America’s iconic old-growth redwood forest in northern California was spared from logging and preserved for future generations because it was part of a 611 acre plot that was privately purchased in 1905. In 1908, 295 acres were donated to the Federal Government and was named Muir Woods National Monument (after the famous wildlife conservationist, John Muir).There are actually two names on the original deed, Congressman William Kent and his wife. Suffragist Elizabeth Thatcher Kent was full co-owner of the property.
Part of the reason why William Kent gets more publicity is also that Elizabeth wrote his biography which was well over several hundred pages while her own autobiography is less than 24 pages.
Elizabeth was a very active member in the suffrage movement. During the 1911 California suffrage campaign (Episode 52), she was willing to be doing the hard work of organizing and working on the front lines. After suffrage passed in California, she reflected, “It took courage in those days to speak on suffrage at every gathering where opportunity offered; to distribute literature at public meetings and clubs; on trains and streetcars; to put up posters; to speak from automobiles in little towns; to wear suffrage badges and to engage in conversation on the subject with friend or stranger wherever that timely word would count.”
After suffrage passed in the Golden State, she and her children moved to Washington D.C. to join her congressman husband and to continue to fight for suffrage in other states.
She joined the National Woman’s Party and took part in the protests in front of the White House. She was arrested twice and her husband, who was actually working on President Wilson’s re-election campaign, still paid her bail. While he did not like his wife taking a political stand that caused him social embarrassment, he would not ask her to give up her convictions. He lost his 1920 re-election bid but was able to share in his wife’s victory of national suffrage.