Former Waterville woman was suffrage champion

Olesen with her campaign car in Cloquet, 1922. Photograph Collection, Carlton County Historical Society, Cloquet

Reprinted with permission from Pine Knot News

The nation marked 100 years this week since women finally won the suffrage battle. A key player in getting women the right to vote hailed from Cloquet, Anna Dickie Olesen.

She was the first female nominee of a major party for the U.S. Senate and was a celebrated orator and passionate social reformer who became one of the most prominent Democratic women of the early 20th century.

Anna Dickie was born on July 3, 1885, to Peter and Margaret Dickie and grew up in rural Waterville in southern Minnesota’s Le- Sueur County. Intelligent and talkative from a young age, Anna showed signs early on of the oratorical power she would wield as a public speaker. The Dickies, teetotalers and staunch Republicans, switched their party allegiance in the 1890s and became avid supporters of three-time Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan, whom Anna would admire as a politicalimmigrants in English.

By 1913, Olesen had been elected president of the Federation of Women’s Clubs in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. In 1914, she was appointed a....

To see more on this story pick up the September 3, 2020 print edition of the LifeEnterprise paper.

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