Hester C. Whitehurst Jeffrey (b. 1842—d. 1934)

Hester C. Whitehurst Jeffrey (b. 1842—d. 1934)

Hester C. Whitehurst Jeffrey was an organizer, activist, and cohort of Susan B. Anthony. Jeffrey was born in Norfolk City, Virginia in 1842. In 1860 she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to live with her uncle whose home was used as a stop on the Underground railroad.  Her uncle’s home at the time was frequented by prominent abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Charles Sumner, and others. She married Roswell Jerome Jeffrey in 1865 and 1891, they moved to Rochester, New York. While in Rochester Jeffrey and her husband became involved in politics; the pair rented rooms to Republican officials and civil rights activists. Jeffrey herself was a close friend of Susan B. Anthony and was heavily involved in the local suffragist movement in Rochester.  Jeffrey established several African American women’s clubs in Rochester, New York including Susan B. Anthony Club for Colored Women in 1902, which advocated for suffrage for African American women, held classes and advocated for the admission of African American women at the University of Rochester. She was president of the New York Federation of Colored Women and was involved in the Rochester Political Equality Club, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Local Council of Women. She also founded the Hester C. Jeffrey Women’s Club, which financially supported African American girl’s classes at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her photograph was used negatively by anti-suffragists as the kind of woman who would be enfranchised if women got the vote.

Additional Sources:

Iowa State University Archives of Women’s Political Communication Short Biography:


Alexander Street Short Biography:


Black Past Short Biography:

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