Honoring Mom

Belle Brotherton w Governor

Today the Botanist proposed we visit the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, in Lansing, as a way to honor Mom and the equal-rights and conscientious-voter values she embraced. Specifically, he proposed we look at this display, which shows Michigan’s governor, Albert E. Sleeper, signing women’s suffrage into law in May 1917.

Belle Brotherton w Governor CU

Behind the Governor, officiously seated at his high-top desk, among the assembled witnesses, is Mom’s grandmother, her mother’s mother, Belle Brotherton. (We differ on which one we think she is; I’m guessing she’s facing the camera behind the slope of the desk-side, with a good view of the Governor’s hand and pen.) Belle, along with many others, worked hard for this change, and, in 1919, she became the first President of the Michigan League of Women Voters. Several suffrage organizations joined together after the law was enacted and formed the League, so Belle must have been respected by her peers to become the Michigan League’s first President from, no doubt, many capable contenders.

After Mom had been a member of the Michigan League for fifty years, they conferred upon her a lifetime membership, in honor of her long participation. When I was in HS, she spent many elections at our township hall as a poll-watcher. She also was active with voter-information outreach efforts, although I don’t know exactly what that involved.


  1. DMK says:

    How interesting – we owe a lot to women like your Mom, Grandmom & Great Grandmom. What a family tree! Hope you’re doing well & enjoying this time with the Botanist & Gordy – Diane

  2. Mary Jo says:

    An impressive pedigree! And to what (or who) do you owe the French influence in names? Belle, Manette, Charlotte?

  3. Sammy says:

    Mary Jo, hmm, hadn’t thought about that. The ancestors on that side are from the British Isles, England for that bunch, I think, so, hmm, Brits trying to be hoity-toity? Further research needed….