cherish the accordion which Holts purchased for her during her trip to Spain and lived to hear her play it. She will also remembers her jet black hair which turned completely grey after the loss of her husband.

Historical Figure I Admire
Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Pickering Rankin was a suffragist from the great state of Montana, home to the Western Meadowlark, Ponderosa Pine and the Bitterroot flower. Rankin was born in Missoula County, Montana on June 11th 1880 to her mother and father, Olive Rankin, and John Rankin. She had three siblings consisting of one brother, Wellington Rankin, and two sisters, Mary Rankin Bragg and Philena M. Rankin. In Rankin’s scholarly career, she attended both Montana University and Washington University. Rankin graduated from Montana University with a degree in biology, and started her women's suffrage movement career during her time at Washington University.

After her schooling, she served as a representative of Montana in 1916 and again in 1940. After her first year as a representative of Montana in 1916, she was elected into office at Capitol Hill where she served in congress from 1917-1919. On April 2nd, 1917, Rankin’s first day at Capitol Hill, she gave a speech off of the National American Woman Suffrage Association balcony alongside Carrie Chapman Catt, another American woman suffrage leader. During her time in office Rankin demonstrated her belief of peace by voting against World War I, World War II, and even protested against the Vietnam War. Rankin was the only congressperson to vote against World War II, and was also a steady Woman Suffrage advocate.

In her spare time, Rankin would write a semi-weekly column in the Hearst Newspaper Syndicate and travel overseas to many countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, Russia, Africa, and Turkey. Rankin returned to Montana in 1940 to re-represent her state, and thirty-three years later passed away on May 18, 1973 in Carmel-by-the-sea, California at the old age of 92. However, despite her physical leaving of the earth, she has left a permanent trail for next generation suffragists to follow. As of 2019, Montana has not elected another female congress member. 

What the Project Means to Me

When my teacher first assigned this Suffragette project to my class, I had no idea what the word suffragette meant, so like all adolescents do these days, I looked up the word. When I searched the word, the definition it gave me was, “ a woman seeking the right to vote through organized protest.” Since the internet told me that was what it meant, I just assumed it was. However, after finishing this project I realized that that definition, though in some ways true, does not fully cover the true meaning of Suffragettes. Now, when I see the word suffragette, I no longer see these meek, protesting women, but see all women, suffragette or suffragist, as strong, independent, mighty women not just protesting, fighting not just for themselves, but to better the world.

After researching Jeannette Rankin, I saw how passionate she was and how singled out she was. I think the thing that stands out to me the most was how when elected into office, she was able to maintain her beliefs and morals of world peace, and how she was the only congress person to vote Against World War II. All of Congress voting for a war and one person, just one vote against a war. Another example of perseverance comes from women directly linked to my family. Audrey Holts was a mother, wife, grandma, and so much more. Mrs. Holts was able to provide for her family despite the loss of her husband. She created such a good life that even her granddaughter, Linda, prospered. So can we really limit the suffragettes to protesters, or are they more dynamic than what they are labeled? 

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