Rose Bower (1873-1965)
Born in the Dakota Territory, Rose grew up playing in the Bower Family Band. She attended the Chicago Musical College and the New England Conservatory of Music. She was both a teacher and librarian. She joined the South Dakota Suffrage movement and listed her occupation as “woman suffrage lecturer” on the 1910 census.
She is most notably remembered for her work with Carrie Chapman Catt, who recruited her for help with the Empire State Campaign in New York and other states. She was a gifted fundraiser for suffrage. Not only were her lectures cheerful and charming but her musical and whistling abilities were a crowd favorite. She would tell them that they had to donate to the cause before she would perform for them.
The Bower Family Band was very popular and famous during the late 1800s. The youngest daughter, Laura Bower Van Nuys, wrote a biography about them in 1961. Walt Disney Studios bought the rights to her book and produced a film in 1968 called “Genuine Original Family Band” with an all star cast which was based on the family and has a plot line centered around the politics of the 1888 presidential election! (Rose is the 12 yr old blonde girl and only has one line in the movie but it is based on her family.)