Helen Kendrick Johnson

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Helen Kendrick Johnson
Born Helen Louise Kendrick
(1844-01-04)January 4, 1844
Hamilton, New York
Died January 3, 1917(1917-01-03) (aged 72)
Occupation Children's Author, Poet, Anti-suffragist activist and writer
Spouse(s) Rossiter Johnson

Helen Kendrick Johnson (January 4, 1844 – January 3, 1917) was an American writer, poet, and prominent activist opposing the women's suffrage movement.[1]

Early life[edit]

Helen Kendrick Johnson was born in Hamilton, New York to her father, Asahel Clark Kendrick[2] a professor in Greek at University of Rochester and mother Anne Elizabeth Kendrick (born Hopkins) who died in 1851 after the birth of Helen's third sister. After the death of her mother, Helen aged 7 spent much of her childhood living with her aunt in Clinton, New York until 1860 when she spent time in Savannah, Georgia with her father's brothers leaving in 1861 due to the outbreak of the American civil war. In 1863 she enrolled as a student in the Oread Institute, in Worcester, Massachusetts and studied there until June, 1864. After the end of the civil war she briefly returned to Savannah and spent the rest of her childhood between there, an aunt's house in Utica, New York and her father's house in Rochester, New York where she remained until her marriage.[1][3]

Marriage and writing career[edit]

After marrying the newspaper editor Rossiter Johnson, in 1869 she began writing children's literature and travel articles.[1]


Both Helen and her husband were active in the anti-suffrage movement.[4] From 1894–1896 she was editor of the American Woman’s Journal and founded the Meridian Club in 1886. Rossiter was author of a pamphlet entitled, Why Women Do Not Want the Ballot. In 1897 Helen wrote what is often considered the best summary of the arguments against woman suffrage: Woman and the Republic, in which she argued that women didn't need the vote to establish more legal, economic and other equality and that women's role in the domestic sphere was essential for maintenance of the American republic. She was openly critical of the writing's of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her work The Woman's Bible linking it to radicalism and socialism.[1] During her time as an anti-suffragette activist she addressed several legislative committee in Albany and Washington and wrote many newspaper articles and pamphlets on the subject. In 1910 she founded the Guidon Club, an anti-suffragette organization dedicated to the study of politics and government.[3][5]


  1. ^ a b c d Johnson Lewis, Jone. "Helen Kendrick Johnson About.com". About.com. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  2. ^ For a biography of A. C. Kendrick, see Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1892). "Kendrick, Clark". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.  See also An American Scholar: A Tribute to Asahel Clark Kendrick, 1809-1895 at archive.org.
  3. ^ a b Kendrick Johnson, Helen. Helen Kendrick Johnson (Mrs. Rossiter Johnson) the story of her varied activities. 
  4. ^ Hillriegel, Danielle (5 July 2011). "Helen Kendrick Johnson" (PDF). Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Kendrick Johnson, Helen (1913). "Woman and the Republic". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 

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