Helen Zaidee Marie Rodgers papers
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).
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5.34 Linear Feet (9 manuscript boxes, 3 half manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box)
- Born, Hornersville (now Hornell), New York, August 20
- Attended St. John School and the Gardner School, New York City
- Attended University of Buffalo Law School
- Awarded Clinton Scholarship for highest standing in law course
- Member of Marshall and Rebadow law firm (Buffalo, New York)
- 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
- Member (later special partner) of Moot, Sprague, Brownell and Marcy law firm (Buffalo, New York)
- 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)
- Chairman, Educational Committee for Liberty Loan Day (Buffalo, New York)
- Lectured on enrolling and educating women voters
- Ran for Council-Man-at-Large (Republican, Buffalo, New York)
- President, Zonta Club (Buffalo, New York)
- A First Vice-President, Zonta International
- 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
- Member, Person and Blair law firm (Buffalo, New York)
- Received Achievement Award from American Association of University Women
- 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
- Received Susan B. Anthony Award by Interclub Council of Western New York
- Died, Buffalo, New York, August 1
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.
Accruals and Additions
- Address books
- Appointment books
- Autograph albums
- Buffalo (N.Y.) -- Politics and government
- Citizens' associations -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Manuscripts (document genre)
- Membership lists
- Rodgers, Helen Z. M. (Helen Zaidee Marie) -- Archives
- Rodgers, Helen Z. M. (Helen Zaidee Marie) -- Diaries
- Rodgers, Helen Z. M. (Helen Zaidee Marie) -- Political activity
- Speeches (documents)
- State University of New York at Buffalo -- Archives
- Women -- New York (State) -- Buffalo -- Social conditions
- Women -- Suffrage -- New York (State) -- Buffalo -- History -- Sources
- Women lawyers -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Finding Aid for the Helen Zaidee Marie Rodgers papers
- Finding aid prepared by Archives staff; revised by Sheryl Saxby, May 2006.
- Description rules
- Language of description
- November 2014: Finding aid migrated to ArchivesSpace by Danielle White.