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Helen Zaidee Marie Rodgers papers

 Collection — Box: 1-9, 10+
Identifier: MS 44

The papers of Helen Z. M. Rodgers include writings and speeches; newspaper clippings; and pamphlets, programs and other printed material concerning political and civic groups. Topics covered in the papers include women's suffrage, women workers, women as jurors and city and state politics. Of particular interest to the study of the woman suffrage movement in Buffalo are membership lists of the Woman Workers Suffrage League (ca. 1908) and from the Buffalo Political Equality League (ca. 1905). Also of interest are various broadsides and circulars from the Woman Suffrage campaign (ca. 1915-1920).

The collection also contains correspondence written and received by Helen Z. M. Rodgers, her husband Elbert and daughter Zaidee. Additional family material includes photographs of Rodgers with Cecil Weiner; an autograph album; diaries; and course notes kept by Helen Z.M. Rodgers for a History of Philosophy course taught by Richard Boynton at the University of Buffalo (1926-1927).

Dates

  • 1890-1959

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Helen Zaidee Marie Rodgers papers are open for research.

Copyright

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Extent

5.34 Linear Feet (9 manuscript boxes, 3 half manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box)

Overview

This collection contains writings and speeches; newspaper clippings; and pamphlets, programs and other printed material concerning political and civic groups, covering such topics as women's suffrage, women workers, women as jurors and city and state politics. Of particular interest to the study of the woman suffrage movement in Buffalo are membership lists of the Woman Workers Suffrage League (ca. 1908) and from the Buffalo Political Equality League (ca. 1905).

Chronology

1876
Born, Hornersville (now Hornell), New York, August 20
1880s/1890s
Attended St. John School and the Gardner School, New York City
1897-1899
Attended University of Buffalo Law School
1899
Awarded Clinton Scholarship for highest standing in law course
1899-1906
Member of Marshall and Rebadow law firm (Buffalo, New York)
1900
Admitted to New York State Bar
circa 1900
First woman to argue an appeal in New York State Court of Appeals
circa 1905
Charter member of Buffalo Political Equity Club
1906-1940
Member (later special partner) of Moot, Sprague, Brownell and Marcy law firm (Buffalo, New York)
1907-1908
Appointed by New York State Governor Charles E. Hughes to Board of Managers of the Western House of Refuge for Women (Albion, New York)
circa 1908
President, Women Workers' Suffrage League (established 1908, Buffalo, New York)
1917
Chairman, Educational Committee for Liberty Loan Day (Buffalo, New York)
1918
Lectured on enrolling and educating women voters
1929
Ran for Council-Man-at-Large (Republican, Buffalo, New York)
1932-1933
President, Zonta Club (Buffalo, New York)
1937
A First Vice-President, Zonta International
1938
Ran for Representative-at-Large (Republican, United States Congress)
Elected to New York State Constitutional Convention from 48th Senate District: Chairman, Committee on Suffrage and the Qualifications for Office; only woman to preside over New York State Constitutional Convention
1940
Member, Person and Blair law firm (Buffalo, New York)
1948
Received Achievement Award from American Association of University Women
1949
Voted Outstanding Business Woman of Buffalo by the Business and Professional Women's Club of Buffalo
ca. 1950
Charter member, Business and Professional Women's Club of Buffalo
1958
Received Susan B. Anthony Award by Interclub Council of Western New York
1960
Died, Buffalo, New York, August 1

Biographical Note

Helen Zaidee Marie Rodgers came to Buffalo in 1897 to attend the University of Buffalo Law School. Entering the Law Department of the University of Buffalo in the first class graduating women, she finished at the head of her class, taking the Clinton scholarship which was at that time awarded for highest standing throughout the course. Upon graduation from law school, Helen Z. M. Rodgers became associated with the firm of Marshall and Rebadow, and shortly afterwards became managing clerk for that firm. During this period she had an all around training in trial work, especially negligent cases. She was the first woman to argue an appeal in the New York State Court of Appeals, appearing before that court within a year after her admission to the bar. She was also the first woman to be appointed Receiver and Trustee in Bankruptcy in this district.

Helen Z. M. Rodgers tried cases in the United States District Court, United States Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City and the United States Supreme Court. In addition she had experience in Surrogate's Court work, the management of estates and corporation law. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, when Governor of New York state, appointed Helen Z. M. Rodgers a member of the Board of Managers of the Western House of Refuge at Albion. She served in this capacity for one year when she was obliged to resign for lack of time.

Rodgers was an active worker and speaker for women's suffrage, being a charter member of the Buffalo Political Equality Club, President of the Women Workers Suffrage League and a director of the Woman Suffrage Party of Erie County (1917), when the women of New York state won the right to vote. She pleaded the cause of suffrage at numerous legislative committee meetings in Albany, New York and marched in both of the suffrage parades in Buffalo. After suffrage was won she organized the first course of political study for women and was active in the League of Women voters.

During World War I Helen Z. M. Rodgers was a member of the Speakers Committee of the Liberty Loan organization, speaking on the same program with New York State Governor Charles S. Whitman. She spoke on behalf of the Red Cross and War Stamp drives as well as in the first University of Buffalo campaign. She also spoke on behalf of the Republican ticket in both of the Hoover campaigns.

Helen Z. M. Rodgers was a member of the Erie County Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, the Counselors and honorary member of the Alpha Delta chapter of Kappa Beta Pi legal sorority. She was a member of the Erie County League of Women Voters, the Town Club, the College Club, the Women's Alliance and Parish Council of the First Unitarian Church, the Republican Business Women's Club and was a President of the Zonta Club of Buffalo. Rodgers also belonged to the Buffalo Council on World Affairs (ca. 1948) as well as the Business and Professional Women's Club, American Association of University Women, the Buffalo City Planning Association and she was on the Board of Governors, Norton Union, University of Buffalo (ca. 1940). She was on the Board of Visitors of Buffalo State Teachers College (ca. 1932) and belonged to the Council of the Federation of Women's National Republican Club as well as the Council of Social Agencies Committee on National Foundation on Infantile Paralysis and Sister Elizabeth Kenney Foundation.

She died in Buffalo, N.Y. on Aug. 1, 1960.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in seven series: I. Biographical materials, II. Speeches and writings, III. Clippings, IV. Civic activities, V. Political activities, VI. Correspondence, and VII. Family memorabilia.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated to the University Archives by Judy Treible, December 3, 1982.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

MS 64, Amherst League of Women Voters records, 1910-1997, bulk 1947-1997
MS 56, Zonta Club of Buffalo records, 1920-

Processing Information

Collection processed by Archives staff in the 1980s. Some material rehoused and finding aid updated by Matthew Oliver, January 2015.
Title
Finding Aid for the Helen Zaidee Marie Rodgers papers
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Archives staff; revised by Sheryl Saxby, May 2006.
Date
2006
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)