Gordon, Laura de Force, 1838-1907.

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Biography

Laura de Force Gordon— journalist, lawyer and suffragette—was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania on August 17, 1838. In 1862 she married Dr. Charles H. Gordon of Scotland, followed him to New Orleans where he was stationed during the Civil War, and subsequently traveled with him to Nevada in 1867 and to Lodi, California in 1870.

Prior to her marriage Mrs. Gordon had lectured on spiritualism on the east coast, and continued her lectures when she moved west. An early advocate of women's rights, she was instrumental in founding the California Woman Suffrage Society in 1870, serving as its president in 1877 and from 1884 to 1894. She also lectured widely in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington Territory on behalf of the movement. In 1871, nominated for state senator in San Joaquin County by the Independent Party, she received some two hundred votes.

Her journalistic career appeared to have begun in 1873, when she wrote a column for the Stockton Narrow Gauge, a semi-weekly. Later that year she edited and published the Stockton Weekly Leader, which became a daily in 1874, and which she sold in 1875. Moving to Oakland, she edited the Oakland Daily Democrat until 1878, and in her editorial capacity championed women's rights and the Democratic party. In 1877 she played an important role in lobbying for the passage of a landmark bill, first drafted by Clara Shortridge Foltz, permitting women to practice law in California. The two women collaborated again in successfully appealing to the California Supreme Court a case against the Hastings College of Law which denied them official admission. The case made legal history, and the two women were admitted to the California Bar in December 1879. Mrs. Gordon maintained a law office first in San Francisco, and later moved to Stockton.

An eloquent speaker, she vigorously campaigned in the California mining country on behalf of the Democratic Party in 1888 and 1890, and in Nebraska and Utah in 1892. Always an ardent feminist, Mrs. Gordon twice served as delegate, to the National Woman Suffrage Association, and with Susan B. Anthony appealed at the Liberal Republican Convention in 1872 for adoption of a suffrage plank. She retired to manage her farm near Lodi in 1901, and died there at the age of sixty-eight, on April 5, 1907.

From the guide to the Laura Gordon papers, [ca. 1852-1882], (The Bancroft Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Strickland, Edward F.,. Autograph collection, 1780-1918 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Laura Gordon papers, [ca. 1852-1882] Bancroft Library
referencedIn Papers, n.d., 1887-1892 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Robinson, Lelia Josephine, 1850-1891. Series IX of the Mary Earhart Dillon Collection, 1887-1892 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Gordon, Laura de Force, 1838-1907. Laura Gordon papers, [ca. 1856-1882]. UC Berkeley Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Allen, Ira person
correspondedWith Ames, Fanny (Baker), 1840-1930 person
correspondedWith Anthony, Susan Brownell, 1820-1906 person
correspondedWith Avery, Alida C person
correspondedWith Bacon, George Andrew, 1847-1930 person
correspondedWith Bancroft (A. L.) and Company, San Francisco person
correspondedWith Bierce, Ambrose, 1842-1914? person
correspondedWith Blake, Lillie (Devereux), 1833-1913 person
correspondedWith Broughton, W. W. person
correspondedWith Carr, Jeanne C. (Mrs. Ezra Slocum Carr) person
correspondedWith Chandler, Lucinda B. person
correspondedWith Clapp, H. K. person
correspondedWith Clara Foltz person
correspondedWith Curtis, Celia person
correspondedWith David Terry person
correspondedWith Denio, Angie S. person
correspondedWith Doten, Lizzie, 1829- person
correspondedWith Eddy, Almira H. person
correspondedWith Elizabeth Cady Stanton. person
correspondedWith Foltz, Clara (Shortridge), 1849-1934 person
correspondedWith Fox, Dorus M. person
correspondedWith Freeman, Abraham Clark, 1843-1911 person
correspondedWith Gage, Matilda (Joslyn), 1826-1898 person
correspondedWith Ginn, John I. person
correspondedWith Goodrich, Sara Knox person
correspondedWith Gordon, Charles H, 1833- person
correspondedWith Griffing, Emma, 1841- person
correspondedWith Griffing, Josephine Sophia (White), 1814-1872 person
correspondedWith Griffith, John L. person
correspondedWith Hinton, Richard Josiah, 1830-1901 person
correspondedWith Hutchinson, Abigail Jemima, 1829-1892 person
correspondedWith Johnson, J. A. person
correspondedWith Josephine Sophia White Griffing person
correspondedWith Kirby, Georgiana Bruce person
correspondedWith Laura Gordon person
correspondedWith Laura J. Watkins. person
correspondedWith Leavitt, Mrs. C. C. person
associatedWith Leila Josephine Robinson, 1850-1891 person
correspondedWith Link, H. person
correspondedWith Maguire, James George, 1853-1920 person
correspondedWith Mulford, Prentice, 1834-1891 person
correspondedWith Murphy, R W person
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
correspondedWith Palmer, Cynthia M person
correspondedWith Patton, Abby (Hutchinson), 1829-1892 person
correspondedWith Patton, Ludlow person
correspondedWith Pratt, R H person
correspondedWith Ringgold, Charles S person
associatedWith Robinson, Lelia Josephine, 1850-1891. person
correspondedWith Safford, A. P. K ., 1828- person
correspondedWith Safford, Jenny L. T. person
correspondedWith Samuel J. Alden person
correspondedWith Sargent, Ellen Clark (Mrs. Aaron Augustus Sargent) person
correspondedWith Savage, Myron H. person
correspondedWith Schenck, Elizabeth T. person
correspondedWith Spencer, Sara Andrews person
correspondedWith Sprague, Mrs. C. H. person
correspondedWith Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902 person
correspondedWith Steele, Rowena G person
correspondedWith Stevens, Emily Pitts person
correspondedWith Stow, Mrs. person
associatedWith Strickland, Edward F., person
correspondedWith Tallmadge, Frank W. person
correspondedWith Terry, David Smith, 1823-1889 person
correspondedWith Van Valkenburgh, Ellen R. person
correspondedWith Walcott, Josephine person
correspondedWith Wallis, Sarah (Mrs. Joseph S. Wallis) person
correspondedWith Waterhouse, L. G. person
correspondedWith Watkins, Laura J. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
California
Subject
Journalism
Women journalists
Women--Suffrage
Women lawyers
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1838

Death 1907

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