In continuing my coverage of Women’s History month, my muse this week is a family picture. My great grandmother on my mother’s side, Frances Nelson Tillman (1880-1957), with whom I share my August birthday, was an ardent suffragette. And like me, she was a writer. From the time she was a teenager, Frances was a journalist who covered women’s issues. She began her journalistic career working on The Salt City Voice, a Manistee, Michigan weekly paper, one of the first papers totally published and edited by women. She was an assistant editor in 1900. She wrote a front page piece for the Detroit News Tribune in 1901 sharing her experiences at the American Pan Am exposition.

Frances Nelson, c. 1900

Frances Nelson, about 1900

When she later married and had four sons, she stayed engaged in the suffrage movement. She sent her photograph of her four young sons reading The Woman Citizen in 1918 to the magazine, and it was published. See the letter from the editor-in-chief Rose Young. The Woman Citizen was the official organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Letter from Woman Citizen editor in chief Rose Young to Frances Nelson Tillman (my Great Grandmother) in 1918.